Upon writing this, I realize it is February and I have neglected to wish you all a Happy 2011! Since we are into the second month of this new year, I would hope that your year is shaping up to be full of good health, success, and happiness. As my blogging efforts are irregular, many thanks to all of you who are reading and commenting on my travel log!
For the past 10 weeks I have been immersed in the discipline of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram in Grass Valley, CA. One of my friends has compared it to military basic training and that is not a bad analogy. Rising at 5am to share one bathroom with 8 other females, attending up to 6 hours of practices (asana, lectures, meditation) daily, and contributing to the work force of the ashram in daily duties has been full time to say the least. Similar to basic training, it has been tremendously beneficial in deepening my own relationship to personal practice. As I move onto the next leg of my journeying I feel blessed and renewed for the return to life in the “real” world.
In the following photos I have captured aspects of the devotional art and practices that play a big role in Hindu ritual. Puja is a worship service to help deepen one’s emotional connection to the Divine. When the senses (eyes, ears, nose) are engaged in worship the effect is of a heightened experience. The somewhat personal nature of these rituals limits the opportunity to take photos, as photography feels like a distraction (flashes are so rude!). If you live in a metropolis there is likely a Hindu temple where you can experience a puja service. There is also the opportunity to arrange a weekend retreat at the Ashram here in Grass Valley. Check out their programs at http://www.sivanandayogafarm.org
Be sure to click back and forth on the photos to get the full view.