While I was recently in Rishikesh, India, I spent a luxurious amount of time sitting on the Banks of The Ganges. The locals call her Ma Ganga and to them she is a living Goddess. Immersed in this constant flow, the river while ever-changing is also somehow unchanging. This paradox like a zen koan, would open me up to different states of being. This stream of divine energy, ever flowing through the stillness of the surrounding mountains, amidst the busyness of the town centre with all it’s noise and chaos, seemingly unaffected by either, felt like a gateway to a different experience of living.
Up here she has not long been on her journey the Ganga is a fresh, vibrant and powerful force. A luscious turquoise green she looks like a fairytale river, her ebb and flow unique to any river I have had the pleasure to spend time with. The first time I fully immersed myself it was so cold it was hard to breathe, by the end of my stay the days were warmer and my tolerance stronger, dips in the river were one of the daily highlights.
Immersion in Nature one way to awaken ones senses, there is much research going into the healing powers of nature experiences like Forest Bathing and Forest Therapy. Humans evolved in Nature, our modern indoors lifestyles of walls and devices are separating us from the real world of nature, senses, and each other. The soft relaxing absorption of a sunset or a stream can be the perfect remedy to the constant mental distractions demanding our attentions and the resulting fragmentation of consciousness.
Our senses are our gateway to the world, the ability to clearly perceive and process this constant flux of sensations is essential to a balanced healthy life. You are a part of this system on Nature, immersion in Nature throughs you back to yourself. It awakens the senses, the ever-changing feedback of a living system is a very different experience to being shut in a room. The slow and subtle pace of nature is very different from being surrounded by crowds, traffic or screens.
Yoga practise is another method of developing sensitivity. My practise is an opportunity to immerse my awareness in my own nature, in the stream of life that manifests as movement, thought’s and feeling’s. It is necessary to turn off all my devices and spend some quality time with my own body and breath, Re-establishing a sense of self which is alive and grounded in the flow of sensory information that is my life moment to moment.
Not everything on offer in our modern day life experience is desirable, it can sometimes feel like an assault on our senses. We rely on distractions such as Netflix or social media, and depressants like alcohol for relief from our reality. But these can only offer us a temporary solution, when we disconnect from our senses we disconnect from life. Television and social media are not inherently bad, however if they are our only options for relaxation we are missing the mental relief that occurs when we immerse ourselves in the fullness of the senses in a safe and peaceful environment.
The more clearly I can perceive and process life directly as it comes, the more options I can see, this requires sensitivity. Navigating the modern world filtered to us through social media can be tricky in so many ways; nothing is every only how it seems or looks we need to have a fuller sense of the situation. Having a grounded sense of my own reality, body, breath, and the world I am a part of, gives me confidence in my own instincts and capabilities to respond to whatever life brings.
I am so incredibly grateful to have discovered these practises that give my life it’s depth and heart. I honestly have no Idea how people get by without Yoga! We are so blessed to live in a country where there is still so much nature we can immerse ourselves in.
I am very excited to have the opportunity to combine my two loves Yoga and Nature with our classes in The Australian Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan. The peacefulness of being surrounded by living spaces, provides the perfect support for the practise of delving deep into a direct relationship with self, senses and world. Yes ideally we could all meditate anytime in the middle of the chaos of the market, but in the real world most of us have far too much of the chaos already. When you can choose the peace of the pace of nature why wouldn’t you?
If you would like to check out our timetable or book a spot in the next 5 week course, (May 26th- June 27th) Yoga in The Australian Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan, you can find the class schedule here. In these winter evenings we practise in the comfort of a heated room but the ambience of the gardens and the silence of the space supercharges the energy field we are working in.