It has been some time since my last post, but please do not misunderstand this as a lack of something to say or write about. Because quite frankly is it is the exact opposite. I have been doing and seeing and experiencing so much that it is hard to sum it all up in words. One of the reasons I come to India is of course to study Ashtanga at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute but I also come here to find myself again. I am so grateful to have this time and rediscover my truest happiness. Okay, okay, its not all sunshine and smiles all the time, but for the most part life here is great and permits loads of time for smiles and adventures and discoveries. So these are some of the things I have been up to recently:
1) I have met an incredible group of girl friends here from all over the world who have quickly become my family. When life throws people like this at me I cannot help but feel like I have opened the right door with the winning prize hiding behind it. It has only be a few weeks, but already we have experienced so much together from heartbreaks to India toilet talks and complete silliness to deep life conversations. Who can deny such greatness?! We have laughed so much together it has really brought out an incredible overlaying blanket of happiness on this journey. Thanks girls!!!
2) This past weekend I participated in an incredible event called “Yoga Stops Traffick”, which helps raise awareness about sexual exploitation and human trafficking. It started here in Mysore, but has grown and is now celebrated in over 20 countries around the world. Here in Mysore though, we gather together in front of the Mysore Palace in the city’s downtown. Hundreds of people lay their yoga mats out and do about 30 sun salutations together with other yoga students and local children. The feeling of giving back to the community and coming together for a charity event such as this is so fulfilling I again find it difficult to put into words. One local girl that has been greatly impacted by this organization is now attending the local University of Mysore and working towards a Masters of Journalism. Amazing, right?!?!? I yet again walked away with a huge smile on my face.
3) I have officially experienced going to the dentist in India and I can safely say it is excellent! I woke up one morning and thought to myself “I want to check out the dentist here in India” so I strolled into a highly recommended clinic, which was clean, sterile and very “dental office-like”. I was first inquiring about, okay this part is slightly embarrassing, but a night guard! I needed to replace mine and back home after the initial appointment, fitting, lab fees and the final product i was looking at close to $500 plus another $200 for a cleaning. Insanity I know, but gotta keep these pearly white in good condition! So again, I strolled into what I thought was going to be solely a consultation and walked out having taken a mould of my teeth and an appointment for a pick up as well as an appointment for a cleaning. I was convinced of the quality and felt 100% positive about my choice. Fast forward a few days later and I am the proud owner of one of the worlds most comfortable night guards (relatively speaking) and cleared the cavity screening for another 6 months all for a whopping $70. Total steal of a deal I tell yah!
4) India has many, MANY festivals and celebrations all the time. It seems like there is always a parade or music of some sorts going on around the city. But one festival that I have truly always wanted to participate in is called Holi which just happened this past weekend. This is a major check off my bucket list and I am so thrilled that I was here for it this year to participate in. Holi marks the beginning of Spring and is commonly celebrate by throwing coloured powder and paints at people in the streets. Otherwise known as the festival of colour and love. The festivities are larger in the northern parts of India, but here in Mysore there was enough going on to have a great taste of this hilarious “holi”day. My friends and I took the chance and ventured into the city not knowing where or what to expect, but we were quickly befriended by a local who showed us the way and invited is for chai at his house along with many others, which is where the “colour bombing” started and the laughs began. We then wondered the streets and through the markets where it is a complete free-for-all, anyone and everyone is fair game. It is a total mess but what incredible cultural experience!!! I think the highlighting moment is when about 3 or 4 motorcycles rolled up around the corner with about 3 people on each bike and just nailed us. Silver wet paint already in the cups of their hands just waiting for the next target; hands, palms, noses, hair, ears, headlocks, squinting out of one eye and laughing hysterically. It was an epic afternoon that I will not soon forget!
So next time you wonder “what’s Shara up to in India?” you can think of me meditating at the peak of a mountain all zenned out and/or you can think of me completely colour bombed in bright paints celebrating life, love and happiness. So much gratitude and so much to be grateful for!