Yogi Knows

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You won’t realise the gravity behind when I thank you. Unless my face shows more than I know, but even then, you won’t know the history or the reasons behind my gaze. You have provided me therapy for the last few years, every week – solitude in one hour with strangers and your instruction. You are reliable. It’s more than what you say. It’s turning up each week with something new and interesting for us to fall into step with; completely losing ourselves with your guidance. Sometimes I feel so heavy in my heart with emotion, freedom, to release. Sometimes I lose myself under your words and I secretly let fueled tears burst from the sides of my eyes hoping you won’t see me and worry I am not okay. But, I am. I am more okay in that room of practice because of what you teach. My chest rises with the breath you give us. You have saved me these past years.

Your dedication is admirable and inspirational. The effort you put in to learn and be a master is a character trait rare to come across in some worlds. I enjoy from you the passion for routine and rhythm, and I share your energy.  That comes across powerfully from you – in a good way. In a stable and amazing way. To conduct a whole room of people how you do, with authority but friendliness and kindness as well, is a wonderful gift. I trust you. We trust you. You show us other ways, in mind and laughter.

When hearing of your new chapter I am reminded of a mandala illustrating the circles of life. Not the big circle, the smaller ones within our own life stories sometimes overlapping to create a beautiful new shade of colour, like in a venn diagram. How I can enter your arena in a difficult time for me facing my own challenges of love and personal development; and here we are drawing another circle, taking another turn, yet we are more in peace with each-other’s movements. We have crossed over to a new formation and created another balance which can’t fall down because the mat slips away; memories can’t be erased because the room gets bigger, the distance greater. Memories can only fade with time, but the body will always be thankful and store the sounds of early mornings on the white rocks overlooking the sun rise and the clinging of another glass celebrating a day lifting feet to sky. The sound of your voice is the one I hear asking me to forgive, to relax, and let everything go. I am so grateful for you creating another circle in my soul to help me always find home again, and in that moment I am sent to my inner quiet waka floating to the gods of the misty clouds.

Burning Bodies

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I will never forget the smell of a burning dead body. You could almost see the ashes floating up from the pit as you were inhaling the murky heavy air. There wasn’t just one either, there were about 8 fire pits all going at once. This, the edge of the Ganges river in Old Varanasi, India.

It’s an old town for sure; the whole thing is like a huge castle town with narrow streets and high buildings. It’s all stone – the buildings and floor. It’s like a maze trying to find your way around and you have to share the narrow pathways with angry cows and motorbikes coming at you at the same time. The ground is covered in crushed marigold flowers, unknown liquids, and cow dung. It’s beautifully surreal.

At the edge of the ancient city flows the Ganges river where dead bodies are brought from all over India to be cremated and gifted to the Gods. As you get nearer to the ceremony there is this thick smell that suffocates your entire body as you know you’re not smelling burning wool but burning human bones and hair. I cover my mouth and nose with my jumper and walk nearer, passing signs requesting ‘no photography’. The sign is more powerful than others as you feel like it’s the spirits asking you to refrain, rather than some business owner who wants to prohibit you making a profit. Not a single camera or phone in sight. We get closer and are asked if we want to be taken to a secret spot at the top of one of the castle-esque buildings. Of course we are expecting to a pay a fee even though the guy insists we won’t, but we follow him anyway. Sure enough at the top of the narrow staircases was a view that can only be described as heavenly; as if looking from the heavens. It was dark, with amber lighting coming from human fire pits and the orange and purple sun set behind them.

My friend and I just stand there, looking out at the view, trying to see if we can decipher body parts in the fires. We think we saw a small chest frame in one, and a skull in the another. Then we see a body being carried from out from the building beneath us, a small body wrapped in bright pink/purple silk cloth. A modern day glamorous mummy held in the air on a stretcher by four or so other men. Her fate – burned and set down the river to be freed from this world and onto the next.

I cry in silence. The chap who took us up there left without asking for a tip. We leave in silence.