Yatra 2015 Recap/Observations

First, this is the best money I ever spent. I am glad that I was able to afford it, I would not call it a vacation even though I enjoyed it tremendously and I made some purchases. I feel like this was actually kind of one of the highlights in my life so far. Nowhere does it say that learning and growing cannot happen between moments of austerity and levity, both permeated with corny dopey joy.

It was beyond wonderful to have this experience. India is a mother that hugs you so hard that you feel both the love and the tightness of the squeeze which makes it hard sometimes, but love is love. This land and it’s people felt like realizing you had long last relative you did not know you had. Robert Moses, Radha Kunda Das, and their crew are  among some of the most selfless enjoyable and stable people that I have ever met. I found so much back story and context for what I have been trying to do through practicing Ashtanga. And I found it here, through Robert, Sharath, Eddie, and the people and places they introduced us to. I found great peace being in Sharath’s and Saraswati’s presence. I don’t  just mean at practice or during conference. I know how it sounds but there you have it. 

I will say though that a Yatra or any other endeavor with 155 people is rather nutty. The logistics of feeding, guiding, transporting, and housing a group this size is unecessarily insane. I criticize with admiration, since they pulled it of with only one un preventable accident with a good ending.

I came to realize that even though yoga is a healing modality it is not a vaccine for bad behavior. I will repeat that I met the most joyful, loving, and equanimous people in this huge group. I also met a couple of the most careless conflict loving, racist and bigoted assholes ever, and I’ve been around. The mean and angry one knew every single chant by heart, and the racist bigot carried the Gita. Go figure. This unfortunately is the last sentence on this blog. Thank you so much for reading.

Wrong Preparations

I wasted my time preparing for Delhi belly, how to avoid stepping on shit, wondering if I’d remember how to cross a street were traffic doesn’t stop, and other sorts of nonsense that I came totally unprepared for the strong emotions that being on Yatra would bring. I dissolved into glad tears with no origin I can place several times yesterday. I was also unprepared for the kindness and generosity of the people of this land. I don’t want it to sound like mumbo jumbo, but I do feel familiarity with this landscape and i’ts environment. Not in the I’ve lived here before sense, but in the sense that this was the landscape of my childhood when we would travel to the country side, but not just. I still got it when it comes to crossing  the street with ongoing non stop traffic.     Oh, group practice? Lousy yesterday because like a fool I turned on the AC so high I woke up with a sore throught. This morning I woke up reluctantly for a 5 AM practice before we leave on a 7 hour bus trip, when I thought, wait a minute! I already practiced 6 days this week. So here I am maybe writing my last post before no wifi. 

P.S. The current in the Ganges is strong, the water freezing icy cold, and I will be doing it again my friend Marco and his partner up river.

Fun at The Lemon Tree

My roommate Annika is younger than my daughter. The hotel will only give us one room card so we have to share it. We are getting along famously and everyone I’ve met is awesome interesting and friendly. So glad to meet up with Michelle and we have chit chatted for hours! The group is big and it is going to get even bigger. Somehow tomorrow we are all marching out of here on foot with luggage and will get on the metro and exit on the same stop to the Delhi train station. I laugh every time I think about it. I have residual NYC public school teacher School Trip on the subway PTSD because I cannot stop thinking about leaving someone behind. It will be so nice to practice with others tomorrow morning.


Neiva,Colombia and HCMC/Saigon are way hotter than Delhi. Per my pal Kristen’s advice I hired a driver for the day and went everywhere! Thanks K. I was “upgraded to a ladies only floor at the ITC and there is a female security guard by the elevator at all times. There is also a complimentary cocktail hour so guess where I am right now? Did a little shopping and I will enjoy Bhukara tonight. P.S. Did my practice on the marble foyer of my room this morning, where I also discovered a thigh master and a min stair master in the closet! #ladiesfloor

Blog Predictions


So the hurricane did no happen and I can leave as planned. That word plan has no credibility with me after all this back and forth. I am packed for half a month in a carry-on from IKEA. hope it does not burst and fall apart. Yes I have a duffel bag for shopping damages somewhere in there. So here is what I think is going to happen blog wise.

  1. from what I see on instafacetwitter A LOT is happening on that yatra and there is no way to document it all or otherwise I will miss it, and end up like those people that miss the event trying to take a selfie.
  2. It will be a “bit” (lol) superficial since I am not a religious scholar or an asana expert. Even if it blows my mind, it’s like instagram- the blood moon was way better in real life, and my description/shot will not do the event justice.
  3. wi-fi questions about access in  Uttarkashi have been met with avoidance and generalities ( I say that with zero animosity and tons of good humor) so you know the answer to that one. I may have to share when I am back.
  4. I am such a dork, I am already calling the Himalayas the HimAlias

You May Never Come Back To Read Here

This is the most un yogic, unkind, un pretty, but still pretty fearless thought I have had since practicing made me less of a problem child in a body of a grown woman. I’m hoping that blurting it out will get it out of my system:

To all those mostly men who voted to shut down Planned Parenthood: This is what I wish for you- One day science will make it possible to  surgically implant some sort of uterus device into a man where a fertilized egg can be placed to thrive. Against their will of course,so they get a feel for what is being asked for when rape results in pregnancy. After nine months of nurturing the sanctity of life, a C section can be performed ( not fun as a remember, but survivable ). Watch them scream take “it”out! when the contractions barely begin,( or whatever alert their body ends up giving for ready to roll). I bet they would all claim it is a cancerous growth that needs to be removed because it is life threatening.

Some days chitta vritti nirodha does not happen, but that is no reason to not try again tomorrow. My bad not the yoga method.

If and When

My good FB buddy Lisa Hill is an ashtanga teacher(who is awol from her excellent blog) maintains the feed of Ashtanga Yoga Chicago over at Facebook with consistent and up to date Ashtanga news, teachings, and opinions. She recently posted this on the group feed and asked to start a dialogue/conversation. Here is my very personal opinion. Opinion, not ruling,or law, or edict. If you are a teacher, who no longer will practice or offer Mysore style & guided classes, please do provide a PSA to your students letting them know you quit Ashtanga. If you have are famous on youtube, snapchat, Instagram, and twitter for your asana demonstrations, instructional videos, or beautiful photos and have a ton of followers, do announce as well, because someone is going to ask where did you go? The rest of us? No matter how how heartfelt our blogging or our practice was and for how many years, and how bad the injuries, or how many awful Ashtangis you know, we should follow this sage advice offered by Peg Mulqueen on her feed not long ago:


Oh, but you say, what about an abusive teacher or a studio that runs away with your money, or, or uh, I dunno. I’ll listen and thank you for the tip. but don’t blame it on Ashtanga, Ashtanga is not a person, or a disease, or an act of nature. it is a portion of your day where you sweat, breathe and try not to screw yourself.

Ave Maria

Is what we say in Medellin when we are exasperated, fed up, or at our wits end. I panic a little when sleep does not come. I do not mean when I wake up in the middle of 3:11 AM (that is now, sadly normal) and  I toss and turn for awhile. I am talking about getting into bed at 10 PM setting the alarm for 6 AM and meeting 4 AM still wide awake. I fortunately can reschedule my day accordingly because I shudder when I think about what a full day of  teaching would be with two hours of sleep, but the disruption still remains in the form of missed connection. You all know that I dislike practicing alone, but more than that I dislike the energy drain that not moving your body early creates. I don’t even mean like 7 AM done before 9 AM either. I love a 10 AM starting time just as much. The problem is that for two nights in a row I fall asleep around 5AM and open my eyes around ten and needing 2 cups of coffee at least in order to start anything, not to mention practice. I started taking melatonin in preparation for the time changes for my trip next month. Maybe that is screwing with me? Also, if anyone has advice on unlocking (although I’m told they come already unlocked) an iphone 5 for use in India, I’d appreciate it. I’m calling this a moon day.

P.S. I Enjoyed Natalie Goldberg’s  The Goddess Pose. Indra Devi sure got around. You have front row to key moments in 20th century world history by just following her around.