Christian, a very talented up and coming videographer made this short documentary about life at the Ashram in July. It not only features interviews with both of us (!!!) but also a lot of information and beautiful images from our Indian home. Check it out below!
We’ve been at the Ashram for nearly 2 months now and it’s been a fantastic time so far. The first month, I’ll admit was hard. But only because I’ve been spoilt and always had Roh around to share half of the parenting, not to mention domestic duties. So while he was busily studying for his Teacher Training Certificate, it was all mummy. And I take my hat off to all those single mums, and those stay at home mums out there. It’s hard work.
Gypsy also went through a difficult patch at the beginning. She’s so used to always being on the move, always meeting new people, and being afraid those new people were going to hurt her that she’d really become quite clingy and attached, and visibly scared of strangers. But being here in the same room, with the same staff, same volunteers, same students, same other toddlers to play with day in and day out, slowly but surely, she is back to her old “I love everyone” personality that we love about her. After Roh graduated as a Yoga teacher (lets add that to, rock climbing instructor, dive instructor, Quad bike tour guide, First-aid instructor and English teacher), we have taken it in turn to take Asana classes. Which has meant that for 2 hours everyday, I’ve been child-free. What an amazing feeling! Especially after she was soooo clingy for so long. BUT, yesterday was a huge step for us all. Roh and I BOTH took a class together, and left her with the kitchen ladies, and the 2 other toddlers for 2 hours!! And she had a great time! She screamed when we tried to take her home. She’s got her friends now and quite an active little social life too! It’s so beautiful to see this in her. She’s also started saying a couple of Marathi words! Toddlers really do learn sooo much from each other.
Life at the Ashram is a simple life. As volunteers we are quite busy looking after the students, but we also have more freedom for self-practice. Roh and his new-found fitness (he’s lost more than 10kg in the 8 weeks we’ve been here) does 108 Surya Namaskara (sun salutations) every 2-3 days, as well as lots of Pranayama and Asana on top of a 2 hour Asana class everyday. He’s feeling and looking great. I am also editing one of the Ashram textbooks so I do a 2 hour class and an hour of editing everyday. I also run the shop, and Roh runs the library.
Like I said, it’s a simple life, but a fulfilling life. We are both happy, balanced, and loving having the time to spend playing with Gypsy and not just keeping her occupied on bus/train trips. We go for at least 1 big walk around the Ashram everyday, finding butterflies, ants, leaves, frogs, grasshoppers and occasionally snakes. Oh and puddles of course. Gypsy LOVES puddles! Especially muddy ones!
The monsoon is coming to an end. The rains were more than 3 weeks late coming and the farmers were all getting seriously concerned. But then the heavens opened and wow, did they open! It was the strongest rain and wind. Much stronger than any Typhoon we ever experienced in Taiwan. Except it was all day, everyday. Leaving the house, even just to do to the dining hall was a logistical challenge. 3 umbrellas were sacrificed. And many a bored day was spent stuck in our room unable to go outside and trying to entertain a toddler. We got creative. And Gypsy learnt the word “Elmo.” But as the sun sneaks back into our lives, so does the colour green. Everything is green. Sooo green. The mountains around us are covered with waterfalls. More than we could even count and its just beautiful.
So that is our life here. A simple life. A happy life. We plan to be here for another 6 weeks so if you don’t here much from us, we haven’t fall off the edge of the world, we are just recharging our backpacks and our prana before we head to Nepal in October.
We came to Rishikesh to do yoga. And although there is lots of yoga to do, we left, feeling pretty disappointed and bored.
It felt to us as though Rishikesh is all about making money from yoga. "Spirituality for sale" I like to call it... Almost everywhere puts their energy into a TTC (Teacher training course) but the drop-in classes are largely ignored. We did classes at 5 different places, and found that there were only beginner classes on offer. Almost every day the advanced or intermediate classes were cancelled, or simply weren't offered at all. Maybe it was because we were there at the start of the off season, but it seemed everywhere we enquired about advanced or intermediate classes tried to push us towards a TTC (which I already have).
It was also a strange place. We are firm believers in “When in Rome, do and wear as the Romans”. In Rishikesh it is common to see people wearing malas and bindis and looking all “yogic and spiritual” and then wearing tight fitting, short, revealing clothes. Everyday we saw nipples, penises, bum cracks… All in a country that covers up. It was just so contradictory. Sure, at a music festival it would have looked great! But in India.... It was just strange.
So, after more than enough mediocre yoga classes, and too many western meals, we decided to leave Rishikesh and continue our yoga practice on our own. Gypsy has started getting into yoga lately too which is simply, too adorable for words.
Time to head to the Himalayas for some reprieve from the heat!
We are Roh and Rob and we are backpacking around India with our toddler Gypsy. Follow our adventures!