Practicing Yoga in Mumbai
I was running late to yoga. The irony of rushing to something that should be peaceful isn’t lost on me. But I’ve learned in Mumbai that you can always blame tardiness on the traffic, and sure enough, my excuse garnered a laugh or two in the lobby. After checking in and sipping a small cup of ginger-lemon tea, I started to feel the tension in my shoulders release.
Dev, the resident yogi at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, greeted me in the yoga studio and we got started. With my toes hugging the edge of my mat, we began with some familiar sun salutations and moved through other poses until my body had been stretched and pretzeled into alignment.
“Breathe, Rachelle,” Dev said. Oops, I had been holding my breath. With a big exhale, I closed my eyes to relax in shavasana. Lying on the floor with my eyes closed, I heard a distant voice say, “Now, shoulder stand.” I opened my left eye and squinted up at Dev. “Huh? You’ve got to be kidding.” No, Dev was quite serious. He saw that I checked “beginner” on the intro form, didn’t he? Seeing the disbelief on my face, Dev laughed and said, “I’ll show you.”
With Dev’s gentle guidance, I pointed my feet towards the ceiling and completed a shoulder stand. And during those five seconds that I was able to hold the pose, I remembered to breathe while simultaneously forgetting about everything else in the world.