After a one and a half hour car journey through the palm forests and rubber plantations of Kerala, in southern India, I arrived at the Sivananda Ashram.
The Ashram is very clean and well run, and I was lucky to get a room on my own with a shower, luxury! I did have a room-mate for one night, as she was an exceptionally large spider, I put her out!
The wake up bell rings for morning Satsang at 5.10. We meditate and chant from 6 until 7.30. The roar of lions in the wildlife reserve accompany our morning chants. After, we have tea under the “tea tree”,followed by the 2 hour morning yoga class.
After brunch (a spicy vegetarian meal not a fry up!) We all have a job to do around the ashram (Karma Yoga). I was sure I would be cleaning the loos, but instead landed the enviable job of manning the internet room. After Karma Yoga there is a daily talk on interesting topics like Spirituality Yoga, diet and Ayurveda. Then, after this, a second 2 hour yoga class. Unfortunately, I sprained my foot a few days into my stay, on an early morning mountain hike. It was fabulous to see the sunrise high in the mountains but my yoga classes were off the menu for the rest of my time at the ashram. Luckily I had the wonderful company of Emily, who is staying in the ashram for several months. She had a very nasty infected bite.. so she was off yoga too. I can thank her for a night out in the local town, when I accompanied her to hospital to get treatment. (Not a place you would want to stay in!)
Getting back to the Ashram schedule. Our second and last meal of the day is at 7pm. It is a similar meal to brunch-eaten while sitting cross-legged on the floor of the large dinning hall- Most people eating Indian style, with their fingers.The food is excellent, but after a few days, I started to miss my morning porridge!
Evening Satsang is at 7- more chanting and meditating, and followed by a talk or film.
I love it at the ashram. I have met some great people. Its a simple life, in a warm climate, with interesting like-minded company.. who needs porridge!
The Ashram Dining Hall.
After 10 days of sun, sea, fun and yoga in Mandrem Beach Goa. I am leaving for Kerala for 10 days at the Sivananda Ashram.
Goa was a welcome break after Kolkata. Just to reassure all those who supported Hope. No funds raised were used for this part of the trip! Yoga classes were Read the rest of this entry
“A smile is in the same language”
We did done so much in our 9 days in Kolkata. Visiting the Hope childrens’ homes, hospital and lifeskills centre, where there is a wonderful shop and cafe, teaching craft, clothes making and restaurant skills.
We are also lucky to be here for Diwali, the festival of lights, which is akin to our Christmas in importance.We celebrated this in the home of our pranic healing teachers and their family.. such a privilege.. beautiful food ‘ fireworks and company!
Kali puja’ was happening too..worship to a blue goddess with 4 arms’ who killed her husband’ and went on to do great things..awesome!
A profound experience for me happened when I reluctantly attended mass in. Mother Teresa’s hospice. A place where men and women come for their last days. Those few who were well enough to sit were opposite us in the small chapel area. I caught the pained and sad gaze of one of the men opposite me, I smiled and amazingly he managed to give me a radiant smile back… for a few moments he gave me the deep privilege of feeling completely connected to him. The power of a smile is wonderful indeed.
Most of the group are with me in Goa now.. It couldn’t be more different here.. Sun Sea and Yoga! Look out for my next post. The group will be leaving next Monday, and I will be contiuing my adventure alone..
The Hope Foundation Yoga group and I arrived in Kolkata on 28th October,and we were whisked into the city by a creatively painted bus built circa 1950, complete with off white lace curtains. Two men up front-one driver and one chief horn honker- he blasted the horn every few seconds as we dodged our way through heavy Kolkata traffic, which has an “every man for himself” traffic flow system.
After a short rest we were taken to the Kasba girls home- one of the Hope homes here in Kolkata. The welcome for the “Aunies” as they called us was wonderful. They proudly showed us around. Later entertained us with singing and amazing dancing. Our presence, delighted them as much as we delighted in theirs.
“The world always look brighter from behind a smile”
The Power of a smile.
We were entertained on Wednesday with a fabulous display of musical and dancing talent from the children who live in the Hope homes.The 14th annual Hope Foundation day was held at Science City- a big theatre in Kolkata.700 children took part The colour and production was just incredible, and the dances ranged from Bollywood to an Irish dance, performed by the girls from Kasba home, which we visited on our first day, and twice since then.
The theme was the power of a smile,which along with the vibrant colour seems to sum up the magic of Kolkata for me. “A smile is one of the most precious human expressions”
Later that day we went for a “cruise” on the Ganges, and saw a side to Kolkata very different from the mornings, and one from which some of the children may easily have been saved from.