Our second week started with a trek up the mountain near our ashram.It was a 6km up and down hike, giving us breathtaking views of Ganga flowing in the valley. By now, we have quite settled with the the routine at the ashram. We are living the vegan experience – this week, we explored interesting snacks – oil free Batata Vada, Chappatti Ladoos, Apple Jam olls, Chickpea Hummus, tea with cashew milk, fresh sandroasted popcorn and what not! It is very interesting to see how apples are used in everyday cooking here including chutney, given the abundance in which they are grown here
Many of the participants have started losing weight and feeling more energetic and no complains as such of tea withdrawl symptoms from those who couldn’t start their day with a cup of regular milk chai! Our taste buds seem to have adjusted to oil-free, sugar-free food and we have started enjoying the actual taste of veggies and fruits.
Yoga Anatomy and Philosophy lectures have started on in full swing. Participants have started practising to learn and instruct. Suryanamaskars and Vinyasa flow sequences. Philosophy sessions are as usual open ended, we quickly seem to flow from one debate to another.
TRATAKA – A quiet evening was spent on yogic visual concentration practice of Trataka and gazing at a candle flame. Try it and be blown away!
YIN YOGA – A Yin Yoga practice led with soft music playing in the background was a perfect way to end our day – a perfect compliment to the vinyasa session we usually have. A round of claps for the teacher just proved how much we loved just sitting within ourselves, being still and feeling the sense of calmness.
SHATKARMA DAY – It was a day of full detoxification with three-fold
cleansing as we practiced laghushankhaprakshalan (deep colon cleanse), kunjal (forcefully vomitting out salt water to clean stomach and upper digestive track) and jala neti (nasal cleansing with salt water) practices. A light day (literally!) as we were feeling light within and the constant banter of lighthearted jokes about how each ones’s kunjal and toilet experience was!
MAHA MRITYUNJAY MANTRA CHANTING – Maha Mrityunjay Mantra is a life giving mantra. We had an evening of chanting the mantra 108 times in a constant fixed rhythm. Chanting it with sincerity and faith sure did leave us with a positive and energised state of mind. It was also a pranayama practice with the mantra being chanted in 2 parts with a breath in between for ease of chanting. With the blessings of Lord Shiva, may the mantra uplift our life and help us to overcome difficulties that lie ahead in our journey of becoming good yoga teachers!
One of the evenings was an impromptu session of songs sung by the local ashram boys. It was such a joy to hear their rustic voices singing local Garhwali songs, Bhajans and Bollywood numbers as well. We have many talented participants who sportingly came forward to sing too. Adding charm to the whole musical evening was a Bharatnatyam piece on Shiva performed by one of the participants who is a trained dancer and of course, a few rounds of Antakshri to close it all!
Some of us not keeping well has been a slight bummer with energy levels taking a dip. Walks up the hill slopes to explore the small shops near our ashram at the end of our day is a welcome change. They are no less than a mini supermarket considering how small this village is! Walks along the stony banks of the river flowing next, star gazing at the clear skies with the silvery moonlight on the flowing waters of Ganga. Many jokes and light moments shared, with some of us constantly locking in our room mates. With course midway, participants have started putting in self study sessions late into the night.
As the week draws to a close, thoughts of getting back to our homes and usual lives are making us look forward to it, at the same time a bit low that this programme and experience is shortly going to come to an end. And as they say…life goes on, but memories last forever – what we take back from this programme will last forever.