In May I returned for the second time this year to India. Visiting the Himalayas following an invitation to teach yoga on a leadership course by friend Ajay, founder of FCN (Foundation for Contemplation in Nature) . The course designed by NOLS University, (National Outdoor Leadership School) and host FCN is a specialist educational programme which extensively covers leadership and teamwork, foundational outdoor skills, environmental studies and risk management, working with village communities and supporting grass roots bio-diversity projects.
“NOLS courses may take place in ‘natural’ classrooms, but the lessons learned transcend walls, mountains, rivers, and international borders.”
– Susan Genatossio, NOLS parent
The yoga classes were integrated into ten days of the one month programme.
The process of slowing down with breath work and deeper sense of calm, shifted the students awareness to the subtle control of their bodies to increase attention, sharpen focus and improve spacial awareness. All of these aspects were mirrored in their communication as a group, how they related to their host families and their approach to their field work.
After a few days of practice, some began taking extra time to develop a self-practice and reading further from the onsite library. Their motivation and perseverance was inspiring and as a group they shared a unique desire to take part in all aspects, grasping what was being presented to them.
“I learned how to be patient and understand with breathing, I could do more than I was capable of” – Jack
I had never before visited this area of Uttarakhand, which is spectacularly beautiful with expansive views of the mountains, pine forests, and terraced fields. Traditional white painted cottages with their distinctive blue doors and windows scattered amongst the varied landscape, sheltering a warm, colourful and welcoming community.
The experience was rich and stimulating from facilitating the teachings of Sivananda Yoga, to being part of the group, observing the impact of the experience and meeting such gentle, welcoming people.
So inspired by my time here, I will be returning next spring to co-facilitate a 14 day Yoga+ Walking Retreat, with Ajay from FCN. All details for this trip can be found on the website here