Prayana Suraksita (safe voyage!)

Namaste! Only a few days until I am flying half way around the world to Bangalore, India, to start my work at Prafull Oorja — an organization that brings the benefits of yoga and other holistic practices to marginalized communities. As I prepare to embark on what will surely be the adventure of a lifetime, I am struck by the uniqueness of this type of travel. It is so unlike anything I have ever experienced that I struggle to come up with a mental image of what it will feel like to actually be in Bangalore. This is a thrilling thought. No matter how much I have prepared — no matter how many granola bars I have packed, no matter the size of the mini pharmacy I’m bringing with me, no matter how much I have talked with my placement, no matter how many articles I’ve read about the city, no matter how much research I’ve done about yoga and special needs — I can in no way comprehend or prepare for the beauty of this experience until I am completely thrown into the new environment. This has for so many months been a distant, intangible plan. The phrase, “I’m going to India” became a constant recitation when asked about my summer plans, but the reality of that sentiment barely set in. On the precipice of actually leaving, I feel the accumulated anticipation and it fills me with overwhelming excitement.

I am most excited for the relationships I will form with my fellow interns, teachers at the schools, the students, and the new friends I meet as I explore the city and country. There is so much to learn from surrounding yourself with people of an entirely different culture and background, and I am eager to absorb as many new perspectives and ideas as possible. I hope to grow as a global leader, better understand my place in the world, and get inspired for the type of work I want to continue doing once I leave SCU and journey beyond.

My greatest concerns lie in the potential for becoming ill, as I don’t want anything to interfere with my time at the organization and exploring on my own. I have prepared myself as much as possible to be able to handle whatever sickness might befall me. If it happens I will hope for a swift recovery, and not let the potential threat cause me anxiety or worry during my time. I am also nervous about the first few days (even weeks) spent working with the children. Some will be easier to form a connection with and others will be quite difficult. I must not let myself get disheartened or discouraged if it takes a long time, possibly never, to feel like I am being positively received by the students, for I am there for them in whatever way they best need me.

Practicing yoga in the SCU Forge Gardens when Sowmya came to visit.

I am extremely interested to continue researching yoga and its various presences and benefits in life. Integrating a more frequent yoga practice into my life will hopefully balance me and bring me peace during a time of constant change and lack of familiarity. What drew me to this placement from the very beginning was an admiration for just how healing organic movement can be. I must remember to implement that very technique into my own routine when I become overwhelmed by the new environment or different challenges I face. This fellowship is so much more than just an internship or a trip abroad. It is a chance to bring everything I have learned at SCU about compassion, cross-cultural communication, and dedication to an organization halfway around the world that so beautifully seeks to unite all the world’s people despite ability or disability, socioeconomic status, or background. I am so excited to take on the world! (or at least a small portion of it).

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