Well I’ve just arrived back from 10 days in beautiful Rishikesh, India. Still working through the remainders of jet lag and a beaten up immune system yet I have maintained that peaceful flow that seems to follow us back from a great holiday. The irony is that sleep was one element I was not indulging in. Up at 6am every morning for a one hour meditation followed by 1.5-2 hour practice and or hiking through the foothills of the Himalayas. Physically I worked, my body hadn’t been this continuously sore in years and I loved every second of it. Mentally I was free and lost in my dreams without a phone or email access (by choice) I was on a full recharge. 10 days of giving back to me, to completely surrender to my own practice.
If I take anything back with me, it is certainly the people I was surrounded by, new friends that within days became like old BFFs. The chance to spend this transformational week with my dear friend Tracy’s daughters, Taylor 9 and Torryn 18 and watch from their perspective as we discuss love and life and surrender. And then of course the people of Rishikesh, who were so friendly and kind when they smile, they smile from their hearts.
The moment I stepped out of the airport in Delhi, all I could smell was the warm scents of coriander and cinnamon, and it felt like my personal heaven. We drove from there six hours North to the city of Rishikesh, also known as the birthplace of yoga. Upon arrival at the Satvva Centre where we stayed, we could feel the shift right away with its quiet serenity, the river babbling, the birds singing, children laughing. On our first afternoon we took a “walk” which was really to us city folk an hour hike up through the surrounding mountains. As we passed other local people we were greeted with “Namaste” which is roughly translated to: the light that is within me honours the light that is within you. A word we often use to signal the end of our yoga classes. We were even invited to tea at a family home, all 10 of us.
I was so touched by the common use of the word Namaste as a greeting by everyone I met in the entire town. Not only the people I spoke with in cafes or stores, but everyone that walked by on the streets, near temples, on hikes hours away from anywhere, and also by the children. Such a simple thing, that offers so much respect, to acknowledge people as we meet them, or pass them on the street. Something for all of us to think of as we find ourselves in that busy time of year again, the weight of a smile, of eye contact that is so quickly lost as we find ourselves lost in our own to do lists. Perhaps this holiday season rather than growling at the person who keeps banging you with their shopping bags, or taking forever in line. Smile instead, and see what happens.