You are the shrine

I have just returned from a lovely two week trip to India where I was fortunate enough to study and practice at the Himalayan Institute campus in Khajuraho. My days were luxuriously spent sipping chai, meditating in the shrine, studying with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, enjoying conversation with friends, eating delicious vegetarian meals, listening to birds, watching wildlife, and many other forms of self-care. I also had the honor of teaching a yoga class. I decided to do something relaxing and cooling as the temperatures were in the mid 90s in the afternoon. I have been practicing at home with my husband and had developed a slow-paced and prop-focused sequence for him. I taught a version of the sequence to my fellow yogis in Khajuraho. "What a wonderful gift your husband gave us," one of my friends said when I told her my inspiration.  I encouraged the class to feel the first sensation of the poses. This means when you enter the pose pause and feel it, and observe what you feel without rushing to move or adjust and get to the second or third or twentieth sensation. Those are always there and you can go to them later, but where are you now? That is self-observation and self-love. Take yourself as you are. Of course I had to remind myself of this when I had moments of self-doubt. I was in the shrine one morning and I felt overwhelmed with feelings. After a while I was afraid that my emotional baggage was affecting the space and I felt very sorry for those who were there. I was concerned that my fear and anxiety was ruining everything. Luckily, I realized that this negative self-talk is just that and it is not true. And what better a place to bring one’s emotional baggage than to the safety of a shrine? I decided to leave it there, leave the fear and the pressure I put on myself there and not take it home with me. Of course I can’t leave it all but hopefully some stayed. I learned while I was at the campus that the shrine is at the end of a three year consecration period. Those of us in the immersion trip were participating in the consecration of the shrine by visiting it. Our very existence in the space was part of what made it sacred. How about that? That is another lovely thought I took home with me, the thought that I will always have a piece of the holy shrine with me. I look forward to keeping the regular practice I had in India in my real life. I am grateful to HI and those who traveled with me. Namaste.