Turkey, India · 33 Days · 18 Moments · April 2017

31 Days of Om

29 May 2017

Well, it's over. We took our exams this morning and we have one more Hatha class this evening. Tomorrow is graduation, certification and a good amount of us will be beginning the trek home. While I have a bit of anxiety about getting back into a taxi, I am so excited to have completed this course with these amazing people! It's lucky for me that tomorrow I head home, because I don't think I can survive another day without my people and my pup. I am so grateful that pushed me out of the states to come here, supported me while I told them (in emotional rollercoaster fashion) about my daily life here in Rishikesh. I could NOT ask for a better partner, children and family. I am mad blessed, bro. Time to put on a Sari and cry.💕💕💕

18 May 2017

Between shitty wifi and power outages, I study and practice in the heat and sometimes in the dark. No worries, the incense is always burning and the love here lights the way. This week has flown by, what happened to week three? Between hanging in the Himalayas in the early morning sunrise at an incredible temple with chip-stealing monkeys to a blur of asana and theory and coffee and nicotine and coconut water and curry and tears and frustration and soreness and love-this week flew by way, way, way too fast. As we prepare for our teaching finals, our assignments and our written exams I find myself desperately grasping on to every second, trying to stay present but dreading the fucking day when I bid "farewell" to these people. This plus the dread that is being away from my children and lover have created a mix of emotion in me that has been so intense this week that I vacillate between joy and terror, between high and low, between love and hate. Then I remember my breath...(cont)
We have rounded a corner. In 7 days I will be home, squeezing my daughter and kissing my love, waiting patiently for my son to get off of the plane a few days after me. This week has come with immense challenges and blessings, but they are sort of melted together in a blur of Asana class+theory classes+studying+practicing+laughing+tears. We started teaching our final asana classes in Hatha and Vinyasa. Luckily I didn't get those first few teaching slots, I feel like that was the Universe looking out for me, as I still need time. I teach a Hatha class with a partner on Friday and my Vinyasa on Monday, which also happens to be my birthday! I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday, than with these lovely people whom I adore. Everyday that gets closer to finishing this course I have intense mixed feelings. I can't wait to hold and kiss my people (and doggie) but the idea of leaving these friends makes me equally as emotional. 🙏🏽🙏🏽

14 May 2017

...the only thing I can stay with, stay safe in. I come back to my breath and realize that everything here is for me, and I am here for it. My mat allows me to practice on it daily. My bed allows me to sleep on it each night. My body allows me to push it, teach it, train it. My brain allows me to stretch it, open it, challenge it. These people allow me to laugh, cry, scream, hug and talk to them everyday. My family allows me to share my joy and pain from afar. Breathe here. Stay present in this very moment. "We are all just walking each other home." Ram Doss

12 May 2017

This week has gone by with intense speed and today we finished our second full week of our intensive 200 hour teacher training. We seem to be ranging from exhaustion to elation and over again. Today I'm in an elation state. It's probably a really good thing I didn't write this post yesterday. 🌈🌨 I'm feeling like I may be able to share yoga someday with an actual knowledge of what I'm talking about, which is feeling nice because last week I was lost in a haze of what-the-fucks. Why the fuck am I here, why the fuck did I leave my family behind, who the fuck am I, and why the fuck did I decide to fully immerse myself in this? Returning to my meditation on nurturing a "beginners mind", I'm reminded that Gina has a deep desire to learn, understand and connect on a deep level with other human beings. In reconnecting with my beginners mind, I'm reminded that all the what-the-fucks are answered by sinking deeply into the dark and silent spaces inside and simply listening...

7 May 2017

Yesterday was amazing visiting the Beatles Ashram. We hung out in meditation dwellings, climbed the ruins of the ashrams, hung out in the yogashalas (studios) and climbed up some dangerous and unnecessary dwellings to see the views/take the coolest photos ever. This morning I woke up sad as I dreamt of Harper all night. I wasn't able to call my family last night or this morning due to shitty wifi, so by the time dinner came around I was crying in my curry. My pal lent me his phone because he's a god, and I was finally able to connect to Brandon. He told me and Harper's connection has no time or distance restraints, because she was sad all night and all morning too. I'm glad she's thinking of me, I wish every second that I could hold her and hear about her days in real time. Week one is in the books and while I won't wish time to move faster I certainly miss my people. Yoga Therapy was amazing today as we learned how to analyze a drawing from therapy patients. Wish I could write m..

5 May 2017

Today marks the end of our first full week in our studies. I knew it would be intense physically and mentally, but it's almost impossible to put one leg in front of the other. I would say at least half of our 35 have fallen sick this week and sat out of, slept on the floor of or stayed home from at least one class. It's been a shit show. Literally. India! We all had a minor food meltdown on Thursday night after eating rice, dal, curd and curry for three meals a day for four days. We all decided to walk to a "Western" cafe for grilled cheese or something that resembled western food. Seriously this group is so full of love I don't even know how it's possible. A bunch of positive, loving and kind people all shoved into one building. This is my tribe for sure and I'm so happy to be spending the next month with them. I am wicked homesick today. Missing my kids and my dog and my handsome, wonderful partner. My adventure buddies are doing so well without mama though! 💕💕💕

2 May 2017

It's 4am, I don't have to be up until five but my body is stiff and dehydrated from throwing up (and other things). So instead of sleeping I'll update and read. I spent the entirety of the night before last awake with a fire in my belly and back and forth from bed to the toilet. I managed to drag myself up the 5 flights of stairs to the studio for vinyasa, but just sat on my mat and watched, again and again running for the bathroom. Sitting for three more classes, I fell asleep on the floor of anatomy, my teacher saying "Good morning" when I awoke. It was so hot in the studio at that point that I could no longer stay and I went back to my air conditioned room to sleep away the afternoon. If yesterday I felt 5%, today I feel at least 55%. I am very grateful to all my classmates for constantly asking about how I'm feeling, offering me rehydration salts and crackers and bringing me food when I hadn't the energy to get it myself. 💕 I'm so glad that's (almost) out of the way.

30 April 2017

I'm afraid I've come down with a bit of what we sensitive westerners refer to as "Delhi Belly." It's not a question of if, but when. I'm looking forward to getting this adjustment out of the way. Today we had our orientation. We had a cleansing ritual in which we chanted in Hindi (loose translation) "take my ego and burn", offered our egos to the fires and took talaka (pasted dot on third eye.) We were able to meet our teachers and laugh both with them and together later at a cafe on the Mother Ganga while hurricane-style winds blew through the trees. Time for me to throw up and go to bed. Tomorrow we begin at 5am. See you on the other side. 💕
When we had our cleansing ceremony the day before studies began, we were to set an intention about our next 31 days. What should it feel like? What should be attained? Mine came very easy, because I have been meditating on maintaining a "beginners mind" for maybe a month now, since I was read a passage from a book called "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry." A beginner is eager to learn, eager to succeed, unafraid of failure and eager to work toward her goal. If you don't maintain a beginners mind, if you always feel that you have already attained something, then there is nowhere to go, nothing more to explore inward or outwardly. We are just beginning to grasp the many branches that make up the vast concept of yoga. However, it seems that in keeping a beginners mind, in not grasping for something to "attain," only then will we learn what we came to learn and leave on the path that nature intended for us.

29 April 2017

Today was another hot, lovely, dirty, rich day in India. What a city. I am enjoying these sort of in between "retreat/vacation" days where there is no schedule (along with no cooking, cleaning or child rearing) but I am looking forward to our schooling time. The amount of energy expended just being outside in the streets-not being run over or stepping in cow shit or bumping into another- and just complete sensory overload is enough to make you hug your bed, hard. We did a lot of walking today, Jesus found us a Hindi teacher for just a few dollars/lesson, we napped on the floor pillows at our new favorite cafe with the undeniably beautiful Hindu waiter with a man-bun, and we walked about 13 flights of stairs through Trayambakeshwar Temple, the abode of Lord Shiva. We sat for a long time at the top of the "wedding cake" temple and listened to a Nepalese man, who speaks almost zero English, tell us story after story.
We partook in a daily Hindu ritual, the Puja, or "worship." These rituals are not congregational but you can always find someone to "share" a ritual (and then mention rupees at the end.) 🙃 Our cleansing ritual today was a Ganesh Puja, and included a handmade cotton ball and poultry fat candle, which are waved in front of the deity to signify that god is "all light," incense, which signifies the lord being "all pervasive" and sweets, offered to the gods via the devotee (we eat them:) Then we receive a red and/or yellow paste on our ajna chakra, or spiritual eye (third eye) and go about our day having conjoined the conscious and subconscious minds, where all dualities merge. This red/yellow pasted dot symbolizes that we are opening up our third eye and immediately granted us a level of tolerance from locals on the street that did not exist pre-dot. I may or may not have given one of these men 100 rupees on accident when I meant to give 10. "Girl, pay attention to your currency." -Jesu

28 April 2017

It's 5am and I just woke up from a beautiful 7 hour rest. I could keep sleeping but it's almost Harper's bed time at home so I will try to stay awake for a chat. We reached Rishikesh at about 5 last night after what I can only describe as the most hellish ten hour road trip I've ever been on. Torture. Now know I let it go because I am so grateful to be here! This city has an energy like nothing I've ever felt before. It is built at the base of Himalayas and its skinny winding streets are filled with shops and food and tiny places of worship. The Divine Ganga is more majestic and stunning than one could imagine, its color a blue that I've never seen before. The sacred river means so much to this country, especially the Hindus. Jesus and Katie and I enjoyed a meal of curry and naan on a patio overlooking the Ganga, while some local musicians practiced nearby. It took all the energy I could muster to drag my tired, stiff body up and down the hills back home and pour myself into bed.
These mudra are radiating more peaceful vibrations than I. I'm humming on low at this point, going on two days of sleepless travel without reaching Rishikesh. Our taxi driver was waiting for us and already grumpy when Jesus and I landed in Delhi. He had driven the 8 hour drive (yeah we thought it was 5-6) all night to reach us by 6am. We then had to wait on two more yogis to land before we could leave. Sleep in the cab? If you've ever ridden in any kind of vehicle on the streets of India you understand that most of your first days are white knuckling your way through getting used to the roads. I'm sick with exhaustion and stink to high hell but I'm so happy to be just 2 hours or so from my destination.
Mr. Gina. ❤️ my India!
I don't know how long I've been gone from home or how many hours I've been traveling. 25 maybe? I'm not even sure what day it will be when I land. Friday I think. The only reason I know what time it is in the states is because of the clock on the iPhone. I'm 55 minutes out of Delhi, and I fear that by the time I land I'll just miss Harper before her bed time. I haven't talked to my son in days, I hope he knows how much I think of him. My greatest challenge this month may be the distance between me and my children. Once I land in Delhi, we have another 5-6 hour taxi ride to Rishikesh. I have maybe been able to sleep a total of 2-3 hours since I left the house, a few on my 11 hour flight and a half-ass hour on this 6 hour flight. Life in jet-lag land is like being completely inebriated. When I landed in Turkey I stood in front of the departure board for a good ten minutes, staring glossy-eyed at the too bright board, flipping through flights. I never did find my departure.

27 April 2017

There is something about having a buddy with you, on the same learning path, seeking you out at the airport and having a "final" beer with you. You see, there is no alcohol or meat in the Holy City.
There's really something in the anxiety of saying goodbye. The last week has been full of final preparations for an extended overseas trip. Yesterday, before leaving for the airport, I just felt the need to leave already! After planning this trip for three months, and after settling into the idea that I would be leaving my adventure buddies-little and big-it's just finally time to go. It's time to release fear and anxiety and allow the love that this trip has to offer begin to materialize. Two of my adventure buddies waved me off as I left for the airport last night. Standing in the pouring rain, it was almost dramatic. Instead it was just one of many precious gifts I imagine will be bestowed upon me during this walkabout.💕