In the Wodeyar tradition (Maharajas of Mysore), the final day of Dasara ends with a magnificent procession (called Jumboo Savari). The procession begins inside of the Mysore Palace and makes its way through the city.

Several hours before the parade got started hundreds of people were already sitting along the road, with many areas blocked off. As an eager spectator and my first time to Dasara, we had purchased "GOLD CARD" seats inside of the palace. It was no joke finding our way by foot to the palace. The streets slowly became a crazy maze of people, animals and vehicles. Unfortunately, we started off in the wrong direction and ended up running around the palace (a good kilometre) to get to the ‘main’ entrance for "GOLD CARD" members. The fastest way to get thru the crowd was to join the traffic by running down the middle of the road (not something you tell your mother). When we arrived at the gate we huddled like cattle behind the iron fences with all the other card holders; our gold status was rapidly diminishing. Finally after being pushed and shoved sideways and backwards we made our way to the next queue, and into the palace.

Meanwhile this sort of event brings out the worst in yourself as well as those around you. I became very irritated and angry and started yelling at my companion to run faster as well as to push himself thru the crowd so that we were not separated.

When we got to our seats, we were quickly approached by hungry reporters who wanted the foreigner's veiw on Dasara. Given my mood and the events that had taken place to get there, I blew my shot at getting on live-radio and my name in the Indian Express. Had I told the reporters how magnificent it was, how wonderful to see the elephants, etc., etc., it would have been published news for sure. Today the headlines read, “and the homemakers were mesmerised” (The Times of India). Instead, my comments were on the people shoving, pushing, crying and fighting. I was not pointing my finger at Indian society as you would find the same thing at a rock concert in North America or at Carnival in Rio. I suppose I found myself thinking about what really takes place; i.e., the 7-10 day journey the elephants make to get to Mysore as well as the poor living conditions of the villagers who maintain them. The truth, however, is not newsworthy.

Yet I am no better than that of which I complained about. I was also amongst the lakhs (100,000's) of people who came out to watch the procession and who pushed their way thru.

Locals told me you have to experience this at least once in a lifetime. However, if this experience has anything to do with "organized chaos" then my memory lies more in being lead astray by police officers, jumping fences and barricades to get to our “assured" seats, and becoming desperate to get inside of the palace. It has less to do with the pagentry of this great event.

Still, I guess can say, “I attended Dasara.”


The Journey So Far

Life is an adventure and yoga is the greatest one of all. Here I share my love of Yoga, travel, practice and becoming a part-time cook. My life adventures have taken me from growing up in Toronto to living and working in South Korea to studying in India, marriage and finally closing my Yoga school of 15 years.

What I can say so far is that I truly believe that it is necessary in life to let go of one dream in order for another to be born. This might be painful to do so but it is the only way to move forward. We often believe that if our original plan does not succeed it is the recipe for failure. But what if it is the door to something new and great? The horizon is wide and life is not a straight line. This is the way I see it and my journey so far. Having also recently given birth to my first child and at 43, it is another new beginning.


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Heather Morton
is a perennial teacher and devoted student of yoga. Having made 18 extended trips to India she studies with her teachers annually. In 1997 she founded and directed The Yoga Way (TYW), Toronto's only school for 6-week yoga programs and not drop-in classes. For 15 years, TYW was a part of the growing Toronto yoga community and supported many charities by offering karma classes. As a teacher she holds many academic degrees including a BFA (Fine Arts in Theatre) and a Masters of Education. With a published thesis on Yoga for Children in School, her post-graduate work was a 2-year ethnographic project in the Indian school system. Heather has produced 2 dvds, meditation cds, a backbending manual and podcasts. Freedom of the Body DVD is the first of its kind as an instructional practice to the backbends of yoga. Heather has been featured in the Toronto Life magazine, The Globe & Mail, Yoga4Everybody and other on-line sources. She contributes to MindBodyGreen, Hello Yoga in Japan and Elephant Journal. She writes to inspire and share her experiences with others on yoga as a life's practice.
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