Thursday, 6 October 2011

5, 6 October 2011: Rishikesh

View from the yoga room. There are mountains beyond mountains, but the fog obscures them.
Not much to report. I'm settling into the routine here at the school nicely. I like waking up so early. I like the balance of structured learning/practicing/eating and open free time.

I might look into doing another ashram-type experience once I'm finished here. I'm also looking into WWOOF opportunities in India (working on an organic farm in exchange for room and board). Having spent time in both Delhi and Rishikesh, I definitely prefer smaller communities. The pace is less frenetic and the people less forward and pushy. People invite you into their shops here rather than following you for a quarter mile begging for your patronage. Plus, it's a tourist town and they're very accustomed to Westerners, so there's less obtrusive staring.

Yesterday, I had my eyebrows threaded. It took ten minutes and cost $1. I'm pleased with the results, though the brows are much thinner than I normally shape them. It was more painful than waxing or plucking because she had to keep going over the same areas over and over. I had to hold the skin of my eyelid taught while she threaded. It was a good experience and I'll continue to groom my brows this way for the rest of my stay.

After that, I wandered into the village and sat in a cafe that overlooked the Ganges for an hour drinking a papaya lassi. $0.50.

On my way back to the village, a monkey jumped off a wall and started approaching me. Aggressively. A village woman saw the altercation and successfully chased him off. I'm now a bit less enamored of the wildlife, but that doesn't stop the nervio I experience every time I see a baby monkey. Squee.

My evening asana class is moved up so we can attend Dasara on the river. It's my understanding that a large statue, an effigy of negativity, will be burned at sunset. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited to see this.

Yesterday we watched a documentary called Dirt. The teacher is very passionate about food systems and sustainable agriculture. I didn't expect to be talking about this sort of thing, but it feels like a complementary subject. I'd somewhat lost interest in gardening over the past several months and this program has surprisingly reignited it. I look forward to setting up another garden wherever I end up once I'm back in the states. As an aside, Paul Stamets, my favorite mycologist, was featured in the documentary, and I got a little choked up seeing someone so (tangentially) familiar to me in such a foreign place.

I like living with an international community. I like communal living in general so far, which, as an introvert, is a little surprising. There are students from Iran, Singapore, Holland, England, Russia, Canada, Mexico, China, Malaysia, France, New Zealand, United States, Turkey, and Australia. And those are just the countries I can remember. It's a very positive and open group, and I look forward to getting to know everyone better over the coming months.

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