EMBRACING SPIRITUAL LESSONS
SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE
These are a few words I’d use, to sum up traveling through India. I’ve traveled through this amazing country four times, and I continue to go back for more. There are so many stories and lessons I could share and it’s difficult, to sum up what I’ve learned in India when I’m asked. Where do I even begin? India is something one must experience to understand. It begins with trust, an effort to embrace the courage of the unknown, and a willingness to experience something completely different from anything you know. Life in India can be unpredictable. Throughout my adventures there, I never knew what would come next. I often found myself relying on my intuition and learning to trust myself more and more each time. My attachments would melt away, and I become present almost immediately.
A pilgrimage to India usually means you are seeking or releasing something in your life. India tends to expose whatever lurks beneath the surface. I’d compare it to putting your senses in a pot of boiling water and one by one, every feeling and sensation begin to rise to the top. You are tested with everyday life in India. Things do not work out according to your plan. But eventually, you begin to see God’s plan.
Life can be intense while traveling through India. If you’re moving too fast, there’s often a lesson waiting to be revealed that will remind you to remain with what is.
This becomes preparation for the next moment. When I slow down, I find myself taking in a person’s true essence and making a deeper connection by seeing their soul through their eyes. I become hyper sensitive to my surroundings: every smell, each and every bright color and the connections in between. There is a sense of being so present, that no matter what happens, I’m able to stay grounded. I see this in the locals. Whether it’s a blackout, a long line or a traffic jam, they are not affected. Amongst the chaos, there is always a sense of peace. There’s a letting go, a sense of humor and an openness of acceptance. What will be will be. Through surrender, a deeper sense of spirituality appears.
India reveals something new each time I visit. A village woman walking with her cows is typical and reminds me how different life is here; Connections are true and deep with exchanges smiles and deep eye contact; Witnessing true contentment on the face of a person with nothing – these are the things that keep me coming back and that remind me how much I have. I begin to allow myself to let go and the more I do, the more I enjoy a deeper sense of gratitude. As the tears flow, so does my joy, knowing that the Mother India is touching my soul. I am learning to take a deep breath, to come home again to myself and open my eyes to the world around me.
We are blessed with unlimited gifts. We have everything we need inside of us. This is what I discover when I travel, especially in India. I drop in and feel my heart. The layers begin to peel away and my spirit is suddenly ignited. I come back to the simple things, and remember what is truly important in life.
Exploring the unknown and embracing my courage to do so unveils all my gifts that are wrapped up inside of me. Everyone has a great capacity for compassion and the celebration of spirit. Experiencing the simplicity and unfamiliarity of India helps me remember how important it is to love and appreciate each moment in life.
About the Author
Joan Hyman’s grounded and solid style of teaching creates a space for students to deepen their personal journey and emerge from their practice with the rich energy and brightness that yoga has to offer. Her teachings come from an organic and intuitive place, as she draws upon the joyful study of Ayurveda (the science of life), chakras and meditation.
Joan Hyman is a distinguished YogaWorks Senior Teacher, who weaves her personal yogic journey into popular teacher trainings, workshops and retreats all over the world. As a leader in the Los Angeles yoga community, Joan also contributes to popular blogs such as The Daily Love, Elephant Journal, and Mind Body & Green. She has been featured in Yoga Journal, ORIGIN Magazine and Women’s Health for her advice and experience on health and wellness. Recognized for her outgoing social energy and ability to connect with people on a deeper level, she was chosen as an ambassador for the Lululemon Athletica store in West Hollywood and represents other popular yoga brands such as Manduka and Solow.
With over twenty years of experience, Joan is also a dedicated yoga practitioner, maintaining a high-level daily practice. She has practiced Ashtanga yoga for over a decade and is currently focusing on Advanced A, third series. She has a weekly Iyengar practice, which influences her teachings, and she continues her studies in meditation and pranayama. An authentic, modern-day yogi, Joan also lives a yogic lifestyle. She embraces all of the eight limbs of yoga and Ayurveda – the science of life. Her love and devotion show up in her practice and throughout her teachings. She is fully committed to helping her students live from within their highest potential and align themselves with the true teachings of the yogic traditions.