Teaching a go go!

I’m slowly approaching the first week in Shakar Prasad and what a week it has been. The list of things I’ve learnt not only practically but also about myself continues to grow at a head spinning rate. A few ones to highlight..

How getting the local bus is an experience that warms your heart because at least four people help you find the right stop

Making chapatis – This is one of my favourites without a doubt.. I’ve only learnt how to cook them, but man you have to move fast applying a chapati to a naked flame!

Living with an ever changing number of people, this is an interesting one because people arrive at varies points and it is always exciting a welcome but it constantly changes the dynamics, which is a real challenge but keeps you on your toes.

Yoga Nidra (psychic sleep meditation) this the practise we’ve been doing in the afternoon, interesting….

Meditation is a personal thing and needs to be adapted to the individual, it’s not a one size fits all but an adaptation of a certain practise can be the key (this opinion well may change!)

Chanting – bloody love it..

How to fill an urn from a well, not as easy as you first think but strangely satisfying

Burning toilet paper is actually a fun job – making fire, what’s not to love?

I can turn around a negative mood pattern – work in progress of course but I am able to observe a pattern and rather than let it take hold and in turn I’m more able to change it.

What a tulsi plant looks like.

There are more but that gives you a flavour at least. Surfice to say it’s been an interesting week. yesterday we went into Gokarna town and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset, along with a visit to my favourite local restaurant Prema, my drink of choice? A papaya, lemon, mint & ginger juice – delicious. I also had a sudden realisation after knowing three local people in town, how easily you can become established in a place.

To top of the learning Swamiji has gone out of town for a few days so I have the honour of leading the morning and evening chanting sessions, can you believe it??! There are some chants I know very well now but some which I’ve not yet quite grasped, that Sanskrit is a tricky customer sometimes… I absolutely love them though, it’s so liberating just singing and chanting. So much so I have become one of those people that sing out loud when I have my headphones in..

Also I have been given the chance to teach the early morning yoga class (after chanting), which is for the locals and anyone staying at the ashram who would like to attend. I have spent the last couple of days convincing myself not to freak out and low and behold it feels ok(ish). The class is a very basic one, only really covering the sun salutation and some other simple postures. It’s an incredible opportunity and one that seems total surreal. The British woman teaching Indians yoga. There’s a joke there somewhere…. Would I have ever imagined that would be part of my journey? Not a chance.

If that wasn’t enough I also got to lead the Yoga Nidra session this afternoon again very useful for my development and one I can only learn from and something I really enjoyed. Just have to learn to speak slower…

Later on three of us went to practice which was a fantastic session, sharing and learning from each other, the headstand coming ever nearer!

Ashram life

24th November

I arrived at destination Shankar Prasad 4days ago and after the initial adjustment to relocating, a pattern I have now become familiar with, which is actually really helpful because I now know understand that I just accept and that it is a temporary adjustment, I was talking with Swamiji about this and how I felt settled and she used a very apt phrase ‘your soul has landed’ I thought that was a perfect description.

I now feel very comfortable and at home and am loving the environment. It’s a perfect way of life for my in so many respects. The day starts with chanting at 0600, yoga class for an hour, breakfast, a bit of cleaning in the morning, then karma yoga in the form of selfless service. In my case this is outside work. Total heaven! It brings back fond memories of working in Hereford. Although a coconut grove and cocoa trees didn’t feature there as they do here. I was plugged into an audiobook – Eckart Tolle ‘The Power of Now’ and reminded of the importance of being conscious of the now, rather than looking back or projecting back. Being fully present in each moment creates a powerful and deeper experience without the interruption of the monkey mind. Still manages to make its presence known of course but certainly gave me some food for thought. Lunch and then a Yoga Nidra session which today was incredible… It’s described as psychic yoga sleep and is likened to the state you experience as you freshly awake or just before you sleep. A kind of in between state if you will…

Other highlights to share from the last few days.. The havan
on Saturday, which is a fire ritual involving offerings (poojaa) to the fire. There’s lots of chanting involved, including a Japa which is the repeated chanting of a mantra in this case the auspicious amount of 108 times.

I’ve also had the chance to have a few brief discussions with Swamiji which have been insightful and interesting to say the least. It’s great to see the vision of someone, who is working as part if the community. The village the ashram is based is unspoilt by an sign of tourism, so you get a much deeper experience and connection and often more genuine interactions because you aren’t seen as a cash machine, just a person with a story to share and an ear to listen with.

I love the house itself a characterful place, where I would be happy to call home. The community living makes total sense (yes coming from the person that lives on her own..) and causes you to draw your resources together and work with a common goal. Ok this naturally causes occasional irritation but that in itself then needs a quick reality check.

Tonight we had the honour of going to another ceremony this time of a local family which perform this particular celebration only once a year. It was run be an elderly man who was so sweet to observe. We were with him whilst he set up in a little road side temple. Again such attention to detail bowls me over. So all in all a rich experience and one that is a great introduction to the ashram way of life. I go on to the Sivananda ashram in Kerala for the Christmas/new year period. At the moment it’s almost an intro to ashram life and then the hardcore version will be my next step.

With the wake up bell in mind (she says not being in the moment) I best get some sleep…..

Last night on Om beach

21 November 2014

The last chai making session began what was a beautiful evening on Om beach with my new friends. We had the whole process down to a fine art. I bought an assortment of the most incredible spices and herbs from a local shop in Gokarna. Watching him add all manor  of spices I’ve never seen let alone heard of. There were some familiar ones such as cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, cardamom. All of these incredible flavours fused with some fresh ginger made the best tea I’ve ever had.

I think the whole process of making the fire (which we took in turn) and seeing it brew and infuse only went to enhance the flavours. It really ties in with the Ayurvedic way of love and care going into the preparation of any food you eat. Andy created a beautiful space with candles and made a genius speaker out of a bucket so we had some tunes to make a soundtrack too. Coupled with some baked bananas on the fire we were in our own little jungle heaven. It was one of those shared experiences that stick with you and sharing it with a group of new friends made it a blissful one. Suffice to say the chai was beautiful and blissfully tasty…. Afterwards a brief stop off for a song performed by Andy on his guitar, a great way to remember his spirit. Last night dinner was at a venue we hadn’t tried before and was a perfect last night place. A bridge lead to a little sanctuary which was lit with bursts of colourful lights, creating a gorgeous atmosphere. The food of choice.. Some freshly caught kingfisher which was one of best meals I’ve had here, prepared to perfection.

Along with a few beers (very un-yogic!!) will chatted the night away, sharing all sorts of stories and experiences, all relaxed and free following without any trace of ego. To top the night off.. Something I did not expect to be doing in India.. A few rounds of pool! Girls versus boys, as you’d imagine this is where the playful ego’s returned.. We won one game but sadly by default, it’s the taking part that counts right??! A slow wonder back home, wondering on the beach and taking in the starry sky.

Destination Gokarna

As I start to write I wonder just how to articulate the journey which unfolded over the last two days. The trip began three days ago from Rishikesh and now I’ve been transported to a very different India, one I’m not familiar with. The landscape is a very different and it’s quite difficult to comprehend the transition. I have loved every minute of the three days even with a few bumps in the road, these only served to make it an even richer experience.

I’ve already covered the first leg of the journey from Rioshikesh to Delhi so I will begin at 03:30 two days ago……

We checked our flight the night before and all was seemingly ok, so we made the zombiesque journey to the airport (I think everyone is familiar with that feeling) all quiet on the roads and quite tranquil. Then out of nowhere a taxi ahead of us hit a buffalo, now we’re not talking about a small animal here, were talking a huge beast which would be very hard to miss in any respect. I only heard the impact and saw the aftermarth. It was a particularly surreal moment and as quickly as it went down it was up again and off it went. The taxi I hope was the more injured of the two.

The arrival at the airport was straight forward and to the departure board to check our flight only to be greeted with that message no one likes to see in capital red CANCELLED… we were all surprisingly calm. Off to find out more and rebook for a late flight that day (luckily 13.05). After an initial enquiry we were given the generic “operational problem” which gives little away. Later on a second enquiry a hostess informed us the that our plane had sustain a fatal blown whilst taxing at another airport from…. wait for it… a buffalo! Bad couple of days for the holy animal in India. I say it was fatal for the plane, this buffalo was not so luck as the other. The air hostess showed us photos of engine and the remains of the cow (not something I particularly wanted to see).

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29947409

After a coffee.. off we went back to Paharganj for breakfast. First to a nearby hotel for Andy’s first chai of the day, he is a man with an impressive capacity for the stuff. I indulged in my favourite ginger and lemon…  At this hotel we meet a couple of interesting Israeli girls and enjoyed some interesting early morning exchanges. I learnt some ways to enjoy tahini and tried to persuade one of the girls that avocado lassi are to be enjoyed and not the resisted. She wasn’t convinced… Then onto the breakfast venue for some sustenance for the long journey ahead. Outside a young boy had a really nasty elbow wound that needed treating. Andy very kindly arranged with the restaurant manager to organise help when the doctors next door opened. It was a stark reminder of the extreme poverty that is still so prevalent in India. There have been huge advances here and I can see that even from my last trip in 2011 but they extremes of wealth are still very much part of modern day India. Travelling from destination to destination reveals this in a very acute form.

Then back to the airport.. a further delay but only a short one and off we go.. 2 hours down to Goa. On arrival at the airport I was very surprised to discover… no hounding, no throng of activity whatsoever in fact! This gave us an extra challenge of what to do next, given Gokarna was a further 2 hours away and it was now dark. After some enquiry we found a local bus stop and jumped on a backed local bus… Not for the faint hearted but certainly an experience, not one I would do on my own but with two guys I felt comfortable within the discomfort. The locals were not particularly happy with us and the intrusion on their valuable space was palpable. Suffice to say we didn’t last long, Andy not able to even stand upright. We got off at a small town and had a chai to regroup. There was a certain amount of hustle and bustle but no obvious transport solution. As always with India a solution soon presents itself and this time it was in the form of a young driver (not so good at remembering names sadly) and he was able to take us to a more suitable place called Margos, which is a better place in terms of connecting transport. The journeys soundtrack? Some hard house music… a complete contrast to the bus journey we had experienced only a short time ago. A collective acknowledgement of this all round. The offer of sweets and samosa also forth coming from our new friend.

After some time we realised that we need to bed down in Margos for the night, eventually we came to a hotel, but after a slight confusion we were given only one room, fine for one night but not ideal for tired bodies that needed some space to process the days activities. It was in fact fine and we all managed to get some must needed rest after a quick outing to grab a masala dosa.

The new day provided a fresh perspective and off the the train station we went. Something I was more than happy about because train journeys in India provide a fantastic combination of experience. A short wait and stop of for what has to be one of the nicest meals so far. A masala dosa which was simply delicious… We all sat and resisted the urge to order another one just to experience the wonder all over again.

A couple of hours later we arrived at a cute little station called Gokarna Road and then a taxi to Om beach. Andy I went to explore our accommodation options and after looking at a lot of beach huts we found a perfect place, which gives us rooms together and is slightly away from anyone else. All very different from Rishikesh and today I’m letting my brain catch up with my body somewhat. It’s incredible to be based on the beach and have the ocean right on my doorstep.

Now I am going to organise my new home, make a plan of what I want to do in the coming days. Mostly self practise and lots of reading, punctuated with some swimming in the sea.. that part will wait till later given the middle of the day heat!

 

 

Hello Delhi

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A brief hello from Delhi… We arrived mid afternoon after a 7hour bus journey which I really enjoyed. I remembered how much I love watching all the different scenes evolve and develop before my eyes. So many worlds within close proximity. The same pattern repeats, fruit and vegetable stalls, chai stalls (in abundance), various places to get all manor of food (mostly of the fried variety), People fixing tyres, auto rikshaws. Building and making a whole host of wares and a lot of tired bodies snoozing on any and every surface imaginable!

Now in Delhi I have discovered a fondness for the mayhem. Only had a couple of wanders around the back streets where people are being incredibly industrious, ready to make a huge array of bespoke items if you so desire.

The journey here was also a stark reminder of the contrasts of povety that is still very much a part of modern India, Rishikesh proved a very comfortable shell and it’s good to be reminded of all elements of the country I’m visiting and be mindful of that fact.

I have finally meet Andy’s friend Mark who will complete the trio for our onwards journey. Already had some very interesting conversations and am sure they’ll be more to follow. So tonight some food and attempt an earlier night in anticipation of the early start in the morning.

 

 

 

Graduation day tomorrow…

I’ve treated myself to an internet cafe slot to bring you my latest cheap MLB Jerseys post, in partial celebration that I Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses am quickly approaching the end of my course. How on earth I find myself her already leaves me baffled….

Alongside baffled I’ll add reflective to the mix. The last remaining hurdle is now Philosophy test tomorrow morning and mantra test. Mantra test was strictly speaking today but that was not to be today. I’ve overcome some hurdles but nerves got the better of me for that one. I will do it before the day is out tomorrow, even if that involves a long wait to get into the zone.

On a more positive note I have managed to teach two classes, which is a huge relief and something I’m very proud of. I was getting to the point where I wasn’t sure it was going to happen but it’s amazing what a bit of positive ray ban sale thinking and inspiration from fellow class mates can do.

The biggest thing to share would have to repeat on points I’ve raised before and that is to do with people and also myself. I love how this has challenged my behaviour and rather than fight things all the time just try and be accepting and approach things in a less serious way, it’s early days of course but that’s all good. I have to say I’m looking forward to having a slight calmer pace of life for a couple of weeks but will certainly be incorporating some discipline into Women the mix (it’s one of the eight limbs of yoga don’t you know). Along with a mix of light heartedness and fun times on the beach! Oh the beach….. Sorry back to in the moment.. none of that look forward business! Like I said work in progress, it’ll take longer than a month to break a life time of habits, maybe years who knows??!

Before I draw to a close because revision is calling..

I will just share the day off activity before I forget, I’ve completed the appropriate Rishikesh tourist duty of going to see the Beatles Ashram. It’s derelict but you still get a sense of the vast area that it comprised of . The parts that stands out the most were the beautiful surrounding woodland area, really beautiful and also some stunning views of the foothills of the Himalayas, which NFL Jerseys Cheap you could view from top of some of the buildings. It really is hard to fully describe how vast the area was. The other stand out cheap jordans for sale was the art gallery which pays homage to the Beatles.film Sherlock: The Final Problem streaming

Check out the gallery: https://www.facebook.com/TheBeatlesCathedralGallery

I will post some more soon but for now some study time.

Namaste!