Curious what it’s like to study yoga at an ashram in India? Here was my experience.

 

I spent a week living in a spiritual community in India. There’s a sentence I never expected to utter.

 

If you read this blog, you know that I practice yoga regularly and that it became a much bigger part of my life after a traumatic experience abroad (when I experienced and truly needed its healing power.) And if you didn’t know? You likely could’ve assumed given that I live in San Francisco (where yoga clothing is the mainstay on the city streets.)

 

But what you might not know is…I was kicked out of my first ever yoga class. Yes, let’s rewind back ~13 years to when my friends and I tried yoga for the first time in high school in my somewhat-hippie hometown. We were asked to leave after we couldn’t stop laughing when the class launched into ‘Lion’s Breath’ (which, if you don’t know what that is, I dare you to get on the ground on all-fours right now and exhale loudly through your mouth with your tongue out.)

 

So while I’ve come a long way maturity-wise since then (here’s hoping,) I thought back repeatedly to that moment when I was struggling at the ashram in India. That’s right, I struggled. Big time.

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Ever have that feeling of connectedness to a place, and you can’t explain why?

I only spent a few days passing through Pushkar while in Rajasthan last summer.  For some reason, this town has really stuck with me.  I find myself thinking about it without cause.

There is a commonly cited travel quote which says: “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”  This only begins to encompass why India is my favorite country to travel in…

As traveling has made me more connected to my intuition – and more likely to listen to my own inner voice – I intend to someday return to Pushkar to explore this feeling further. For now, go there with me on a photographic journey….

Take Me To letters
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The Photos

I wanted to share photographs of some of the inspiring, beautiful women and girls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my travels.

Looking at each of these reminds me that as women we face so many of the same challenges—but also so many different ones—often just depending on where we happen to be born into this world.

May their smiles and their stories inspire you as they have me, and encourage you to be a strong, caring and independent woman — wherever in the world you are.

 

int'l women's day - 01

School girl in Kathmandu, Nepal


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The Story

In the short life of this blog so far, I’ve written briefly about the value of female solo travel, and the self-confidence and perspective it has granted me.  Ask me about it, and I could go on and on about the ways it has changed my life.  The real value, what I did not touch upon there…has nothing at all to do with me.

Solo travel and volunteering granted me access and freedom to connect with others, really for the first time, in the countries I visited.  So much so that it almost made me feel ashamed about my time abroad where I hadn’t done so.  I felt in previous trips I had missed the opportunity to truly connect with people and culture in favor of seeing the sights and sitting on another beach.  My attitude toward travel shifted with my first visit to India.  I came to value most of all the truly eye-opening, honest, beautiful conversations I had the chance to have while traveling alone.

Perhaps what made the biggest impression on me, particularly while traveling through India and Nepal, were the stories of the women I connected with.  From students, to mothers, to the small children in daycare, to women at the end of their lives—I listened as they shared their stories of struggle, strength, a desire for a better life, a desire for autonomy, for the right to make their own choices and shape their own fate. In all-too-simple terms, it not only made me realize what I was born into and take for granted.  It shook me to my core.


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Ok, that’s it.

I realize that I am a novice blogger, and so many excellent posts have been written on the subject, but I feel the need to chime in.

If this is your introduction the #WeGoSolo movement, let me briefly explain.  There has been somewhat of a backlash against women traveling alone, and—I’m sad to say, women traveling in general—spurred in part by the tragic death of Sarai Sierra, an American in Istanbul traveling solo.  (See the links posted at the end of the page for more information.)

As some of you know, I am about to announce my plans for a longer-term travel period of my life.  When discussing the itinerary, I am shocked and saddened to hear some people say, “I don’t understand why you want so badly to go to all these third world countries.”  Ummm pardon me, while I clean out my ears…what did you say?  “Aren’t you scared?”


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