“As I get older, I get smaller. I see other parts of the world I didn’t see before. Other points of view. I see outside myself more.”-Neil Young
Visiting India for the first taught me so much. While I used my yoga practice and my yoga teachings as both an excuse and a reason to visit the place I lovingly call “the motherland,” I was able to experience a transformational journey filled with emotions, divinity, spirituality, love and self-acceptance.
India reminded me to be thankful for all I have been gifted. To not be boastful or selfish. To be authentic. Accepting. Understanding. Honest. Mindful. Conscious. Aware. Present. True.
To realize that we really don’t need much. After traveling for 40 days, I was perfectly happy wearing the same thing everyday, eating meals for a dollar or two and carrying everything I own on my back.
I came to know myself better. I stopped caring what people thought of me. It was pretty obvious I was a tourist. I stopped judging myself in fear that I wouldn’t be accepted. I was accepted because I was myself. Whole and complete. Open, honest and full of love.
Before I left, my teacher told me India would want to suck me in and it truly has. Not only by the chaos and madness of a third world country, but by the heart and soul of the people. I felt the harmonious vibration of the Indian people and that is something I will always cherish.
I met a lot of beautiful souls on my journey and I have to acknowledge them for their humility, their guidance and their smiles.
Thank you to Govind Ji for creating a save haven at Hotel Nirvana where we can practice asana, eat delicious homemade Indian cuisine, drink copius amounts of chai and rest easy. Thank you to Sachin for being the best guide and Indian brother a girl could ask for. To Mahadev for the best jewels in the city and a stock full of deities to worship. To Swami Acharya Shree for drawing out my truth and for providing clarity for my future. To Bindia for teaching us how to cook homemade Indian dinner. To Sanju for early morning teas and smiles. To Shiva and his shop for supplying us with gluten free treats and bottled soda water. To Shiva in the restaurant for delivering more chai and ginger tea without us even having to ask. To Surinder for teaching us so much about yoga asana without too much instruction. And of course to my fellow retreat goers-Valerie, Kris, Lorraine, Kerry, Alicia, Glen & Jeanne for showing up fully, listening and bringing their positive energy to our trip.
Thank you to my friend, Sona, for his generosity. Varanasi is by far the craziest place I have ever visited. You welcomed me into your home and kept me safe. The accommodations, food, cocktails, massages and travel agent services were just the icing on the cake! Thanks to my friend Sohmer for marrying a native Indian man who could do so much for me in such a short time. And to Maya & Meena for the best oil massage and manicure ever!
Thank you to Abhishek for your hospitality at Hotel Love Kush. Still can’t get over that name…
A hundred thank yous to Rafik for being the best tuk tuk driver around. I feel so fortunate to have met such a warm and kind soul.
Thank you to the warm people I met while traveling India by train. Thank you for the conversations, the advice, the guidance, the stories and the smiles!
Thank you India for teaching me so much and reminding me of the qualities I seek in my friends, my partners and myself.
I will cherish these gifts forever and stay committed down this path. Until next time…