We had the most delightful group for the tour and yoga sessions!
Here is Arvind, our erudite tour guide. He holds an MA in Indian History & Culture, MA in Indian Philosophy & Religion, and a PhD in Archaeology. Like a mother hen gathering her chicks, he protectively led us through the thick of crowds, past the gauntlet of vendors, beggars, pedestrians, auto rickshaws, bicycle rickshaws, motorbikes, cars, and cows, always turning back to count us, to make sure we were close to his heels. He made it all seem so effortless! This guy is magic!! The book “Hinduism for Dummies” is a great book, but as a joke he is pretending to read it. Arvind is an expert on the subject and lives a devout life of Hinduism. Pardon the expression, but he is one cool cat!
Kelley: “Arvind, have you seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire?”
Arvind shaking his head no: “Seen it!!? I live it!”
This was Kelley’s 9th time to take a group tour with Arvind in India! She is the organizer of the tour. This was the first year that yoga was added to the itinerary and I feel honored that she asked me to come along to teach the yoga sessions. Kelley is an India-phile, has studied Hindi in India, has an MA in South Asian Studies and has a deep respect for the people and cultures of India. This is Kelley sitting with Arvind’s mother and the second one is of her doing yoga in Agra where we had a gorgeous open yoga space overlooking a garden and pool.
Julia’s best line of the whole trip was, “I have an irrational faith in Indian drivers.” She pours her heart and soul into her yoga practice. She is revving up for medical school starting this fall in NYC!
Sarah is a life-learner, taking enrichment courses and gleaning as much from life as possible. To mark time in India, she removed nail polish from one nail each day. Here she is trying on a sari at the silk shop.
Theresa is the perfect roommate. We have similar sleeping habits, slipping into bed as early as possible utterly exhausted, waking up before the alarm goes off. She read the local paper daily as I got ready for the day, informing me of the news as she came across interesting tidbits.
Dayna’s enthusiasm is contagious. And I will never forget the sincere young man who came up to her all starry eyed. looking into Dayna’s blue eyes and asked, “Which country, please?” “USA” “Oh, you are VERY beautiful.” Some people really know how to rock your world. Here is Dayna at the Taj Mahal.
It was so much fun to experience India with Halina, especially since she (and Dayna) were at the yoga retreat in Pantelleria, Italy last year. It is like doing yoga together around the world. Halina was born in Mexico, has lived in Seattle (where we met) and is currently living in the U.A.E. Here she is trying on a sari at the silk shop and in the second picture, taking in the beauty of India:
Carla described our return to the heat after our cool stay in Dharamsala as returning to the “hot clay oven”. She has a way with words. She stayed on after we all left India to do an intensive yoga study with Smriti, a Bhakti yoga instructor from Varanasi:
Chris is a Bollywood lover extraordinaire! When we heard songs, I was surprised to see her singing along. She was saved under the Bodhi tree after being overwhelmed by the heat of Delhi at the Red Fort. Chris can dance and shimmy her shoulders like nobody’s business.
Don, donned in is Nikki-pants, meditating daily at 4 a.m. along the Ganga or on the rooftops of India, pouring his heart out to the children on the streets, giving freely and generously, free enough to do yoga in his underwear. “Ladies and Don” is our daily greeting by Arvind on the bus. There is only one Don and we love him!
Glenda knit her way through India, making blankets for the dogs in shelters!! She is the wise woman of our group, the most traveled of this group, is observant and witty, and asked many great questions:
Karin, our cucumber-Shiva girl from Florida. Cucumbers sustained her throughout this India journey! One day she ordered a Khukumbar salad thinking it was a typo on the menu only to find out that Khukumbar is an onion salad! She selflessly shares her medical knowledge (she is an oncologist and hematologist…and a yoga instructor) and her i pad. A beauty of movie star proportions, women and men stop and stare as she makes her way through India.
And a picture of me, on another amazing adventure with an awesome group of people on the Ganges in Rishikesh: