Tattvaa Yogashala school regularly hosts teacher training courses, which last one month. In Iyengar’s yoga, everything is much more serious, but I will write about it separately. I have heard very good reviews about the teacher and founder of this school and have already been in his class on a previous trip. So this time I drove purposefully to learn from him: to be like the general class and the course “Art of ajustment” (Art of amendments), which is part of the teaching course, since Kamal himself corrects masterfully, simply stunning.
On the third day after arrival, I fell ill. Then somewhere in the world there was an outbreak of Ebola, and upon arrival in Delhi, all passengers were closely examined by doctors, you still had to fill out a questionnaire if you had fever and ailments in the last days. So, on the second day I went to a cafe for dinner, waited for my order for about an hour (which is in the order of things for India) and behind the next half-table, 20 centimeters high, everyone is sitting on the floor on mats, a girl half asleep. Then a young man came to her and she began to complain to him that she felt very bad, that she had a fever and that she was barely alive. Of course, I tensed in earnest, quickly finished my dinner and retreated. The next morning I woke up with a fever and terrible weakness. “Well, that’s the end … Did I really catch Ebola? … Exactly, the end … Exactly, Ebola” I didn’t have a smartphone with the Internet then … Yes, there are no modern doctors in Rishikesh, in principle, only Ayurvedic clinics, and half of them probably charlatan, since there are many things in Rishikesh designed for tourists, this is no longer the yoga capital that it was several centuries ago – a link between ashrams and monasteries located further in the Himalayas and the outside world. Nowadays it is a tourist attraction. “I need to write a letter to my parents that I love them …” While I still had the strength to walk, I went downstairs to get water and decided to flush my body, starving. There was a very persistent feeling that I was going to die. I never had such a feeling either before or later. When I resigned myself to the thought of an imminent death (only an unwritten letter to my parents haunted me), the fever began to recede. I continued to drink water and drank 8 liters of water per day and the next morning I felt completely healthy, there was only a slight weakness and I even went to an evening class. Later, one of my acquaintances, a rather brutal, serious man, not a bit suspicious, let’s say: he doesn’t faint at the word “****”, he told me that he had a similar story in Rishikesh, also on the third day upon arrival. He woke up at night in a cold sweat in full confidence that a cobra was in bed, jumped out of bed and was petrified with horror, could not move and leave his place. And so he stood in order and only when he resigned himself to the idea that if the cobra bites him now and he dies, then it’s okay, he accepts this thought – the numbness immediately receded and he was able to get off the spot. So let’s write it off on the special energy of the place.
So, the schedule for the guys of the teaching course looked quite tight, to put it mildly – at 6 in the morning the practice of pranayama began and at 21.00 the evening meditation ended, food 2 times a day and a couple of half-hour breaks. In general, I had a desire to complete this course completely, but I could not financially overpower – only $ 1,500 the course itself plus the road … Then, all this month, for which I would leave, I would not teach in St. Petersburg, but other sources of income from I was not there. So it was decided to go for 2 weeks and attend the morning vinyasa class and the evening art of ajustment class and pay separately only for it, which was significantly cheaper.
As for the vinyasa sequence – it lasts about 2 hours and during it we did dynamically the whole complex of basic standing postures, bends, twists, bends and inverted poses; that physically it was hard enough, although I was in good physical shape. Kamal and his assistant constantly corrected everyone. Taking into account the fact that the poses stay there for very little time, it is a special art to have time to correct the student, and Kamal makes the corrections simply amazing – he manages to very accurately apply both hands and feet to the student, and the head and posture simply transforms in a second. He later taught these techniques at “Art of ajustment”. In general, not everyone kept up the sequence to the end – several less hardy yogis “fell off” to Shavasana half an hour before the end of the practice. On the other hand, those who survived left the class with a sense of accomplishment (they didn’t go so far away in shavasana !!!), and with a very clear, uplifted, pleasantly enlightened state of consciousness. Then we went to drink freshly squeezed juice and eat delicious oatmeal with fruit on the banks of the Ganges, made of aluminum dishes and at tables covered with flies.
Everything is so there, it seems wild to us from Europe of the XXI century, but after all, some 100-200 years ago, people lived like this everywhere, there was no soap, no paper towels, and chamber pots in Paris were poured out only 150 years ago on the heads of passers-by. Why do you think the ladies went with umbrellas? Wide-brimmed hats rescued men from potentially falling shit on their heads. Do you know where the fashion for tame dogs came from? During the Renaissance, it was a flea remedy. At that time it was even considered harmful to wash, lush dresses were never washed, and noble ladies often held ferrets and ermines in their arms, so that fleas would run over to the animals, and they devoured them.
In general, in India you just need to decide for yourself: either accept and enjoy, or immediately leave completely. Humility and enjoyment does not mean that you can eat anywhere. Strictly in restaurants and cafes! But by no means in roadside “fast foods” (this is when something is being cooked on the ground, on the knees) – at best, you will spend the rest of the trip just on the pot of toilet.
I spent the middle of the day walking around Rishikesh and the surrounding area. For example, here is the abandoned ashram of Maharishi Mahesh, which the Beatles used to visit. The territory of the ashram is fenced off with a castle and a watchman sitting on the gate. But I read on the Internet that if I put 100 rupees in the guard (of course, so that no one else was there, but no one else was), then the gate opens miraculously. In general, the impression is interesting.
After 4-5 days in a row of practice in this mode, an irresistible desire to do a massage appeared. Since the muscles of the back were just screaming and screaming in pain and fatigue. And not only me. But at least I had time to go for a massage during the day, the guys didn’t have any breaks at all, and so everyone slowly started filoning – either one’s stomach allegedly grabbed, then the other’s head, and so on. Well, about the belly, by the way, it’s no exaggeration, because, as Sean later wrote from America, this diploma cost him “a lot of blood, sweat and toilet visits”. In short, I see a Massage sign near my hotel. Getting in. Massage table covered with a beautiful Indian style bedspread and chair. I wonder if the height of the massage table is adjustable? While no one is there – I look under the bedspread and the table turns out to be some old shabby door, laid on two old shabby bedside tables. This is India. Naturally, as the discerning reader should have guessed, there was no trace of disposable sheets and hand washing by a massage therapist. So, I ask the masseur to wash my back properly. He begins and I understand that he has the power, he can’t do anything, from the word at all. And massage is needed very, very much! Because I don’t want to miss classes, because I’m only here for 2 weeks, and it’s unrealistic to continue with tight muscles … My Kingdom for massage! In general, I say, call some boy, I will show him how to do massage, so that you can do the same to me later. I called. He showed it. Did. He turned out to be a smart student, grasping everything on the fly, and was immensely happy to learn advanced massage techniques from a blond man from far northern Russia.
In general, the massage saved me and I went to look for spiritual, if not enlightenment, then at least the preparation of a fertile ground into which the seeds of spiritual growth could later be sown. On one of the walks, passing by some ashram (Ajatananda ashram), I saw an announcement that a certain master’s darshan would take place today, and I went without hesitation. The master turned out to be a Belgian who had been living in Rishikesh for 20 or 30 years, and gave the impression of a very spiritually developed and bright person. He did not say much and the only thing that I remembered then, and that was said very simply and at the same time very strongly, he said that in order to understand who you really are, you just need to remove all identifications of yourself with anything. We always identify with the concepts of man-woman, son-father, brother-sister and so on, director / scientist / driver / old / rich / healthy / young / poor and so on; so, if we consistently de-identify ourselves with all these concepts, then what will remain will be our real “Self”. Elementary, Watson!
Taking a taxi, we drove to the Vasishtha cave – according to legend, Vasishtha is one of the seven manus – the progenitors of the modern human race. Half an hour along the mountain serpentine, a tiny patch for parking and we are on the territory. The territory around the cave is fenced off, there are a couple of aviaries with some domestic animals and the cave itself. It is considered a museum and there are certain opening hours. And today it really was a day off, but, apparently, the expression of prayer on our faces was very convincing and we were allowed in. The cave consisted of 3 or 4 halls connected in series, each with the size of a small living room of 10 meters. When my friend and I sat down in a separate room (the taxi driver was outside), I closed my eyes and imagined how Vasishtha spent hours here in meditation, in the depths souls hoping to feel something unusual. And I immediately understood why yogis were meditating in caves. Complete silence reigns there! For even a breath of wind does not bother. The silence was such that it seemed to me that I could hear the blood flowing through my veins. But this did not last very long, because from outside someone approached the entrance to the cave and began to shout that we should remove the car, since there was no other car to pass along the road (ah, … a taxi driver, …). I had to go out without any esoteric experience. Although, who knows! Not everything happens explicitly.
Rishikesh bookstores should be mentioned separately. All (absolutely all!) Books that you see in this photo are about yoga! Such a concentration of yogic literature can hardly be found anywhere else.
Monkeys in Rishikesh are found in such numbers as pigeons in Russia or Europe. That is, they are everywhere, and you must always be on the lookout, it is dangerous to carry food in your hands (that food that may interest monkeys), for example, a banana – they can easily attack in order to take it away. Once I was resting in my hotel room, there was a bag of fruit on the table and the door to the balcony was open. Suddenly, noisily, a huge monkey jumped into my room (the size of a large dog like a shepherd dog and with very sharp teeth) and grabbed a bag of fruit. I jumped out of bed, and she began to grin by no means jokingly (her teeth are really scary) and voila, she took the whole package away …
A very interesting feeling from India – on the one hand, as if I had visited another planet, on the other, the same people live there …
Goodbye Rishikesh! In St. Petersburg, I will miss your ubiquitous smell of a mixture of incense (which burns everywhere) and cow dung (which is also everywhere), the cry of monkeys and the singing of exotic birds!
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