The overnight train is brutal. It is cold and windy and we are unprepared. We brought no blankets, so I spend the entire ride curled tightly with my hands tucked in my armpits, head against a backpack, in and out of a restless sleep. We are jolted awake at 4:30am by the cry of "Chai pijiay! Chai chai chai!" from the vendors wandering from car to car.
We arrive at Yogananda's ashram in the middle of the morning "Energization Exercises." These are exercises designed to awaken the flow of energy in the body and prepare it for the coming meditation. It is all very friendly, so we jump right in to the exercises with curiosity and relief to be moving our bodies after a long night on the train. After a few minutes we head inside the Meditation Temple to sit for a meditation of about 40 minutes. It is lovely and refreshing. The energy of this place is at once strong and peaceful.
The grounds are immaculately kept, with flower beds, swept paths, alcoves for meditation, and a few monuments of incredible beauty. We spend an uneventful day on the lawn, surrounded by devotees walking and meditating in the gardens. We doze, discuss the developments of the book and start developing a handful of asana series for later use.
We join the devotees for tea and the evening exercises and meditation which is about an hour and a half long. I focus my eyes firmly on the candle at the front of the temple, choosing to practice Concentration (Dharana) instead Meditation (Dhyana). I actually have a hard time staying awake during he 2nd half. I am exhausted from missing last night's sleep.
We catch the 9:30pm train back to Kolkata. We have blankets this time. I sleep deeply the whole way.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga