Varanasi’s Final Surprises

Purna Nataraj, one of the asanas on my 'to-do' list. Nailed it on my own ... for 60 seconds only ... practice, practice, practice!

(Apologies for all these recent blogs being quite journal-y!  I’ll get back to articles and creative thangs once I have more time for research/editing!  For now, just the updates …)

One of India’s great lessons is how to be unattached – unattached to time-related goals, unattached to particulars in how you like your food or accommodation, unattached to order, the list goes on and on.

Originally, my “to-do list” in Varanasi looked a little something like this:

  • Find my way to full expression of asanas: purna nataraj, scorpion, hanumanasan variation (grabbing ankles), pranayam practice . . .
  • Complete a seva for Varanasi, clean Ma Ganga
  • Keep up with the bloggy blogs
  • Finish a chapter in my online philosophy course
  • Build website for yoga business in New York
  • Work on Rajuji’s website for OM SHANTI YOGA NIKETAN

Guess how many I actually completed!  One. Just the one. With the help of my teacher (Raj Kumar Vajpayee Yogacharya), Rachna at Gandiv and Mr. Madhok of Jago Banaras, we successfully offered seva to Varansi through a cleanup event that seems to have made quite a splash in the city.  As a direct result of this “to-do,” five surprise experiences blossomed instead of what I’d originally planned:    

1. Held an official press conference for the seva event and was later interviewed on a local TV show.  If I’d known this would be such a media-heavy trip, I’d have brought nicer clothes.

The seva event! 200 people joined us (along with a crazy amount of press!) ...

2. Am being featured in a book called “Yoga Planet” by a Swedish journalist and yogini (like me!), Magdalena.  She and her photographer Jonas took quite a few photos at the studio and hopefully my advice on where to practice asana, pranayam and meditation will be finding its way into the pages of this one!

One of the photoshoots for the yoga book, Alok on the right doing some crazy bidness...

3. Was honored by members of Varanasi’s community at Kashivishwanath Yog Peeth, where media and guests were scheduled to be treated to mantras by four young women at a local Sanskrit school.

Rajuji, Rachna, me, Alok and Jyotsana at Kashivishwanath Yog Peeth.

4. Recorded a show for Sunbeam School’s East Meets West program, where I played the role of . . . Oprah!  Ha!  Actually, come to think of it, I was voted ‘Most Likely to Have a Talk Show’ in the second grade . . . so maybe this debut wasn’t such a surprise!

The school where I did a voice recording as Oprah. Facilities were *impressive*!

5. Wrote, narrarated and somewhat hosted a documentary about the seva project and where India stands in the global green movement. Whether or not the production company will actually make the documentary happen, only time will tell . . .

An early morning shoot ... after a lot of disorganized chaos!

Dev Depawli and partner yoga were two other surprises I feel lucky to have experienced.

The second Depawli, full of lights, yummy street food and music!

So, just a few asana photos, articles and websites to show for my hardwork in Kashi.  But more importantly, Imade some very good friends who I know I’ll be seeing again in future.  And, at least according to the people I’ve spoken to so far, helped ignite a fire in this city that will continue to burn – projects and programs are being planned for well into the future.

I love you, Varanasi!

Hours after the long Ganga cleanup ... whew!

Now, on to Madurai for 4 weeks of my teacher training re-do (a lot of this is review for me, but necessary for the advanced course in February – check out the Sivananda curriculum to see what it’s all about!)

The ashram doesn’t have an internet connection sadly, and I can’t make outgoing calls.  But I am on my mobile!

Not that we have loads of time in the day …. I’ve been busy with this (rather ambitious) training schedule:

  • 5:30 am: Wake up
  • 6:00 am: Satsang (Meditation, chanting, lecture)
  • 8:00 am: Asanas
  • 9:00 am: Anatomy and physiology
  • 10:00 am: Wake up
  • 11:00 am: Karma Yoga (helping out with chores)
  • 12:00 pm: Bhagavad Gita or Kirtan
  • 2:00 pm: Main lecture in philosophy or anatomy
  • 4:00 pm: Asanas and pranayama
  • 6:00 pm: Dinner
  • 7:30 pm: Satsang (Meditation, chanting, lecture)
  • 10:00 pm: Lights out

But keep tuning in for updates, and drop me a hello if you have any suggestions for future blogs from India.  Love!  

 

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My “to-do list” in Varanasi looked a little something like this:

1.       Find my way to full expression of asanas: purna nataraj, vrshchkasana,

2.       Complete a seva for Varanasi, clean Ma Ganga

3.       Keep up with the bloggy blogs

4.       Finish a chapter in my online philosophy course

5.       Build website for yoga business in New York

6.       Work on Rajuji’s website for OM SHANTI YOGA NIKETAN

Guess how many I actually completed!  One. Just the one. With the help of my teacher, Rachna at Gandiv and Mr. Madhok of Jago Banaras, I successfully offered seva to Varansi through a cleanup event that seems to have made quite a splash in the city.  As a direct result of this “to-do,” five surprise experiences blossomed instead of what I’d originally planned:

1.       Wrote, narrarated and somewhat hosted a documentary about the seva project and where India stands in the global green movement. Whether or not the production company will actually make the documentary happen, only time will tell . . .

2.       Held an official press conference for the seva event and was later interviewed on a local TV show.  If I’d known this would be such a media-heavy trip, I’d have brought nicer clothes!

3.       Am being featured in a book called “Yoga Planet” by a Swedish journalist and yogini (like me!), Magdalena —–.  She and her photographer Jonas took quite a few photos at the studio and hopefully my advice on where to practice asana, pranayam and meditation will be finding its way into the pages of this one!

4.       Was honored by members of Varanasi’s community at Kashivishwanath Yog Peeth, where media and guests were scheduled to be treated to mantras by four young women at a local Sanskrit school.

5.       Recorded a show for Sunbeam School’s East Meets West program, where I played the role of . . . Oprah!  Ha!  Actually, come to think of it, I was voted ‘Most Likely to Have a Talk Show’ in the second grade . . . so maybe this debut wasn’t such a surprise!

Dev Depawli and partner yoga were two other surprises I feel lucky to have experienced.

So, just a few asana photos, articles and websites to show for my hardwork in Kashi.  But more importantly, I’ve made some very good friends who I know I’ll be seeing again in future.  And, at least according to the people I’ve spoken to so far, helped ignite a fire in this city that will continue to burn through projects and programs well into the future.

I love you, Varanasi!

Now, on to Madurai for 4 weeks of Sivananda teacher training.  It’s actually where I’m writing this blog right now!  No internet connection for me out here, sadly, and I’ll be incredibly busy with my schedule:

But keep tuning in for updates, and drop me a hello if you have any suggestions for future blogs from India.  Love!

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