Friday, March 25, 2011
The more time i spend here in this Himalayan mountain region, the more i am impressed by the spiritual quality of the air and overall energy of height. The Old Town of Manali where we have been based is just as picturesque as can be, sitting on a strong river flowing with the snow melt of the nearby snow-capped peaks that can be seen in all directions. The meditations here are very powerful and initiative in their ability to draw one into the center and maintain stillness of mind. It almost comes naturally around here to fall into deep meditation when sitting or hiking in nature.
We just spent the day and night in another small mountain village named Kasol, and stayed in a place that was on the river directly. It is very beautiful there. When i practiced yoga this am on the river i noticed not far away a part of the river that was steaming. I figured it must be something with hot water mixing into the river. So Elizabeth and i hiked over there and saw people bathing and doing laundry because it was indeed a hot spring pouring into the freezing river. Steam and sulfur smelling everywhere and trees and river pounding and mountains in the backdrop. As i sat in meditation there i could not help but realize the mystical nature of earth and life. It just was so clear with the steam and sunlight and water glistening off there powerful flow of water and the wind blowing… just mystical and blissful. I felt like i could stay there for a very long time just feeling the steam on my face and enjoying the riverside.
After breakfast (classical indian breakfast - vegetable stuffed chapatis) we went to the nearby ancient village of Manikaram… which is revered for its special significance by both Hindu and Sikh peoples. I have been learning as much as possible about the Sikhs since it was not a subject i had much exposure to before. I am very impressed about the Sikh philosophy and the realizations of Guru Nanak Dev the founder who lived in the 1500s and was able to find the common ground of all spiritual traditions and taught that spiritual life should be practically applied and that all non essential and ritualistic aspects can be let go. In Manikaram there was a vast Sikh temple that was sitting astride the hot springs and that there were public baths and a Hamam and water boiling out fissure in the earth. The water was coming to the surface so hot that people have been boiling rice there for centuries. That place also was shared with a sacred Shiva temple. I took my prostrations to Shiva and we were explained by a priest that God only made 1 Sun, 1 moon, 1 earth, so that we are all ONE. And he said people make borders and look at difference in skin colors, but God did not make any borders and inside all people are one.
After a crazy drive through the mountains where we were stopped by herds of goats and boulders in the road, we are back in beautiful Manali deciding where to go next. Maybe Dharamshala, maybe Rishikesh… time to decide!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
We learned and experienced and shared so much. There are many entries and some great pictures on the blog we created dedicated to share our experiences.
We are already scheduling the 2012 India Yoga Retreat to Rishikesh and Manali in the Himalayas.
Check it out! Our team, just like my team in Kenya for the upcoming New Years Retreat, is world class. We travel on the ground and with the people but with nice accommodations and really experience the countries we travel.
any questions you can email to firstname.lastname@example.org