HomeVolume 7June 2022 Yoga: a lifetime and beyond

CHRISTINE PRISLAND went on a journey 50 years ago that changed her life. She traveled over sea and land to India from Canada and met Babuji in Shahjahanpur. Here is her story!

Inspired by visions of living a life of inner peace and tranquility, I traveled overland to India in 1971 to find a Hatha teacher. My naïve aim was to return to Canada to teach yoga and live that peaceful life, preferably in the country with people of like mindset. It was a vague idea, very much informed by the events of the hippie movement of the 60s and 70s in the West. The inner call for love and peace in the world, the numerous life-changing books on Indian mysticism and gurus, the music of the time, and the feeling of being part of a movement of hope and deeper meaning all pulled me toward India.

Fate led me instead to a Raja Yoga practice of heart-based meditation with the goal of complete oneness with the Ultimate. A far cry from my original intent. But after three weeks of meditating and meeting the Guru, I realized that this was what my soul had really been searching for.

The life of a householder yogi is the same as everyone else’s life. I’ve learned to grow and change through trial and error, through the ups and downs of life, through tragedies and joys, through mystical experiences and doubting times. Well, so much for the tranquil rather boring life I had envisioned!

Looking back over the past 50 years, my journey has been a slow and steady natural unfolding of inner experience and outer change, all due to my meditation practice.

Recently I’ve become aware that my path is not restricted to Raja Yoga. Sad to say, a little superiority had crept in: “I do Raja Yoga, strictly meditation. I don’t need those other forms of Yoga.” Now it is obvious that my Heartfulness practice has included many forms of Yoga.

Karma Yoga – in the form of service, doing, volunteering. That started from my first meeting with my Guru, Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, Babuji. When I think not of myself but the other, when service comes from the heart, when I am kind to others, my heart opens up more and more. To call it service implies that I am serving and the other is being served. But it is a part of my path, no longer a word, but a way of living and being, and a way to become a better human being.

Bhakti Yoga – the beautiful art of devotion, love, purity. Devotion not only to my inner practice but to my Guru, who embodied the qualities of a saintly human being: noble, humble, simple, who totally accepted me as I was, and inspired and nurtured the potential, the soul within me to what I could become.

Jnana Yoga – the gaining of knowledge; reading and study. Each day I learn more, imbibe more, absorb more, and reflect more, as I experience the inner manifestation of the stages on the path.

Hatha Yoga – stretching and breathing. I’ve noticed that the breathing exercises prepare my mind to focus and dive deeper into meditation; the poses stretch my body in unfamiliar but necessary ways to allow me to sit longer, and wonderfully my memory and focus have improved.

How to describe 50 years of a meditative life? I don’t remember much of what I was like at age 24. Unformed, innocent, naïve, a little melancholy, no real purpose, somewhat selfish, low in confidence. Till I came to Yoga, to meditation. The first Guru of Heartfulness, Lalaji, said very succinctly and beautifully what I feel sums up my journey from the age of 24 to now: “You can only win hearts with love. There is no other way.”


Christine Prisland

Christine Prisland

Christine began her spiritual journey at the age of 24 with an overland trip to India, where she met her teacher in 1972. She has been a Heartfulness practitioner and trainer ever since. She has been an editor for 35 years, and also a unive... Read More