2010-09-12

Haridwar, Northern India


The Gateway of the Gods. Haridwar is a sacred and divine place. It is the entry point to four of the major Hindu pilgrimages: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamontri and Gangotri. One day I will do all four of them. To date, I have done the trip to Gangotri, which was 10 hours driving up and around two mountains. It's a long way and many areas of the roads were completely washed out. We waited over an hour at one spot while fellow drivers jumped out of their cars to clear the rumble from the road.

Each of the four points led into the Himalayan region, over 3000 meters. Millions of people flock to Haridwar or take the journey further north to wash away their worldly sins. Given the power and depth of the Ganges it is a shame if you take such a trip and do not bathe in the Ganges. My only thought and advice on that is to check your self-preservation at the door and be free.



Haridwar itself is situated on the right of the Ganga; the land of wandering monks, sadhus, spiritual seekers and gurus. Many of the sadhus are thought to be recovering drug-addicts (and mostly still in the process of recovery). Some people feel that those who are serious about spirituality stay in Haridwar and those more spa or ashram-oriented travel further north to Rishikesh.

Every morning at sunrise and evening at sunset there is a beautiful aarti (worship of light) along the Ganges.

It is a celebration and ceremony of light, emotion, music and chant. It is a magical time with burning lights, prosad (offerings) and chanting. Even if one does not attend the public service with hundreds of people, there are other ceremonies taking place within the community.

These are held in much of the same manner as the larger one but on a smaller, private scale.

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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.


ME

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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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