A Nasa Photo of India during Diwali
For hundreds of millions of people, we’re in the midst of one of the most important holidays of the year. Diwali celebrates the return from exile of Rama, a much beloved form of divinity. Across India and around the world, lamps and candles are lit to help guide Rama home.
No, we surely don’t have to subscribe to Hindu beliefs to practice Yoga, but we can use these myths and stories to enrich our practice.
Essentially Rama was known for doing the right thing, even when it is extremely difficult, even when he could have gotten away with the easy route. Rama underwent great hardships and personal loss to do what was just.
When we practice Bow pose, Dhanurasana, it honors the Bow left by Shiva as test of righteousness for who would win the hand of Sita in marriage. Rama was the only suitor who could lift the bow, and was so strong that it broke under his draw. (please don’t pull that hard in class!)
The kneeling warrior pose, Anjaneasana, honors Hanuman, Rama’s faithful servant, who is the quintessential symbol of devoting ourselves to what matters most.
Bridge Pose, Setu Bhandasana, honors the bridge that Hanuman built from India to Lanka – to rescue Sita from the clutches of the villain Ravana. In my practice, I like to see it as the bridge from where and how I am, to where and how I’d like to be.
Although they were not easy to get to, I loved visiting the places in India sacred to Ram: Nasik where he lived in exile for 14 years, and the southeastern most tip – Rameshwar and Dhanuskodi, where Hanuman built the bridge. These places are continuously teeming with countless pilgrims, seekers of peace and simplicity, they welcomed me with open arms.
The Long Ancient Corridor at Rameshwar – a meditative walk.
At the root of many Hindu stories are simple seeds of guidance, how we could live more peaceful lives, richer with meaning and purpose.
Happy Diwali! Consider lighting a candle tonight, and sitting in stillness for a few moments. I hope your practice brings clarity, helps you to cut through the chatter of our turbulent times, so you can do the right thing, and dedicate yourself to what matters most.
On Saturday we have our Open Mic Kirtan/Satsang – We’ll share some music and stories. it’s a free event and you’re most welcome to listen in, or bring something to share.
On Sunday morning, we’ll be sure to integrate these postures into our peaceful Yoga class in West Concord.
Om Shanti, I’ll see you in class.
P.S. Many thanks to all who joined us for the full-house Live Music Yoga class with Karnamrita. She promises to return, but in the meantime, We’ve got Tom Lena, Irene Solea, Bernadette, Bindy, and Clarence Dow confirmed to offer their beautiful sounds for our Yoga classes in Concord. See the Events page for the scoop.
For a fun read of the stories behind our Yoga poses, check out these books: