Excess Baggage

by Eena

It happened again. In an airport meditation room of all places. A single mantra and standing forward-bend reduced this tough yogini to tears. My PMS for the month had been over, my flexibility hadn’t suffered much in the weather, so why the emotional outburst?

The Meditation Center in Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam: No frills. Just leave your concerns with your shoes outside. The large room stocks up on rugs for those disinclined to praying on a chair. It also has a large bookshelf of religious texts, including the Quran and Bhagavad Gita.
(Image source: http://www.schipholpastoraat.nl/)

I was at first hesitant to enter the room, which I might violate with my tight jeans and unkempt hair.  Hoping I wouldn’t offend any religion in the room, I put on my coat, pulled a mat off the shelf, and took my place.

Thankfully, nobody accosted this small, sun-saluting Asian lady as she prostrated herself.

Oh goodie! The prayer room doesn’t discriminate.
(Can anyone tell me what religions the second and last symbols represent?)

I snuck in about five sun salutations, with the Adi mantra Om Namo Gurudev Namo (“I bow to the highest consciousness” or “I bow to the guru within”) in my head. I knew only the English translation, having read the same idea in Sharon Gannon and David Life’s Jivamukti Yoga, but repeating it nonetheless struck its own vibration in my heart.

Why I chose this mantra, I couldn’t say. It just felt right at the time, and it was exactly what I needed.

Each repetition felt like my surrender, a confession, an admission of defeat, as I humbled myself to bow all the way down to the earth. My self-centered thoughts (“I’m not good enough,” “I rock,” “I’m better off alone,” etc.) evaporated like mist on the exhales even as tears glazed over my eyes.

So much for undisturbed meditation.

bow down to your own Self that you recognize inside him. Then bowing down to him is no different than bowing down before your own higher nature.

Sharon Gannon and David Life, Jivamukti Yoga

In surrendering to the idea of a higher power, I had surrendered to a better version of myself. I was relieved to have left some excess baggage back at the airport.

This reminded me that yoga can work at the most unexpected and inconvenient of times.

Flying back home, with some worries shed off like buckets of sweat onto the mat, I felt much lighter.