Rishikesh, India

You know all those life-changing experiences that people have? Coming back from months of traveling with annoying stories about how they found themselves, and just suddenly got a deeper understanding in their lives? Well, they’re true. These experiences exists.
You just have to open your mind up for them.

Long story short – I quit my job and went to India for yoga teacher training in october last year (2018)
And traveling to India for one month became somewhat life changing for me. 
It was a truly challenging experience that taught me a lot about myself.

This trip was everything I needed in my life at that time.


October 8th:
From Oslo to India.
Coming to Rishikesh after hours on a plane was a really good feeling, because I’m terrified of flying..

I landed in Derahdun airport and got picked up for the one hour drive towards the Yoga school in Rishikesh, in The Yoga Village.
I was exited, a little bit terrified but most of all
-shit scared of this whole month doing yoga teacher training in a foreign place.

Just short about this place..
Rishikesh is a city in Dehradun district of the Indian state Uttarakhand. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’.
It is also known as the pilgrimage town and regarded as one of the holiest places to Hindus. Hindu sages and saints have visited Rishikesh since ancient times to meditate in search of higher knowledge.

Arriving in my room after a long night of traveling

Meeting my class students and doing the first days of yoga,
adapting into the yogic lifestyle, eating real Indian Ayurvedic vegetarian food, meeting locals and travelers
-was a journey I really enjoyed every single little bit of.

Even getting up at 05 in the morning felt good.



Ayurvedic food can be explained like this:
A sattvic diet is meant to include foods and eating habits that are “pure, essential, natural, vital, energy-containing, clean, conscious, true, honest, wise”.
A sattvic diet can also exemplify the religious principle Ahimsa, the doctrine of non-violence, or not causing harm to other living things, which is one reason why yogis often follow a vegetarian diet.

The whole city of Rishikesh is vegetarian actually.
I was in heaven.

And so it began.
12 hours of yoga 6 days a week.
Full time, exploring this ancient science of living. The spiritual practice. Chanting the mantras, meditating, learning yoga Nidra, mudras, bandhas, cleansing techniques, breathing techniques…
..it was overwhelming at first. But then, suddenly, everything started to feel really, really good.



Shat Kriya cleansing practice

Being upside down everyday and practicing for hours made my body stronger pretty fast.
Meditation class was balancing the mind and suddenly some kind of change was happening. 

At the same time this new unknown place suddenly became a familiar home, the sounds became soothing and the entire atmosphere made me so completely calm.

this is as hard as it looks..

Our lovely yogashala

It didn’t go long until
the need
for black coffee..

neighborhood

Friendships were made.



Field trip with teachers.

Some of my beautiful class students,
from all over the world
Me and my sweet Emmie

The physical part of yoga is without a doubt my favorite part. Because I can master it more easily than the mental part.

So, for me the real challenge was to still the mind. To meditate and completely let go of the tension and chaos inside the mind and the body.
I overthink. Everything. A lot.

But slowly, slowly I started to let go.

And that was where my real practice began. Body and mind was connecting through breathing, postures and meditation.

napping whenever I could

As a photographer I feel some kind of a natural belonging to new places, and the addictive satisfaction of exploring cities, people and nature with my camera makes me so happy,
more than anything else in this world.

To take pictures while being on this inner journey was pretty exiting too. 
I didn’t rush around anymore like I normally do
-trying to capture everything.
Being stressed out because I’m afraid of missing out on any photographic moment.

Suddenly I was just relaxed.
I waited more patiently for the right moments to capture.
No chase.
It felt great.

photocred: Marion

Every wednesday we had the opportunity to join in on trips that the school arranged for.

This is the view from the holy
Kunjapuri Temple.
We watched the sunrise come up over the Himalayas. 
A majestic sight and a very precious moment where everyone there just kept completely silent while the first beams of sun reached over the blue shades of the mountains.
Observing Mother Nature doing her magic.

The Kunjapuri temple is located on the top of Kunjapuri hill
(1650 meters height) and is about 27 KM from Rishikesh.
We had a real bumpy bus ride at 04 in the morning up that mountain..

The Hindu temple is dedicated to the goddess Sati (the wife of lord Shiva)
and while being up here you can see the beautiful panoramic view of snow capped mountains in Garhwal Himalayas.
The peaks like Gangotri, Swarga Rohini, Chaukhamba,
Banderpunch can also be seen from here (on a clear day).
On the other side, you will see Rishikesh, Haridwar and Doon Valley.

photocred: @emmiejae


We also had a really nice visit to the
Beatles Ashram.
This Ashram was the training centre for students of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who devised the Transcendental Meditation technique. The ashram gained international attention between February and April 1968 when the Beatles studied meditation there.
It was the setting for the band’s most productive period as songwriters.


Now it’s just abandoned ruins.

On our days off we did a lot of self practice and studying for our exams..

photocred: June
photocred: June
photocred: June

Some days.
Exhausted.


But content. At peace

..of course we also made time to explore,

and enjoy the city of Rishikesh as well.


drinking chai
eating food

meditating by
the mother Ganga

cuddling the cows

cuddling the dogs..


To sit or walk by the river of Ganges
in the evenings are amazing.

photocred: Shipra
photocred: Shipra

04. nov 2018
The first couple of weeks of training was hard, to be honest. The days went by slowly and the body was sore. You miss your own bed and your stupid material things. When all of this eventually just fades away, everything feels better. I started to love my bed, and couldn’t wait to go to sleep at 9 in the evening after dinner. Just to wake up and practice yoga all over again. You start to master it. Feel it.
And the strict daily routines focused and cleared the mind.

Then suddenly the next weeks just rapidly flies by and the whole month is suddenly finished.
Mission accomplished.

The course ends with Graduation Day.
A great day where everyone gets to feel the appreciation for all the hard work, the practice, the blood, sweat and tears.
We all passed, and finally got our Yoga Teacher certificate.

To sum it up, I find Rishikesh to be a very special place with a strong vibe of spirituality, authenticity, kindness and mystery.

It was sad to leave, but I had somehow evolved into a better version of myself. And left a little bit wiser and more humble.
More grateful and confident.

I’ll be back very soon.
This was only the beginning.

If you are interested in Yoga Teacher Training, do check out the Rishikul Yogshala school.
It’s great!

https://www.rishikulyogshala.org/

All photos are taken with mobile phones by myself or my classmates.

Published February 2019 – By Julie – Sorry for any grammar mistake or misspelling, I did my best.