I Found God(s) In India

Everything is coming together and everything is falling apart. I’ve spoken with many people here who have been to India over and over, and they attest that no matter how many times you come, India is faithful to open you up and proverbially peel back another layer of your onion each time you visit.

For me, it truly has been one thing after another. I woke up yesterday (the day before I was to leave Rishikesh) to the worst parasite yet. As a result, I spent most of the day vomiting, having diarrhea, and laying on the cold tile floor moaning/screaming in pain. Even worse, the (only) doctor in town wasn’t in the office that day, and the hospital refused to give me medication without the doctor being there.

The good news was that that was the quickest turnaround I’d had. Originally, it was taking three days to recover, then the bouts started residing within two days, and this round lasted less than 24 hours. It’s frustrating (that’s an understatement) how susceptible I am to illness here, but it does seem that my body is acclimating.

I got up today with a lot to do, as we are going to take a train…

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Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


The course is officially over and we have proven true the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Six weeks ago the most diverse bunch of people you could find all came together in Rishikesh, India, to learn how to teach yoga. Among the sixty of us was a stunt performer from Singapore, an Alaskan park ranger, a blossoming Canadian singer/songwriter, a British man who just completed his PhD, a Parisian massage therapist, and an Ayurvedic physician. In a sense, I had five instructors while I was here, but it a truer sense I had sixty-five.

Since I’m not very close to my biological family, I don’t take it for granted when life knits me together with open-hearted, like-minded souls. On top of this, being from the Midwest, people have a tendency to pass harsh judgments on my beliefs and practices (i.e. “You’re practicing witchcraft”, “You’re going to hell”, etc.) It’s so precious to be in a space and with a group of people where I’m not considered the…

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Thank You Life (by Gary van Warmerdam)

Thank you for this Breath
Thank you for this Inhale
Thank you for this Exhale
Thank you for this Life

Thank you Heart
Thank you for this Pounding
Thank you for this Pulsing
Thank you for this Love

Thank you Feet
Thank you for this Walk
Thank you for this Run
Thank you for the Dancing

Thank you Eyes
Thank you for the Sunrise
Thank you for the Sunset
Thank you for all the Colors

Thank you Ears
Thank you for the Music
Thank you for the Rhythm
And thank you for the Stillness

Thank you Hands
Thank you for the Caressing
Thank you for the Clapping
And thank you for the Holding

Thank you Mouth
Thank you for the Nourishment
Thank you for the Wine
Thank you for the Kisses

Thank you Nose
Thank you for the Flowers
Thank you for the Pines
Thank you for the Sniffles

Thank you Arms and Shoulders
Thank you for the Carrying
Thank you for the Burdening
And thank you for the Hugging

Thank you Voice
Thank you for the Expression
Thank you for the Word
Thank you for the Gift of Creation

Thank you for this Day
Thank you for the Light
Thank you for the Stars
Thank you for the Night

Thank you Self
Thank you for the Laughter
Thank you for the Play
Thank you for You

Thank you for the Emotions
Thank you for the Joys
Thank you for the Tears and Sorrows
Thank you for the Richness

Thank you…

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My First Tattoo

“Practice and all is coming.” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Kalava TattooSee that on my pinky? That would be my first tattoo! It’s based off of the red/yellow string that you see wrapped around my wrist. In India, this is a blessing that you receive each time you visit a temple. It’s placed on your wrist after the priest blesses you and is used as a reminder of your commitment to God. In the opening ceremony of our yoga teacher training, we each received one to symbolize our devotion/commitment to yoga. (Remember, “yoga” is not just stretching–it’s a lifestyle that unites body, mind, and spirit and seeks to free us from ignorance and illusion.)

The tattoo is on my right hand because the right side represents giving (left = receiving) and it’s on my pinky because that represents the smallest/weakest part. In other words, I commit my practice to the smallest, weakest, most vulnerable parts of my being. That’s (part of) what spirituality is to me and that’s (part of) why I do yoga.

Five of us got this tattoo together. Once the program is over we’re going to travel together throughout Varanasi,…

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Holidays in Rishikesh

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

This year, I was abroad for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, My Birthday, and New Years. I’ve been attending a yoga teacher training course in Rishikesh, India, that began on December 1st and will end on January 10th, meaning that I’ve spent the last three holidays here in Rishikesh. Christmas in India was such a strange experience. We went throughout Christmas Eve puzzled by the fact that we hadn’t experienced any holiday music, shopping, lights, trees, or decor. It didn’t “feel” like the stereotypical Christmas season at all. That is, until the school arranged the boom boom.

uj1EG0jstBLJa6Gu.jpgWe all showed up unexpectedly to a bumpin’ DJ, dance floor, smoke machine, LED lights, bonfires, hula hoopers, and an amazing dinner. The sixty of us had spent the last four weeks inhaling and exhaling our way…

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