As I prepare for this year’s journey to India, it has given me time to reflect over my most recent trip there. It was the first time I had the opportunity to travel there alone; no students, no children, no friends—just me! As I sit and ponder what to share with you, I’m overwhelmed with all the precious memories of each trip but there are some definitive things I need to share…
Well, let’s start here: I’ve been traveling to India since February 2008 and each time it has been to primarily bring students for YogaFit as a part of the 500 RYT program. You will hear me say this more than once, but I truly believe ALL yogis need to travel to Rishikesh at least once in their lifetime. It’s where it all began…
This year will be 10 years of me having the honor of going and taking yogis and yoginis to the birthplace of Yoga, Rishikesh, India. I’m sure you are saying “Where is that?” Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Ganga (Ganges) River travels from the mountains and separates this spiritual and magical place.
There are several choices to get to this sacred nation. There are direct flights from Chicago on Air India, Newark on United Airlines, and numerous ones from New York City but flying for 14-16 hours non-stop just does not thrill me! I need to get off, walk around, break it up—8 hours to either Paris, or Amsterdam (both very cool cities; Amsterdam being my favorite between the two). So consider making a stop! You won’t regret it! And then on to Delhi (another 8 or 9 hour flight). Whew!
Delhi reminds me of most large major cities in the US—bustling, noisy, crowded, and more. You will definitely be highly stimulated once you arrive. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. Once here we have about a 6–7 hour drive north into the foothills of the Himalayas and Rishikesh, India!
The drive north is one of transition and wonderment. Honking horns, big trucks, bicycles, motorcycles with 5 people on one, cars, buses, tractors, tuk tuks (3 wheeled vehicle), yellow monkeys, gray monkeys, dogs, donkeys…Oh and of course we can’t forget COWS and people. No real traffic laws except HONK to let them know you are coming. The farther we get away from Delhi and move north, the quieter and more scenic it becomes.
Once we arrive, I’m HOME! Then all the familiar sounds, smells, and sights bring back that place of peace in my heart. The smell of dhoop (natural sandalwood), the colorful stands of fresh fruit, veggies, spices, nuts, popcorn, temples, music, chanting, and so much more.
The weather is perfect in November; cool, crisp mornings and evenings (45-50°) and amazing warm days of sun ( 70-80°)! During our stay we begin our day with puja, meditation, asana practice, and sharing of wisdom with my teacher, Anand Mehortra of Sattva Yoga. We then visit different parts of the area, biking or driving, and enjoy the fresh, yummy food (just the thought is making my mouth pop and water).
Once again, I truly believe ALL yogi’s need to make the journey to our Mecca—Mother India and especially Rishikesh, which translates to “Lord of the Senses” who is Vishnu, the preserver of creation. It’s spiritually blessed land—the yogi holy land!
Here resides the original Sivananda Ashram, Parmath Niketan, Vasistha’s Cave, the beginning of the amazing Ganges river, Maharishi Mahesh Ashram (where the Beatles resided), and more.
It’s time. I PROMISE you will not regret the journey and I will bet money you will want to return!
Our dates this year are November 1-15. Register now!