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            <<  Rishikesh, 18-Dec-2012  >>

Few more days in the Yoga capital of the world

Rishikesh and its surrounding in slow pace plus some ashram wisdom tasters

After the ashram I spent 3 nights in Rishikesh, just soaking up karma vibrations and working (not very monk-like activity). Yes, I am doing here some work, I’m not on complete holidays.
Otherwise, I was just exploring the city and its surroundings. As the town is full of begging sadhus (and monkeys; there’s even more monkeys here than tourists, one of them even invaded my room in search of food to be stolen) I decided that this time I will try to be less eye catching and I’ll go with the flow and dress like everybody else – in esoteric pseudo-Indian clothes.

Actually, the first thing which I did after coming back to civilization was that I booked a flight to Sri Lanka to meet my friends Samo and Janka who went there to surf. As the flight is on 19.12.2012 already, I dismissed my previous plans to visit Haridwar – holy city not far away from Rishikesh - and I just wandered around Rishikesh and took few hours hike in the surrounding hills. In the hotel (well, hotel, 3 EUR per night thing, but it’s good place) I met half of the people from the ashram – Lonely Planet effect :-)

In the ashram I continued being vegetarian and not drinking alcohol (anyway, I had to even if I didn’t want to) and I also didn’t smoke beedees (or bidis, as spelled here). Once released back to life, I lit myself one beedee and to my surprise: first of all, it didn’t taste good and second, it did not work. I put it off before I smoked half of it. I was wondering if the ashram reformatted my brain and beedees stopped to work on me (I smoke beedees because they cause that beautiful peaceful and head-turning effect), so the next day I lit another one. Again, no effect. I was kind of pissed off (I liked that effect), so I turned on vacuum cleaner mode and smoked half of the beedee in one breath, and in 3 seconds, hell yeah, this DID have effect – I got so high for 30 seconds that I thought that I would fall down and lay on the ground right there in the middle of street. I really had hard times standing on my feet. So no, I was not reformatted.

In Rishikesh I bought some meditation tools recommended in the ashram – meditation music and “mala” aka rosary with 108 beads for chanting, and I keep on waking up early and practicing yoga and meditation daily.

By the way, as you are surely eager for some powerful life-altering knowledge that I gained in the ashram, here are first bits:

1. “Practice silence to raise awareness”. Try to be quiet. Silence raises awareness about oneself. One leaflet read: “When you say something, are you sure that you say it because it really matters and makes sense, or do you just try to fill the void?”. Another one: “When you speak [in the ashram, where you are supposed to be as quiet as possible], you do not only leak your vibration, you also pollute the environment for others”. “Pollute the environment” – I loved this expression. Yes, so many times so many people should just shut up (including myself), because what they say only pollutes the environment.

2. Daily practice of yoga (or possibly other exercise) keeps you in good condition. If you don’t do yoga for 15 days, your body will return to the same lousy point where you had been before you started. Goal of asanas (physical stretching) is preparation for the meditation, so that you can sit still in one position for several hours.

3. “Mind is like a monkey. Have you ever seen monkey, sitting still for 5 minutes? No, it’s always doing something” – Lalita Ji (the yoga trainer) said. If mind is like a monkey, then my mind is like a monkey that is addicted to cocaine mixed with pervitin. Meditation is way to calm your mind. Concentrate on your breath (either at nostrils, or at belly) and every time your thoughts wander elsewhere (which will keep on happening every 3 seconds at the beginning, and which is inevitable as they said), gently bring them back to the breath. Hint: count your breath 1 – 8 (inhale and exhale = 1, inhale and exhale = 2, etc.) and then start again. If you lose the count (because your mind went for a walk), restart at 1. Meditate early in the morning (right after waking up) and late in the evening (right before going to sleep).

4. Try chanting. Choose any matra like Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, Om Namah Shiva Mantra, or whatever you like - look at youtube for the melody. As Lalita Ji said: "Chanting is very good for the monkey". We mostly used Mahamrityunjaya Mantra:

Om, tryabmakam, yajamahe
Sugandhin pusti vardhanam
Urva rukamiva bandhanan
Mirtyor mokchi amamritat


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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak