Written by Eesha Kabra.
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
– B.K.S. Iyengar.
Our daily life is a tug-of-war between our mind and body. We may seem perfectly healthy externally and yet be exhausted on the inside or vice versa. I found yoga to be my way of achieving inner peace – like so many others!
Recently I started practicing yoga again since I have quite some time now during the start of the day and that’s when I started thinking back on how I was introduced to proper yoga practices. I first came across Isha Yoga Center in 2015 and I could truly feel the positive energy resonating in my body when I had entered the place. The memory hasn’t faded ever since.
Hearing About the Organization
Back in 2015, I was selected by my school to attend a national school intensive organized by SPICMACAY in Coimbatore. I was just in 7th grade and I was overjoyed, after all, it was my first trip with my friends and of course with the companion teacher. I had no clue though that I’d get to learn the art of yoga here as well.
When we reached the event’s host school DPS Coimbatore we had our orientation and were given a time table for the next 7 days of our stay – which included 4 hours of yoga! Two hours for Nada yoga and two for Hatha yoga early in the morning for 7 days which at first sounded terrifying.
Also read, Yoga for a Better Lifestyle
I had to get up at 3 am in the morning every day for the yoga sessions which was a hassle at first but by the third day I was used to it and it did help my body to energize for the rest of the day. On the first day of yoga we were introduced to our gurus for Hatha yoga – trainees from the Isha Yoga Center. This is how I came to know of the place and their practices.
And so this routine continued for the rest of the days and I began appreciating yoga and enjoyed the sessions as we got to learn new asanas.
The Actual Visit
On the last day of the SPICMACAY program, we got the golden opportunity to have a little city tour and god knows how blessed I felt when I finally got to see the Isha Yoga Center.
After touring a few other remarkable places like the Gass Forest Museum and the G.D. Naidu automobile museum we hopped back into the van and started off for Isha Yoga Center. Located at the foothills of Velliangiri Mountains it was one of the most stunning sights I had seen, lush green surroundings and a cool breeze blowing which soothed our overheated bodies (although it was December the afternoons were extremely hot).
The place radiated peace and positivity. I was instantly relaxed after stepping down from the van. As it is, being a nature enthusiast I was enjoying the view but there was more to the feel of it than simple joy – it was a serene feeling.
The entrance to the main campus was a sandy path with the coconut tree plantations growing at one side and a bamboo fence at the other. At that time the ‘Sarpa Vasal’ hadn’t been constructed, which is the entrance gate now, so there wasn’t any “official entrance” although you knew you were entering the ground as you had to deposit your slippers and other valuables at the depository.
Upon entering we first saw a video introduction to the place and what different structures were meant for and were guided by a volunteer further into the campus.
We then visited the Suryakund, a 5ft deep water bath, constructed for men to take a dip in. It had 3 Lingas in it and we were informed that taking a dip in the water helps to energize and relax the body as well as could help with healing some physical and psychological stresses.
Even though we couldn’t go all the way down to the premise (being an all-girls group), we could see from afar that it was an impressive construction and the roof was adorned with paintings and murals. The sun rays were glowing through the overhead and we saw that there was a beautiful metallic sun structure.
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Moving on with the tour we walked down a flight of stairs into a small beautiful garden with a pond in the middle and a bridge connecting to the other end. It was almost 4 or 5 p.m. by then and we were a bit tired from walking around so we took a short stop to admire the view and to drink some water. There were lotuses in the pond which were literally glowing with the sunlight.
The Linga Bhairavi Temple
After that, we continued walking forward. Our guide told us that on the other end we would visit the Linga Bhairavi temple and the Dhyanalinga, which were the major attractions of the place and also we would get to see the Chandrakund.
However, before any of that, the first thing we saw was an enormous Nandi bull statue, one foot up as if it was ready to stand but also kneeling at the same time.
It was a five-minute walk to the Linga Bhairavi temple area from the Nandi statue. It was cloudy so there was a brief shade overhead and when we first laid our eyes on the temple it provided a striking sight. There was another statue we saw on the way into the actual temple, a figure of a man laying down on his stomach with one leg stretched out behind and the crossing over it. This form is called ‘Sashtanga Namaskara’.
The temple was smaller compared to the other places we had seen yet but that didn’t diminish its beauty. There was a black Linga Bhairavi statue which contrasted with the warm glow of a few lit up diyas and a volunteer told us that it was a temple dedicated to ‘women power’. We sat down for a few moments and prayed.
After offering our prayers we went to the Chandrakund (the women’s bath). I was most excited to see this one because I thought, irrationally, we might get to take a dip in. But that wasn’t possible because we had very little time on our hands and no change of clothes. Besides, I didn’t know if kids were allowed into the bath. So we went in as close as possible and enjoyed the ambience and pleasant coolness of the bath area. Lastly, we went to the Dhyanalinga – a dome-shaped low rise structure. Before the entrance of the dome was a small open corridor of sorts with shaded areas to sit and wait or meditate on either side of the path. The place was crowded at the time and we had to wait for some time before we got to enter the Dhyanalinga.
Inside the dome was extraordinary silence. You could literally hear even the slightest movement or a deep exhale echo through the Dhyanalinga and I was scared that I would cough and embarrass myself. We sat down for just two minutes, but it felt like ten to me. I never realized how impatient I was before and how difficult it was for me to sit with myself in silence for just two minutes.
We meditated silently and closed our eyes. I thought to myself how I could feel the energy flowing through me and tried my best not to squirm.
Shortly after, our teacher gestured us to exit as we were getting late.
Before leaving the campus we had some Prasad which was delicious and at the end briefly saw the Trimurthi statue.
Other Relatively New Attractions
In 2017 the 112 ft tall Adiyogi statue was inaugurated at the Isha Yoga Center by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Adiyogi (Lord Shiva) is said to be the first yogi, who passed on his knowledge to his disciples – the Saptarishis
The massive sculpture made of steel is recognized as the world’s largest bust sculpture. A magnificent light show display called “Divya Darshan” which is held on weekends, Amavasya, and other important days also attracts many visitors to the centre.
Located right in front of the Adiyogi sculpture is the Yogeshwar linga which represents the five chakras of the body. Here offerings of water and Neem leaves can be made to the Linga.
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My Overall Experience
That’s as far as I can remember from my trip but the experience will never leave my mind. I remember telling my friend that I wanted to stay a little longer. I was mesmerized by the energy I felt surging through me and was so grateful that I got to see the Isha Yoga Center and to learn yoga. It definitely impacted my lifestyle and when I got back home my mom told me that I was ‘glowing’.
I definitely recommend a visit to the Isha Yoga Center if you want to have a relaxing vacation and rejuvenate your mind and soul or simply admire the beauty and enjoy nature. I hope that you experience serenity as much as I did and enjoy the trip!
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Eesha Kabra is a contributor at The Strong Traveller. She loves travelling, nature photography, reading and music. A curious soul, she enjoys exploring and learning new things. Currently a science student in class 12th, she aspires to become a researcher. She believes in living life to the fullest and enjoying the small things in life.