Saturday, June 23, 2007

We're in Rishikesh, though to be honest beyond the proliferation of yoga classes the endless hype about this place is somewhat hard to understand. Obviously being on the Ganges makes it a very holy place for Hindus, but it is just like every other traveler hangout that we've been to: overpriced thalis, German bakeries, and all too many shops and street vendors selling trinkets. Don't mean to sound jaded, maybe it's simply because we are "here for the yoga." That has been good so far, although it is definitely the slow season here. Many ashrams are closed, our walk around the other day presented only a few options, none really viable for what we want. That being several hours of daily yoga, with no unnecessary (yet included in the price) meditation/philosophy/library time/whatever. So we are staying at a hotel and taking 1.5/2 hour classes twice daily. OK, OK, we overslept this morning and missed our 8:30 am class, but we'd done 5 straight before then. We even had a backup option that started at 11 am, but it turned out to be 20 minutes of yoga surrounded by discussion and meditation - taught by a so-called "Swami." Not our cup of chai, particularly not for more than our yoga-only class has cost us. We've been going to the nearby Green Hotel, down the hotel strip from where we are staying, in Swarjashram "neighborhood," which is on the far bank of the Ganges and a little less touristic. Tonight we are going to check out another hotel's yoga classes for comparison, at a place we've been recommended by a couple different travelers.
Four hours of yoga a day is quite tiring, yet very fulfilling. We are doing the general "hatha" yoga, which merely means "physical." Practically redundant wording, really...
It is a whole-body stretch-out, and we have already noticed some progress in the poses, as well as an improvement in our general well-being. Pretty much the exact opposite of our sense after 3 days of silent meditation!
As said, there's not much to do here (besides people-watch), so we have been reading and writing a bit in our spare time. It has rained a couple of times, which gets rid of the oppressive mid-day heat decently well, but the monsoon is definitely not here yet. Though there is, on many streets around here, enough flies buzzing around that it almost looks like rain. Nasty...

That's that, we're off to yoga in a few more hours, but will be hiding in the A/C in this net cafe for at least a bit of that time!

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