My voyage began with an around-the-world ticket on September 25th from Denver with touchdowns in Washington DC, Rome, Perugia, Florence, Geneva, Munich, Seoul, and Los Angeles, and finally back to a snow storm in Denver!
People sometimes glamorize world travel, yet like anything, travel is not always easy and comes with its ups and downs. Precicesly at the moment I would start to miss home or feel the wear and tear of the road, I'd log in to Facebook or open an email and there would be a message thanking me for traveling as much as I do, appreciation for sharing the teachings despite the hardships of travel, and general loving wishes. I must thank each of you who wrote, because these messages came at exactly the moments I needed to hear them, and they meant so much to me. Truly, thank you.
The tour kicked off with my 8th retreat to Umbria, and another outstanding week of decadent food, wine, and yoga.
After an exciting day in my old stomping grounds of Florence, Kelli and I had an adventure – an overnight train to Geneva! We were greeted in the morning by David Newbery who promptly fed us with fresh juiced fruits and veggies made by 16-yr old, up-and-coming raw foods educator, AJ.
As always it was a total pleasure working with the exceptional Swiss and French Kula in Geneva.
After a day of rest, home practice, catching up, and a hot bath, I left for Munich and on to Seoul for two weeks of the Part 2 Immersion!
Since 2007 I have been helping to build Anusara yoga in Korea with Tina Park at Jai Center in Seoul. This was my 5th trip to Korea and this year we started a 3 part Immersion which has been rocking the yoga community.
Our one bi-lingual student, Henna Lew, summed up the Immersion with these words: "It's been truly magical for the past two weeks and has brought so much courage and happiness to a level that some of us have not experienced in our entire life until today!"
It has been a total honor to teach so much this year in Korea, because like anything into which we put our love and energy, a great vibration is created. It is wonderful to feel such a deep bond with a group of women who speak completely different languages than I, and who live in radically different cultures. Because of their dedication and eagerness to learn, the student’s transformation from Part 1 to Part 2 has been astonishing. Check out these shakti-filled sisters!
When these two countries reunite, all of the Korean peninsula will have this gorgeous wildlife preserve to enjoy – a gift to come out of the separation.
What was most uplifting about being there was seeing the art work on the South Korean side which was full of hope, as well as real structures such as a Freedom Bridge and a fully functioning train station that was built complete with train tracks that extend across the DMZ toward North Korea. Even though there is technically no use for this station, it was built as a vote of confidence and as a gesture toward the reality of the need for transportation across once reunification occurs. “Fake it till you make it, build it and they will come”, I always say!
Ribbons of Hope
In this photo, are the ribbons we placed containing our written prayers for unification.
At this stage on the tour you can see below Elizabeth (who has been assisting me on all three of my Asian tour stops this year) and I having a tough time smiling, as we were still absorbing the heaviness of the reality going on at the border.
We were also joined by om time Immersion graduate, Bill Carver from Durango, CO who will be traveling in Asia until January and joining parts of the Korean Immersion.
On our tour, we were taken into “The Third Tunnel”, one of 4 tunnels the North Koreans started digging under the DMZ to eventually invade Seoul. It is said that they began excavating at the end of the war, but the South Korean army discovered the 4 tunnels throughout the 70’s to the 90’s before they could be used.
Along with a slew of young soldiers, we entered the South Korean tunnel that had been built by the army in order to access and then block the North Korean passageway. We then came upon the spot where the North Koreans had stopped digging before they got caught, an actual narrow tunnel that was designed to dispatch thousands of soldiers in an hour's time. Total erie alert!
Everyone had to put on these ridiculous helmets, which I was convinced were a gimmick, but when I heard all the tall people’s helmets hitting the top of the tunnel repeatedly, I realized they were a needed commodity. We are smiling in this picture because, despite the heaviness of the actuality, the young soldiers were so jovial inside the tunnel, we couldn’t help but smile. At one point I was questioning the light-hearted vibe jokingly, and Tina said, “Yeah, what’s with the party attitude in The Third Tunnel?” Well, this was their educational field trip from hard training – they were as much tourists as we were!
Overall, it was an unforgettable experience for me. The fact that such a separation exists, and that so many people are intentionally isolated from the global community (the North Koreans have no cell phones, internet, or cars!) is totally wild.
Whenever there is separation, there is a lack of relationship and therefore isolation and then delusion, and when there is a lack of relationship or isolation, there is NO YOGA.
On the ribbons we set out on the fence of the DMZ, we placed our prayers for unification. It has been too long to hold such a stance of separation and hope is very much REAL.
In our lifetime, may we be witnesses to the DMZ’s dissolution, may all the fascinating nature that has emerged be left standing as a symbol of rebirth for the entire planet, and may North Korean citizens be welcomed lovingly into the International community with peace and harmony. May it be so. May it be real.
The day after the immersion, I had one of the longest Mondays I've ever had - I left Seoul at 12:08pm on Monday and arrived in LA on Monday at 10:15am, "earlier" than I had left! In three short days, I managed to sleep off dangerously drowsy jet lag (thank you Tanya and Beate for driving me around the first day!), I saw 11 different friends I have not seen in years, got a much needed and ecstatic facial at Julique, had productive meetings, and got my toes wet in the Pacific. It was too short, so I will make sure to go back to LA soon, and stay much longer next time!
As I write this from the plane, I return to the first major blizzard back home in Colorado, the final stretch of my planetary circumnavigation!