West Meets East - thoughts on yoga in India and Australia
A trip to India seemed like a good idea at the time. Go to the place where yoga began, where yoga is an integral part of life and where I would feel the essence of yoga. Yoga has a long history in India, where many famous sages taught and contributed to the wealth of yoga literature. Yoga knowledge is by it’s nature constantly growing and evolving. Whilst in India I had hoped to encounter many different yoga teachers and styles to expand and evolve my own practices & teaching techniques.
My first glimpse of India was walking across the border from Nepal, into the bustle, noise, and dirt of a million people all moving, shouting, honking horns, eating and haggling. The ground was littered with garbage of every kind - plastic bags, paper, manure, human excrement and urine, splintered wood, straw, ash from numerous fires, tin cans, plastic bottles - it was filthy. The noise and smell assaulted your senses. Vendors and tuk-tuk drivers eyed you keenly to see if you were a likely customer. Children in small groups, in filthy rags or dressed impeccably, followed you with constant chatter in broken English, begging for money, hand moving constantly from palm to mouth to demonstrate how they needed food. The young girls had a smaller child in tow or perched on their hips, wide eyed and mute. As I was trying to find my bus and tour guide in the chaos, an emaciated women shoved a tiny lifeless infant in front of my face, her eyes imploring me to help. I was unable to respond, no words, no actions would have sufficed. In shock I stood there, until a friend grabbed my armed and dragged me to our bus.