I first heard of Jaya Devi in 2002. I was talking with a massage client about my life growing up with a spiritual mother and feeling a longing to find my own path. I was raised Catholic and although I never liked the “rules” and “regulations” I loved the ritual and the unconditional love I felt from my mother and the community that made up the church.
My introduction to meditation : I found myself in a meditation with Jaya Devi soon after. I was intrigued by the chanting and music. I will never forget the meditation. I was sitting among people who were still and quiet and eyes closed feeling a bit out of place but the energy was nice. I finally relaxed into Swami’s meditation and at one moment opened my eyes and that very moment Swami’s words were
“with awareness comes responsibility”
I felt as if she were looking directly at me! Needless to say I was struck but not quite ready for the responsibility.
Teacher Training: increasing the depth of my study: In 2003 I opened my own massage practice right where I was living, in the heart of Buckhead, and wanted to add Yoga into the mix. I checked out some yoga places nearby but nothing clicked for me and then one day I received an email from a place called Kashi promoting a Classical Yoga Teacher program. I had not heard of this place and decided to check it out. At the time I did not have a car so I got on my bike and headed to Candler Park. When I got there I immediately felt a familiar energy. I walked in and Ganesh Giri was at the desk. I asked him for an application went outside and sat on the steps to fill it out and when I went back in to submit my application Jaya Devi was standing there. That’s when I knew I was right were I needed to be! Itook a workshop on the seven chakras taught by Jaya Devi and fell in love. In 2004 I began the Classical Yoga Teaching program.
Introduction to Guru: During the training program I began to become curious about the Guru. I was intrigued by the concept to “kill the ego”. I had asked Jaya Devi if she was my guru and she said no that we don’t pick the guru that the guru picks you. She said I needed to meet Ma. So in February 2005, I took my first of many trips to the mother Ashram. Ma! Ma! Ma! Words cannot describe Ma they can try but to experience Ma was unlike anything I could have ever imagined. She was mystical and knew that which was unspoken. The first time sitting in front of her was amazing! To look into her eyes was to see everything and nothing all at the same time. I had only felt that kind of love, or that I can remember this lifetime, a few other times while growing up in the church feeling what I knew as the “Holy Spirit”. In October of 2005 I spent 6 weeks on the Mother Ashram immersed in all She had to offer. Kashi has become my home spiritually. It has been the driving force to reawaken my soul’s fire. I have and continue to heal and grow physically emotionally and mentally.
Always a student: My role at Kashi started out a student and although I am always a student first, over the past 10 years my role has changed . For 4 years I worked a Friday desk shift and made deposits. I have also been on bathroom seva for as long as I have been a student here; I clean and restock every Friday, fill up the small water bottles and the big one in the hall on Fridays as well. In the spring, summer and fall I have the privilege to water the grounds at Kashi. This is by far the best of the Sevas in my opinion! Our landscape is beautiful. Throughout my time at Kashi I have continued working and evolving as a massage therapist and recently have had the privilege of bringing my massage practice here. Being a member of Kashi has taught me balance between giving and receiving and that right where I am is where I’m supposed to be.