Yoga class

What are the Best Ways to Learn Yoga?

Yoga is a complete lifestyle that encompasses the mind, body and spirit. My first instructor used to say, “It’s a work-in, not a workout.” It is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the practice of various breathing exercises (pranayamas), yoga poses (asanas) and meditation (dhyana). Many people often ask me what is the best way to start yoga or how to start doing yoga at home. There are many possibilities for how to start a yoga practice, but these are the best ways to start yoga.

The first thing you should know is that there are many different types of yoga. Why are there so many different types of yoga? The answer is simple, because there are so many different types of people in the world, and everyone has different preferences. The styles can be vastly different so it is a good idea to learn a little bit about them ahead of time so you can choose the type of yoga that is best for you.

Types of Yoga

 

Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures (asanas). This is typically where most people get their yoga start. This is where you will learn basic yoga poses. Ashtanga is a rigorous style of yoga that follows a very specific sequence of postures and those postures are normally held for a longer period of time. Vinyasa classes are known for their fluid like movement or yoga flow. Vinyasa teachers carefully choreograph their classes for smooth transitions from pose to pose. Generally, they play music and sometimes it feels almost like a dance. Iyengar yoga is a very meticulous typed of yoga, with utmost attention spent on finding the proper alignment in a pose. In order to assist each student with achieving the proper alignment, an Iyengar yoga studio will stock a wide array of yoga props, like blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and pillows.  In a Bikram class, you will sweat a lot as you work your way through a series of 26 poses. Like Ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, but the class is taught in a heated room, much like Hot yoga.  Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is a hot yoga studio must deviate from Bikram’s sequence in some way, because the Bikram sequence is trademarked, so they must call themselves by another name.

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Indian man serving samosa

6 Yummy Indian Street Foods You Simply Must Try

Indian food is hard to beat. From Masala Dosa, to Thali, and Butter Chicken, it’s all mouth watering good. The street food is equally as delicious, but just a fraction of the cost. It’s also fast and convenient. However, if you are a westernized foreigner visiting India for the first time, you should proceed carefully. Indians don’t have any sanitation standards for their street carts. They don’t wear rubber gloves. Hell, they probably don’t even wash their hands. So, if you have a tender stomach I suggest you avoid Indian street food, but if you’re ready to indulge in some serious India treats, these are six yummy Indian street foods you simply must try.

Samosa

Samosa is my new favorite Indian street food, and it costs only 10 rupees! That’s about twenty cents in USD. Samosa is a crispy deep fried snack with a flaky outer crust. Inside is a rich spicy filling of mashed potatoes and peas. It is usually served with a sweet and spicy sauce that reminds me a little of chutney.

Ramana's Garden Cafe in Rishikesh

Ramana’s Garden and Children’s Home: A Cherished Icon of Rishikesh

I had the pleasure of spending Halloween night celebrating in style with the beautiful children of Ramana’s Children’s Home. As we danced to blaring Hindi hip hop under the vivid flashing lights, I felt someone tenderly tap my leg. I looked down to see the cutest little girl reach up to me. She wanted to…

The Ganga River in Rishikesh

Why My Love Affair With Rishikesh India is Over

All my life I’ve had a terrible pattern of falling in love with the wrong people, people that weren’t a good match for me. In the beginning of the relationship I’m overcome with a sudden burst of intense chemistry, and then I spend years, or even decades, trying to make it work. Now I realize that I did the same thing with Rishikesh India. At first I was attracted to her picturesque beauty, exotic charm, clean air, and the mighty Mother Ganga. But like any new relationship, the once rose colored glasses have turned dark. Now that the new relationship energy is over, I’ve begun to see obvious red-flags that I missed before.

I came back to Rishikesh for one main reason, to decide if I wanted to move here. All of the yoga, spiritual classes, Ayurveda, and recreation are very alluring. Plus, it’s cheap here, really cheap! I could probably live in Rishikesh comfortably on $500 a month. Unfortunately I’ve decided that inexpensive living is not enough for me. After a month in Rishikesh the clear answer is no. I can’t live here. These are the reasons why my love affair with Rishikesh, India is over.

Air Pollution

 

The first time I came to Rishikesh, in early 2016, I cried tears of joy when I saw the brilliant blue sky. Keep in mind that I had just left New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities on the planet. I hadn’t seen a shade of blue in the sky for months. The pollution in Delhi was so bad that on most days I could stare directly at the sun because it appeared blurry and orange through the grey dense smog. Rishikesh is in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains and she looked shiny and new to me compared to Delhi, a good 7 hour drive away.

Sunset on the Ganga River

What’s all This Spiritual Stuff Going on in Rishikesh, India?

The first few time I visited Rishikesh I was astounded by all the usual tourist activities, such as white water rafting on the Ganga River, trekking through the Himalaya mountains, and shopping for exotic handicrafts. Then, last year around this time I took a 200 hour yoga teaching training course and learned that Rishikesh has…

Neer Gaddu Waterfall (level 2)

The Tranquility of Neer Gaddu Waterfall in Rishikesh

Nestled in the foothills of the Himalaya, Mountains, on the banks of what the Indian people call “Mother Ganga”, is the city of Rishikesh, India. Rishikesh, is a trekkers dream. It doesn’t matter if you want an easy stroll along the Ganges, or a hardcore excursion straight up a mountain side, because there’s something for everyone. One of my favorite places to pass a lazy afternoon is at Neer Gaddu Waterfall, which is a simple 30 minute trek. Here is how to find and enjoy the tranquility of Neer Gaddu Waterfall.

How to Get There

 

Only about 6 kilometers east of the Topovan area of Rishikesh is one of the many precious gems of the Himalayas. You can easily access the falls by car, scooter, motorcycle, or by trekking from the main road. Before you head up the gravel path though you’ll need to buy an entrance ticket from the little shop down on the paved road. The fee is about 20 INR for Indians and 50 INR for foreigners. The Indian people always charge foreigners more, so don’t be surprised. It’s just the way it is. You may be asked for your entrance ticket or you might not, but I wouldn’t risk it.

Indian wedding ceremony

The Tradition and Grandeur of an Indian Wedding Reception

It was hard to believe that what was once a vacant lot was now decorated in beautiful orange and white colors from floor to ceiling. I swear, the Indian people can make anything beautiful. They take great pride in their weddings, and this one was no exception. Arun was one of my employees at my last corporate job, and I wasn’t going to miss his wedding to his beautiful bride, Aashna, for anything. It was in Delhi, 7 hours away from Rishikesh, but I made the journey anyway so that I could show my support, and experience the tradition and grandeur of a real Indian wedding reception.

The Invitation

 

The Indian people give out a “wedding card” instead of an invitation. It looks like a fancy booklet, with details of the wedding and the reception inside. This one was written in English and even had an QR code inside. The outside was a lavish yellow satin.

Love

Why Love Does Not Conquer All

Love does not overcome all. Oh, we like to think it does. Disney convinced us as young kids that it does. Cinderella gets her shoe back and weds the Prince. Sandy and Danny drive off into the clouds in their new tricked out muscle car, and…well, you get the idea. The fact is, reality is much different. It’s often more like the Titanic and Rose having to let Jack go into the depths of the sea. Life is hard, and so is love. Love can’t make an alcoholic sober, and it can’t cure cancer.

Be Careful Who You Love

I’m kind of an expert on this subject. You see, I fell for the wrong man, again. I didn’t mean to fall in love with someone twenty years younger than me and from another country. But we can’t help who we fall in love with, or can we? Is there a moment, in the early stages of passion, where you can choose to move forward, or to stop before someone gets hurt? We had the opportunity. Kirti tried to explain to me that it would never work, but I’m stubborn and tenacious and was determined to make us the exception. Unfortunately, we weren’t.