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Vancouver Island Yoga School

India: A heart at Home. Sept 23/22

Sept 23/22

 

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I am sitting outside tonight listening to the crickets and sounds of the jungle and it occurs to me that I
feel most at home here. Returning to Chrissie’s Hotel after a three-year absence has stirred many
emotions. First, the joy in seeing everyone again, the hugs and the tears. Second, the sadness in
hearing the stories of the struggle in the community due to the shutdowns of Covid. The community
relies on tourism for support; without that, it has been complicated. Workers have left the community
for the cities, making it difficult to reopen restaurants. Some community members have returned to
farming, causing a drop in prices and for some losing money.

Despite these challenges, we are practicing yoga and studying the sacred teachings from this land.
We are met with smiles, kindness and gratitude for returning and supporting our friends here. Each
day is filled with meals that are made with love and great skill, our taste buds dancing with each dish.

Our friends here offer their gratitude for the money our past students sent to keep them afloat during
two years of being closed down. Ulli described to me that when the money came it was like a miracle
and the timing was perfect. Adel and Ulli the hotel owners were able to keep paying their staff, which
supported families and the community. A small gesture from us made all of the difference here.

Today we took a guided three-hour hike through the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Our guide Raj is from an
Indigenous tribe that has long been on these lands. He explained each species of animals we
encountered as well as the history of his tribe. We met some tribal members on our walk as they were
on the lands to fish. We opted to have tea with Raj and miss our scheduled bus. When we returned to
the hotel the staff was worried about us as we were a couple of hours late and missed breakfast.
We all laughed and remarked that it was the first time we actually felt hungry!

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The days are easy here, up around 5 am to hit the mat, coffee asana at 6 am, followed by more
practice and breakfast at 8. Back at 10 for yogic philosophy, breath work and discussion. Lunch is our
main meal, with flavours that dance on our taste buds. Another yoga practice at 4 pm, followed by a
light dinner. Tonight we are sitting outside on the rooftop listening to the crickets, reading and enjoying
each other’s company.

I am settling into a quiet mind, savouring the moments as they unfold. There is an ease and comfort
in returning to this place that is both familiar and yet new, met with fresh eyes. Friendships are being formed, and each member of the group shares more of themselves each day. Building circles here
and at home.