It’s our last day in McLeod Ganj and my sunrise walk took me through the peaceful woods on the way to the Buddhist temple – a kaleidoscope of Tibetan prayer flags flapping in the breeze, prayer wheels spinning to the hum of Om Mani Padme Hum, stray dogs lazing in the early sunlight. I realize how little quiet time we’ve had during our stay and how this has not been a yoga retreat, but a dedicated commitment to yoga studies. Although I would have loved more time for reflection, ironically it’s good how the discipline of keeping to a schedule meant we haven’t been living in a complete yoga bubble of seclusion and tranquility, totally removed from “the real world” and finding it hard to adjust back to it.
We’ve had to prioritize our time and juggle multiple demands during a physically and mentally demanding, busy day. Sounds like “normal life”, doesn’t it? Our full schedule was good training for how to find balance, how to be an essentialist – only spending precious time on what was truly necessary – and how to make it a priority to carve out slivers of time for contemplation. Staying calm and peaceful within the often frantic flow of life. There’ll be another time when I can indulge in a yoga retreat.
Ten Things I’ll Miss:
- Sunrise unfolding over the Himalayas
- Sharing the road with the goats and dogs as they take their morning stroll
- Greeting the street vendors and restaurant owners I’ve come to know as familiar faces
- Paneer with peas. Paneer in curry. Paneer with scorched green peppers. Did I mention paneer?
- The view of eagles soaring in the sky, sunlight catching their wings, while I’m in Sirsasana (Headstand)
- Cows mooing OM during Savasana
- Sammi’s magical massages for aching muscles
- Sivadas’ snippets of wisdom, which appear spontaneously, unscripted and perfectly timed in our discussions … “If you want to achieve Samadhi, you have to drop your desire for Samadhi.”
- Invitations to drink sweet chai – yes, sometimes this is a technique used to encourage you to buy yet another irresistible shawl, but often it’s nothing more than a genuine desire to socialize with you, and share a few perspectives on life.
- How nothing is wasted…they re-use and re-purpose things here, in simple and practical ways. The wrapping for my Tibetan singing bowl is an empty bag of kibbles cat food, the veggie guys use packets made of newspaper for your groceries, and takeaway food is often poured into coffee bean foil bags.
- Lhamo’s delectable and delicious freshly-baked carrot cake OMG OMG OMG – a constant temptation in my otherwise almost sugar-free diet.
Things I’m looking forward to as I head home:
- Happy reunion with my husband, without a fuzzy Skype screen
- Beach walks with friends and warm ocean swims
- Seeing my old life with new eyes – thank you, Yogi Sivadas, and Namaste.