Yoga & Meditation

by: Hoda Joudi Haghighi

people doing yoga
People doing yoga.

Diksha, a yoga instructor in the Sky Happiness style, and I met on the staircase in her final year of her PhD and my first year of master’s. She immediately started talking about her life. Her sincerity and kindness were evident in her demeanor, quickly endearing her to others. She had a lovable personality, was loyal, and found pleasure in helping others. 

She recommended her unique style of meditation to me, explaining so vividly the feeling of immersion and delving into the deepest layers with fluidity that I was tempted to participate in her courses. Southern Illinois University provided scholarships for students to participate in Sky Happiness Retreat course. The classes were held online by a ballet dance instructor named Analise. I later had the chance to meet Analise in person when she came to Carbondale. Her charismatic and captivating personality enchanted me, and I wished I could spend hours talking to her.  

When Diksha finished her studies at the Southern Illinois University, she asked me to accompany her to Ohio to meet one of the most influential figures in contemporary Hinduism, Gurudev Sri Shankar. He is a master of meditation who can lead thousands of people on an inner journey with just his words, bringing them face to face with themselves. This experience has led millions of people from around the world to eagerly anticipate meeting him, seeking miraculous healing and extraordinary spiritual experiences, and finding answers to their questions. 

Diksha woke us up at 5 AM on the day of our meeting with the yoga master, and without having breakfast, driven by an excitement that was incomprehensible to me, she led us to Gurudev’s hotel. An elderly man with finely etched features and penetrating eyes entered through the hotel door, followed by a crowd of over a hundred people. The excitement I saw in my friend indicated that they were all seeking miracles and blessings, having traveled thousands of kilometers to be there. 

Apart from the situation that was incomprehensible to me, it was an interesting journey to become somewhat familiar with the culture and religious beliefs of the Hindus. Moreover, thanks to Gurudev’s companionship, I enjoyed the sights of the journey through the states of Ohio and Indiana. The Indian friends were very hospitable, inviting us to Indian restaurants several times without even knowing us, and the variety of Indian dishes was admirable. They decorated the food dishes so beautifully that it seemed more enjoyable to admire the food than to eat it. After that journey, my friend joined to a meditation camp in the Purdue University and reached her goal as a meditation teacher.  

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