Unless you live here in VA you might not know it, but there exists, quite literally, a two story pink and sky blue lotus in the heart of Buckingham County, VA. It is the LOTUS of Sachidananda Ashram, fondly called, Yogaville. (LOTUS stands for Light of Truth Universal Shrine).
It is, totally and completely unexpected.
I drove out to Yogaville for my first visit on Friday. Driving there took me on a country highway through the piedmont for nearly two hours. Along the way I passed my country cousins out in full camo and blaze orange hats. I gathered that it was the last weekend of deer hunting season. And every extra tall pick-up truck I passed was covered in that red orange mud that let me know they'd been out in the fields working or on the look out for game.
I say "my cousins" because though these weren't my literal cousins, my country kinfolk were most certainly doing the same over the weekend. (that's what it said on facebook at least). I could get all upset at passing the hunting on the way to an ashram dedicated to peace and happiness for all. But I know from the ones I call family that many of these people are truly of the God-fearing, life-loving, family centered, hard-working salt-of-the-Earth type. I don't choose to hunt animals for sport and they do, but that doesn't mean I have to hate them. They love their kids and God, and they allow 900 acres of what is probably pretty good farmland to be used as a hippie ashram. Everyone seems to get along.
That's sort of what I mean by the LOTUS being completely unexpected. It sits in the middle of farmland right in the center of VA. To get to LOTUS from the quad of the ashram grounds you hike down a hill or drive down a long winding country road and suddenly round a corner you get a glimpse. Wham. There it is! Nothing at all subtle about it! A huge lotus sitting in a field.
I honestly don't know much about Swami Sachidananda and Integral Yoga. I do know that his translation of the yoga sutras is on the Anusara reading list. And I went to Yogaville not so much as an in depth study in Integral Yoga or an immersion into the nuances of ashram living (the 5:30 am wake-up by violin playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was lovely) but as a moment to take a breath and pause.
Yogaville being situated just as it is in Buckingham County offered just the right space from the noise of traffic on the street. The simple room offered respite from TV and internet. More quiet space for thinking and resting. The delicious vegetarian food prepared in the kitchen was just what was needed after continuing indulgences with the holiday season. And the reminders to stop and meditate, stop and practice asana, stop and practice pranayama were like a call back into my own Heart and sadana.
Just being in the LOTUS was an invitation to experience the peacefulness that I felt I lost with the end of one year and beginning of the next. So while I did not find a new yoga home as some do, my overnight at Yogaville did just what I needed. It put a period and two spaces at the end of the sentence that was the holidays.
Next paragraph. Next year. Now I can finally begin. Maybe this taking of time, this allowing for a reset will be just the reminder my heart needs to Open to the unexpected!