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The Journal of Mirandita

Thumbs up in Rishikesh

INDIA | Saturday, 20 April 2013 | Views [316] | Comments [1]

Fernando is feverish, literally, so between rinsing cold cloths and general nursing administrations, I have the perfect opportunity to write about our time in Rishikesh!

We stayed the whole time in the part of town centred around the Ganges and slowed our travelling pace down to first gear. The river has a beautiful turquoise colour here, about 250km from the source, and it is deeply enticing, even more so because of the sacred, purifying properties the waters are believed to bestow. Despite the police signs, warning one to bathe only in the designated ghats, hundreds of people each day perform their ablutions off the rocks and beaches along its banks. Some days, and with care, this is fine, but on others the river has a hidden undertow and a handful of people drown here each month – we heard about four students from Delhi who died while we were there.

I was happy that our stay would coincide with that of a friend, Sati, who I did my yoga training with in Bristol. She told me the ashram where she would be living and had sent me some yoga teacher recommendations beforehand. One of them – Surinder Singh – had the three words *COURAGE*COMPASSION*WISDOM* written as the heading on his website, with some rudimentary information about what, where and when. I immediately liked the look of his approach and relished the chance to receive some teachings again. There is A LOT of yoga on offer in Rishikesh and it reminded me somewhat of the smorgasbord bombardment of courses, workshops and trainings in Goa. I was glad to have a solid recommendation to go on!

One thing I loved about Surinder’s classes was the gratitude with which he taught, often expressed as “thanks to all” after a difficult pose or at the end of class. Even better were his ‘thumbs up’. There were often about 30 of us in the room and he was constantly moving among us, adjusting, helping, supporting, or giving thumbs up (and little firm pats on the back!) to acknowledge and let us know how we were doing. I also loved his mini teachings at the end of class: one day comparing learning to food, and encouraging us to digest our teachings well – not just enjoy the taste of them; another day requesting we meditate on the inhalation as receiving life’s gifts, the retention of breath as enjoyment of what is there, and the exhalation as letting go and moving on. Audible sighs all round please! Aaaaaahhhhhmmmmm!

So we slowed down (even more) at this point in our journey. We had many a lazy day, sheltering from the midday sun with temperatures hitting the late 30s, hanging out with Sati and other travelling companions, dipping toes and sometimes body in the Ganges, practising our singing bowls on willing friends, and enjoying delicious food at our local restaurant, the Oasis Café, which had the added bonus of owning a rather well-used set of Osho Zen Tarot cards! Oh the joy of having nothing particular to do but waft through the day, among street cows, monkeys, flies, sadhus and the pilgrim masses. Nevertheless, the pot of plans simmering on the hob in Spain hubble-bubbles ever more, and with it we cook our intentions with a pinch of Kashmiri saffron and a tablespoon of gratitude. I think there are some other ingredients but the recipe is still inventing itself…

Oh, and Hafiz! Recommended many months ago by a wonderful teacher of mine as we delved into a conversation about language and poetry, Hafiz finally made his entry in Rishikesh, centre stage, illumined by a divine spotlight and translated by Daniel Ladinsky. I have been trying to apply the brakes so as not to gobble up all his poems in one sitting. Here’s one about listening:

 

HOW DO I LISTEN?

How

Do I

Listen to others?

As if everyone were my Master

Speaking to me

His

Cherished

Last

Words.

 

HAFIZ

 

Being a lover of language, yet increasingly aware of the shortcomings of words, I find it magnificent that it is possible to feel the Divine through these pulsating poems of life.

Yum-yum in my soul-tum.

Tags: rishikesh, surinder singh, yoga

Comments

1

es sufi no?
Entiendo lo que dice y lo que sientes tu pero encuentro muy difícil escuchar con esa concentracion y amor para alguien que no sea auditivo...por eso no puedo estar totalmente de acuerdo con el en este caso ya que es mayor el esfuerzo en escuchar que en digerir las palabras que te están diciendo ( los que percibimos el mundo por medio de sensaciones a veces inexplicables simplemente no somos capaces )
besos

  camino gefaell Apr 22, 2013 6:28 PM

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