Staying at an ashram in Rishikesh
Note: This is part one of a series that highlights my time in India. I travelled there solo in the summer of 2010. Things have changed a lot, as have I, but here we go…
Rishikesh, located on the Gagnes River, is one of the Holy Cities of India. In the morning people bathe in the Gagnes, which is no simple feat. The river flows at a rapid, crushing pace. Yet somehow the old, the spindly, the delicate, manage to walk down slick marble and brick steps and into the grey water of the rushing river.
Ashrams are everywhere. I am staying at the Sri Ved Niketan Ashram, which is just fantastic. It’s spartan in terms of room, intense in terms of yoga classes, and the food is spicy but simple.
At the Sri Ved Niketan Ashram, I’ve realised I’m no good at meditation. We chanted for an hour the other day and I kept telling myself not to get distracted.
“We are light beings,” said the man at front. Focus. Focus.
I’m better at yoga, although even that I’m doing a bit of a flop job with. Literally. We’ve been practicing headstands. I have the upper body strength of a five-year-old girl.
“Now stand on your hands, and bend your back. Release the neck. Push the buttock inside. Release the neck.” The pose looked like an inverted C against the wall when the teacher did it.Mine was more of an L. On the floor. “Focus?” I offered.
This is my life in the Holy City of Rishikesh. It’s a bit different from Cambridge.