The University of Nature

I stayed at Ananda Ashram this weekend in Monroe, NY.  I took three yoga classes, attended a fire ceremony and attended a kirtan led by Shyam Das, one of Neem Karoli’s disciples.  I have not done that much hatha yoga in quite awhile, and I had to just witness the change in my practice,  because doing anything but witnessing, (such as struggling, grasping, raging)  would have just not been yoga. I realize that running has become my yoga, and cannot replace it by a little dabble here and there on the mat.

The founding guru, Sri Sarasvati Brahmanda called Ananda (Bliss) Ashram a university, where nature could teach its students.  The grounds were beautiful, and a family of deer grazed peacefully close to my quarters and a sudden storm surprised us during chanting.  I realized that my love for ashrams and yoga centers is closely linked to the opportunity they hold for communion with nature.  I have found that with running too.

My muscles were tight and sore in unfamiliar places after the classes, on my way back home, I stopped at Robert Moses State Park and ran for 45 minutes as the sun went down. I found my focus, I went inside and began to check in..my posture, my stride, the sensations..When I was done, I felt as if I had shaken out all the tightness and my legs were like rubber bands, ahh, that felt better…I started to feel ananda...

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