July 25, 2011

Finding a Loving Yoga Community While Moving All Over the World.

Jump into the water.

We all know the water, but each jump is different. It is a kind of pleasure, to try the new sensations. There is also a kind of apprehension: how will it feel this time?

I should be used to diving in; with my husband, 3 kids and dog we are moving from India to Ireland, and it is our tenth country of residence. We were all born in different places and continents, and it is funny to hear the mixture of languages under one roof.

However this time, there is a new feeling for me. I used to build my life in the new country and after 2, 3, or 4 years drop it all and start again. I was a French teacher, a vintage posters dealer, an art deco collector, a real estate developer, and a golf tournament organizer—in each country something new. This time I’m dropping the yoga teaching for a while, but I’ll never drop the Yoga! I bring it all along to new experiences in Europe, which I know nothing about, but this is just old content in new container!

In India I met yoga and the yoga community, and it was a life-changing rendezvous! Passionate student was only one step to passionate teacher, and I spent my last year in Mumbai learning and teaching, creating and being part of nice community. I was pampered in a circle of love from my teacher, fellow students, and new friends. It was heartbreaking to leave, but it was also a great opportunity to practice non-attachment, to get out of my comfort zone and drop whatever I was considering “my work.” We all have a purpose, and mine was obviously not to stay in Mumbai for the rest of my life.

The melting pot of sadness about leaving and excitement for what new journey was coming was overwhelming. I spent some time looking for information about the yoga community in Ireland and I was lucky to see I already had a few possible new real-life friends who were already my Facebook friends! Yoga connects, for sure, but so does Facebook!

My friends asked me what I will do, if I will continue to teach. That was not my deepest fear. I was worried if I would find a true yoga community: something to compare to the warmth and love I had in Mumbai.

In April I spent a few days with my family in Paris. Soon I felt like an alien, and I’m sure my yogi talk sounded very strange in the material environment of my European family (stay in the present! breathe deeply! go with the flow!). I tried to listen to myself in this environment and it felt…cliché. My first impression was that maybe Europe is not the place for me, for spirituality, for yoga.

I came back in India to prepare to move and had what many would call an identity crisis. I needed to go back to the source, back deep inside of me, to my heart, and ask again the essential questions. Who am I? What am I here for? I had the loving support of my teacher and my friends. Is it possible to trust the Universe for guidance, but at the same time work to obtain clarity and then try our best? This was exactly what I did. I simply worked on my move, on readying my family to move, and vowed to be aware of the signs guiding me on my personal path.

It just happened.

After one week in Europe, things just happened. I already have 3 yoga friends in Ireland. It seems to be an amazing yoga community: easygoing, easy sharing, the heart on a plate offered to newcomers. Next Monday I’m meeting Tobye Hillier and who knows, maybe I’ll also meet Dagmar Khan in Cork! Tomorrow I’m participating in a yoga workshop at Samadhi Yoga Studio in Dublin, and Greg Walsh has already made me feel welcome!

Another interesting thing happened spontaneously. After some exchange with Bob Weisenberg, he asked me to help create the Elephant Yoga Europe Facebook group, exactly one week after I arrived in Europe! Thanks to EJ I get to connect with other amazing yogis in Europe. Coincidence? Or is that just how the Universe works?

The most amazing yoga story happened just in front of me, under my nose. The father of my friend, who lives across the street, got crazy about yoga! With the internet and books he is practicing 2 hours per day! Incredible, but true! We’ve spent hours talking yoga and exchanging tips on self-practice. It is a small street, a in little town hidden in the mountains. It is very, very far from my Mumbai yoga experience geographically but I feel so close to it in spirit.

My fear of not finding a community is gone. My prejudices of the lack of spirituality in Europe are gone. My worries about continuing yoga are gone. This is how the mind plays us the dramas that we will never live…this is why we have to go out of our comfort zones and trust the Universe for guidance when we feel the darkness of insecurity.

I have to admit, moving internationally is never an easy experience, especially with teenagers and a husband who also need to find a new community of their own. But this experience, for me, was much deeper than just shifting from one country to another. It was also a test of my integrity and faith, and I feel I’ve passed the test so far. I’m confident, happy, and grateful to my old and to my new yoga family. When we stop fearing, we create space for Love. And Love is Yoga.

(Thanks to Elephant Yoga volunteer Colleen Nguyen for her expert editorial assistance.)

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