BY DANIELA MORELL
My practice needed a kick and holy cow did it get one. Traveling over 11,000 miles to roam southern India with an exquisite group of international yogis was so special. Little did I realize before I left just how rich visiting temples and traveling among the people could be to understanding what happens on the mat. Coupled with the gorgeous sweaty cycles of asana every day in our little traveling ashram of 11, I’m feeling something new inside.
The whole trip was yoga. Wrapped in color, spice, and heat, with jasmine in our hair and nibbles of the Tamil language on our tongues. Days were spent immersed in a world of Hindu philosophy whose manifestations permeate every last turn from the dark buzzing depths of crowded ancient temples to the iconography decalled on the speediest of zigzagging busses. Long asana practices followed by plenty of time together to continue discussions about poses, mantras, kirtan, meditation, history, and religion was truly immersive.
Not to say it was all so serious, it was vacation after all with plenty of beers, shopping, snapshotting, sunbathing, and hanging out. I’ve never eaten so much tasty food in my life and we stayed in some really nice and luxurious hotels. It was super cool getting to know the Om Factory yogis from South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, as well as at home in NYC, and I hope I get to visit everyone everywhere!
And our asana practices were lots of fun. We practiced by the gorgeous hotel pools in Mahabalipuram and Chennai; we stretched on a giant chessboard in Madurai, as well as with the Indians who gather every morning behind the Gandhi Museum; we practiced at a cardamom plantation in the hills of Kerala; we practiced in both English and Korean; always outside in the glorious warm weather.
I came back a few days ago and my sister asked me if this trip was life changing. I told her only time will tell, but I feel great, centered and expanded. New York with it’s dark clothing and stark angles seems so different now. My wish is to keep this feeling going with all of you here, to explore deeper, keep reading, keep stretching, keep reaching. This short trip barely scratched the surface but it’s a start. I hope you all get the chance someday to go.
Written and drawn with love by Daniela Morell