OM… My Journey in Rishikesh
On the plane, my eyes start watering as I recall the day when I arrived in Rishikesh merely 25 days ago. I put my sunglasses back as I am waiting silently for the take-off. My eyes are wide open behind the dark shades, wanting to catch every movement of my thoughts to retain every pulse of this new memory.
Guru Mukh appeared, with a gentle smile hidden in his mustache, “my dear, there is no past, no future, only the present. Close your eyes, look inside. What are you doing and feeling in this moment?” I close my eyes, but Guru Mukh’s smile and sparkling eyes are sill there to guide me. Breathing in and out, with the rhythm and vibration of readying engine, I start to feel the flow of Surya Namaskar from my toes to my knees, to my hips, to my core, to my shoulders, my neck, to earlobes, to the top of my head.
I am checking the alignment at each part of my body as I secretly move through the flow without the notice of my fellow travelers. I am scanning the poses through Deep‘s eyes, mind, and heart. Only now I see them more clearly. His eyes are sharp like an eagle’s, even the most micro misalignment can’t get away; his mind is creative like a grapevine, there is always one modification for everyone; his heart is gentle like a cotton ball, touching with the most gentle touch.
I press my palms forward in my downward facing dog. Thighs rolled in, up and back. I imagine my muscles, my bones, nerves, joints, ligaments and all the organs. Dr. Summit‘s explanations and drawings come alive. I am examining the flexibility and strength of each muscle and joint and adjust myself with kindness and gratitude.
Through chaturanga, I come to the upward facing dog. Legs active and firm, and pelvic neutral. Pressing down each of the nine points of my hands and all my toes, I see Desiree. Like a lotus flower, she slowly curls up from the depth of the water, raises her heart, lowers back curl down (no compression, though), shoulder blades naturally drop like the pedals. With confidence, elegance, and gratitude, her smile offers a warming fragrance.
Bringing one foot and another to the front of the mat, I now see my shin and my knee cap. I feel the strength in my hamstring and legs and the softness of my arms, upper back, and neck. Deanna is doing this pose with her life, with the firm grounding-ness about what she wants to become, the incredible courage to unwrap a beautiful life gift in an ugly wrapping paper, and the powerful surrender to what’s coming next.
Gently jumping up and landing with my feet wide open, I am getting into Warrior II, reminding myself of all the alignments, ankle to knee, knee to the second toe, hand to shoulders, gaze to the middle finger. When alignments happen, the pose happens. This’s why Flora took this trip and joined us on the journey. Her arms, extended firmly on the sides, are like two wings, named vision and determination. She looks to the front while facing aside as she prepares herself patiently. Her angle-like love and humor will touch many as she cures herself. By the way, she is holding a selfie stick also.
Straightening my front leg, I am bending from my pelvic until my hand gently lands on the floor. The strength of my legs supports me; my heart lifts me. As I extend one arm up and up, I don’t forget the other arm touching the ground. Is this how R.L. gets his energy to come to the class so early? This man has incredibly long arms, literally and metaphorically. In his triangle pose in life, he balances his growth and support for others; he fuses Zen, Shaolin, and yoga together; he crosswalks in the outer world and inner world beautifully, as a model and a yogi.
One leg joining the other, I am holding myself in plank. I free one hand to feel my core and check if my shoulders are crossing my wrists. My eyes have a soft landing on the floor ahead. This is a pose, in which I can switch my face beaten down and forward without being noticed by others. In my eyes, Cullen, aka “juicy hips,” lives in plank, a quiet pose that builds the strength of his body and heart. It looks effortless, but only the doer knows how each muscle is engaged. Just an easy small step forward, he is in runner’s lunge, ready to launch.
Instead of Warrior I, I enter a high lunge, my back leg strong and straight with my heel lifted, front leg determined to press down, arms up with palms facing each other. In this posture, I see Shobhit. His slender and strong arms can push up the sky and hold the space for anyone who needs it. With a gentle back bend, he shifts his gaze up. Deeply rooted in the essence of yoga with a deep devotion to practice, he reaches up and connects with “something in somewhere,” unlimited future potential.
Bringing my knees down to the floor, I come to one of my favorite poses, cat and cow. Breath in, bring the chest forward, gentle lower back bend; breath out, engage the core. Kiran joins me in dancing in this pose. With each inhale, look up and outward to see what the next the world has to offer; with each exhale, look down and inside to see what’s there. Kiran lives a journey with courage to pursue his true self in a noisy world. I admire that!
With child pose, I come to rest with deep gratitude for every and each one of you who shared this journey with me, especially Deep, Guru Mukh and Dr. Summit.
Thank you for all your yogic love. Our paths may or may not cross again, but we know we are connected regardless.
Di Hu is a seasoned intercultural life coach with extensive experience in international program management and training facilitation. As a social entrepreneur, she co-founded, interEDGE, with the purpose to shape the mindset and sharpen the skill sets of global citizens to maximize their potential. Originally from China, Di lives with her husband in Greater New York City.
She first met yoga in 2009 and started regular home practice three years ago. In addition to yoga, her favorite things include curling up with a cup of tea and a good book, traveling for three weeks with only a carry-on bag and connecting with like-minded people around the world.