I told a bit of a fib in the last post – I said I was going to talk about our time in Rishikesh, and then just brushed over it! Well, this is the post to fix that.
We went to Rishikesh – specifically, Laxman Jhula – because I had enrolled for a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course and it was about to begin. At this point, it was mid-August, 2017. I had practiced yoga in New Zealand for a couple of years before leaving, and had always loved it. Because we were going to be in India for a few months, it made sense to spend some of that time studying something that I loved. One of the other main reasons we had decided to go to India was to visit Boy’s uncle, Bernard, who was a priest at a primary school in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. Unfortunately, Uncle Bernard passed away just a couple of months before we left New Zealand so we weren’t able to meet him in India. Nevertheless, Boy decided he was going to see where Bernard spent most of his life teaching, so when I was one week into my time at yoga school, Boy took off on a 220cc Bajij Pulsar to head east for a 1200km road trip, by himself!
First up, my time at yoga school: I loved it. I enjoyed all aspects of it. Our school was a two-minute walk from the river Ganga, we had a variety of expert teachers that knew everything about their respective field in yoga, and, by far, I was lucky enough to meet truly wonderful people. The course ran for four weeks: mid-August to mid-September. The August intake had 20 people, and it was split into two classes of 10. My class practiced vinyasa in the morning, and the other class practiced hatha in the morning (vice versa for our afternoon classes). The schedule was quite demanding: 5:30am – 9:00pm, but there was a three hour break in the middle of the day to rest, study, wander – whatever you chose. Class ran from Monday to Saturday, and Sunday was free to go on a group excursion. The day’s schedule was vinyasa practice, pranayama, philosophy, anatomy, three-hour break, hatha and (finally) meditation at the end of the day. Each student graduated by teaching one vinyasa class, one hatha class, and completing an assignment. The photo above is graduation day. From left to right we have Sarita, our hatha teacher; Katie, our teaching teacher (i.e., the instructor that taught us how to teach a class); Deepak, our vinyasa teacher; me (in the sari that Archana helped me buy); Pamela our philosophy teacher; and Mandeep, our philosophy/mantra/chanting teacher, who was also the priest that conducted our welcoming and graduation ceremonies.
While I was practicing and studying yoga six days a week, Boy was on a motorcycle driving at a top speed of roughly 90km/hr eastward to Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. He hired a bike and, after a few days of getting used to it, took off. It was a 1300km journey one-way, and it took Boy seven days to drive there. Along the way, he had a couple of rest days, and was lucky enough to meet met a nice family in Atarra. This family accommodated Boy for two nights; they spent one day showing him around Kanpur, and the other day repairing his bike! When he finally arrived at the primary school in Hazaribagh a man named Bob, who had worked with Bernard for the best part of 60 years, greeted him and spent a few days showing him around. Boy was taught about how the school operated, he was introduced to some of the school children, he learned about Indian society in this part of the world and – most importantly – was able to glimpse an insight into where his Uncle Bernard had lived and worked for most of his life. After three days in Hazaribagh, Boy began the drive back to Rishikesh. This return journey took four days as he went a slightly shorter route, and didn’t have to stop as often because the bike was functioning properly!
Boy and I really enjoyed our separate experiences we had during the four weeks in August/September. We both learned lots about the different parts of the country we were in, and were glad that we were able to share our different experiences with each other. Boy found that India isn't all dense cities and rubbish; once you get on the road, things calm down and because there are far fewer people, it's much cleaner. Having said that, Boy also found that the roads are always manic, regardless of where you are or what time it is. For me, yoga school wasn't all good vibes and 'aum' 24/7 - some days you really didn't want to get up at 5:00am, or eat another bowl of dahl, or the thought of doing one more Sun Salutation A made you want to chuck the whole bloody thing in, but it didn't change my overall experience of yoga teaching training which was a happy, positive and worthwhile one. Surprisingly, I found that I quite liked teaching yoga. It was surprising because I'm a shy person; the thought of standing in front of a group of people and talking for an hour wasn't a pleasant one, but I found that once I got into it, it wasn't too bad! All I need to do now is start teaching here in the UK...
If you have any questions about my time at yoga school or about Boy's road trip, or about anything I've written, please feel free to ask. I could write and write and write about both of these experiences, and not get halfway through, but I'd probably end up rambling (much like what I'm doing now...).
My next post will be the final India post. It will sum up the three months we spent there; I’ll even provide a map and my favourite pictures!
Bye for now,