Namaskar! Greetings from India!
As you may already know, I decided to come to India for further yoga teacher training. I completed a course back home in 2014 that was great and equipped me to teach in the capacity that I have been so far. However, I plan on developing a specific type of yoga therapy for victims of trauma (specifically for working with human trafficking victims), and knew I needed more education. So I found a reputable 500hour program in Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga.
I arrived a week ago yesterday and will be here until May 1st. I will send you a weekly email with updates on how my training is going and what I'm up to.
I've traveled to many places so far, and India is definitely unlike anywhere else I've been. It's crowded and noisy, vibrant, dirty, and just beautiful.
Along the roads there is all kinds of traffic and it takes forever to get anywhere. The streets are busy with cars, trucks, buses, motor bikes and scooters, pedestrians, and cows!
Monkeys are everywhere! On Sunday evening, I went on a walk with some of my classmates and while we were crossing a bridge, some monkeys that were hanging out there started attacking people! I don't think anyone got hurt, but at least a couple of people were intimidated into surrendering their ice cream or whatever snacks they were carrying. It was hilarious and also kind of scary!
I am in an area that sees a lot of tourism, and yet it doesn't feel "touristy" or Westernized one bit. I also feel very safe here, even more so than when I've traveled to Central and South America, where I've blended in a little more seamlessly, both by my looks and being able to speak the language. (Here I'm told I look Indian until I open my mouth).
Rishikesh is located in the north of India near the Himalayas, and the view from my room's balcony is a wall of green mountains. We are also less than a five minute walk from the Ganges River, which is very clean here and is a gorgeous light blue-green color.
Rishikesh is also a vegetarian zone, and meat and alcohol are completely prohibited.
My course is intense but so much fun. I have the most wonderful roommate, Ieva (pronounced like Yay-vah), from Lithuania. My classmates come from all corners of the globe, and it's so much fun being in such an international group. There are about 45 of us all together.
Our days start at 5am with a morning bell to wake us up, and we have group chanting at 5:45. After that, we have breathing, meditation, and physical posture classes until 10 when we have breakfast together. We aren't allowed to speak at breakfast, which has been a really difficult adjustment for all of us (and no one has been particularly successful). The rest of our day is full with classes and we are free after dinner around 7:30pm until "lights out" at 9.
On Thursdays we only have school for half of the day, so today my friends and I got caught up on laundry and cleaning and then went on a quest to find dark chocolate. We've been eating a strict "Satvic" diet, which has been carbohydrate-heavy, pretty low on protein, and a little bland. After searching in several little shops every time we've wandered off campus, today we finally found some! It's expensive here, as one bar cost 250 Indian Rupees (for context, I bought a brass and real turquoise ring for 100 INR), but we were so glad to find it that we didn't care.
I am having a great time! I miss home for the people but I can already tell that I'm not going to want to leave in two months from now. It's still pretty hard to believe that I'm actually here!
Please feel free to reach out to me at any time. The internet isn't as fast here as it is there, and we have a 10 and a half hour time difference, but I'll do my best to reply promptly.
Thank you for following along!
w e l c o m e