April 2nd through April 12th, 2015
We finished our Radiant Body yoga teacher training today. We had Sadhana early morning, as usual, and then we had a wonderful graduation circle/ritual. It was so sweet and I was so touched by everybody’s vulnerability. We all expressed our gratitude and our heartfelt love toward our teachers, each other, Spirit and all. (photos on my blog for the yoga training).
Adri, Wati, Catie and I took a taxi to a hotel called Nirvana. We drop off all of our stuff and went for a walk. We’ve been pretty much secluded for the last days so the noise of cars and the ever so loud and uninterrupted honking horns were way too overwhelming.
From all over the world, we unite
Catie has been going back and forth with her decision whether she stays in Rishikesh or go to Nepal.. The final word I heard was that we were staying together and exploring the surrounding areas for a few days. Now, she has decided to go to Nepal all of the sudden. It’s totally understandable. We’ve been activating our subtle body so much for the last few days that all sounds, energy, people seems a bit too much.
I’m feeling mostly grief, a sweet grief.. for saying good bye to all these beautiful people I’ve come to know so deeply. A sweet grief for this training to be done and the amazing yoga sessions that I enjoyed so much. Now the ball is in my court. The yummy yoga sessions I will create, own, integrate and then share. The friendship I will keep watering, cultivating and giving my love to so they grow and flower ever so fragrant.
The sweetness of grief..
I’m transferring to Ganga Vatika tomorrow morning, where I stayed my first few days. It is much quieter and nicer there. I can’t possibly take any decisions at the moment as I’m slowly moving into integration of it all.
Lunch with the gals at Ramana’s Cafe
Ramana’s Cafe is home to over 60 at risk children and a free English medium school for over 160 students from Ramana’s Garden and local underprivileged families. The school provides classes from kindergarten to eighth grade.
They have organic gardens tended by the kids and the food and deserts, simply amazing and served by the kids!
Tons of colorful dressed women walking on the streets between the bridges every day.
Things that captured my attention
Shiva / Shakti
Gorgeous and very clever!
4 nights at Ganga Vatika Guest House was really good to ground. Now I was ready to experience something else.
I left my suitcase at Ganga V. , took only my backpack with a few clothes and booked 3 nights at Parmath Niketan Ashram.
Instead of walking through the bridge, like I’ve always done, I decided to take the boat. 10 Rupees (15 cents) and I was on for the ride. It is just a quick fun one… Most people take it, just for fun.. Indian tourist love it..
After this first time, I started taking the boat more often, when wanting to cross the bridge. Quite sweet.. Lots of kids always asking me to take pictures with them. They would gather around, hug me while others took pictures of us.. kinda weird… but fun.
Now at Parmath, I must admit that when I opened the door of my new room, I found it to be quite a contrast from where I’ve been staying. I expected that but not quite this much. This room was ugly, no sheets but just a red cover on top, super hard bed, super low ceilings, dirty bathrooms, no ventilation.. well, the Ashram life I guess. Nothing like the rooms they gave us when we came with Kia. I looked at my aversions and my attachments to beauty and comfort. very quickly and attentively. I was in for the experience so I stayed and I had a really good time, actually.
The room was very affordable of course and it included 3 meals… I thoroughly enjoyed it all.
Being right in front of the Ganga and being able to attend to the Ganga Aarti every sunset was very special.The music was incredible beautiful, the tabla players, the singers, the chorus of people singing Kirtan. I would always get in some sort of trance and my mindset very clear.
I was intending to take a picture of Hanuman and then this girl was just there and it was just so perfect. LOVE this pic!
More of Rishikesh uniqueness.
A few fun facts about India.. or Rishikesh, I must say:
** The height of each step on any stair, is never the same.. there is no standard. When walking down the stairs, it feels so weird.. good for training the mind to stepping into the unknown. You never know how deep the next step is going to feel like.
** the height of the toilets is not standard either so when sitting on them, something it would look like I’m squatting and sometimes my feet will be very far from the floor, hanging in the air.
** You must make friends with the flies. They are everywhere. You must learn to not care when they lay on you after laying on the cow’s poop. It’s just the way it is, no matter how much fidgeting you get in your body to avoid them.
** If you have boobies and you normally wear bras with no much support, you are in trouble. Your boobies will bounce 1000 times when riding on any vehicle.. rickhsaws, taxi, bikes, horse trolls.. almost no road are asphalted and when they are, the pot holes are numerous and huge.
** Most women have frown faces but as soon as look into their eyes and smile at them, the frown instantly disappear and they shine their smile at you.
** The Spanish “R” comes handy here! You got to roll your “R’s” for a lot of words or they won’t understand what you are saying..
Babas or ascetics – those who practice the abstinence of all forms of indulgence
One of the many altars inside the stores
My favorite type of monkey and mankind.
Feeding bananas to the Monkeys and meeting Ladu Baba.
This man was the sweetest Baba ever. He was a very successful jeweler, then quit and opened an Ashram, then quit and now wonders around.. just being.. I loved meeting this man. I ran into him many times after this. He walked miles with me and sat by my side at the Ganga Aarti singing mantras ever so enthusiastically. His english was very good and even have an email and a Facebook account that he uses to spread the love whenever he gets a chance!
Beatles Ashram – juts a few minutes walk from Parmath N. Ashram.
At first it was kind of scary to walk through such a large piece of land… with ruins and little crevices conducive for someone to be hiding.. Then, I tuned into the amazing land, walking where the Beatles walked many times in the past.. the energy that hold, the peace that exudes.. just nature sounds.. it was so refreshing. Tons of different exotic birds, even a beautiful healthy deer I saw.. ! The murals were ok.. they were nice but not original art from that time.. so it was ok. Pretty but not from that time so it felt almost alien.
Great architecture. I agree with my friend Catie, if I had millions of dollars, I think I would invest in buying this place, remodel it, keeping the original essence and make it a center for Yoga, meditation, teacher trainings and spiritual practices like no other. Integrating organic gardens, fruit trees, raw food, raw honey ( there were tons of bee hives on the trees), raw juices, best Indian exquisite cuisine .. Full of beauty, peace and nature. So much potential.. Anyways.. I get carried away..
This meditation cave or structure was on top of the building, 4 floors up. It was about 10 feet tall. I went up the rusty ladder… very very high… and looked inside the hole on the very top. There was just an empty compartment.. enough for a person to sit.. what would it be for?
and in the back of the temple what it seemed like a big Yoga/ Meditation Hall
At the Ganga Beach House restaurant. Their the promotional image for the menu is a photo of the restaurant when flooded by the Ganga! Very interesting..eh? Great falafels and pizza.. good to change the Indian food tone I’ve been into for the last month at the Sattva Center. Flies everywhere.. but that’s just India.
45 min trip to Haridwar. An old little town down south from Rishkesh.
I went to a Vedic Astrologer a few days ago, who was impressively accurate. He told me I needed to do a ritual in Haridwar for my success in my relationship.. so I listened attentively and had some doubts, of course.. I was supposed to meet him after sunset in Haridwar and then we were to go to this temple where we would do a Puja with a Priest. I travel to Haridwar with enough time so I could check out the town and its vibes.
I walked around and it was intense! No foreigners at all so I was a rare specimen that lots of people would stare at. The Ganga, just 30 min down from Rishikesh! had changed completely. It was not the clean jade green river. It was polluted and stinky. When I found out I needed to go deep into the village 5 kms to this man’s house after dark hours, I decided I was not taking the risk.
I took a stroll through the little streets and had some adventures, then head out home.
The biggest cow/oxen? I’ve ever seen.. It was maybe like 6 feet tall and 7 feetin lenght? just huge!
Sifting through to see what they would find..
Bicycle ride from a very old thin man.. so strong though. He carried me for about 2 miles to the Bus Station. Lovely experience. He charged 2 rupees which is about 0.04 cents.. I gave me 30 rupees, he jumped with joy!
Blow Horn! More??
Beautiful Henna work so I can relax while traveling + a great Indian Dosa with Paneer and potatoes! – Rishikesh
and now last but not least, I close this chapter for India in my blog with my new love for Hanuman, the Monkey god and what he represents to me: An immense devotion to God, great intellect, wisdom, honoring and reclaiming the feminine, the devotion for chanting and the balance achieved through yogic practices.
Even though most people are Shiva’s devotees here in Rishikesh, I found it to be very much about Hanuman in so many ways… he was everywhere I looked and also, so many monkeys, everywhere!
A wonderful article and some stories of Hanuman here
Hanuman temple where I brought a small statue for a blessing.
While this ritual/blessing was being performed, the Ganga Aarti started and the song they played was the Hanuman Chalisa… such magical serendipity!
Oh yes! I must not forget Ganesh and my paid promised to him: to bring him the best chocolate ever all the way from Hawaii to his feet! He was happy with such treat!