This is a continuation of my previous post about my first week in Rishikesh, India. As mentioned before it really has been a great week and I have had great experiences in my classes and out and about seeing new sites and trying new things.
On Sunday 2 friends from my yoga school and I went to visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, sometimes better known as "The Beatles Ashram" This Ashram is no longer active and only the remants are left. Additionally the location also happens to be a tiger reserve according to several signs that I saw leading to and at the location. Though I did not see any tigers while I was there.
Sign indicating tiger reserve but no tigers in site.
As we continued to walk we saw many small dome shaped buildings. These buildings were used as meditation huts to help yoga practitioners meditate in a quiet space and to keep the energy of their meditation enclosed in the circular shape of the dome.
84 of these meditation caves are spread all over the property. We went inside a few of them to look around and when we climbed the stairs to the 2nd level of one of these caves we found this beautiful message painted on the wall.
Life goes on within you and without you.
This message really struck me as meaningful to my own personal life journey. To me it means that life is a continuos force that exists both inside of you and outside of you. Everything that exists in the outside world exists inside of each of us. It also is a good saying that sums up a lot of what I've been learning during my Yoga Teacher Training in terms of taking the time to connect with your true self. In one of my classes the teacher asked each student what yoga meant for them. I said that for me yoga is like a dance or competition with myself. It's a way for me to take time out of the day and connect with my true inner self. I started out doing yoga when I was a kid. I found a book at my local library called Yoga for Children. It was a brightly colored book of other kids just like me in various yoga poses. I would spend hours looking at the pictures in the book and doing my best to put my body in the same positions. After a while I wanted more then just what was available in the book and lucky for me there was a yoga show available on a local tv channel. This was before all of the yoga videos that are now easily accessible online. For 1 hour a day at the same time everyday I would flip the tv on and follow along with the yoga session that was shown. I really enjoyed this but eventually I wanted to learn more so I would look for yoga classes around my community when I could. These were free or low cost community yoga classes. There were no fancy yoga studios and branded yoga mats, clothes and equipment. Though I really enjoyed yoga I did fall out of it for a while. Looking back from where I am now I noticed that I would start and stop yoga for various reasons on and off but would constantly always come back to it.
As we continued to walk through the property of the Ashram we came across this room that had pictures of the beatles during there time spent at the Ashram back in the mid 1960's. There were also various posters displayed about transcendental meditation (TM)
The song "Across the Universe by The Beatles" was inspired by their time spent at the Ashram.
A brief synopsis of TM
Photos of the Beatles at the Ashram.
Next thing I knew I had spent so much time inside that room reading the various posters that when I turned around to leave my friends were no where in sight. Oh no where could they have gone I thought to myself. After asking someone if they saw the way that my friends went it wasn't long before I found them. The place where I found them also happened to have this awesome mural painted on the wall.
Along with this awesome quote which is absolutely true for me. I will always believe in love. One big theme that I am learning about in my yoga training is the importance of self love. It is not until someone can fully love themselves that they can love others. Furthermore when you fully love yourself there is only room in your heart to love others because you realize that everyone is connected as a collective conciousness. The love that you feel for yourself is really love for everyone.
To sum up my trip to the Ashram I think these 2 pictures are perfect. It is a beautiful view of the Ganga River and the city of Rishikesh. Seeing the Ganga and the city from this perspective was quite breathtaking and this photo honestly does not do any justice to the magnificence of the view.