Sunday, March 20, 2011

The greatest 24 hours of my far...

The first time that Roshan, our yogi, told us that life can be so great that you feel as high without any chemical at all, I snorted and giggled under my breath. I thought sure, you are selling some magic fooey, you have never been high, but it's all in the package of the India Yogic idea, so I'll just put it in my mind as a possibility that I may one day acheive.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would happen in this blessed place.  I am so high on life right now I cannot even put it into words. And I am truly feeling grateful, happy, and I'm hooked on this new philosophy of life forever.

Finally, after 6 wonderful weeks, we graduated:

We all thought we were going to get some hokey certificate after our last yoga class, clap, and be done with it.  In our last session, the teachers all sat at the front of the yoga hall and talked about how much they loved teaching our group. Well that started the tsunami of emotions. They even cried. They passed around a pillow to each person and everyone got to talk about what they got out of the experience. I have never cried so much in my entire life. Everyone here came for a certain reason, and most of us are leaving with an experience that we will never forget for the rest of our lives. I left that session feeling like all a huge karthartic purge had just occured. It was the first step.
These guys went all out..and they all invited their families to join in the festivities and we got all dressed up:
We began with a cool puja, just like when we arrived, which involved a lot of vedic chanting and offerings of flowers to the hindu god:
We all made our offering, and moved down into the beatiful hall for a cool concert, put on by some super yogi's from around Rishikesh, one played a flute, and the other played that sitar shown above. Drums played...I will tell you, most of the session sounded like the song "The End" by the doors...but all in all it was pretty cool Indian traditional music. I chilled with the birthday girl Shannon...the massage therapist from New Zealand who is about to leave to work on a yacht as a hostess/therapist for a few months.. and she is going to hit Spain next week..I miss her already...
 Then, the teachers gathered and we received our certificates..and yes, when they called my name they made sure to say Eat, Pray and Love as a pre-empt to the call of my name. I was so touched. I beamed.
Here's me and my girls proudly displaying our swag:
So, after that, we were supposed to have a hokey talent show and call it a night. Boy were we wrong. After our dinner, someone started to dance, and it was the start of the biggest celebration in Rishikesh for hours and hours! The music could be heard all over.   About 10 of us commented on how we hadn't partied without at least a glass of wine in ages..which is kind of a sad commentary on our lives all over the world, but nonetheless it was a topic of conversation.  Whatever. After all this, I was not about to sit on the side. It was waaayyy too much fun:

Letting go and not worrying about impressing anyone, how I would look, and just having fun was a huge triumph for me. I made a major step in my recovery last night. I did not sit on a chair and wish I could let loose and have fun... like I usually do in a situation like that.  Once we were a few hours in, I felt on top of the world. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was loving and accepting each other, showing off their strengths in dance offs, jumping in the circle to showcase their yoga moves, and I was a part of it. I was included and I did not turn away. I relished in every moment. I wanted it to go on forever.

It was a full moon too and my girl Shannon's birthday: to celebrate we sat on her balcony at midnight and made wishes to the full moon, which is the closest to earth it's been for two decades.  Calling out your hopes and dreams to the moon is very therapeutic, I highly recommend it.  Finally we went to bed, with the plan that we would sleep in and do a yoga session this morning then go to breakfast at Oasis, our favorite restaurant by the ashram.
Ya right. yoga the morning after!

Due to the amazing intenal clock I have aquired after waking up at 630 for 6 weeks, its exactly when I woke up today.  We had no idea what we were in for...the biggest Festival of Colour celebration in India...marking the transition into spring and it's called Holi.  No time for yoga. As we went for breakfast, we noticed children on the rooves waiting to douse us with paint...and the day of craziness started. The music roared through the ashram and we came and changed into our holi clothes:

Mostly white to show off the colours. We were given some bags of powder paint and send into the streets to get attacked and to attack people. It was pretty wild

There are soooo many photos, but I posted them all on facebook for lack of room here on the blog.  We walked all over, and after getting tired of having more and more paint smeared on our faces we went back to the ashram and found this wonderful rave party going on and all the boys from there dancing. It was noon! we just started dancing and it was so wonderful...everyone was so loving and amazing.

 Everyone was a part of it and it went on and on and on. We were all covered in paint by the end...everyone was so dirty and so happy and was truly something that made me feel that high, that wonderful feeling where everything seems right with the world. Even though people were getting soaked, washed off, painted on, knocked over by dancing..we all still had love and happiness. Today I truly felt like I had exprienced something truly great. Rishikesh Yog Peeth is an atmosphere I will never forget for the rest of my life.
I sound like an advertisement for the place, huh? I hope that people read this blog and are inspired to walk into their yoga class for the first see what all this fuss is about that is changing lives so profoundly and bring people to the awareness of themselves that they have been searching for for so damn long.  Everyone here is a person who came to yoga from a kindred spirit, and they decided that there is something here that makes sense.  Enough to come across the world to figure out just what the meaning of it all is.  Maybe it's just the like minded people who show up here, the free spirits, people who get each other in the need to never live the oppressed worker bee lifestyle and stop enjoying life...and that in itself is so believe that we could have anything we wanted if we stop thinking that we cannot do it.
We are yoga. Yoga is in us. You just have to awaken your soul from within.
It will guide you in your journey. Just trust it.



  1. Jules,

    I enjoyed this post a lot. Really! I read it all from start to finish and then even revisited the page again! This is truly a fantastic read. Thank you! Yoga in Rishikesh is indeed amazing, although one could sometimes get lousy experience with some yoga "teachers". Anyways, I'm happy this is definitely not your case :-)

  2. I also enjoyed this blog. Thank you for writing about your experience. It's inspiring :)

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