Journey into the Heart and Soul of India
By Felicity Robinson
When The Shift Network email arrived titled “Journey into the heart and Soul of India” it felt like a calling to my own soul. I hadn’t planned on travelling to India, but just knew I had to go on what was to become a life changing journey into my own heart and soul. I was one of only two Australians in the total fourteen taking the journey, including Stephen Dinan, Devaa Haley Mitchell and Philip Hellmich from The Shift Network.
The Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganges (Ganga) was home for the first week during the International Yoga Festival. The setting was majestic in the foothills of the Himalayas with India’s most holy river, Mother Ganga flowing right past the steps of the Ashram, the setting for the beautifully moving sunset Aarti fire ceremonies each evening.
It was humbling to be amongst 1200 likeminded souls from 85 different countries in the birthplace of yoga and one of the most ancient holy towns in the world. The classes and presenters were world class, with a total 150 offerings across the whole week. Classes including: Kundalini, Hatha, Iyengar, Rumi love meditation, enlightening Satsangs by revered saints and sages, sunrise music meditation by Ganga each morning, talks, meditations, chanting and the evening Kirtan music offerings, just to name a few.
The morning Atma Yoga class with David Saul Raye was a definite favorite amongst our group, two hours of the most loving, peaceful, heart opening, yoga I’ve ever experienced. Other personal favorites included Laura Plumb, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Tommy Rosen and Roberto Milletti. The focus of so many of the classes and talks was to open our hearts and awaken to our divine nature. My heart became so full of love, I was able to experience the love of my true nature and feel it deeply within my heart, a truly life changing experience.
The great hotels in the second week in Haridwar and Rishikesh were also on the banks of Mother Ganga; it was amazing to wake up every morning and look out on and be able to put our feet in such holy water. The group further bonded during the second week’s service opportunities. It was such a privilege and blessing to serve and have some involvement in the everyday lives of the local communities. We made visits to a local school where we taught & played games with the children and a village in the foothills of the Himalayas where we helped out during a medical camp organized by the Parmarth Niketan Ashram. It was also a blessing to visit sacred Hindu temples and the Vashishta Gufa meditation caves.
Our last night and morning at the Glasshouse Hotel in Rishikesh as a group was so joyful, we had become so close and felt so cared for and honored by each other. I left Rishikesh with some sadness in saying goodbye to everyone but also with such a loving full heart, knowing that we had made truly beautiful caring friendships. Thank you Devaa, Stephen & Philip for your presence, love, care and support and making my first trip to India so memorable.
(If you like to stay informed about future Shift trips to India and other locations, click here.)
Felicity Robinson lives in Melbourne Australia where she works as an IT Project Manager at Melbourne Water. Felicity has two daughters and loves yoga, homeopathy, bike riding, and travelling.