After a long flight and the usual harrowing taxi ride from Mumbai to Nashik, I sit here at an internet cafe on the first of the only two days off I will get from my yoga studies this month. After a week of practice my knees are so far surviving the long periods sitting cross-legged for meditation and chanting, as is my neck from the ever increasing periods of time in shoulder stand. However the minor aches and pains from the physical part of my yoga journey are more than made up for by the beautiful views of the countryside from the windows of our asana practice space. We are in the midst of the last half of rainy season so there is a regular refreshing morning downpour that hits the roof as we do our daily sun salutations. I am feeling particularly calm and centered today, possibly due to having just completed the first of several days of silence. Life at the ashram is starting to sink into my bones. It has been a wonderful week of morning and evening asana and pranayama classes with lectures, cleansing practices and karma yoga littered in between. As the advanced students at the ashram, in addition to our regular studies and practices, we are expected to do two hours of karma yoga daily. While I do enjoy the gardening and window washing I am less enamored of the floor scrubbing assignments. Once done though we are fortunate to be fed the most beautiful, natural and nutritious food made by the local ladies in long flowing saris. It is so nourishing and tasty that I almost feel bad enjoying it so much. Imagine waking at 5:00am for chanting, two hours of asana and an hour of karma yoga before finally arriving at the dining hall for sprouted mung and mukti beans mixed with dates, tomatoes and nuts, served with a side of papaya and lemon grass tea. It is heavenly and all, of course, eaten in silence so that you genuinely taste the flavour, experience the texture and feel gratitude to the source as you listen to the chirping sound of the birds and the crickets. This alone is worth a 30 hour transit.
Written by Bobby Bessey, B.Sc. , RYT, Doula