Yesterday I was invited to a class of NAAM yoga.
“What is it?” I asked the manager at Maya Tulum.
“I am not really sure. But this is your opportunity to find out.”
“I will let you know, ok?” I assured her. I got on my pink bike and rode home thinking, “NAAM Yoga, why not?” one minute and then “NAAM Yoga, another fad that I don’t really have time for” the next.
Having just installed internet at my house I happily googled NAAM yoga.
Naam Yoga TM is a style of yoga developed by world renowned yogi, mystic and universal kabbalah master, Dr. Joseph Michael Levry (Gurunam) that incorporates the practice of the Divine Word (Naam) with yogic movement, stretching postures, breathing, mudras, and meditation. It is a spiritual science and art that merges Eastern Yogic practices with the practical esoteric teachings of Universal Kabbalah. The philosophy within Naam Yoga TM is aimed at revealing the hidden truths of various spiritual traditions and mystery systems so that humankind may draw from both Eastern and Western practices to ultimately conceive the true nature of the Divine.
Naam Yoga TM was first taught at Universal Force Healing Center in New York City but is now being taught all over the world. Naam (Sanskrit) means “word” or “name”, specifically “the name of God”. The holy scripture of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, stresses the importance of meditation upon various names of God (also known as mantras) so as to vibrate in unison with Universal Harmony. Naam Yoga TM asserts that through the simple practice of working with the word, personal and universal healing can take place.
I don’t know too much about Michael Levry and a when I see the words, “world renowned” and “mystic” in the same sentence I tend to back off. But, I would consider it, try to keep an open mind and see what Wednesday brought in terms of commitments.
Wednesday brought nothing so at 6 p.m. I went to see what NAAM yoga was all about. I snuck in the back as the participants were already dancing and chanting. I took a deep breath, not feeling comfortable backing out now that I had entered, grabbed a mat and a blanket and joined them in moving my hands side to side and stepping one foot in front of the other while repeating some words I did not understand. I hate saying things when I am not too sure what they mean but I smiled in resignation and let myself open to the experience. “Just an hour an a half”, I told myself as I prayed I was not calling the devil.
I remained skeptical through the class but enjoyed it. It was fun, if not profound. And then we entered shavasana, the moment I had been waiting for since it signaled the end. On my back with my palms facing up, I listened to the chanting on the cd. A warmth entered my body. I relaxed as I continued to listen to what gave me a comfort that I believe was bliss. I felt light enough to fly. We moved to seated and completed another breathing meditation, this time to the same words that the music had been playing. It was so beautiful I wanted to cry.
I hugged the instructor when we finished and she gave me the mantra on a card as I floated out of the room. The mantra is called the “Mantra of Light”:
Love before me, Love behind me, Love to my left, Love to my right, Love above me, Love below me, Love in me, Love in me eternally, Love to everyone, Love to the universe.
Peace before me, Peace behind me, Peace to my left, Peace to my right, Peace above me, Peace below me, Peace in me, Peace in me eternally, Peace to everyone, Peace to the universe.
Light before me, Light behind me, Light to my left, Light to my right, Light above me, Light below me, Light in me, Light in me eternally, Light to everyone, Light to the universe.
I chanted the words on my bike home in the dark and then again this morning as I lay in shavasana. And it gave me the same feeling. I felt peace and a security that warmed my soul. So I thought I should share it. I may not practice NAAM yoga every day, probably not even every month. But the mantra I may use more than once a day.
This morning walking the beach I saw turtle tracks again. It is that time of year in Tulum and each morning, next to the grandeur of the sun on the sea, I witness the miracle of huge tracks making their way up the beach, around lawn chairs that hotel owners forget to take up, and into the dunes. Then the tracks return. I see them and gently close my eyes to imagine the journey. The immense animal who’s head alone is larger than mine, pulls herself up the beach over hours to lay her eggs in nearly the same place every year. Laying the up to 50 eggs takes hours of labor, often with an audience of tourists surrounding her. She must close her eyes to ignore it. They cannot help themselves and are pulled to her side as observers and often as protectors against poachers that to this day want not only the eggs but the mom herself.
The slap of a wave on my leg brings me back from my day dream and I look for my dogs who are playing in the sand in front of me. I know where my dogs walk but other beach dogs, hungry for whatever they can find, often attack the turtles or their eggs. The coastal birds in the same hungry circumstance and other nocturnal animals like raccoons and foxes searching for sustenance can do the same. In the wild there is no discrimination regarding endangered species.
And it is still wild here in Tulum, Mexico, despite the solar panels and windmills and elegant bars and restaurants lining the beach. There is the savage, untamed side of Tulum. Summer is the time to find it. The beach is nearly empty by day and by night, if you walk towards the biosphere, you can witness the elegance and near cruelty of nature as some turtles find their way while others turn back discouraged by noise or light or attacks from other animals. And within the miracle of the turtles journey and birth is a magnificence rivaled only by the natural wildness of the place itself: Tulum, Mexico in summer.