New moon rest today got me first to better assess the new garden slowly growing outside our shala. We started by only planting grass a couple of months ago, just to cover the good but still naked soil that had been brought. The idea was to let it slowly and organically  take shape. Some had suggested veggies, other flowers. Right now what is growing is a mix of grass and various simple field flowers whose seeds found their way here, so beautiful in their simplicity and spontaneity. One mushroom has been spotted, too! What I noticed is that the areas where the grass and little flowers are the most healthy and thick is near the borders but mostly close to each other. There is much less in the center and none growing all alone. I had also already noticed this on the land that surrounded our shala in Auroville which I took care of for twenty years. The trees and plants that were doing better where always the ones growing next to each other, never the ones that I had wanted to plant away from others. One thought  leads to another, so an analogy came next to my mind: aren’t we also as human beings part and parcel of the biggest nature picture, therefore grow better when not in isolation? Don’t we do better and maybe even thrive when surrounded by others and especially the ones close to our heart? Isn’t community and closeness with other human beings what nourishes and supports us, rather then the isolation that urban living has created in the last century or so? Aren’t micro communities within the bigger picture seeds for creating again healthy connective tissue for healing and reclaiming happiness?

Haven’t you yet noticed the connection between your emotional state and your practice, too? This is when we can also use our practice as a mirror for where we are. 

My last year and a half for instance has been a huge roller coaster of emotions with all the changes of circumstances connected with leaving Auroville after 20 years. Not  just the home and the shala I had created for my family and students but also a community that had given me meaning and hope for many years. It was a long and complex process that took months to complete. Moving then back to Europe to plant roots here again, stopping the incessant six months/year of traveling  that had seen me teaching in so many different places and reaching out to so many beautiful yoga communities but had also created a lot of instability. Not to talk about the impossibility of going deeper in the connection with the students’ practices and their journey given the short one or two months time periods working together. Creating a new yoga community in Berlin again from scratch with all of the not easy practical stuff associated with settling in Germany. Learning a new language, dealing with doing it all alone again after the initial shala partnership project failed to manifest. Sticking it here in spite of the long dark winter that brought many moments of doubts. Dealing with complicated family health issues that constantly make me doubt the meaning of being here facilitating community rather then with my dear ones. Being away from my sons and many dear friends here and there. All of this has hugely reflected on my practice. The ups and down and easiness or heaviness of it. How it feels to you and how it nourishes or can drain you.. And using practice as a tool to assess emotional health. Mostly though I noticed the connection with its easier flow and how my heart has been nourished. And by heart I mean how human connections nourish us, be it a friend, a sweetheart or family.

So once again today I was brought back to the intelligence of nature and how easy sometimes it is to find meaning by simply spending time observing it and staying open to its hidden messages. This little garden of ours is not the one acre land I took care of for many years in India, but in each small leaf an answer can be found. We are lucky indeed to have this just outside our shala. Practice when done with right intentions is only bound to bring about increased awareness. Sitting then outside on the terrace connecting with the simple little garden we have and our yoga journey companions creates an extension of that possibility. With a cup of coffee,of course!

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