We recently marked the six-month anniversary of our departure from Mumbai. Since leaving, I have lost the weight that I gained from enjoying too much Indian food, had a decent haircut and burst into tears of joy at the variety of food in the supermarket! However, there is one area of my life that I have been struggling with since my departure: my yoga practice.
When a yoga teacher sits at the front of the classroom and talks about India, it doesn’t capture my imagination the way that it used to.
Modern India is a dark place.
I see people projecting their ideas of spiritual India onto a nation that, quite frankly, could do with reminding of the ancient spiritual wisdom contained within the land. I love India and I see a place that has so much potential but, at the same time, it frustrates me with problems that never seem to get resolved!
How can a country that regards itself as so spiritual be so full of corruption?
Why do they still have child labour?
In the land of the goddess, why are women treated so terribly?
The list could go on.
India – what happened? What went wrong?
I have been thinking about India a lot since I left.
It completely changed me.
It toughened me up.
It left me with more questions than answers.
Living in India is completely different to visiting India for a few weeks at a time. My impression is that most foreigners have misunderstood India. An overseas yoga teacher that spends a couple of weeks a year in India so that they can take groovy pictures for their social media campaign just does not cut the mustard for me anymore. There is so much more to India than a great photo opportunity and it is only when you make it a part of your daily life that the hidden gems are revealed.
You see, despite all the problems, India does have a secret ingredient contained within the energy of the land.
I wish I could bottle it and give it to you.
Since leaving India, I have hardly been able to bring myself to practice yoga in a studio or attend a yoga workshop because the modern yoga industry feels so shallow and toxic to me that I prefer to practice at home by myself.
Perhaps that is the greatest gift that India gave me?
The joy of solitude.