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

Via Heather Morton
on Sep 11, 2012
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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

Heather Morton became best known for her backbending practice after producing Freedom of the Body DVD; an instructional video on backbends. Since its conception it has reached students all over the globe. Heather is also the producer of the Advanced series and a 2-part meditation CD. For 15 years, Heather directed The Yoga Way (TYW); a Toronto yoga school offering 6-week yoga programs. Founded in 1997 it was a niche within the Toronto Yoga community. Her life in Yoga, however, did not always look this way. Heather`s original aspirations lay in the Dramatic Arts for which she has a university degree. But feeling the pressures of not fitting in, Heather left Canada to live and work in South Korea where she travelled extensively for 2 years. Dabbling in yoga here and there it was not until she returned to Canada that she embarked on formal yoga training. To date, she has made 17 trips over 17 years to India to study with her teachers. She is the first Canadian woman to receive certification in the 1st & 2nd series from the AtmaVikasa Yogic Center of Sciences in Mysore, India. And later obtained a Masters of Education with a thesis on Yoga for children in school. Heather has been featured in The Globe & Mail, Toronto Life Magazine and other media sources. In 2012, Heather closed TYW to fulfill more personal aspirations. Today, she is a mother and in between teaching and practice writes for travel magazines, YogaLife, HelloYoga, EJ and MBG. You can 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. Heather says:

    That's really sweet….Thanks for reading this. I believe souls do….bodies don't.

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