Finding Peace and Spirituality at Ocean View Terrace
How would you feel about joining a yoga class taught in a cemetery?
You might at first be put off by the idea, but this is no ordinary “cemetery” we are talking about. This cemetery on the windward side of Oahu – the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park – features a peaceful and inspiring spot nestled at the foothills of the Ko’olau Mountains, just perfect for yoga and meditation en plein air. Ocean View Terrace is this unique location with a grassy park area wherein to lay your mat, offering truly breathtaking views of Kaneohe Bay and the Ko’olau Mountain range.
Taking a yoga class at Ocean View Terrace feels like a spiritual experience from start to finish.
We begin our journey to this sacred location at the top of the hill by taking a slow and meandering drive through the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, through superbly landscaped parks, passing by the Hawaii State Landmark Byodo-In Temple, then turning to the left and continuing up the road to the heart-shaped garden that features a stream and cascading waterfall. Resonating throughout the park is the meditative sound of the sacred bon-sho bell being stuck by visitors asking for happiness, blessings, and a long life. Just as ringing this bell purifies the mind before entering the temple, we feel a deep calm and peace as we begin our journey exploring the yoga asanas at Ocean View Terrace.
Practicing yoga surrounded by such stunning views of nature all within a cemetery, mirrors our journey of life, with the reminder that life is fleeting and the present moment is something to be savored.
Standing in Tadasna (Mountain Pose) with our backs to the Ko’olau mountains, flowing with streams of water through the ridges and crevices, we take a deep inhale and stretch out our arms, opening our hearts to take in a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean. As we exhale and bring our hands back to Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) at our heart center, we close our eyes and hear only the sounds of nature – the trade winds, birds, and waterfalls. Setting our intention for practice with our hands at our hearts we can’t help but have healing thoughts. The energy of healing is palpable in this spot, as it serves as a place for many who come to process and grieve the loss of a loved one.
Yoga has the quality of bringing you to the present moment and into acceptance of what is going on now. The word yoga has its origins in Sanskrit and means to yolk or bring into union and is an ancient practice that has been with us for over 5,000 years. Yoga is the practice of bringing into union breath, body and mind and in so doing, being present to all that life offers us – even the difficult moments that we experience with loss.
Moving through all the yoga asanas in our practice we finally end at Savasana (Corpse Pose), where we integrate and process all the asanas practiced in this short time at Ocean View Terrace. Taking a yoga class here is like a microcosm of life. As we lay in complete stillness and relaxation, we realize that practicing yoga in this cemetery is not morbid at all, but quite the contrary. It is a powerful experience bringing together the power of nature, our own breath, body, mind and spirit that draws us into acceptance of the full circle of life
To learn more about yoga and meditation at Ocean View Terrace at Valley of the Temples, visit: http://www.valley-of-the-temples.com/who-we-are/community-events.
Murti & Larina Hower
Murti Hower (ERYT500) and Larina Hawkins-Hower (RYT200) are a husband and wife team who teach and facilitate yoga classes, workshops and retreats. Murti has been practicing Hatha Yoga since 1982 and teaching for over 28 years. Larina has been practicing yoga since 1994. To learn more, visit mahafusion.com