It’s not all hard work at Rishikesh Yog Peeth. We are now in our third week of a four week course and we’ve made many new friends along the way. There may even be some romance blooming amongst some students (shhhh). We have a lot of fun between classes and on the weekends, so you can hear laughter ringing through the halls on a regular basis. The ashram obviously tries really hard to build a sense of family and to create some fun memories for everyone. Here are just a few things that we’ve enjoyed, along with a short interview with a couple of my new friends.
Trek up to a temple for an early morning blessing
A large group of students went on a short hike up a mountain to a temple to receive a special blessing from a spiritual leader. My weekends have been busy with Kirti because we have only a few days left to enjoy each other’s company for a while, but it sounds like the group had a wonderful time. Many of the students here are clearly enjoying the spiritual aspects of the program.
White water rafting
Rishikesh is known for white water rafting and the students of Yog Peeth really had a blast. Rafting in the turquoise water of the Ganges River is an experience I’ll never forget. The rapids are a thrill and the majestic beauty of the Himalaya Mountains surrounding you leaves a lasting impression.
For Christmas Rishikesh Yog Peeth surprised us all with a lovely Christmas tree, festive Christmas lights and traditional Christmas music. Everyone sat around the bonfire in the courtyard and some people played guitar while others sang. It felt a little bit like Christmas at summer camp.
This Saturday we are having a talent show. Everyone is encouraged to share something. I hear that we can expect everything from jokes, to singing, to comedy. I haven’t yet decided which of my many talents to share (haha). I’m leaning towards entertaining my poor friends with my notorious animal noises.
My new friends
The other students here fascinate me. Everyone has a unique story and different reasons for being here. Here are a couple of great examples.
1) Dawn Sorenson, California:
Dawn Sorenson came here all the way from Los Angeles, California to learn traditional yoga in its original birthplace. She describes herself as an artist, writer, yogi and lover. She is also a blogger and you can follow her at www.dawnrisesagain.com. Dawn was raised as the only child of a single mom with a disability and has personally struggled with weak bones her entire life. So, yoga appeals to her quest for improved strength and wellness. She said she is enjoying learning about the connection between breath, alignment, and digestion with overall health. She also loves the mind, body and spirit approach of yoga. Her goal is to improve her own daily yoga practice. In fact, when we are done here, she and I plan to keep in touch on a regular basis so we can encourage each other to keep doing yoga on our own and hold each other accountable for our progress.
2) Sergio Zennaro, Italy:
Sergio Zennaro is from Italy. The first thing you notice about Sergio is his massive dread locks that hang down to his butt. However, underneath that huge head of hair is an incredibly intelligent web master. Sergio is a world traveler and an avid surfer. He’s surfed in some very exotic places, including Sri Lanka, Brazil, Costa Rica, Spain and Morocco. He’s always wanted to visit India and yoga is one of his favorite ways of relaxing. So, learning more about yoga in India seemed like a great idea. When I asked him what he likes most about Rishikesh Yog Peeth he said he loves the people. The positive energy here is so uplifting!
These are the people and events that make all of our hard work feel worth it. We are slowly beginning to feel like a family so it’s going to be very difficult to say good bye to everyone at the end of next week.