An Important Conception of Yoga—Don’t Miss it! ~ Heather Morton

Via on Sep 11, 2012

Music heals, nature protects.

As it is September 11th, I was reminded of a visit I made a year ago to an ashram in Mysore, India. The Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashrama has a huge auditorium dedicated to the power of music as well as magnificent gardens with herbs for medicinal purposes.

The significance rests in understanding that music heals and nature protects us. One of the gardens is a unique collection of herbs while the other is an exquisite display of bonsais (“bon” means tray-like and “sai” is a small tree). These little trees were also found in the Ramayama (one of India’s greatest epics).

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

Situated in the middle of the herbal garden is a very, very interesting statue. At first glance it looks like a bumpy replica of creepy and weirded-out displaced arms and faces headed in all directions. Drawing closer, however, you can see the entire surface is made up of small heads.

This is known as a Stoopa (pillar)—a terracotta figure in honor of those who have died untimely deaths by accident, natural disaster or suicide. When approaching a stoopa one is expected to offer prayers to the deceased representing the eternal notion 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.”

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

Given the meaning of September 11th, which will be forever immortalized, this pillar is full of important reverence.

Loka Samastaha Sukhino Bhavantu ~ May all beings (living and non-living) be well and peaceful.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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About Heather Morton

Before yoga, Heather's life aspirations were very different than the path she ultimately took. After starting what looked like a promising modelling career, Heather Morton left Canada to live and work in South Korea. This was a pivotal shift in her life's map where she began teaching not only English but yoga. And by the way, she had no idea what she was doing! Today, she is a dedicated teacher and student of yoga having made 17 trips to India in 17 years to study Yoga under her teachers. Her passion for learning includes staying in ashrams and returning to university to obtain a Masters of Education. Combining her love for yoga and children she conducted a 2-year ethnographic thesis on Yoga for children in the Indian educational system. Meanwhile back in Toronto, Canada, she founded and directed her own yoga school for 15 years. The Yoga Way (TYW) was a niche school in that it was the only one not to be a 'drop-in' centre. Heather also produced podcasts, manuals, videos, a teacher training text and DVDS and CDS. Freedom of the Body DVD is one of the first instructional practice videos on back bending yoga. Heather has been featured in The Globe & Mail, Toronto Life magazine and other media sources like YogaLife, HelloYoga and MindBodyGreen. More recently, Heather jumped over the pond and into family life. She resides in Germany near the Swiss border where she is a mum of a beautiful boy. Find her on facebook.


7 Responses to “An Important Conception of Yoga—Don’t Miss it! ~ Heather Morton”

  1. mark says:

    I think it's important to stop and reflect upon those unfortunate souls who have lost their lives through no fault of their own. Most of them are nameless and forgotten, except to their loved ones and friends. It's the fragility of life and although many others who live a full life, there are those who need our prayers or at least some remembrance. They had names, faces, bodies, souls and were every bit important as you and me.

    A friend once asked me to think about all the un-named people, no longer living, who had an impact on our world. We'll never know their name or what good they did, but they were here and deserve acknowledgement and thanks.

  2. Hi Mark, I believe it too. Thanks for commenting. It makes me feel sad that life is like this but I also believe a lesson for those of us who are still living to take better care…of ourselves and each other! Life is short..and we never know what will happen…

  3. Hi Bob! Thank you for reading.

  4. nunh says:

    I like this alot – I hope we all can meet again one day.

  5. […] those befuddled by literal interpretations of the Ramayana, the following excerpt from Aghori Vimalananda is required reading. It not only deconstructs the […]

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