Isha Yoga Center, if you just google the place you're greeted by some of the most beautiful pictures your eyes would have seen.
Located in the foothills of Velliangiri Mountains, 30 kilometers west of Coimbatore, an industrial city in South India. It is well connected by road, air and rail. Major airlines operate daily flights from Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. And also major trains heading to South India stop here. Once you reach the city, its just a 45 minute cake walk travel to the yoga centre locally known as the "Ashram". You can hire cabs at about Rs. 700 or take a state bus at Rs. 10. About 20 minutes away from the Yoga Centre, you start to experience the beauty of South India as you can gaze out of your window to lush green trees, mountains and breath the freshest air nature has to offer.
As I entered the yoga center, I was greeted on the gate by a volunteer. This is another beauty of the place. All work is done here by volunteers whether it is cooking, serving food, cleaning, everything. And the best part of it is the smile with which I saw everyone working without getting a single rupee in return. I was directed to the Isha Cottages where I had booked a room for my stay. It is advisable to book your rooms over 45 to 60 days in advance as the Ashram sees a lot of visitors all through the year. I had only booked my room for half of my trip as for the other half I would be staying in the dormitory accommodation to attend the Yoga Program.
I checked in to a wonderful room at a surprisingly low cost, clean as any room of a five star hotel would be with all the amenities. But no one travels 1400 kilometers south of Mumbai to stay in a room. So I just kept my luggage and went out. And boy, it felt like heaven. Just looking at the gorgeous Velliangiri Mountains staring back at you. It was indeed one of the most beautiful glimpses I had ever seen.
The major attraction of the center is the Dhyanalinga, a powerful meditative space that does not ascribe to any pirticular religion, faith or belief system, nor does it require any ritual prayer or worship. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the Founder of Isha Foundation and a realized master says "Just sitting for a few minutes within the sphere of the Dhyanalinga is enough to make even those unaware of meditation, experience a state of deep meditativeness" .
In India, it is always been said that before entering a sacred space, one should always wet their body first. For this, there are two separate water bodies with Mercury lingams that have been established close to the Dhyanalinga. One for men and another for women named Suryakund and Chandrakund respectively. So I decided to take a dip first. As I entered the Suryakund, and I felt something as I touched the linga. Honestly, I can't put it in words. The closest I can describe is a burst of energy just passing though you.
Then as I entered the sphere of the Dhayanlinga, sat down and closed my eyes. This is another feeling that I had never experienced. It felt as if my mind shut down. Just by closing my eyes, I fell into such deep meditation only because of the place where I was in and that's when I understood the meaning of the two lines above. And I noticed on coming out, that I had been inside for almost 2 hours. I had never felt so peaceful in my life and I couldn't believe it was just because of sitting in the space.
The ashram had a 2 meal system, once in the morning and in the evening. Food consisted of salads, a few south indian dishes, ground nuts, fruit salads and all of it was more delicious than the food I had eaten in 5 star hotels and resorts! The ashram also had a cafe with a few snacks incase you felt hungry during the day.
I was fortunate enough to be present on the Poornima night of the month to experiance the live procession and the devi pooja that happens infront of the Dhayanalinga. Again, what I felt in those fifteen minutes is not something I can describe it to in words. Its just a powerful experience that you can feel yourself.
VOLUNTEERING- GIVING YOURSELF
Like I said above, all the work is done mainly by volunteers. So that is what I spent the remaining of my time doing. Right from working in the kitchen, cutting vegetables, washing dishes, cleaning and somehow just being doing all of these simple things, it felt so joyful. And I ended up meeting so many people right from entrepreneurs to story writers to CEOs. Ended up making more friends than I can count!
THE YOGA PROGRAMS
I attended 2 yoga programs during my stay. I would not say too much about them except that they were LIFE TRANSFORMING! I'd just describe the both of them in a few lines for you:
Bhava Spandana- This was the most amazing roller coaster ride I have been to in my life. It was for 4 days and every second of those 4 days the emotions were on such a high! Joy, Love, Happiness just all in once. I had never in my life thought I'd be able to feel so blissful. It is just something you can experience for yourself. Please do not miss this for anything in the world!!
Shoonya- 4 days of Yoga. A lot of yoga :) which was worth every second of the gift of the practices that have literally changed my life in the last year. Such a dramatic change that since the time I've come back, I haven't feel sad for even a second! The games at the amazing foothills, the lake and the forest! Everything about this place has not only given me a memorable trip but also changed my life.
There is not much you can say about a place that has made you experience something more than your self. Something that you cannot express in words. A place that can just blow you away with calmness, joy and peace when you enter it. Of all my travels, I've never been to another place like this. Its just my wish that with this article you experience happiness and joy like you never have. Feel happy and joyful all 24 hours though the day, Honestly, I never thought that was even humanly possible!!
I don't know if heaven exists up there. But, I certainly found it on Earth. Thank you Isha. :)