Hatha Yoga Teacher’s Training in Rishikesh – 300 hours of joy
I was now on the verge of another novel experience that I hoped I will be able to enjoy with all my heart; there was a curious feeling of anticipation and I could not wait to leave this plane and be on the way.
I looked out and down from my plane window and thought that the plane’s windows were dirty since the view was unclear; I did not dwell on it. Just thought “wow, my windows are very dirty…. By the time my plane landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport, it was almost midnight.
The whole environment in the airport carried the stifling smell of oily stickiness and there was a grubby pall as if we had entered a large cafeteria; and, everyone was having a midnight snack.
As I ambled unhurriedly into the open, I realized that the men far outnumbered the women almost by a ratio of 4:1 and the fog was also too thick to see far into the gloomy night. That took me back to the peek which I had taken from the flight, the window panes were not dirty; they were just over-shadowed by the thick envelope of fog.
Why was I so sensitive to the conditions? Why did I think back to the glance from the window? I was convinced that it was my excitement and keen senses had heightened the sensitivity of my observations; I thoroughly loved it, already.
The roads were quite bad making me wonder as to how those who were driving would be feeling; but, there must be worse roads. These roads were a bit bumpy in patches but were generally alright though uneven. Your food would be twice digested and gone by the time I reached my room.
It felt pretty cold and humid and, to make matters worse, the heavy transport vehicles were out in full strength. All denominations of trucks, trolleys, and farming and delivery vehicles were out in full strength making our progress quite sluggish.
It was the same in every major and medium-sized city; the police enforced restrictions on the daytime entry of heavy transport vehicles that are the cause for some of the longest traffic jams in some bottlenecks and narrow lanes. After a good sleep during the hours of restrictions, they are all making a beeline for their destinations so that they can beat the morning deadline and escape before they are captured by the daytime restrictions within city limits.
They came out like bandicoots at 11pm and strong-armed their way past the night rush as best they can; and, to complicate it further none of the traffic light work at night. The system is creaking under the weight of the massive population explosion and rapid commercialization of basic services.
Walking around town and window shopping for knickknacks was an eye opener since I expected to see many tourists loitering around; but, there were hardly any, just some stragglers now and then.
And, I could feel native eyes boring into me and some, right through me. People would stop in their tracks and stare with their mouth open some of them wheeling around unable to tear their eyes from my attractive visage.
Some of them even approached me and asked me if they could snap a picture of me or with me.
In the city people would offer to sell all kinds of trash most of which I did not need or like. Whenever the car halted at traffic lights, beggars of all hues and sizes would try to pull down the window glass panes of the car for begging and/or touching me.
I had arranged for a pick up two days later and made my way to the north Indian city of Rishikesh which was my ultimate destination for training.
The ride was quite comfortable, winding through scenic countryside and small dusty towns; the, by now familiar beggars and urchins lost no opportunity to know at the window with their dirty teeth through wide grins.
Yet, the seven hour ride was quite pleasant and exciting.
The ride was pretty fun we stopped to have breakfast and we talked a lot with the driver. Indians are really nice people here particularly the working class; open-minded, self sufficient and with a versatile sense of humor.
The countryside was beautiful and soothing to the eyes, the heart and quite healthy too. There is nothing like the fresh odor of the raw countryside.
The sky was a matching bright and clear expanse and the air was fresh and soul lifting.
While approaching Rishikesh, we encountered a toll-way on a bridge where the driver paid the required fee and then, we sped away.
A word here about the Indian roads is important since the toll system on the arterial highways in India has transformed the broken highways into smooth strips including some expressways. Somebody must be doing something right.
Coming back to our narrative, the toll tax paid, we made our way up the hill into some quaint hills and passed some small hamlets over winding roads and there we were.
At the ashram
Arriving at the ashram, I found myself accosted by a number of odors which had a stifling strength causing me slight difficulty in breathing because of their strong, overwhelming stench. But, I soon found my nostrils and innards settling down, adjusting to the smells. Then, I must say, I felt after some time that I was breathing quite comfortably. It was like a small farm with cows, horses, poultry, dogs, and even live deer moving without fear among the humans.
The animals were thoroughly domesticated and quite clean and friendly. The room was quite a surprise since it was quite stuffy and it took me a lot of effort and trying to adjust and live in peace.
But, I had brought a huge cache of weapons to fight all kinds of conditions; I had brought smell plugs, perfumes, air perfumes, a sleeping bag, scarves quite a few of them to cover the pillows mainly and, a not so small consignment of wet tissues.
Since Rishikesh is located in the hills there is a big drop in temperature after sunset, it gets down to 2*C at night and the gates close at 9:30 pm.
Here we go, let the 300 hour yoga course begin.
We woke up while it was still dark and there were the sounds of people and animals getting ready; the neighbors were feeding their cows and preparing to wash and milk them.
That was when I drew a deep satisfying breath; Oh, how fresh the air feels while it touches my nose, it was a big relief since it showed that my body and senses were already attuned to living in this rural setting.
A nice, refreshing cup of warm herbal tea rejuvenated me before we started our day with yoga cleansing ‘Kriyas’; these kriyas included some novel activities like the tube that goes from nostrils to mouth or from mouth into the stomach), meditation, chanting mantras, practicing yoga postures and finally, it was time for breakfast.
Yoga therapy regimens were practiced and there were discourses on Yoga techniques and on yoga philosophy; this was followed by lunch
Yoga anatomy, yoga breathing, yoga nidra (sleep) followed with a little more warming-up yoga to close the day with breathing exercises(pranayama) and meditation.
We would have Sundays off and I would rush off to my favorite place called Maharishi Ashram (Beatles Ashram). It is sadly abandoned now but it did provide me some very exciting moments when I thought back to imagine myself with the Beatles as if they were still present with me. I am thrilled when I come here; I like this place very much as something there feels very strong and familiar.
It has an invisible energy, mystic, mysterious, wild, reflective, and even sexual. The ashram is swallowed and totally overrun by the jungle, the windows are all smashed.
You get a glimpse of wild elephant walking by if you were lucky; This happens to be a very serene and calming place, I observed. I have received some very emotional insights after coming to Rishikesh, some things which I never thought I would experience.
So may interesting people I met here; I’m going back a new person taking away many new understandings with me from this place.
I learned to not fear the darkness while meditating at night; I inhale darkness, I exhale darkness – I am immersed in Darkness. I have a resolution that I will always remember minutely the things that I picked up here.
When I learn something I’ll keep it in my mind forever. ‘Don’t accept what I say, Don’t reject what I’m saying, what I’m telling you is to hold on and experiment with it yourself.
What makes me grow up and take responsibility is to always perform my duty efficiently and without any concern for the results, because by doing work without worries one can obtain supreme results and confidence.
Take a hold of your own life. See that the whole universe is celebrating. These trees are not complaining, these birds are not crying. The rivers and the oceans are wild, and everywhere you see there is fun, everywhere there is joy and delight.
Watch existence, listen to the existence, feel the existence and become part of it.
I will miss all the sunrises and sunsets in the world but I will never give up the feel of the the Fresh cold air that kisses my nose while standing on the foothills of Himalaya.
Why should I ever forsake the enchanting memories of the wild, placid Ganges River that thoroughly cleansed my soul back to sublime purity.
Goodbye, beautiful, soulful Rishikesh, I shall keep coming back to see you again – Curving back within myself, I create again and again.