Living in another country, and being a part of a new culture, provides one with the opportunity to learn, educate and experience new methods and practices. I feel that it’s our responsibility as humans to keep ourselves informed and to ask questions. And from experience, being proactive and making conscious choices has resulted in nothing but joy and happiness in all areas of my life! I believe your health is your wealth, and there’s no point in having wealth if you don’t have your health. Therefore during my time here in Pune, I’ve been creating opportunities to learn about various health practices such as diet, lifestyle, spirituality and exercise, by connecting with the appropriate people and communities.
My Yoga teacher Ajay, for example, has been intently practicing Yoga for the last 20 years. I attend his classes 6 days a week and can’t believe how much I learn from him on a daily basis! Most days I stay after class to pick his brain further since not only is he a Yoga Guru, but extremely knowledgeable in the areas of nutrition and fitness. He has been very committed in helping me strengthen my body, both physically and mentally, so that I will be well prepared for some upcoming feats I intend to conquer in the near future. Some days, I’m the only student in class so he alters the postures and caters specifically to my needs. And just when I think I’ve heard everything there is to know on a particular subject matter, he throws in another mind-blowing nugget of information which leaves me in a powerful state of “Hmmm”.
I’ve also been seeing an Ayurvedic doctor and have been learning a ton about traditional Hindu treatments and medicines. My doctor is a sweet little man who enjoys the fact that I take an active role in my health. Although we don’t always see eye to eye, we both agree that no one knows your body better than YOU, so YOU should be the one who decides what to do with YOUR health in spite of what your doctor or medical practitioner claims or prescribes.
Although the three of us don’t always agree, the thread that binds us is our commitment to sharing information and knowledge with eachother. We then take what applies to our lives in order to build an extraordinary personalized journey! All humans are different, yet in reality we all want the same things; to love and to be loved, to inspire and assist others, and to be healthy and happy. As such, there is always room to learn, grow and expand our minds to new considerations and perspectives. Yet so often we close ourselves off because it doesn’t match our rights, rituals, habits religious practice, etc. As a result, our ego inflates, and we become defensive and resistant.
Remember, no one can change you—only YOU have the power to change yourself. If that’s the case then why not be open and see what someone else has to offer??? As my teacher in Vipassana said “. . . our greatest enemy is doubt; often in the teacher or in the other.” You can respectfully choose not to agree with someone, but don’t doubt what they know. In addition he said “. . . don’t blindly accept [either]. Make sure you properly understand.” When being open to others you’re opening yourself up to the possibility that one of their thoughts or insights could, potentially, completely alter your state of being. But be mindful of their suggestions. Just because it works for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you. While I don’t agree with everything the doctor here is asking me to do, I don’t doubt what he knows, and I’ve learned a lot from simply listening. As well, sifting through his knowledge and applying what works, according to my beliefs, has produced incredible results! Same with my Yoga teacher; respecting what he knows and having trust in him has enabled me to do certain postures I never thought I could do. It’s amazing what can happen when one is open and chooses not to relish in doubt.
This past weekend, Ash’s friend Riddhi celebrated her 29th birthday. To commemorate her big day, six of us went on a camping trip to a place called Kolad. The drive to Kolad was beautiful; up in the mountains away from the busy city. But if you can’t handle rollercoaster’s, you likely wouldn’t have survived the drive. The road was windy, bumpy and continuously led us up and down, up and down, leaving you queasy and barf-bag ready!
We arrived at Empower camp Saturday afternoon ready for 24 hours of fun, fun, fun! The camp is mostly used for corporate and college training and team building activities, but recently it opened its doors to the general public. After eating lunch and checking into our super-awesome “tents” (see photos), we headed over to the gun range for target practice. We then faced our fears doing high rope activities, followed by volleyball and other team building exercises. The day ended with a serious game of monopoly, a peaceful campfire and cake wars!
The next morning, Ash and I woke up early to tackle a rigorous trek and instead were led on an easy 20 minute hike. All well, at least the sunrise was nice. After breakfast, our crew hopped into a rickshaw and headed over to the river for an afternoon of white water rafting! Although I met Ash’s friends that weekend, we laughed and joked as if we’d known eachother for years! From the moment we left Pune, it was non-stop laughs, and while rafting I thought I was going to die from chronic laughing syndrome! The six of us had a riot paddling through the rapids and screaming ridiculous Spartan chants and Indian hymns. Our enthusiasm was infectious and soon enough, all the boats were chanting and laughing along with us. The afternoon was a definite highlight of my time here in India, but it wouldn’t have been the same had I not been with these guys!
Back at camp, we showered, ate lunch, changed a flat tire then packed up the cars for the windy ride back. On our way home, we passed a massive tent filled with men watching warriors (literally guys with abs exploding from their bodies) mud wrestle in a ring! I demanded Ash stop and turn around, which he did, and although the event was free and open to the public, women were not allowed to enter! “Seriously, of all people it should be women at these sorts of events! Spartans in the flesh wrestling in mud wearing butt flaps?! Let the ladies enter!” I was disappointed, but assured my friends I would return for my bachelorette party and expect entry. Ash said he has a friend who might be able to get me in for an upcoming competition, so fingers cross warriors mud wrestling shows up in one of my future blog posts!
11 more days left to get your submissions in for the book! As well, I am seeking donated cover art for the cover of the book and photographic work of ‘happy women of all cultures’ for the interior of the book (please only submit photos YOU have taken). For submission details and formats, please click on “The Book” section on my blog page and scroll to the bottom.
All is moving along beautifully! I had no idea when I left Canada what was going to happen here in India. But instead of living in the fear of ‘not knowing’, I chose to ‘go with the flow’ and have been continuously led to extraordinary people, experiences and places. And all it took was being open and not letting doubt consume me.