"Okay, so next, toes together, your feet close, hands upside, interlock the fingers, inhale . . .
"Exhale, your hands down.
"So next, right hand up, all body right side turn, you sitting comfortable position, your hands gamotra position.
"Three times speak the om verse.
"Om . . .
"Om . . .
"Om . . .
"Next your hands . . .
[We all rub our palms together furiously]
"Few seconds touch the eyes, self-heal. So feel all positive energy of zhe, negative energy outside they are finished. You feel all positive energy of zhe, negative energy outside they are finished.
"Few seconds face massage . . .
"And next thanks for God . . . thanks for God . . .
"One time speak 'om,' three times 'shante.'
"Om, shante shante shante . . .
"Class closed, so namaste, namaste, and namaste. Have a good day."
Om, the name we call our yoga teacher (which is also a sacred syllable in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism), speaks in a soft, mystical voice, breathes audibly, and sings Hindu mantras while seated in the half lotus posture. His yoga studio faces the mountains and the windows open to a majestic view of the valley. He teaches yoga, pranayama, meditation, reiki, acupressure, and reflexology. His studio is a pilgrimage destination, just like so many places in India. The lama in Kipling's Kim regards the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama as a holy land and comes seeking enlightenment at the River of the Arrow. Likewise, meditating, yoga, and reiki in the hills of the Himalayas are like finding the holy grail, fountain of youth, and philosopher's stone together in Jerusalem. For others, it's walking the kora, spinning prayer wheels, and hearing His Holiness expound scripture for hours at his temple. Half the time we're literally living in a cloud up here like those gurus who sit on top of mountains to reveal the secrets of life to climbers. It's no wonder McLeod is such a popular travel destination.
Ishmael in Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick heads to the sea to escape the "damp, drizzly November in [his] soul" and explains that the sea has always been a source of inspiration and healing. Well, besides the sea that falls from the sky every day in monsoon season, the Om Yoga and Meditation center is very far from the sea, yet it claims the same ability to inspire and heal. Actually, by doing yoga and meditation, I am reducing my extra body fat, solving any back, spine, leg, arm, ankle, neck, and stomach problems I may have, erasing my depression and anxiety, and dissolving all my stress (though sometimes I think I am just inflicting physical pain).
If nothing else, the 2.5 hours I spend every day on yoga and meditation will increase my flexibility, but perhaps the other health care benefits are more than the placebo effect. A certain Harvard scholar has written a lengthy tome about the physiological benefits of hatha yoga, the very book that Om tossed on my lap one evening when I'd come early for meditation. "Study," he said. In his introduction, the scholar states that Westerners, believing so deeply in science and experimentally proven medicine, dismiss the time-proven health benefits of yoga as superstitious. They might be right--I can't imagine any benefit from the cleaning mantras we chant for an your every evening--but the poses might significantly improve my overall health as I practice them daily. And I do think full body relax is reducing my stress levels.
So here you are, the formula for stress reduction. As Om would say, self practice so your all body fresh:
"Okay, so next, few minutes full body relax. So open your legs, open your arms, relax, breathe, normal. Breathe normal . . . .
"Yoga time happy time . . . .
"Yoga meaning . . . peaceful life. Yoga meaning . . . peaceful life. Yoga meaning . . . no any type of tensions. Yoga meaning . . . no any type of tensions. Yoga meaning . . . all health is good. Yoga meaning . . . all health is good . . . .
"Yoga time no any type of tension. So no money tension . . . no family tension . . . no home tension . . . no friend tension . . . no school tension . . . and no . . . job tension. Yoga time, no any type of tension . . . .
"Relax. All muscles relax. So your feet . . . relax . . . your to-es . . . relax . . . knees . . . relax . . . thighs muscles . . . relax . . . hips . . . relax . . . stomach . . . relax . . . chest . . . relax . . . shoulders . . . relax . . . neck . . . relax . . . eyes . . . relax . . . mind . . . relax. All body relax . . . All muscles relax . . . ."
Sometimes Om's students fall asleep during full body relax. I don't, but I do forget my stress for a few minutes of peace.