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My first week in India and taking part in the yoga teacher training at the Ekam Yogashala/ Vinyasa Yogashala is nearly complete. It has been a great experience so far with wonderful teachers and classmates. Just a few days ago I boarded a flight from the USA to India which took about 20 hours with a 4 hour layover in the Ukraine.

On the Plane

When I arrived in Delhi I took a taxi for 6 hours to the town of Rishikesh where the yoga training is located. The driving here is unlike anything that I have ever seen before. Lots of congestion, honking, cutting people off, driving on the side of the road to get around traffic. Basically everyone drives like they have to be at their destination yesterday. This probably doesn't sound much different then NYC driving where I am from but trust me it is. 

Maybe if you put a ton of motorbikes, tuk tuks, and rikshaws into NYC, added in some random cows and horses trotting about and also took away all of the pedestrian crosswalks and pedestrian right of way rules. Then maybe just maybe it would begin to get close to what driving in India is like. 

So there I am for 6 hours in the taxi amazed at all that is going on around me. Even stopping for gas was a new experience because the gas fill up looked like.

Taxi driver stopping for gas. 

Finally my taxi driver arrives in Rishikesh but is not able to find the school. I begin to panic some and all types of thoughts enter my mind. The driver is shouting out the window and asking locals for directions when finally a local ends up making a phone call to the school for further direction. Next thing I know I am out of the taxi and sitting on the side of the road with all of my belongings. "Wait here, the school will send someone to pick you up", I am told by this man that I have only spoken to for 5 mins. "Ok I think to myself, this is strange to me but probably not unusual around here. " So I sat and I waited. 5 minutes went by and I began to panic. "Oh no what if that guy tricked me and just dumped me to the side of the road", "what if this school is fake", "what if no one is coming"... 10 mins pass, "maybe I should go try to find a phone or talk to someone." ..."But if I leave this spot and someone does come for me I will miss them." 15 mins pass, and finally someone shows up. We confirm that I am the student for their yoga training and then I hop on the back of their motorbike. Yup on my first day in India I rode on the back of a motor bike. It was a very brief ride. Luckily I packed all of my stuff for the trip into a backpack. We arrived at the school, I complete some standard forms and I am shown my room. The room was very nice. I had my own space with a private bathroom and a balcony.

It is now about 7pm and I have the remainder of the night to get some rest before the day begins in the morning. The first morning was orientation. We met our teachers, learned briefly about our classes, and went down to the The Ganga (Ganges River ) to experience the Ganga Aarti.

Ganga Aarti

We all return to the school and begin to prepare for the next morning when classes will really begin. The first few days of classes were both physically and mentally challenging as well as invigorating. The schedule consists of a full day of classes from 6am to 7:30pm. 

 Class schedule

As mentioned earlier all of the teachers are excellent and really have in depth knowledge of their particular disciplines. I am extremely greatful that I ended up at this school. I am looking forward to learning more about yoga over the next few weeks and using yoga as a way to better understand myself.  

Oh and I also spent a nice afternoon at this beautiful waterfall and was kindly greated by a cow as I was sitting and reading my book!

Waterfall and cow saying hello to me. 

Over the past month I have been dowsizing my belongings as part of a 30 day downsizing challenge. A lot of progress was made and I was able to purge many unneccesary items from my life. After completion of the challenge I was able to fit all of my beloning including my bike into a regular sized car. This is such a great accomplishment because when i moved into my apartment it took 2 carloads to fit my stuff. So yes I literally got rid of a car load of stuff. 

It was definitely a very challenging and emotional experience. For  hours a day for the past several weeks i would set my belongings out and one item at a time make a decision if it was something to keep or something to purge. Many items were easy to get rid of however some items were difficult to part with. The entire process was even at times overwhelming but i stuck with it. 

During the month i made several trips to various places such as Platos Closet and The Goodwill to sell and donate items. I even held a small yard sale. 

One of my major accomplishments was the downsizing of my wardrobe. I was able to reduce my wardrobe significantly and get rid of clothes that no longer fit me or served a useful function in my life. 

Below you can see a visual of the progress that I made. I also must note for accuracy that the after picture does not show a few additional items such as my bike and the carry on items and yoga mat that I am taking with me on my trip to India. 

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