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    Tuesday
    Apr302013

    Spring Musings

    The weather has changed delightfully, and I am reminded just how much the weather affects us.  Our moods, our bodies, our plans.  Last week was drizzly and cold and dreary and I think it matched the way a lot of us felt here in the Boston area after the events of the last few weeks.  It has been a crazy ride and I was very fortunate and grateful to be able to go out to the Berkshires last Wednesday and stay at Kripalu assisting the new class of Ayurveda there for five days.  I really needed this respite from the craziness of the city and the disheveled-ness of my own home.  We had just moved on the weekend of the marathon, and we didn't do a whole lot of unpacking that next week.

    The weather was very nice the day I left for Kripalu.  The sun shined and the birds sang.  I opened the windows and dove forth down the road to that constant of the Berkshires.  I needed someplace to feel like home and Kripalu certainly did.  I was thrown right into assisting a Snehana Cikitsa (Oil therapy) training right when I got there.  The students were giving each other bodywork with copious amounts of oil.  I find it interesting that the word for oil in Sanskrit is also one of the words for 'love' - Sneha.  Oil equates to love in Ayurveda.  Of course the basic premise of Ayurveda after you strip everything else away is just that - Love.  One of our teachers when I was in school, Dr. Claudia Welch, taught us to tap into the neuroplasticity of the mind by letting love be the first thing that we felt when we woke up in the morning.  She said to cultivate that feeling before doing anything else.  By doing that, she said, we would be able to approach the day with kindness and we would be more open and receptive to learning and being.

    Spring is a time for new beginnings and I have some things percolating that are going to be so amazing for all of us!!  I will share soon, as it is all coming together!!

    Tuesday
    Apr172012

    Rishikesh and Mother Ganga

    I am not sure why I wanted to go to Rishikesh so badly. It was ringing a gong in my head, so we went after our course was done in Faridabad. We got up at 4:00 AM to be ready for our taxi at 5 to make it to our train at 6:50. It is always recommended to get to the train station at least an hour ahead of time, because the station is a little crazy. Our train was at the platform furthest away from the entrance, and I am really glad that we insisted on having the taxi driver walk us all the way to our train, because we never would have found it without him. We got on with little to no confusion (so we thought), and were just settling in and congratulating ourselves on finding the right seats on the right car, when a nice family came up and informed us that we were in their seats. Apparently, we needed the next car over. Who knew? We finally got seated in the correct seats and settled in for the 6-hour train ride to Haridwar, the nearest town to Rishikesh that was big enough to have a train that ran more than once a day. Haridwar is about an hour away from Rishikesh, and we arranged a taxi to bring us right from the train to the guest house we were staying at. We were staying in the area of Rishikesh known as Swagashram, which is basically a group of ashrams on the banks of the river Ganges. It is absolutely lovely. There are two bridges spanning the river: the Lakshman Jula and the Ram Jula. The Laksman Jula is a suspension bridge for pedestrians, and it sways with the weight of the people, cows, and motorcycles that make their way back and forth over the Ganges. The Ram Jula is a smaller bridge, which seems older but more stable.

    There were two types of monkeys in Rishikesh. The smaller, brownish-red, evil, thieving monkeys, and the very sweet, patient, and cute grey monkeys. The grey ones somehow learned what the red ones did not: that we should practice asteya, non-stealing. I watched as one of the red monkeys ripped a bag of grapes out of an unsuspecting woman's hand as she stood talking to a walla. He took the whole bag and jumped up onto a wall to munch away, baring his teeth at anyone who came close.

    The river Ganges is as spectacular as the Himalayas. The whole place was absolutely stunning, and next time, I need to spend more than a week here...

    Saturday
    Mar172012

    Farm Life in India

    We were very lucky to get to visit a local organic farm as part of our school program. One of the teachers at the Jiva Free School for children and her husband have a farm a little ways out of the city of Faridabad. It was stunning. We were greeted first by a snake charmer and then by some of the most beautiful children I have ever seen. We were spoiled with fresh chapattis cooked the traditional way, over cow dung fuel in a kind of skillet. They were the best things I had ever tasted.

    Saturday
    Mar172012

    Taj Mahal

    It's not everyday that you get to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but that's one of the things we did on our weekend in Vrindaven. It was a stunning place, and despite all the people, it was very peaceful.

    Saturday
    Mar172012

    Vrindaven Weekend

    We spent a quick weekend in Vrindaven, a holy city about 2 hours south of Faridabad. There is another Jiva clinic there with Dr. Pratap Chauhan's brother in residence. This clinic focuses more on Vedic studies and spirituality, and is more of an ashram than a clinic. It was amazing. We visited the Goshala, a Cow Sanctuary set up by Babaji's Guru. It was amazing to see all those cows being cared for so meticulously. Babji is a term of endearment used for Gurus such as Dr. Chauhan's brother, Dr. Satyanarayana Dasa. It was an amazing trip, and I am delighted that I and my traveling companion Sara will be returning to the ashram to do seva there for 15 days.