17 February 2008

Ladies & Gentlemen, Please Welcome "Shivani"...

Today was an amazing day. The weather was gorgeous. There was sunshine and a beautiful breeze. I graduated from my yoga program. The feeling that I've had all day is the feeling you get when you finish reading a great book. The story was so great that you're sad its over, you want to keep reading. It's like you feel emptiness, not a bad emptiness, just a sense of uncertainty about the next step to take.

My teachers, Sara and Sati put so much work into making it such a special day. We began the day by attending Pooja, which is a Hindu worship ceremony. The Hindu Priest went out of his way to welcome us and even focused his lecture around the different forms of yoga. We listened to his beautiful chanting and were extremely amazed when we recognized most of the chants he was singing! I am so grateful to Sati for having taught us those chants.

After Pooja, we went to Sara's house for lunch and the ceremony. The ceremony was so beautiful, warm and peaceful. Sati gave a very inspiring speech about the path of yoga and how yoga is a constant state of learning and pondering. She said, “To be a yogi is to be a spiritual adventurer who embarks on the most daring, mysterious, divinely lit ride of existence. And in the middle of it all, do not underestimate your power. Do not underestimate your core.”

This has definitely been an adventure and I definitely underestimated where this training program would take me. After her speech, Sati handed us our certificates and Sanskrit names. I had been waiting for this moment for 6 months with so much excitement and anticipation! When I opened the envelope and saw Shivani written on the piece of paper, I felt a sense of peace come over me. All of a sudden I felt like I had received some sort of closure from a life I had abandoned and forgotten about.

Shivani is the name of the Hindu Goddess, Parvati. From some of the internet research I read about Shivani, I learned that she was the second love of the God, Shiva. She was believed to be a reincarnation of Shiva’s first love, Sati. Parvati was also the mother of Ganesha, one of the most worshiped deities in Hinduism who is known as the “Remover of Obstacles.” Parvati is said to symbolize divine power and maternal devotion. In some Hindu communities, it is believed that Parvati is the source of all power in the universe because without her, Shiva would be powerless and weak. On certain festivals honoring Parvati, she is celebrated as the goddess of harvest and protector of women. She is typically depicted with bare breasts, carrying a pink lotus and showing the abhaya mudra which is a hand gesture of fearlessness.

I do feel fearless today. I love my new name. It’s beautiful and I feel honored to have received it. Except, now that I know that Shivani was a reincarnation of Sati, I feel like I have some major shoes to fill! My teacher, Sati is definitely an inspiration and I will always work to make her proud and promote the education she has given me.

Today is a day that no one can take away from me. I will always have today’s memories and the experiences in my heart. I know that the adventures have just begun!!!!


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  2. Hi Thanks for sharing your experience. I am planning to take yoga classes but i am not sure where it could be. I have thought in mind to be in rishikesh. My friend suggested me to visit the place as it is holy place with all the culture and religion with so many temples in the town. I have found one centre in rishikesh named "Yoga Vini Rishikesh". They are providing 200 hours ttc . They provide hatha yoga with asanas and pranayama. I am planning to visit this christmas.