By Yogi Aaron
Make a pilgrimage: go back in time to propel your practice forward.
India. Nepal. Tibet. Thailand. The Holy Land. Why should I take a pilgrimage to India and these distant places?
The very names of these faraway places conjure images of the colorful and exotic. Travel to the origins of Yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam can bring to life the history and lore of our spiritual traditions and reveal the sacred in everyday life.
Imagine beginning your day at a historic temple for meditation and asana as the sun rises. Or walking in the footsteps of thousands of pilgrims, monks, saints and sages who have gone before you. The concentration of spiritual energy at the world’s most hallowed sites is palpable and transformational.
In the West, there is a huge emphasis on asana (yoga postures). But in the Eastern world, asana is a small fragment of the teaching. Their genuine yogis and enlightened teachers reside in remote locations that are difficult to access; most often we only catch a glimpse of them through books such as Living with the Himalayan Masters or Autobiography of a Yogi.
But a pilgrimage can take you to the heart of Yoga’s origins, where people enjoy a simple way of life untouched by the outside world: no locks on their doors, little exposure to media, few possessions to their names. Those who reside there are happy to bring pilgrims into their homes and are generous by nature, sharing stories and lessons for life. The warmth in their eyes and their beautiful smiles are treasures visitors carry in their hearts forever.
Travel to these distant lands continuously presents surprises and the opportunity to learn about ourselves. Traffic, flooded roads, travel delays–all take on a larger-than-life dimension during a spiritual pilgrimage. How we react–or not–is an important part of the journey.
The Tantricas tell us Surrender to the Mother of Life; surrender to her arms. The eternal mother is always holding you, cradling you and protecting you. They say we suffer because we forget this; yet, through devotional practice we begin to remember, to experience the Mother of Life who dwells in the deepest chamber of our hearts. Making a pilgrimage is one of the surest ways to experience Her splendor.
About Yogi Aaron
Yogi Aaron brings passion and a spirit of adventure to his teaching. Thus inspired, he guides students to secret, far-flung locales, which not only empowers them to realize their own limitless potential but also makes yoga relevant and accessible for the modern world. Since 2002 he has been traveling and leading retreats worldwide. He currently serves as the Yoga Director at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat + Spa in Costa Rica