I Have Arrived
On the banks of the sacred river Ganges, Ganga Ma, the Hindu goddess mother, nestled in the towering foothills of the Himalayas, about 5km up the valley from Rishikesh, lies Phool Chatti Ashram. I came from Delhi airport directly to the ashram, and it has proven to be a nourishing way to begin my adventure in India.
My experience so far has been blessed with delicious wholesome food, a comfortable modern bedroom, warm friendly people, intermittent wifi, and a daily program of yogic training.
It is the tail end of the monsoon season now; it is very humid and has rained on and off every day. It’s a comfortable temperature, I haven’t felt any need to wear a second layer even at night, and it’s hot when the sun breaks through.
And there are monkeys. Monkeys! They raid the outdoor bins and are lovingly fended off from the outdoor dining area with long brooms.
I am five days in to Phool Chatti Ashram’s seven day Introduction to The Yogic Path and Ashram Life program, which runs weekly during spring and autumn. There are about twenty people on the program from around the globe. I haven’t really got to know any of them because we have spent nearly the whole time in silence.
We have practiced yoga asanas twice a day (including a laughter yoga session), participated in the daily fire puja (singing prayers) and kirtan (singing mantras), learned about the core principles of yogic philosophy, and poured warm salty water up our noses every morning (a cleansing practice) followed by pranayama (breathwork). We have also had a ceremonial dip in the Ganges, visited a local waterfall, and been for several mindful walks.
I feel energised and enriched. I have arrived.