Redefining Home

Shyamamohini+Diana%2C+pictured+second%2C+her+mother%2C+far+right%2C+and+the+two+co-heads+of+the+Bhakti+Yoga+club+stand+in+front+of+the+school+in+prayer+pose.+
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Redefining Home

Shyamamohini Diana, pictured second, her mother, far right, and the two co-heads of the Bhakti Yoga club stand in front of the school in prayer pose.

Shyamamohini Diana, pictured second, her mother, far right, and the two co-heads of the Bhakti Yoga club stand in front of the school in prayer pose.

Shyamamohini Diana, pictured second, her mother, far right, and the two co-heads of the Bhakti Yoga club stand in front of the school in prayer pose.

Shyamamohini Diana, pictured second, her mother, far right, and the two co-heads of the Bhakti Yoga club stand in front of the school in prayer pose.

Lela Howard, Staff Writer

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For most Juniors at Highland, life is a perfect replica of one belonging to the cliche, social, carefree characters depicted in movies. For Shyamamohini Diana things are very different.

While many 16 year olds are rolling out of bed in the morning, throwing on clothes, already fifteen minutes late to school, Diana has been up for hours, taking part in a ritual that her and the others in her home repeat daily.

She lives in a Ashram, a religious building filled with a tightly knit community of other Hindus who are dedicated to this worship. Three times a day they practice a kind of deity worship, giving offerings to this deity through someone who is named the Pujari (similar to a priest) for the day. This Pujari will have to wake up early, bathe and partake in a series of mantras to wake up the lord so they can begin their daily rituals.

Every day at 7:00 am Shyama starts off early giving offerings and preparing for the day ahead. Whether the gift is incense or a simple ghee lamp, this daily practice of Aarti is a necessary start for her community.

“In the morning [after aarti] we have a Swami that comes in and he gives classes and we sing some songs. So that happens every day.” Diana Said.

However this lifestyle doesn’t just affect her mornings, she carries her lord’s devotion with her throughout the day. Her religion is so heavily tied to her home life that it really drives her relationships and mind set 24/7.

Being a very positive and kind person, Diana has many friends at Highland, and they are often involved in her religious practices as well.

“If I have a friend and we want to hang out it’s not like ‘hey do you want to come over and…I don’t know, hang out?’ it’s always like ‘hey do you want to come over for Aarti?’ or ‘do you want to come over and chant?’” Diana said.

Diana even brings her favorite aspects of this life with her to school. She runs the Bhakti Yoga club at Highland. A club dedicated to the art of love and devotion. From chanting and drumming to just experiencing the world together the club’s fun and nondenominational activities attract students from all kind of backgrounds.

“When we think of yoga we think of poses and the exercise but there’s actually different types of yoga and Bhakti Yoga in Sanskrit means the practice of devotion so we’re just trying to cultivate that devotion for ourselves.” Diana explained.

Living in the Bhakti Yoga Center Ashram means that she has had quite a lot of practice in the art form and the experience she needs to teach this form of self meditation and worship to others in the school.

She co-runs the club with a few other Highland students and they all believe that this form of yoga is valuable to any person of any religion or cultural background.

“When you have something that you really really like, like a prized possession, some people like to keep it to themselves and have nobody else know about it because it’s their little thing, but other people like to share it and be like ‘wow look at this cool thing I got!’ So I guess I just think it’s really cool and it’s like a little gift and I want to share that.” Diana said.

If you’re at all interested with connected a little deeper with something in your life this girl could help you along the way to that discovery with just the little bit of music and a whole lot of smiling you’re likely to find in this club.

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Redefining Home