A few years ago we met a man named Jerome Armstrong at Tony Sanchez Teacher Training. The next year, he invited us to travel with him to Kolkata in order to meet the family of Buddha Bose and eventually publish Bose's 84 Yoga Asanas. We did travel to India and we did publish the book. But little did we know, that was just the beginning...
On our final day in India, we were able to take a yoga class from Muktamala Mitra, granddaughter of Bishnu Ghosh. (This was the result of us literally showing up at Ghosh's Yoga College unannounced and asking if she had time for us. Rude, but in this case luckily effective.) Thanks to Jerome and his ability to make the impossible possible, we returned later that same year to live at the school and get trained in therapeutic yoga. Since a group training of Westerners at Ghosh's College had never been done before, we found an eager bunch of yogi guinea pigs to come with us. They were studio owners, Bikram teachers and world travelers who have in turn, paved the way for more to be trained in this lineage of yoga therapy.
I (Ida) have since been back a handful of times, attempting to get each new batch of trainees settled into the hectic area of the north Kolkata neighborhood where the college resides. It is my pleasure to watch the new faces take in all of the photos as they enter the historic school for the first time, to witness as they practice asana amidst those that practice there daily, and to continue to watch as Ghosh yoga therapy expands into new communities once they've return home.
These experiences have opened my eyes to what it means to experience. I have had to laugh when I catch myself telling the taxi drivers (sometimes in Bengali) where to go when they are lost in their own neighborhoods. Or how Scott and I have to tell the book seller that he really does have the book we're looking for, it's just on the shelf in the back corner. This particular situation was made more curious by the fact that while we waited for him to get it, he asked me what asanas he should do for his chronic stomach ailments. (The complexity of this makes for a significantly less successful Bengali conversation then the one with the taxi driver.)
People ask why I return to Kolkata. Yes it is full of challenges, long travel time, dirty air but there's so much more. For me, it is experience. Never did I think any of this would happen, nor do I understand why things happen the way they do. I embrace the chance to fully experience whatever is out there calling my name. Right now, it happens to be Kolkata.
PS - Right now, Jerome is back in India, still uncovering more about the rich history of this lineage. His book is almost done and sure to be worth the wait!
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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