I feel there has been so much that has happened the last 5 days that I don’t even know what to begin with, but here is an update on my Yoga Teacher Training so far.
There are 19 women and one man also attending the training. I had no idea who was going to be here or how many people, but I was not surprised that everyone is around the ages 20-36 and come from all over the world: South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy, Canada, Greece, Mexico, Belgium, annddd I must be forgetting somewhere else.
I would say, this is definitely one of the COOLEST things about being here. Learning from so many different cultures and talking to one another and listening is opening up my world so, so much and reminds me that human connection is universal.
This is what makes traveling so beautiful, the opportunity to see how other people live and be able to connect and share with this human experience.
I’ve already learned so much from learning about the Greece/Turkey conflict and how they experience so much racism towards the other to learning that YOU CAN’T FLUSH TOILET PAPER DOWN THE TOILET and this is true in many countries including European countries, about the vegan culture in Germany, what people eat during the winter, just little things about life in other countries that I find so fascinating.
Second, I truly feel I am at yoga hogwarts. We have a full schedule from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm and take classes like hatha yoga, pranayama, mantras, philosophy, anatomy, ashtanga yoga, and meditation.
I am SO enjoying being back in school. I love learning so much and expanding my mind and I am so so grateful that I gave myself this time to dive into my spirituality aka MAGIC.
All of our teachers are male, which seems common in India.
My body and mind are adjusting to the schedule and food here. Our food is actually delicious. For breakfast we have oatmeal and fruit and chai and chapati and sometimes rice. For lunch & dinner, we have rice always, chapati, vegetable curries and soups and everything has been pretty tasty so far.
The jet lag has been intense and I got a little cold probably from all the traveling, but I feel that I’m finally starting to adjust to this time change. I’ve been waking up at 5 am every day to do morning pages and then go to class, and by 8 pm I am already so exhausted and wish to sleep, but try to sleep at 9 pm as to not disturb my roommate.
Rishikesh is known as being very safe since it caters to westerners with all the yoga teacher trainings (which feels a little capitalist in it’s own way). The people here live on top of each other and drive like maniacs and cows and monkeys and stray dogs walk amongst everyone. It is beautiful chaos.
You still see beggars and poop on the street everywhere from all the animals and maybe humans and there is trash everywhere and they burn the trash here which has a terrible smell, and there is a lot of construction going on here which they all do BY HAND which seems insane. There is so much noise at all times. Right now, I can hear loud drilling, children screaming, cars honking, neighbors talking, and music playing.
All of this chaos, yet there is a beauty to the simplicity here. I’m learning that you don’t need much. You don’t need luxury. You don’t need new or fancy things. So many people live like this all over the world and they are happy.
They laugh more.
Also, the fact that we are right next to the Ganges River and Himalayan mountains is a complete DREAM.
We’ve had the chance to have so many adventures so far.
Our first night, we attended a burning of Rama for the start of Diwali which is happening later this month. Everyone stood on the Laxman Jhula bridge which is this narrow bridge above the Ganges that has everything from monkeys to cows to people walking to motorbikes riding on it.
We also attended Ganga Arti which is a ceremony they do daily during sunset only in three places in the world and Rishikesh is one of them. It was at an ashram and we basically just chanted for two hours. People make pilgrimages all over the world to attend this ceremony, so it felt pretty special that we got to experience it.
Just this morning, we woke up at 4 am to watch the sunrise on the top of the Himalayan mountains. It was beautiful and spiritual and also very touristic and you could barely see the sunset because there were so many people just standing there with their phones and having “insta photoshoots” which makes me sad.
I still pull out my phone to take pictures, but then I put it away, and you can see how people are so obsessed and don’t put it down for a second to just enjoy the moment.
We also went WHITE WATER RIVER RAFTING today in the Ganges which was terrifying and also the most fun I’ve had in awhile.
It was about 2 hours of rafting down intense rapids, jumping out and floating in the holy water, and laughing and shouting “JAI” to the sky every time we went down a different rapid.
At some point, we stopped on the banks of the Ganges where all the rafts stop and there were people selling chai and biscuits and some sort of noodle dish and jumping off rocks and sitting in mini waterfalls smoking hash and drinking chai and laughing and jumping over rocks.
It was like this huge community gathering and people would pull out a hand to help strangers cross the river and you could sit among old women with their makeshift fires cooking some Indian dishes and I truly felt so happy and alive in this foreign place. It was beautiful.
Tonight, a bunch of us are attending a full moon women’s circle (which is 3 hours long) in town which I am excited for.
I feel I am learning so much just minute by minute and am thinking of all my old stories that I have and the way in which I see the world and just diving more deeply into “being”.
One thing that has been clear to me, is that the time to step up is now.
The past couple years, since graduating college, I have been so scared of sharing my truth and my light. I have experienced self doubt. I have experienced second guessing. I have experienced the very HUMAN emotions of feeling like I’m going to be judged or that nobody cares about what I have to say or that I’m not enough or that I’m not worthy of realizing my dreams or that it’s okay to settle and just live an average, comfortable life, but I can feel in every cell of my being that this is all BULLSHIT.
My goal now is to keep sharing and opening my heart to everyone. To live vulnerably and authentically. To share my truth and connect with other people. To know that I have GIFTS to offer the world, and the more I withhold them, the more I am doing a disservice to the world.
The same goes for you and your gifts. Do not hold them in. Do not let your human ego get in the way of letting your soul shine.
You matter and it matters. It might feel scary, but that’s because it’s always scary when you choose to live life with all of your heart and refuse to numb yourself and your emotions and be a walking zombie person like so many of us are, who live life on the hamster wheel.
I refuse to live that way.
Life is meant to be lived, and our vulnerability is what connects us.
Tell your truth and share your stories.
On that note:
If you want to see more of the “behind the scenes” and “a day in the life” of this new adventure, follow my Instagram @the_modernmermaid. I am only posting there and am thinking of completely deactivating my personal account for the time being so I can focus more on sharing more openly and authentically on that space.
With so much love!