Yoga Training in Nepal

We arrived in Kathmandu on September 21st, about 1 week before our training. At the airport the immigration process was very manual but it went by rapidly. We could get the visa on arrival for up to 3 months.  Outside of the airport we got a phone chip and had to get our fingerprints for that (not with a biometric reader but by sticking our fingers in ink). We had a recommended driver to pick us up. The car was so tiny, almost like Mr. Bean’s car, and had only 4 gears. All other cars looked old and most of the streets were under construction due to a road expansion project. It felt like we had travelled back in time!

A simple country with simple people and SO MUCH to teach us! We stayed at Budhanilkantha, north of Kathmandu, at a peaceful Cottage on top of the mountains with a beautiful view.

 

Shivapuri Mountains_Budanikantha_Nepal

In the village of Budhanilkantha lies a 5 meter tall sleeping Vishnu (a popular Hindu God) in the middle of a small pond. The sculpture from the 5th century represents Vishnu sleeping in the cosmic ocean while resting on Ananta Sesa the thousand headed snake.

Vishnu Temple_Kathmandu_Nepal

Salva was blessed by the sadhu (holy man) dressed in white on the right
Yogi_Sadhu_Vishnu Temple Nepal 

On September 29th we headed to the house where we would spend our next 6 weeks in our 320h Yoga Teacher Training & 50h Thai Massage Certification.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj” which means to connect or join.  That is why Yoga is commonly understood as body, mind & soul union, or matter with higher consciousness or self with Divine. The most important thing is that Yoga is a powerful means to an end. In Yogic tradition, the ultimate goal of all human pursuits is moksha, or liberation. Liberation from insecurities, desires, and limitations; freedom from all that separates us from the Divine. The end of all human pursuits is everlasting peace, happiness and a sense of fulfillment. Yoga helps to cleanse and purify the mind, which in turn prepares us to know our true Self.

In our journey to learn about different holistic healing therapies in Asia and to realize our svadharmas (true purpose in life), a training in Yoga felt like the right path. Before the training we were required to read 3 classical Yoga books: The Bhagavad Gita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. We highly recommend these readings. There is a lot of misunderstanding about what is yoga and several people are starting to believe that physical excercises is all to this practice.

During our training we learned about the history of yoga, the different branches, the eight limbs of yoga (yama, niyama, asana,pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi), anatomy, subtle-anatomy, prana, koshas, vayus, chakras, mantras, mudras, bandhas… basically we were introduced to a whole new language, world and lifestyle of Yoga.

We were 9 students from all over the world training and living together in a house – ashram style. We woke up around 5am, daily activities started at 6am and ended at 8:30pm. Sunday was free.

This was our first day at the house after the Initiation Ceremony

Nepal_Yoga Teacher Training_Initiation Ceremony_Trip We Love

Our Yogi-Nomad teachers kept us on a tight schedule but also gave us their hearts during our training. We feel grateful to have been part of such a beautiful group.

Our teacher Yogatara (founder of Isha Center) teaching Yoga Nidra, a technique which we loved!


Nepal_Yoga Nidra_Trip We Love

Tarci & Salva Teaching Yoga Classes

Nepal_Tarci Teaching Baddha Konasana_Trip we Love


Nepal_Salva Teaching Navasana_Trip we Love

Besides the Yoga training, as part of our course we also learned Thai Massage. The theoretical foundation of this spiritual practice is based on the concept of invisible energy lines running through the body. Working on these energy lines can break blockages, stimulate the flow of energy and help to restore well-being. An Indian physician called Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, who used to be a friend of the Buddha, is the founder of this healing technique. The giving of Thai massage is a physical application of loving kindness.

Tarci & Salva giving and receiving Thai Massage from each other

Nepal_Salva Blind Thai Massage_Trip We Love


Nepal_Tarci Thai Massage_Trip We Love

At the end of 4 weeks our teachers organized a 3-day “field trip” to visit some of the most sacred places around Kathmandu.

View of Himalayas after sunrise

Nepal_Nagarkot_Himalayas View_Trip We Love
 

The picture above was taken at Nagarkot, which is a village part of Bhaktapur district. It is about 2,200m above sea level and is renowned for its sunrise view of the Himalaya (including Mount Everest), as well as other snow-caped peaks. It was worth waking up early in the cold to see this sunrise!

On our way to the temples and villages that we visited we were lucky to meet very interesting holy men, like the one in the picture below.

Nepal_Baba_Trip we Love

This is a beautiful family we met at a local village

Nepal_Beautiful Family at Village_Trip we Love

We visited a charming medieval town called Bhaktapur, which means “City of Devotees”, and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and artwork. 

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Nepal_Bhaktapur Durbar Square_Trip We Love

On October 31st, Tarci’s Dad birthday, we visited one of our favorite places due to its powerful energy, the Boudhanath stupa. It is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It is said that anything you wish for comes true as long as it is aligned with your svadharma (purpose in life). We prayed and lit candles for the birthday Dad, our families and friends.

 Boudhanath Stupa

Nepal_Boudhanath Stupa_Trip We Love

In the last 2 weeks of training we had to give a one-hour and a one-hour and a half yoga class. We also had to give a Thai massage blind-folded. These were all experiences we will never forget. It was beautiful to see the growth of our classmates, our own development and to share an important part of our lives with such special souls.

Our wonderful group!

Nepal_Yoga Training Class Nov 2012_Trip We Love

After the training it was harder to unwind than we imagined. We kept waking up early, chanting mantras and practicing every day. It did not take long for us to realize that we had not only gotten a diploma but a complete change in lifestyle.

During our last 3 days in Nepal we stayed at Isha Center and met Darshana, a sannyasa who is continuing her yoga studies at the Bihar School in India. On November 11th she took us back to the Pashupatinath Temple, which is one of the most significant Hindu temples of Lord Shiva in the world, listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We had been there before in our tour with the group but this time she showed us the more local side of the temple. We stood in front of the entrance to the main temple (which is forbidden to enter for Non-Hindus) while we made our offering and received and amazing energy! We also walked by the cremations on the riverbank, had prasad (holy food offering) with a Baba in his cave and found a hidden Ganesh temple where his mouse showed up to greet us! A lot of auspicious encounters. We had wished to celebrate our anniversary in a more spiritual way, but we had nothing planned. That was the best gift the universe could have given us!

Tiger Baba preparing prasad in his cave

Nepal_Tiger Baba in Cave_Trip We Love

 Tarci with Darshana at the hidden Ganesh cave in Pashupatinath Temple

Nepal_Pashupatinath Temple_Hidden Ganesh cave_Trip We Love

After Nepal, instead of continuing to explore different places and cultures, we decided to stop for some time to process what we have learned, brainstorm new ventures and prepare for Africa.

Auroville – A City for Human Unity

It is said that all men of goodwill, who thirst for progress and aspire to a higher and truer life are invited to Auroville. Auroville is a young city, inaugurated in 1968 by representatives of 124 countries and 23 Indian states, who placed a handful of earth from their countries in a lotus-shaped urn as a symbol of human unity.

Auroville does not belong to India nor to any other country. It is a universal town that belongs to Humanity. The idea of the city came to The Mother in the 1930s. She met Sri Aurobindo in the early 1900s and immediately recognized him as a guru. Together, they worked to help us evolve our level of consciousness. With the mind development, they believed humans could consciously participate in the process of inner discovery and life’s true purpose, not only as an individual but also as a meaningful part of our evolving world.

Thank to Salvador’s Dad, Carlo Carlucci, we decided to visit this universal city and experienced one of the most amazing feelings in the world inside the Matrimandir.

The outside of the Matrimandir

Matrimandir_auroville_trip_we_love_india

This is how the meditation room inside the Matrimandir looks like. Unbelievable energy!

Inside_matrimandir_auroville_india_trip_we_love

 Salva learning about the history of Auroville

Charte_d_auroville_india_trip_we_love

 Salva reading in the peaceful guesthouse where we stayed

Quite_healing_center_auroville_india_trip_we_love

We leave you with this short inspirational quote from The Mother. We hope it helps you in your self-discovery process.

For millennia, we have been developing outer means, outer instruments, outer techniques of living and finally those means and techniques are crushing us. The sign of the new humanity is a reversal in the standpoint, and the understanding that inner knowledge and inner technique can change the world and master it without crushing it.

Auroville is a place where this new way of living is being worked out, it is a centre of accelerated evolution where man must begin to change his world through the power of his inner spirit.

The Mother

Rishikesh ‘Yoga Capital of the World’

“Ever since the Beatles rocked up at the ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late ’60s, Rishikesh has been a magnet for spiritual seekers.”

The Beatles traveled to Rishikesh in 1968 to study Transcendental Meditation and composed nearly
48 songs, many of which appear in the White Album. This inspiring place, set in the foothills of the Himalayas, and on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, was where we started learning about the spiritual and philosophical aspects of Yoga. We highly recommend the book Bhagavad Gita as well as others in our library.

Meditating by the Ganges River

Meditation_ganges_river_rishikesh_trip_we_love

Peaceful view of Rishikesh and the Ganga early in the morning
Rishikesh_ganges_view_india_trip_We_love
We thought this would be a very quiet city but it is actually not that easy to find peaceful places among the cars, motorcycles, monkeys, cows, people and other noises that you would only know if you have been to India. It can also be a little “dangerous”! Salva was attacked by monkeys who stole his mango and bananas while he was crossing the bridge. He tried to hide it from them but the monkeys were pretty determined. They would not let us by until we gave them everything! Check out the short video below.

Tarci_rishikesh_bridge_india_trip_We_love
To get the full experience we could not miss a visit to a local recommended astrologer, where we did our Vedic horoscope, birth charts, palm reading and a spiritual ritual to bring us protection, love and health.
Salva making an offering to the Gods with the astrologer B.P. Uniyal and God Ganesh on the back
Meeting_with_astrologer_rishikesh_india_trip_we_love

What is your favorite spiritual, yoga or meditation book? Let us know in the comment section below. Thank you!

Special People We Met in Thailand

In Thailand we were lucky to meet some very interesting people. We had two great meditation guides who educated us and inspired us to meditate every morning. A practice that we continue to do. On the left of the picture is Yongdu a Buddhist Lama. On the right is Frans, a former CEO of an important emergency management company in the Netherlands. Frans left the corporate world to live in Thailand and run workshops to help people find their purpose in life.

Yongdu_Frans_Thailand_Trip_We_Love

Another person that guided us during our fast and provided a lot of useful information is Tom Coghill. For the last 30 years all his efforts have been focused on juice fasting. He runs a fasting website and has written a few e-books on this subject.

Tom_Coghill_Fasting_Trip_We_Love

Another aspect that we are exploring in this trip is researching and learning about the mystic world in Asia. In Thailand we met Papu (picture below) who is a 1,000 year old monk. Papu is currently using the body of the Thai woman in the picture. She married an English speaking person who translated Papu’s guidance for us. Papu gave us advice, good luck amulets and told us that the future is looking bright for us.

Papu_1000_year_old_monk_thailand_mae_rim

Before leaving this wonderful country, we spent some time on top of a scooter around Mae Rim and Chiang Mai visiting rice fields, Buddhist temples and delicious restaurants. Here are a few pictures:

Rice is starting to grow on the fields around Mae Rim

Rice_Fields_Scooter_Thailand_Trip_We_Love

Tarci negotiating our fresh fruits and vegetables at a local market

Fresh Foods Market Mae Rim Thailand

Salva happy to find our moped in one of the largest motorcycle parking places we have ever seen

Motorcycle Parking Chiang Mai Thailand Trip we Love

Full moon night with the view of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai

Chiang_Mai_Buddhist_Temple_Thailand

 

Why a Cleansing Fast and How to Prepare?

The following sections are directly transcribed from the booklet we received. We hope you find this helpful to understand better what we are doing and to make a better informed decision if you ever thought about doing one of these cleansing fast programs:

Overview:

These programs work as a healing mechanism. They start working at full potential after 24-36 hours without the intake of food. Our healing mechanism works best when we stop eating, ingesting, digesting and metabolizing food.

Our bodies switch to DETOXIFICATION MODE and remove parasites, toxins and potentially cancerous cells. This waste material is then dumped into the bloodstream for excretion through the liver, colon, lungs and skin. The tired and weak feeling experience during the first 3 to 4 days are due entirely to the presence of these toxins and other waste matter waiting to be excreted, NOT the lack of food. Incidentally, you will be taking so many detoxifying drinks, cleansing herbs and nutritional herbs, you will not get physically hungry at all.

These programs will remove large amounts of toxic and waste materials from your system and also promote the loss of many kilos of putrefied matter and fat. This will enable your body to begin to RE-BUILD and REJUVENATE, thus giving you more vitality and help prevent further illness. Learn to follow the “Five Habit System” of cleansing, breathing properly, food combining, exercise, meditation and peacefulness. All of these help to make a healthier and happier life!

Step 1: How to prepare yourself (the correct way)

Before starting any fasting program we strongly encourage you to do what we call a “Pre-cleanse”. This should be for at least 2-3 days, or even 1-2 weeks! It depends how toxic you think you can be – everyone is different.

Basically this involves eating only fruit, salad and only slighted cooked vegetables with juices, herb teas and plenty of pure water. No meat, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine or soft drinks. We have specially designed what we call our “LIVER FLUSH DIET” which consists of salads, veggie soups, lighly steamed vegetables and our famous liver flush drink. This drink has extra virgin oil, fresh garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice and lemon. It starts the process of elimination by assisting the liver, kidneys and call bladder to detoxify and cleanse.

Liver Flush Drink Recipe

Liver_Flush_Ingredients

ingredients for 2 portions:

Orange Juice – 2 cups

Lime Juice – 2 table spoons

Garlic – 2 cloves

Ginger – 2 pieces

Olive oil – 2 table spoons

Cayenne pepper – 2 capsules of 500 mg each

However, if you want to add more ginger or garlic. You can do..!

Instructions:

Blend everything in a high power blender for 1 minute or until all ingredients are well mixed together.  Enjoy it!

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