Our week at Yog Peeth was great and we had continued with the new routine of the 300hr students teaching us in the evening and various changes during the week to ensure a good mix of experiences which we all felt great about. Meditation continued to grow for me, and I continued to have more experiences during this time, something I will stop at here. We are told that It is important to keep our experiences to ourselves, because every person’s experience is so different that It may be hard to accept them all, yet for me, I found sharing my experiences with my friends very helpful for me. On the other hand, I am going to try and let my experiences be, and just see what happens within me without any details of the journey or the outcome. Well for now anyways! Let’s just say that this is an incredible journey so far, and I feel like I am on my way to finding my true self, which will be something nice to come out of having no initial expectations. Instead, this blog will be about our outings, our experiences and of course…. Food!
It was a week prior, on our first Sunday off, that we asked the owner of Kanaan restaurant, if he would mind preparing some mango ice cream for us for this week. Needless to say, all week we put together a menu of what we would have and every day we would alter it to ensure we satisfied all our cravings. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a prison, we can have whatever we want to have, but being the group we are, we decide to eat healthy weekly and then ‘treat’ ourselves on a Sunday! Weekends are pretty cool here, we have a half day on a Saturday, some meditation at 5:30 and then we have Sundays off. Sundays generally include an outing somewhere, and last week we had the ceremony down at the Ganges to attend. This week however we had a trip to a hill top temple planned. On Saturday we had a documentary instead of Philosophy, which pretty much summed up all we talk about in class about finding enlightenment, universal understanding etc etc, but this documentary was told by a very witty man called Jaggi Vasudev, an Indian Yogi and mystic. I will try and find the documentary on you tube, for anyone who wants to see it, and I would definitely recommend it. He is a wise man!
After the documentary, we had a lot of free time before our dinner so Franzisca and myself planned to go to Rishikesh town to do some shopping and explore. We took a rickshaw there for 10 rupees each way and while there we did some shopping, at one point even buying bras from a man who I had to explain it too. Embarrassing! And another moment where we bought pots of wax and strips which we thought would save us money going to salons but it turned out to be pure crap. I'm convinced it was j a jar of pure honey. We ate a beautiful simple Indian meal in a restaurant filled with locals for 45 rupees each before some more shopping and then we came home for dinner. After dinner in the dining hall we all decided to do something spontaneous for a ‘Saturday night’- to go and dance on the rooftop. Sure why not? We grabbed pillows; blankets etc from our room, took some extra chocolate balls from our dinner with us, and headed up to the roof where we lay out our yoga mats, opened up star gazing apps on our devices and set up speakers playing chilled music. After some funny limbo, crazy dancing and an all-round fun time, we decided to head to Kanaan for a cheeky Chai Masala (and some cheese) before the gates to our Ashram closed at 10pm. Kanaan was definitely the place to be and it showed, especially when we turned up and noticed everybody from our class hanging out there enjoying their treats. It was after this that we came back to the Ashram and had a good sleep. Saturday nights were nice because you knew you could sleep in until at least 7:30am the next day and be up on time for breakfast at 8am. For some of the girls though, they planned extra yoga classes in the yoga hall at 5:30am, but for the rest of us, we took our extra few hours in bed with great satisfaction. We deserved it right?
It was Sunday after breakfast when our excursion was planned to the temple and we were all set to leave just after 9am. We split into groups and took a half our jeep safari up the spiral mountain side before arriving and continuing on a 10/15 minute steep hike to the temple. Needless to say, the blood sweat and tears –figuratively, was worth it when we reached the top, hearts beating out of our chests, and looked upon the vast green countryside. I thought India was beautiful from what I had seen already but this just blew my mind all over again. We had a view over the swirling Ganges river, quaint hill top villages and the sweeping lush terrain. We all walked around it for a while taking tonnes of photos, complete with yoga postures of course, before heading into the temple to get our Bindi and say some prayers. Everyone just gathered around and chatted while the staff who had come along with us, huddled around a custom made fire, making us fresh Chai Masala. We spent the next while munching on plates of cookies, drinking Chai Masala and chatting with each other before we headed back down the mountain. Much easier this time!
When we got back to Ram Jhula, we hopped out of the jeep and like the wind, we were gone, in the direction of Kanaan. Not wasting any time, we ordered our meals in advance while we hurried back to the ashram to shower and change, which I am aware makes us sound like crazy people. From the start of the week I knew what I was going to have; the veg cheese burger and then the nutella pancake with our special mango ice cream, but once again my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I was well and truly stuffed as a Christmas turkey by the end of the meal. It was quite funny because at first there sat a group of very enthusiastic foodies and not even an hour later there lay the same group of people sprawled out on cushions just bulging with food babies. It was well and truly worth it though, but next week (and yes here I go again with the forward planning…I can’t help it) I may opt just for a main course and not a desert. Later on that day when we mustered up some energy, we pulled ourselves off the comfy cushions of Kanaans floor, and headed to Laksman Jhula (the next town which is a 15-20 minute walk) to check out some clothes, have a chilled evening stroll and maybe pop into our waiter crush in Lucky Restaurant. It was a lovely evening of chai and sunset walks before it was time to go to bed and prepare for week three. Week Three Baby!
Some of the quotes from this week that have made me laugh include one from Franzisca who said while in Kanaan ‘I haven’t had chocolate in two weeks’ to which we replied ‘You had chocolate balls last night’ and she then said ‘Oh yeahhhh, sure that’s just a name though its mostly coconut’. Amongst others such as ‘I want to be a hardrock bunny’, ‘Don’t you mean a playboy bunny’ ‘Oh yeah that’s it’. ‘Did you wear any sun cream today?’ ‘No’ ‘Oh you’re well in the cancer boat.’
It’s funny how much we talk about food here, but its super exciting to know that we are losing weight here. We notice ourselves becoming more toned, more flexible and svelter which makes us more inclined to stay on our health buzz during the week. It’s nice to eat out once in a while but after having lunch today we realised that we had in fact missed our good ole chick peas and lentils which today had been extra spiced up. The food here is incredible and big props to the cooks who work hard for us during every meal time, always cooking everything from scratch and looking after our every need. Sundays will be our treat day but for now we are enjoying our Indian diet. As I mentioned, we have noticed some differences in our bodies in the past two weeks and I have especially noticed some differences in my flexibility and capabilities. I’m not quite able to do a shoulder stand yet but every day I am edging closer and closer to nailing it but I am now able to stretch a lot further in my poses compared to my first day. It truly is incredible and rewarding and I can’t wait to see how we have all changed in a few weeks’ time.