Enchanting India

As I leave India after undergoing my yoga teacher training with twenty other incredible team mates, with tears but with a full heart, I  reflect on the last incredible three weeks as an introduction to India.

Rishikesh on the beach by Ganga Ma with my dorm-mate Marie Capoen

Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity.

Martin Luther King, Jr

India and Indians are incredibly beautiful.

I know. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ you might say. However, in India, the heart is wide wide open and embraces all in its radius.

I dare anyone to resist the pull. You will be taken right in, pulled in very strongly as if by a Vortex by the sheer power of India and its people’s devotion, love, humility, generosity and intense curiosity and love of life!

Fellow Yogi Prince, one of the four yogi Knights, pure joy in a human form

Here is a short introduction to my Indian journey which included all the limbs of yoga.

I learnt and experienced personal & social ethics, scripture/philosophy & other sciences, service, chanting, devotion, practice ( asanas, physical purification, meditation, samadhi) satsang & community. I will write more but could not leave India without honouring my new friends and spiritual home.

The French yogis – Celine and Gabriella

Arriving in any foreign country can be overwhelming even for the most seasoned and experienced travellers. One will be outside their comfort zone at some point.

Left Celine on our arrival day, Vero, Marjorie, me and Rinda

Celine and Gabriella were our French ‘angels’ and translators for our French group of yogi teacher students. Celine  now lives permanently in India. She runs ‘Namaste Voyages en Inde’ and is an Art of Living teacher.  

Céline below left on both photos. An incredibly generous woman who ensures everyone is happily settled and comfortable. She also organised my photo shoot below with flowers giving me a full Indian experience for my birthday. I let was simply magical. I would have never experienced these without her. Our huge gratitude and love to Celine.

Gabriella, Second row left

Gabriella is based from south of France where she runs a yoga and wellness studio but returns to India as often as she can. She recently had the immense honour of renewing her wedding vows blessed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar himself in Bengalore.

Gabriella being ‘remarried’ by Gurudji, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, November 2019, Bengalore, India

She credited yoga and Art of Living for her health recovery when traditional medical methods failed to help her. Today she gives back as much as she can as she did in this trip translating voluntarily as part of her ‘seva’ (service).

Nothing was ever a bother for either Celine or Gabriella, our wise sisters, who incarnated wisdom, infinite tenderness and compassion. Always with a smile. Thank you both.

India can only be experienced. It is very difficult to write about it and give it justice.

The French yogi students

The French Yogi students
My dorm sisters, left to right: Irena, Vero and Marie

My Dorm Sisters – Marie and Vero

Marie and Vero were one of my ‘coup de coeur’, soul sisters and ‘love and laughter at first sight. They were a blessing. I might not have survived the course would them. You can see a short post on our Instagram page (@youralchemists) about our dorm life.

Right to left: Marie, Vero and myself revising one day during an electricity shortage

Our other French Ladies – Rinda, Marjorie, Caro, Anita

Céline and the French ladies without knowing me organised a surprise birthday party on the first day of my arrival. All chipped in and presented me with incredibly beautiful gifts. Such generous and incredibly diverse group of beautiful women.

All are highly trained and knowledgeable in their line of work back in France. All of us had a challenging rollercoaster ride, wrestling with ‘asmita’ (our ego). We laughed, cried, celebrated and experienced humility and gratitude. A very humbling experience.

Birthday celebrations on day 1! Far left and right:Anita and Caro

The Indian yogis students

Last but not least I have no words to describe our Indian team-mates.

They are thoroughly modern and yet eerily timeless and graceful whilst embracing being global community citizens!

Left to right: Hemlata superwoman MD of her company, mother, grandmother, yogi took Santosh on the course, Kamlesh with the purest singing voices I’ve heard, me and Dr J, Jagyasha an emergency Doctor also incredible singer and satsang/seva team mate.

They carry, it seems, in their DNA, thousands of years of wisdom passed down from their ancestors through the ages.

Above top left Nikky who had to leave end of week because of work, will be finishing the training in Bengalore! Also left to right Anita, Kamlesh, Ashok, Rinda, Pinky and Nena. Right and bottom right the ‘Satsang queens: dorm sisters Nikky, Jagyasha, Priyanka and Saylee.

The beautiful Saylee

Our Indian friends live and breathe their deeply spiritual values with honour, respect and fun. It’s palpable, tangible and in them.

They are deeply respectful, inclusive, supportive, kind & tender, funny. They seem to know about the sacred, the divine and the gift of life.

Reverence for the magic of life, creation and the divine and magic present in all of us. 

Right to left: Nena treated me to my first Tulsi tea, myself and James

You won’t help but fall deeply in love instantly with the land, its people, wildlife and animals, culture and deeply ancient and sophisticated spirituality.

The Yogi Master Teachers

Sri Umesh Yogi

Sri Umesh Yogi, Lynni and Kalpesh
Our incredible Yogi men. Real modern day Knights. Wise, honourable, powerful, pure, joyful and divine.

Our Yogi Men

Our yogi men were as on photo above the three Indian men: marvellous youngest member, 19 year old Santosh, engineering student, the formidable Prince, the powerhouse Ashok.

James Carter at a Sadhu Bandhara in our Rishikesh Ashram

From America the wise singer-philosopher Sanskrit Master James.

They were incredible: our rocks of strength, guides, humorous entertainers, supporters, protectors & guides!

I spent the last fifteen years reading about and studying various spiritual traditions and made it one of my MSc Psychology interventions in my thesis.

Nothing prepared me to experience Indian philosophy, ancient texts and scriptures and Yoga (which means union with the divine and not ‘postures’) to this extent, level and depth.

Living and learning with my Indian team mates brought the teaching to life. They demonstrated their values: deep respect, honour, hard work, inclusion and a deep modern type of spirituality lived moment by moment in a very natural way woven with day to day life.

To my right beautiful singer, Art of Living teacher and CST trainee, Kamlesh

I had not yet experienced this before.

Performing satsang in Rishikesh. Local policemen joined in!

The knowledge was transmitted in equal magnitude and intensity in its philosophical, educational and experiential depth and in daily contact with Indians who walk their talk.

It was incredible. Unforgettable.

Receiving my certificates from our honoured Ashram Swami

Jai Gurudev 🧘🏼‍♂️🙏

Resources and Contacts

Art of Living teachings: www.artofliving.org

Gabriella’s details:

Celine’s details: coming soon!