I have come far, yet I am not done…
Born in Ethiopia, my earliest challenge was surviving the famine of 1984. As an infant, I was at a feeding camp with thousands of suffering and dying people. When my parents died, I was sent to an orphanage. One of my most vivid memories in the orphanage was praying for the possibility for hope…hope for a family and the chance for a better life. The chance of getting adopted was as slim as becoming a millionaire. I was adopted at the age of six. I knew when my prayers were answered that I was a lucky girl.
My parents were international educators and I have lived in Ethiopia, Kenya, Israel, Panama, USA, Canada, Taiwan and Egypt. Living in these countries, learning about their culture and customs, diversified my character and made me think globally. I have seen children begging in the streets of India. I have seen what happens to a country under communism when we lived in Ethiopia under a communist dictator. From the Himalayas in Nepal to the Sierras of California, from a trek in the Negev Desert in Israel with the Bedouins, to hiking a trail through a rainforest and over a volcano in Panama, to visiting Vietnam and witnessing a nation in recovery, I have become a world traveler.
My education in life has not been limited to the classroom, and I have been given the opportunity to come face-to-face with the suffering of human kind from poverty, disease and from unequally distributed resources. Living in Asia, Middle East and traveling in other mono-ethnic countries has given me insights I could never have acquired from a book. I have become more aware of the importance of self-esteem and the ability to communicate and seek commonalities where, otherwise, differences could be the focus.
My journey as a conscious yogina began when I was nineteen-years-old. Questions like “Who am I” and “What is the meaning of life?” inspired my pursuit of finding the ‘truth.’ I started reading books on metaphysics, Hinduism and Buddhism looking for my answers. When I came upon the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother’s Integral Yoga I felt a deep remembrance and tearful joy flooded forth. I knew without a doubt I had found my spiritual guide.
The works of Sri Aurbindo and The Mother’s Integral Yoga subsequently awakened in me a need for a physical integration and expression of the intellectual concepts they presented, and so Yoga became my passion.
Being a physically fit and disciplined person, I started practicing Asanas from my first book on yoga, Yoga: The Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira & Shyam Mehta. I loved the physical intensity, challenge, precision and concentration required in the practice of Iyengar Yoga. For the next two years I practiced Iyengar Yoga for 2-3 hours daily.
“The key is to understand that the spirit is not the opposite of life but the fulfillment of life, that the inner realization is the key to an outer realization,” wrote Satprem, Sri Aurobindo. I continued independently to study and practice Aurobindo’s yoga philosophy. My path, and my focus, is living a conscious life in all aspects of my life. I find that being a massage practitioner and yoga instructor helps me stay focused and concentrated on fulfilling my intentions in life. My talents are in the healing arts and I find great joy and energy in serving in this occupation. I continue to educate and tune my talents so that my work continues to grow in service and joy. I want my external life to reflect my inner growth.
Looking back now, at the age of twenty-nine, I realize I have been a diligent and disciplined practitioner of Iyengar Yoga and a diligent student of the works of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga. Like Sri Aurobindo said, “All life is Yoga,” indicating that there is no separation between humans and The Divine. Practicing Iyengar yoga and the Integral Yoga have help me align my body/mind with my inner being so that I can feel the vastness of being in communion with the Divine. A lasting change is a shift in consciousness. For me this shift in consciousness is the process of involution and it starts with me, on every level of awareness, physical, vital, mental and spiritual. I love Yoga because it inspires and cultivates the potential for full access to the dynamism of the mind/body connection in an integrated approach. I cannot imagine a life without Yoga and I look forward to continued interpersonal growth.