A couple of weeks ago we visited the Beatles-ashram. It was beautiful! Although, it’s already empty for decades, we could still see how it must have been, when they were here. It’s really a shame to let such a big ashram fall apart. Nobody knows why the government keeps it empty. A lot of people want to buy it, because it’s huge and the buildings are beautiful. Some stories say that, after the Beatles went there, a lot of hippies came to that ashram and used drugs. And that’s when the government came and bought the place and kept it empty. Nobody is supposed to go inside, but if you give 50 rupees to the guard (who is always drunk), he’ll let you in.
On February 1, I started the yoga teacher training course. We’re with 17 people from all over the world: 16 girls and 1 boy. The age is between 20 and 50 years old. A diverse group, but a good one, we get along with each other very well.
The program is as follows:
7.15 AM – 8.00 AM mantra chanting and pranayama (breathing exercises)
8.15 AM – 9.45 AM yoga asana’s
10.00 AM breakfast
10.45 AM – 11.45 AM yoga philosophy
12.30 AM lunch (buffet, yippie!!!)
3.00 PM – 4.00PM human anatomy and physiology (boring, but necessary, I guess)
4.15 PM – 6.00 PM yoga asana’s
6.30PM – 7.30PM pranayama and meditation
This 6 days a week, on Sunday we have from 8.00 am till 9.00 am kriya, cleansing.
I love the course! I learn a lot from it.
On February 12, we went to Haridwar, because that was an auspicious day again to bathe in the Ganges and it was special because all the sadhu’s would bathe on that day. It was nice to see men that meditate in the mountains for years to come down and bathe in the river. Most of them were naked, and covered in ash (I will put some pics on facebook). The ash is to keep them warm, they don’t want to wear any clothes anymore. Then we saw a procession with the guru’s carried on a platform.
But it was very crowded! So much so, that at a certain point, Kim (a girl in my group) and I got separated from the group and the crowd was pulling and pushing from every direction. We got both very scared. At one point, the police wanted to make a passage in the midst of the crowd, swaying with there lathi’s (bamboo sticks) at the crowd. It was pure madness. I couldn’t breathe and Kim and I lost each other’s hand. This was the scariest experience in my life! I thought I would loose balance and be tramped over by the crowd. After several minutes, which it seemed lasted for hours, we got out of the crowd. I never want to experience that in my life again! Now I know why I don’t like crowds and how it can happen that people die in it. Kim and I were holding on to each other, even after we got free, because our heart was pounding and our legs were shaking. We found the rest of the group again, but we had it for that day. We couldn’t enjoy everything around us anymore. Others had a similar experience and most of us wanted to go back. It was 12.30 by that time. We went to the train station (there was an army guy with a rifle behind a shelter made of sandbags. We saw a lot of army men with rifles. I wonder what they thought the threat was), but our train to Rishikesh would be there around 3.30pm. So, we decided to go back by rikshaw: big mistake! Everything was barricaded. We went to one point and the army was telling us to go back and go another way to get on the road. When we arrived there, the passage was closed by the army as well, so we had to go back again and try another way. It was as if we were walking in circles. Finally, around 3.40pm we got on the road and we found rikshaws to take us back to Rishikesh. It was an exhausting day!! But, it was worth the experience. I know that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, because it only happens once every 12 years.
Today on 21 february, we had another cleansing experience (our first experience is to pour lukewarm salty water down 1 nostril and it comes out the other nostril, to clean your nose): we had to drink 12 glasses of salty water, in between every 2 glasses we had to do 5 different simple yoga postures, so that the water can go through our intestins easily. It supposed to cleanse all your intestins. We had a light meal the night before and we couldn’t eat or drink anything else before we started. After 6 glasses there were already some people running out of class. After the whole session it was good to stay near a toilet. I got cleansed alright! At lunch we got kichari, a soup made of lentils, beans and a bit of rice. It was the best I’ve eaten, after hours of salty water!! We can’t drink anything until this evening and in the evening we get another portion of kichari. Everybody lacks energy right now and I have a bit of a headache. I hope I’m toxin free now, but I’m also looking forward to tomorrow: normal food again! My morning coffee and oatmeal will feel like I’m in heaven 🙂
Om shanti everyone