September 11th

At the Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashrama (ashram) in Mysore, South India, there is a large auditorium dedicated to the power of music as well as magnificent gardens for medicinal purposes. (Ashram means place of spiritual dwelling.) The significance rests in how music heals and nature aligns us to our inner-self. One of the gardens is a unique collection of herbs while the other is an exquisite display of bonsai ('bon' means tray-like and 'sai' small tree). The art of bonsai originated from China and Japan in the 10th and 12th century. There are also clear indications of these miniature trees in the Ramayama (one of India’s great epic).

Okay, nice tour, but what does this have to do with September 11th?

Situated in the middle of the herbal garden is a very interesting statue. Upon first site it looks like an overly bumpy replica of displaced arms and faces coming out from all directions. Getting closer to it you can see that there are actually small heads, which make-up the entire surface.

The pillar is called a Stoopa; a terracotta figure in honour of all those who died untimely deaths either by accident, natural disaster or suicide. Those who approach the Stoopa should offer prayers to the deceased because it represents the idea of elevation and liberation (moksha) for the soul’s journey toward peace. On the bottom of the pillar is a plate that reads: "This is a YOGA conception.”

Indeed it is the higher Yoga; the ultimate purpose of practice in order to relieve suffering, obtain liberation and break the cycle of death, and rebirth.

Given the immortalized meaning of September 11th this pillar is more than appropriate.

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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