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

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Peaceful view of Rishikesh and the Ganga early in the morning
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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.

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

Golden Triangle in India

We did a 6 day tour around the Golden Triangle in India. The Golden Triangle is  a tourist circuit composed of 3 cities in India: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Below are some of the highlights of this circuit and our time there.

Taj Mahal, Agra around 6:20am: probably the most beautiful building in India, completed around 1653, after 21 years of work. It looks like a temple but it is actually a white marble mausoleum, built by one of India’s Mughal emperors in memory of his wife.

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Tarci capturing faces and smiles of locals outside the Agra Fort

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Beautiful colors of India
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Locals visiting the Agra Fort

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 Our first bindi at a Hindu temple on our way to Jaipur

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The Hawa Mahal or “Palace of the Winds”, built in 1799 in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god
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 Amber Fort in Jaipur – amazing views with elephants taking tourist to the top

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 Snake charmers of Jaipur

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 The most expensive houses inside the Delhi market

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We spent one afternoon learning about the incredible work that the non-profit Goonj is doing in India. Below is where they sort out the donated cloths that then gets distributed all around India.
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The magnificent presidential palace in Delhi
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After doing some tourism around India’s capital we headed north to Rishikesh, also known as the world’s capital of Yoga!

We are in India!

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We are in Auroville. India has kept us busy. Between slow internet connections and no internet connections we have not been able to keep the blog up to date. The most important thing is that we are well and enjoying our time is the country of contrasts. Since we have arrived we have been on the move trying to see as much as possible before the visa expires.

The Taj Mahal (picture above) was amazing and all the other places we have visited have provided unforgettable experiences. We finally found a good internet cafe and we will be posting more pictures soon. Leave us a comment!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Tarci negotiating our fresh fruits and vegetables at a local market

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

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

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Flight booked for India – August 4th

Our next destination is India. We will be flying into Delhi and then spend 6 days exploring the Golden Triangle. We will visit Delhi with students from the non-profit Goonj, then we will head to Agra to see the amazing Taj Mahal and from there we will go to Jaipur.

After the Golden Triangle we will head to Rishikesh, the world capital of Yoga, where we will spend time learning more about Yoga. From Rishikesh we will go Hyderabad for a few nights to visit friends. Finally we will end the trip in Auroville a universal city in the making.

As with any plans there will probably changes… but we will try to stick to the above itinerary.

We survived our first detox fasting!

We have finished the detox! Detoxing and not eating made us think about food.  This past week has been full of detox drinks, colemas, herbal supplements and laxatives. Almost every night we dreamt about food and it was not easy.  We realized how much we are attached to food, even when our body does not really need it. We are very happy we have done this program as it is probably one of the most important steps for us to move into a holistic well-being.  Fasting (or semi-fasting) targets the body, the mind and to a certain extent the spirit.

Body: We have lost significant weight very quickly (Salvador almost 8 kilos) and we managed to do Yoga almost every day.  We are getting quickly back in shape. We are more flexible and more energetic. Internally we feel our blood cleaner and purified.

Now that the fast is over, we know that if we return to our same diet then we will lose our lively state of being.  Besides, we would gain the weight back and probably put on extra weight.. So we need to change some of our old eating habits.

With this in mind we have decided to educate ourselves on healthy eating. We have read the ancient ways of eating in Asia, eating healthy with whole foods, raw foods, food combinations and more. You can expect to see more on this topic soon.

Mind:  This week has been a roller coaster for our minds. Up, downs, left and right and then again up and down. The first day we were all excited to start a detox program. Day 2 without food and with the detoxification starting to kick in we felt a bit miserable. Day 3 was a repeat of day 2 the only difference was that we slept poorly the night before and in the little sleep we had we dreamt about food. Day 4, 5 and 6 were probably some of the best days of our lives. We woke up full of energy, our minds clear and a very active unpolluted mind. The energy level lowered a little in the afternoon/night and we would forget basic things such as where we put the keys or if we had taken our pills (for Tarci this is normal but for Salva is a big deal).

We fed our minds with great books we borrowed and deep conversations with researchers, writers, teachers and several other interesting people we met at the Spa.

Day 7 was the last stretch and we were just happy to know we did not have to be tied to a schedule with literally 19 activities every day (including 2 colon enemas!)

Spirit:  Fasting is the world’s most ancient and natural healing mechanism and for some people it is also a Spiritual experience. Hindu Yogis are famous fasters and colon cleansers. Muslims fast during Ramadan, the Jewish calendar has several fast days and both Jesus and Buddha fasted for up to 40 days at a time.

While we did not have any major spiritual experience, we felt the thirst for greater spiritual knowledge.  Every morning we went to meditation class and during the difficult times we would breathe into the aching parts of our bodies. It is pretty amazing how we have the power to heal ourselves.

Usually the last session of our meditation classes were dedicated to send Love & Kindness to people in need.  Since we were “starving”, we talked about the difficulties and sufferings that children have to endure due to the lack of food.  Maybe because of this we came across a video of a starving boy drinking milk from a street dog. This video affected us greatly at a spiritual level and put things in perspective.

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