The Himalayas are the abode of Lord Shiva who is acknowledged as the founder of yoga and first ever 'Guru'. It is here near the source of the Ganges, that he imparted the yogic knowledge to his wife Parvati 15,000 years ago and then to then to the Sapta Rishis, the first seven sages.
The site of the oldest Shiva Temple in the world at the Gaumakh Glacier high in the Himalayas. This tiny temple is rebuilt every year after the glacial ice melts and the glacier again becomes accessible to pilgrims and spiritual seekers. We walked to the glacier at 4200metres as part of our Journey tot eh Source India Retreat (2016) and took the many prayers and letters from our students and community here at Kookaburra Creek.
The priest, who walks 6 hours a day, every day, to welcome pilgrims and accept their prayers, blessed every letter and released them into the healing waters of Mother Ganga, who lovingly and unconditionally absorbs our human pain and sorrows setting free our souls to soar and experience the freedom at the very top of the physical world. This priest is the gatekeeper to this spiritual sanctuary. It is the wisdom and grace of Shiva who guides us back to worldly life imbued with the knowledge of true yoga.
Mahashivaratri, ‘the Great night of Shiva’, is celebrated on the first new moon of the 11th month of the Hindu calendar (February or March). For all of us who ‘practice’ yoga this is an important moment on our own annual calendars to take the time to honour and acknowledge the vast and incredible body of knowledge about the very nature of creation which was bestowed first upon Lord Shiva, and then his wife and then the seven sages, and then the various sages and saints through the millennia to us, now, in this moment.
Traditionally on this night the name of Shiva is chanted, prayers are offered, pujas performed and an all night vigil kept - with the aim of overcoming darkness and ignorance and connecting with the pure, free and joyous ‘state’ of Shiva within ourselves.
To awaken to the ‘state’ of Shiva within ourselves we literally ‘lose’ ourselves in nature - our inner nature through chanting, meditation, puja and prayer, and we lose ourselves literally in the mountains or forests. We are temporarily lost, we no longer know who we are so, and have no choice but to ‘surrender’ or give up our sense of Self, are surrendering the mind’s need to know and to control, for a willingness to just be. This is afterall our goal in yoga, and is not easy. On the great night of Shiva we amplify our efforts and awaken the yearning and desire to transcend and be free of the limitations of the mind.
Kookaburra Yoga's 2016 India Yoga and Meditation Retreat in Rishikesh and the Himalayas. Pilgrimage trek Gangotri to Gaumakh Glacier, the source of the sacred Ganges River. If you're interested in travelling to India for yoga, a retreat, or trekking in the Indian Himalaya this video will give you insight into what it's like and what you might expect.
This journey saw a group of adventurous souls from Perth and around the world gather together in Delhi, and from there journey to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Uttarkashi, Harsil and Gangotri before undertaking a trek through remote and wild Himalayan landscapes ascending to almost 400 metres, before arriving at the sacred and symbolic source of the Ganges River.
In addition to the challenges of trekking were moments of spiritual beauty, intensity and real insight with Yoga and Meditation in historically significant and spiritually profound landscapes, darshan with reclusive mountain swamis and the time and guidance to go deep into the practices of Hatha and Raja Yoga.
This little video captures the journey, some of the joys, some of the challenges of the journey, the beauty of India and her people, and the resilience, compassion, connection and divinity of the human experience.
Please enjoy and if you're interested in our 2018 and future Journeys to India and other incredible destinations please visit our website kookaburraretreats.com