Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween!

(picture: the Hindu Goddess Kali)
When I'm not traveling the world one of my hobbies is yoga. I find it not only challenging but also a great workout and way to rejuvenate. On Halloween this past Saturday I went to a yoga fusion class which mixes some flow as well as meditation and inversions, basically whatever the teacher is feeling like that day. Well my teacher was a really cool girl who incorporated the Hindu Goddess Kali into our practice. She described Kali to us as this wild spirit who is a very fearsome goddess who has few devoted worshipers because she is so benevolent. She is also described as a slayer of demons and identified as the supreme mistress of the universe, associated with the five elements. Well after finding a few pictures of her on the internet, she definitely is scary in the looks department and more than appropriate for Halloween. The basic mindset we were to be in during this yoga practice was to think of Kali and to tap into our own side that we keep locked up on a day to day basis. To let something out and let something go. To go, in our minds, to another place. Yoga incorporates meditation and breathing, which if you've never done yoga before, you might find it a little difficult to free your mind and shut off the chatter. But that's why they call it "yoga practice."
Halloween is the perfect time, I believe to let your inner Kali goddess out. To dress up and be someone else for a night. I always wondered though, if other countries celebrated this "holiday" as well. I knew Mexico celebrates a day of the dead, but as I found out through a little research the United States isn't the only country with a day of ghouls and goblins. Whereas we carve pumpkins and give out candy, China has a Ghost Festival where they put out water and food in front of pictures of deceased loved ones. In Italy on November 1st, children wake up to candies which they believe are left by the dead on All Saints Day. The Germans put away all their knives so as not to harm the spirits on their return. Even Thailand has a festival called Phi Ta Khon but it's celebrated in May, June or July. While we may not all have exactly the same traditions, it seems that other cultures certainly do come closer to recognizing the dead than just hanging a skeleton on their door.
While my husband and I dressed up as ghostbusters, I can't help to wish I could have heard about Kali sooner because it would have made a great costume. Heidi Klum apparently thought so too:
I think she makes a fabulous Kali, even if she did offend the Hindus and apparently now they want her to apologize. I say if Kali has a problem with it, let her deal with Heidi herself.
Happy Halloween to all, in whatever way you chose to celebrate. Now I know what to expect should I ever decide to spend this ghostly holiday abroad!

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