Coming Home To Ourselves At The Sattva Summit
Cover Photo by DJ Pierce
“Have a conscious practice. Practice Love. Practice Joy. Practice Bliss. Practice love, joy and bliss instead of looking for them.” - Anand Mehrotra
By Sara Lashbrook
For a week in November, I had the opportunity to attend the Sattva Summit in Rishikseh, India. The Summit came to me at a pivotal time in my life and I was looking forward to receiving the messages that Mother India had to offer me to raise my consciousness and guide me on my self evolution. While at the Summit, there was talk about integration-how do we incorporate what we have been doing and what we learned about ourselves once we leave. Last week I received a text from a member of my sangha, my yoga community, “How is integration?," she wrote.
The Sattva Summit is a gathering of over 150 yogis from all over the world who come together to experience yoga, meditation, movement, healing and the power of a conscious community. The Sattva Retreat Center is located on a sacred pilgrimage route that the yogis and rishis used in ancient times on their journey to the higher Himalayas. The village around the Sattva is called Mohan Shakti named after Adi Yogi or the first master of yoga, Shiva himself. It is a magical, spiritual, serene space.
In Sanskrit, Sattva means whole, complete, truth. The Sattva Retreat Center was founded by Anand Mehrotra, who is respectfully referred to as Anandji. Throughout the year, Sattva Yoga Academy hosts teacher trainings, wellness retreats and modules. For one week in November, Sattva welcomes profound yoga teachers and thoughtful leaders from around the world to the Sattva Summit. This year Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Kia Miller, Tommy Rosen and Guru Shabad Singh Khalsa among others traveled to the foothills of the Himalayas to engage us to connect deeper within ourselves, evolve our personal practice, expand our awareness of the world and enrich our lives.
A typical day for me started at 6 am with a puja or prayer ritual at the Buddah Tree and then a guided mediation, rising before the sun rose over the mountains to the east. Others woke at 4am to attend a Kunadlini practice with Guru Shabad or a Havan by the riverside with Rachel Hunter. A light snack and tea was offered before our first journey of the day. The journeys led by Anandji, Gurmukh, Kia Miller or Tommy Rosen were held in the Brahmanda Hall and were well attended. For me, this practice was the largest gathering of yogis in one concentrated place that I have been a part of.
These journeys exposed me to a whole new way of experiencing yoga. In my practice, I am used to classes that include a series of asanas or poses. These journeys are nothing like classes I am familiar with, instead they provided opportunities for breath work, movement, postures, sound and kriyas intended to work our subtle bodies.
After each journey, I chose to sit by the river on a rock and reflect. This is an excerpt from my journal:
“The kriyas are powerful, the words and mantras are helpful to focus on, to return to when my mind gets distracted or I think my body feels tired. We did one kriya today for over 31 minutes and it did not feel that long. In a day, my practice has deepened; I recall laughing out loud yesterday when Gurmukh said we would do a kriya for 24 minutes. The feeling I am full of is joy and bliss, there is power in sticking with something and seeing it through.”
Each day there were opportunities in the afternoon for smaller journeys, hiking to temples, walks near the river, gather with others in the community or spend time alone with yourself. One day we had the opportunity to venture beyond the Sattva Center choosing to visit the Beatles Ashram, a Goddess Temple or Vashistha’s Cave.
Each day as the sun began to set and dusk was upon us, we would gather in the Brahmanda Hall to sing and chant, witness the Indian Culture through music, dance and arts, or have our questions be answered by Anandji during a Satsang. During these wisdom talks, Anandji shared his knowledge, and his teachings with us.
“The only time is NOW. Act right now. Do not postpone action to the future, there is no future, the only time is now.”
It is during those times and within these words that I have found the answer to the question I received over text “How is integration?” A wide smile adorns my face as I return to the gift I received from Mother India and my sangha at Sattva. I am already home. Home is within me. Everything I need to know is already within me, available to me whenever I need it. To access myself; I can turn inward, I can sit in silence, all I need to do is commit to my practice.
To learn more about the Sattva Summit visit www.sattvasummit.com.