I just came back from a pilgrimage in India, something I had wanted to do for a long time, and recently had a chance to realize.
India has a rich and deeply rooted tradition of spirituality; countless saints and enlightened beings have lived there, disseminating their wisdom for centuries.
I wanted to walk in their footsteps, bathe in the air they breathed and watch the sun rise over the same hills.
This is the land where the ancient knowledge of yoga originated and developed. Through the gateway of it’s perennial teachings, I hoped to walk a little closer to my own truth.
Lucky me, I shared this experience with a group of wonderful people, several of them advanced yoga practionners and teachers. In that regard, I was the junior of the group, and benefited from their knowledge.
The purpose of a pilgrimage (yatra in Sanskrit) is to exercise mental and physical flexibility by doing tapasyas (asceticism) and being confronted to the unexpected and unknown.
Our guide and organizer for the trip was Atmaram (in red shirt above), himself an experienced and much appreciated teacher.
His guidance was in the best sense of the word, attentive while challenging us gently, taking our practice from the yoga mat to everyday life. Atmaram also introduced us to places and people he had come to know while on pilgrimages with his master, Swami Vishnudevananda, himself a disciple of Swami Sivananda.
The road can be long and harduous but it leads you to higher landscapes and clearer skies. In our case, it went from Delhi to the Himalayas, close to the source of the Gange near Gangotri.
We gathered more than holy water; we developed strength and clarity in our bodies and minds. Friendships blossomed. Our practice deepened as laughter sparkled through the teachings we received.
Aren’t we all pilgrims on this earth? Our lives can be a journey of self discovery and realization. The steps we took during this pilgrimage will inspire us yatris as we go forward.