Yesterday, while doing yoga alone on the shores of the Ganges river, and later browsing through the products in the local ayurvedic store (India’s version of naturopathic remedies) it occurred to me. I’m turning into a hippie, and I’m okay with it!
I’m not sure if it’s Rishikesh, my introduction to yoga, or both, but I’m keenly aware of the changes taking place in me, and it’s exciting! Yesterday was an extraordinary day of peace and tranquility and I felt so blessed. Here is how I spent a rare day off from Rishkesh Yog Peeth, yoga teacher training school.
I did my own laundry by hand
So what, you’re wondering? Why is that a big deal? Well, I haven’t done my own laundry by hand since I was a teenager and in the Dominican Republic for a summer. I’ve always had a washer and dryer at my disposal or had my dirty laundry picked up and delivered to me. I realize now how spoiled that makes me sound and it’s kind of embarrassing. That too is a change!
I bought tea and ice cream for under privileged people
I’m normally the kind of person that gets annoyed by beggars or homeless people. However, I’ve become friends with a baba here, Baba Ganesh Giri (I’m guessing at the spelling). A couple of times a week I visit him in his usual spot down by the river and we just smile and talk a brief amount of Hinglish. Yesterday he asked for tea, so I went to buy him one. As I was waiting for his tea he came up and asked me if I could also buy tea for his two friends. I was happy to, so I ordered two more. As we drank our tea a street child came up and asked for ice cream. An ice cream usually costs about 20 rupees, less than .10 USD. I went to the ice cream vendor to get her ice cream and just as I handed it to her four more kids showed up. Apparently they were her “brothers” and “sister” and she asked if I could buy them ice cream too. I realized then that I had probably been played, but 40 cents wasn’t going to kill me. I told her that was it, no more, and pulled out my 100 rupees to pay the ice cream vendor. That is when he asked for 250 rupees and told me that it was 50 rupees each! Well, I knew that wasn’t the right price and he was just charging me more because I’m a foreigner and he figured I wouldn’t know better. I boldly told him no, that he was ripping me off, handed him 200 rupees (just to keep the peace) and walked off. Normally the whole incident would have probably put me in a bad mood for the entire day, After all, I felt ripped off and taken advantage of! Instead, I went down to the sandy beach besides the Ganges and did yoga. The sun was out and it felt wonderful! My frustration over the ice cream scandal was quickly forgotten as I was finally able to hold the tree pose for a few breaths for the very first time.
Taking time to enjoy the moment
I spent the rest of the afternoon reading The Art of Joyful Living beside the river, shopping, eating and relaxing. I bought a pair of brown suede ankle wrap sandals that look like something that might have been worn to Woodstock and a flowing tunic top from an “Auntie”. For lunch I ordered some heavenly cheesy pesto pasta from Little Buddha Café and had a Lemonana. It tastes a lot like a virgin mojito slushy. So good!
Later, I came across some friends from Rishikesh Yog Peeth and we trekked the upper side of Rishikesh back to the school, instead of walking through town. The views up there are spectacular! We looked down in wonder at the town and at the beauty of the Himalaya hills surrounding it and just felt happy to be alive. I could get used to this!