Only in India

In Mysore there are several yogis and yoginis I personally know and shard a meal with who have made it their permanent (if not all too frequent) home. Although any part of India comes with its fair share challenges and problems, I can understand why many people are drawn to settled down in this part of the world.

For despite the obvious headaches there are many wonderful things that can only happen in India. I often think it is probably these little things which make it so worth while. Like everything in life you learn to take the plus with the minus and hopefully the latter never outweighing the former. And even if it does, it is something you work, live with and learn from. If not you leave! I have yet to encounter any situation, place, person or relationship that is 100 per cent perfect (and if there is such a place or a relationship, please, would someone tell me).

In India, life can be very rural. If you don´t have money to stay in a place with a generator there are  frequent power-outs. You cannot and should not drink the running water unless you have a filter system. There may not even be hot water, because most homes are heated by solar energy. In the monsoon this can be challenging. And then there is the lack of internet (or should I say the off and on again system), the many festivals, parades, road-blocks and protests.

I know some people don't 'bast in the glory' of these hardships. Visiting a home with a dirt floor, cow dung smeared on the walls and a squat toilet hardly seems too enlightening! I know many students who drove their Mercedes also were the first to complain about feeling 'crippled' after 10 minutes of sitting for meditation. Crippled to me is the fucker who glamoured on the taxi window as he begged for money and hobbled on one foot with another bandaged and his clothes in tatters. That's crippled. Not the feeling stiffness and the ability to climb into the luxury car. Many mornings on my way to my yoga school I passed several blanketed humps who slept on the subway vent. Many mornings in Mysore I walked by beggars not always adults but children to who had no home, no practice, no proper meal that day and certainly no way to easily drive away.

All these experiences have made me appreciate the simple fact of taking a hot shower at home whenever I please, having regular electricity and running water from the tap. These are the little things we consider part of ´normal´ living elsewhere. The things we demand and expect. But in India it is just not that way and certainly not all the time.

A few days ago one of these remarkable experiences took place that emphasizes life in India and only in India. My friend who lives in Mysore permanently had blown a tire on her scooter. She dropped off her scooter and within an hour it was ready to be picked up. I had been hanging around her home so when she returned I drove her back to the shop.

The amazing part was not it being ready in a hour but the cost of 20 rupees! (That's about 50 cents in Canadian dollars or close to 50 cents in US dollars.) When my friend handed over the worn out rupee note to the shop-keeper I had to say, "That´s incredible." She smiled and bobbed her head side-ways (a common Indian gesture meaning ´that´s just the way it is´).

And just the way it is is pretty great and if I dare say, close to perfect.


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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