~ Rishikesh, here i am ~

Here I am. Day 2 of my 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training. Hell yeah.
My eyes have already been opened to so much and it’s DAY 2.

To go into the journey of how I come to Rishikesh (while I sit in the courtyard at Rishikesh Yog Peeth and watch a family of monkeys play – for real, thats happening).
Jeff and I spent Friday, February 26th at Tina and Anand’s house, who we now know and love through Jeff’s wonderful co-worker Tanvi. They used to live in the bay area for a while – Anand I think lived there for 14 years and Tina lived there for 8. They both went to Stanford and Tina worked at Abode in management of sorts. She, too, left the corporate world – although loved the interaction with people and the connection created through management, the lifestyle was not cohesive to who she is. Sounds similar, right?

They have a sweet little baby girl name Aisha who warmed up to us quickly and loved dancing and shaking her booty (that’s for you Jenny Burr) to Jeff’s Ukulele playing.
They had two gals in the house as the ‘help’ – very common here in India – same as in South Africa (and probably many places in the world, just seems foreign to us middle-class American’s). The quote was “human labor is ridiculously cheap here”. Its nothing to frown upon, because once you come here, to know that there is that opportunity for people, you’d think differently. We are in a third world country, after all.

So, staying there was honestly fabulous. We all got along so well and they are both so open and welcoming – we felt like we have been friends forever and very much felt at home.
Jeff left in the morning on the 27th around 6:45am to head to the airport – ready to catch a flight China, where he will stay and work for 3 1/2 weeks. Lucky guy. Hong Kong, Donguan, maybe Vietnam, maybe other countries on the weekend – why not! (Make it happen my love).

I ended up leaving in the afternoon as my flight was later – not before Tina and I made a trip to the mall, of course. Which was great as I got a few things I needed and have used so much since I’ve been in Rishikesh *Thank you Tina!*.

I arrived to the airport and planned to meet my first friend on this adventure to Rishikesh – Marlene. She and I connected through the Meet Up group Rishikesh Yog Peeth created for everyone taking the same course, to help coordinate travel from Delhi to Rishikesh. Marlene and I did just that and have been communicating for a while now – booked the same flight to/from DehraDun, shared a taxi to Rishikesh from there – so that we could have a buddy. I ended up meeting her at the gate in the airport and we hit it off immediately.
Marlene Hedou is from France, lived in Vancouver for a few years and only this year packed up her things and headed back to France – however, she is getting her citizenship in Canada – which is awesome. She was born in Normandy (that’s for you Jeff), moved with her family to Paris, southern France (Provance area – not sure what that means) and will live with her parents when she goes back. She has traveled all over and is so inspiring too to be just as you are. She is someone I know I will have in my life forever. I have no doubt we will continue our journey in life together again in the future, with travels, adventures, learning, certifications, etc. We have so much in common its crazy – the parallels in our family lives is unbelievable. I am so happy she is here with me – it’s like I came with one of my best friends.

We had our orientation on Sunday, 28th Feb and it was my first Bindhi ceremony. It was new, intimidating, emotional and exciting. We all sat in the room and watched as the teachers began this ceremony in Sanskrit or Hindi (pretty sure it was sanskrit) – it was an hour long and the entire time worshipping Krishna – offering gifts of food, money, flowers, healing, herbs, you name it. I wish I could understand the language to really appreciate everything, but what I did appreciate was the devotion to this way of life. To the Yoga Ayurvedic lifestyle. The ceremony ended with us all being initiated with the henna red marking on the third eye chakra – the Ajna Chakra.

Day 1 – I woke up at 5:30am and followed this schedule (with the first day tweaks):
6:30-6:45am: Herbal Tea
6:45-7am: Nasal Cleansing (every day we use a Nettie Pot and clear out our nasal passages, which is actually an amazing feeling).
7-9am: Pranayama, Mantra chanting and Asana
9am: Breakfast (my gluten free options now for Day 1 and Day 2 has been Fruit and beans – YUM!)

**Side note: Rishikesh is a vegetarian and alcohol free city, by law. The main reasoning is because the city is on the Ganges and they don’t want anyone fishing in the Ganges – not that they would because they are holy fish – and they are huge, because they are not overfished (that’s for you Raymond Jarvis). The no alcohol is due to the ancient aspect and lifestyle of almost everyone that lives in this city lives by. In the true Yoga Ayurvedic lifestyle, no alcohol, garlic, ginger…and the list goes on.*

10-11am: Human Anatomy – Physiology and Yoga (Day 1 this was more of an introduction to everyone taking the course. We learned where everyone was from, their names, what yoga means to you and what we are looking for in this experience – No actual Anatomy this day).
11:15-12:05pm: Yoga Philosophy
12:15 – 1pm: Self-Study and Methodology
1pm: Lunch (mostly always GF)
2-4pm: Library Time *I am going to use this time to reflect on what we’ve learned throughout the day and think about how I can bring each area of focus into my daily routine moving forward. Plus study, study, study!*
5-6:30pm: Pranayama and Asana
6:30-7pm: Meditation
7pm: Dinner (mostly always GF except for the desserts, which is OK because I have trail mix as my dessert in my room ha!)

Those are my days Monday through Saturday with Sunday off – where we will then do excursions, like white water rafting on the Ganges!

The people here are all starting to open up –> Its interesting how you can sense someone’s energy when you really focus on it. Its very interesting to have heard where everyone is from – many from Canada, a few from the US (3 from Cali near SF, including myself), Chez. Republic, Russia, Switzerland, England, Portugal, Argentina, Vietnam, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and most likely a couple other places I am not thinking of at the moment) AMAZING right?!?! Its day two, but I have no doubt I will have quite a few friends from all over the world after this course is complete.

My interests are expanding, as well. The idea that there really are endless options as to what I can achieve at this moment is so inspiring to me. I feel so relaxed here. I haven’t felt this way in, well, probably 6 years. I am going with the flow, learning as much as I can, soaking up as much as I can and being as true to myself as I possibly can be. Im digging deep to find the root of me, my self, and its day 2 – I wonder what another 25 more days will do 🙂 Here I am world. Here I go world!

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