Daily Archives: 2012-04-11

The Yoga Capital of the World – Rishikesh, India

My days in Rishikesh were shanti, shanti (chilled out) for the most part. I would wake up in the morning at around 745am and wander over to the yoga hall. In the short ten minute walk, I would encounter many cows, a few early rising monkeys, and babas stirring from their resting spots lining the road. The saffron clothed babas are wise old men who hang around sometimes offering blessings, some ask for “one rupee”, and some just beam wide toothless grins filled with love. Some of them are a little bit crazy like the one who muttered some nonsense then whacked me with his walking stick as I passed by. But generally they are highly respected as holy men who seem to smoke a lot of herb.

The village of Ram Joola is quiet and barely awake with only a few shopkeepers beginning to think about opening. The sun warms up the already toasty air and lays a blanket of gold over the land. Some are lighting incense performing their morning ritual of pooja at their humble shrines. I really enjoy the delicate mellowness that is characteristic of only this time of day. Later, the streets are bustling with padpad vendors, fruit carts, and locals sipping sweet spicy tea from the chai walla.

No matter what time of day, one must always be mindful where they step when in India. The sacred cows wander freely and leave droppings wherever they please. There are very lazy dogs sprawled in the most inconvenient of places. I had to scoop up one tired, seemingly deaf puppy from the middle of the road when a car threatened honking its horn impatiently. None the less, all the smells and sounds and commotion of the day was manageable perhaps due to my routine. Four hours of yoga and meditation a day will do that I guess.

After the morning session, I would usually make my way down to the juice shop. This is by far my best discovery in India. The staff are exceptional and over the weeks, I became quite fond of them and their ways. I think they liked me too, since I ended up bringing them more than a dozen new regular customers. The had a green smoothie but ofcourse, it needed to be adjusted so I invented my own version. It became so popular that we had to name it though most people just asked for the green juice Carmella always gets. I gave out the recipe many times but in case my friends forgot, here it is for reference.
Carmella’s Green Full Power Juice

First juice the following:

Carrot, cucumber, apple, lemon, grapes, maybe a beet if you are feeling feisty

Then add to blender with a bunch of spinach and fresh mint leaves

One can change it up a bit by adding a spoon on coconut flakes or come cocoa powder. More grapes makes it sweeter or you could add stevia or honey. I like to add wheatgrass and spirulina powder making it ultra full power.I would drink this concoction twice a day and I tell you, I have never felt better. It became something of a ritual and Ajay, my juice w

alla, would even let me push the produce through the juicer.  I get a little thrill out of juicing things and I think he was amused by my childlike fascination.

I moved guesthouses and learned that smaller is better. I much prefer more cozy spaces where my energy is not sue

pread so thin. I loved my new sunnier room and found it much more relaxing. The wind kicked up at night and the shutters rattled but that’s nothing I couldn’t MacGyver a fix for. Although there was no yoga sala or internet, I found the new place more comfortable and wished I had of found it sooner.

When I started the yoga, I had planned to stick to myself. I didn’t want to distract myself with new friends or social events. I had planned to focus primarily on my book especially since I was getting close to the deadline. Well, the social isolation lasted for about a week. Then I gently got pulled into friendships with some top quality people who I plan to know a long time. I found balance and was able to concentrate on my own progress whilst still maintaining a healthy connection with others.

We ate meals together, swam in the Ganga, and shared heartfelt moments of spiritual growth. I was blessed to meet an holy wise woman who gave me rare insights and encouragement about my path. She even helped fund my upcoming book with out a blink of an eye. It was this belief in my cause that really touch me at the deepest level.

I was blown away when magically it all came together in the final hours of my crowdfunding campaign. With only a few days left, I had not even made it to a quarter of what I needed to publish the book. I decided to make one last push and asked for help. I was dumbfounded by the response. People came out of the woodwork to support me and even those who I know couldn’t afford it, made a symbolic donation or offered services. A fellow BRC Ranger who I had never even met, stepped up and threw in $500 because he liked the idea. I was sitting in my yoga lecture and my phone beeped. I glanced at the message which informed me of a $1000 donation. I was so shocked I dropped my phone on the ground. Needless to say, I was overfunded by the end and am still somewhat amazed.

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

– Margaret Mead

These people certainly did change my world. And I plan to return the favor.

Grateful for affirmation.

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