Varanasi part 3: sunrise

Sunrise yoga on the Ganges was an experience that is impossible to describe in the fullest capacity - to capture the sounds of the Sadhus rising before the sun and the cacophony of chanting, drum beating, and bell ringing... the sound of sleepy feet shuffling across the stone ghats as the city slowly rose and began the daily rituals... the soft creaking of boats as the Mother Ganges gently lapped at their hulls... the chill of the cold, damp awakened my senses... the feeling that somehow I was completely connected and focused in my practice in the busiest, craziest, most insanely colorful place on earth cannot be successfully described. Yoga practice that morning on the Ganges will forever be sealed into my consciousness.  It was the perfect example of the capriciousness of life wrapped into a 90 minute mixture of both tranquility and  insanity.

We arranged our yoga mats on the ghats, carefully dodging the piles of cow poop dispersed throughout the practice space.  Trying desperately to stay warm in the cold morning air, we moved through vinyasa wrapped in scarves and shawls. The beauty of oneness in practice could only be felt in the darkness of the dawn as our group synched both breath and movement. The sky timidly turned from dark blue to hints of pink as the sun hinted at the arrival of the new day.

Yoga on the Ganges. Photo Credit: Dandapani

Hilarity (of course) ensued as we were descended upon by a flock of birds, a pack of wild dogs, various curious crowds of Indians, and the vibrant sounds of the city coming alive while trying to steadfastly hold asana.  As we all laughed wildly after a stray dog kissed my face in downward facing dog, our beloved teacher Robin entangled herself in rogue kite lines - and somehow at the same time, my bracelet caught onto my sock, behind my back, entrapping me in a very compromising position.

As total chaotic hysteria took over, the sun finally broke through the fog across the river and the Sun shined its blazing orange glory onto us. All of the giggles and laughter came to an instantaneous halt. The warm, bright light danced across the water to us in glittering specks caught in the movement of the river. I swear, not only did our group completely silence and stop moving - completely absorbed in the awe of day break - but all of the sounds: the dogs, the birds, the cows, the horns, the train, the boats, the waves, the chanting, the drums, the bells.... ALL OF IT.

Silent.

As if the world stopped to welcome the Sun.  To observe the beauty of life, the awakening of a new day, and to pay that single moment the respect it deserved.

Sunrise Yoga on the Ganges. Teacher: Robin Buck. Photo Credit: Sonja Vanjicki

Meditation on the Ganges as the sun rises. Photo Credit: Robin Buck

Sunrise over the Ganges. Photo Credit: Sonja Vanjicki