A note on my three blogs

A note on my blogs

(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...

(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!

(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.


Sunday, 13 July 2008

Back in Varanasi

Today I have been in india for eight months. And I am back in Varanasi. After a further two disciplined weeks of daily yoga, violin practice and Sanskrit class in Rishikesh.

On the last two days, a very insightful doctor my Russian friend had told me about countless times, was back at the ashram. Russian friend had told me I should meet him and he would help me very much with my yoga practice. What I didn't know was that the day before I left rishikesh, that doctor started a three-week self-transformation course, which a few Indian and Western people had come to attend. I was invited to join in for their first two days and so I had three very, very insightful sessions with thesaid doctor! Of course it is all connected to Swami Rama's excellent scientifically-based yoga (East-meets-West) teachings - and the doctor is from the institute where I took my panchakarma. So I deepened what I had learnt during the yoga classes at panchakarma, and again we were to learn how to breathe diaphragmatically. But also to sit and to walk. The doctor attended everyone's needs individually, observing our habits and giving us suggestions for more awareness and corrections in our daily practices. For instance I knew from Alexander Technique that I walk pretty well (good posture, strong back, healthy feet etc.) but I further learnt that I should walk with my hip-width apart, otherwise with time I will hurt my hips. So we practised walking with "mindful conscious awareness". He also observed my breathing and for the first time I understood fully the difference between abdomen and diaphragmatic breathing. Now I clearly felt the difference too, so I know how to work on improving my breathing. Which of course is also helpful for singing and violin. Finally, I asked the doctor to quickly observe my sitting posture whilst I played the violin; he offered me a one-hour session of precise observation, priceless advice and suggestions to help me practise without hurting my back and knees... And that will also be useful for my sitting in meditation!

So I left rishikesh after two very, very insightful days, with a mind ponding with so many new ideas that I had to really make an effort to keep it quiet and let it digest all that wonderful food.

Twenty-four hours on the train later and I arrived in Varanasi, last night. I am surprised at how overwhelmed I feel to be back in Varanasi. Emotional and happy. It is truly impossible to describe how strong the atmosphere of this ancient city feels. Off the train I could already feel, compared to "easy-Rishikesh", the intensivity of rickshaw drivers and generaly people wanting "help" you and escort you and cheat you... I realise how much I've been learning by just being in India, and how priceless Vijay's help into understanding the culture, and dealing with people has been. I felt I was doing pretty well at dealing with aggessive rickshaw drivers, and I had some fun at it, too... And soon I arrived back at the same, now homely hotel. The staff was happy to see me back and I too was glad to be back on familiar grounds. It feels amazing to only go to "well-known" places in India. Not to have to look into a guidebook to find my way or wonder where I should go. I have the same room I had before going to Kathmandu; the same one above the burning ghat, again, except now the Ganges' waters are a lot higher, that cremations are being carried out right under my window! I can't help it; I can only find the closeness of death beautiful and touching, and somehow it makes me feel alive and happy. So, the Ganga is twice wider and a lot higher than it was in April. I cannot explain why, for I do not know why, and I have no-belief in the holiness of this river. It may or may not be true; I don't know and it doesn't matter to me. But what I feel is, and indeed I feel blessed to have spent almost four months by River Ganga; somehow I feel touched to be by its side. Seeing it again so full and powerful makes me very happy indeed. The view, the life there is on this ghat - the goats and the buffaloes, the monkeys screaching, playing and fighting, the cremations and the puja ceremonies, the kids playing and the women doing their laundry, the resonating bells, drums and chants - all in such a confined space below my eyes, I observe it with wonder every time I go to the rooftop restaurant, not minding how long I have to wait for the food! This morning naked kids where jumping again and again into the holy waters, from the rooftop of a submerged temple.

And this morning I went back to see Sukhdev, my violin teacher. He got back from his two and a half months of touring in Europe, just yesterday. The session was wonderful. It's always a source of inspiration and refreshment to see a teacher after some time. I showed him all the things I learnt in Rishikesh and in those two-three months of practice. And in return I got more techniques, more advise and suggestions. More new things to practise, a renewed impetus and motivation to practise. A lot of encouragement and help, too. I am so happy to be learning from such a talented violinist. I left his house feeling quite overwhelmed, a little drunk somehow; with a somewhat heavy and happy heart walking in the streets of wonderful, smelly Varanasi...

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