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Holi Weekending

tres insupportable...

This Saturday was Holi. Although I'm no authority, from the little I've read about it Holi seems to be the Indian version of Beltane- welcoming in the spring and the sun again. And the vibe is very similar, very raucous, very male and fiery. I woke up at around 9am and went downstairs to find tablefuls of local men and boys who had enjoyed a liquid breakfast and were singing anthem style songs in Hindi. It was classic! They were covered head to toe in paint and broken eggs, were slurring their words and hugging each other a lot ("You're me best mate you are....") and all that kind of thing. There was some very loud music playing on a sound system out in the yard- the same song, over and over again, ALL DAY, and they went for it!! It was a fusion of classical Indian dance, some very gay Manchester-club style butt thrusting and moshing circa 1996...
A good time was had by all, the drinks were beer and whisky. When they were sitting round tables it was like watching a bunch of Vikings with horns of mead- one song after another, trying to pull anything female into their laps... Some seasoned people told me not to go into town as it gets quite rough on the women. Normally that wouldn't have stopped me but I was feeling tired from the Panchakarma so I took it easy and finished reading my William Dalrymple book which is amazing. I also got talking to my neighbours a bit. They're really nice but they've completely adopted some of the local stray dogs which is a pain. I'm not the greatest dog lover on the planet and I think they see me as a bit of a cow because if one of the dogs wanders into my room I'll shout "F*** off!" and chuck a paper at it. I actually don't think its very nice though, to adopt dogs and then pack up and abandon them. Put your money where your mouth is and take them home if you're that caring.
Sandra had a good time, she went down to the other hotel and had beers there. She wasn't very happy previously to that. She came to see me one evening, crying her eyes out. I asked her what was wrong and she said it was Rishikesh, she didn't like it, she wanted to go, she didn't like the people, she could not support any of it, and then, my favourite reason ever for leaving town; "And I can no longer support zis LACK OF BEER!!!". Really upset. Anyway, after we had food in the evening she disappeared for 24 hours. I had some inkling of the events when I went down to the other hotel to go swimming the next day and one of the waiters couldn't wipe the smile off his face, gave me money off my drinks and his colleague who must be all of 16, asked me if I fancied a dip in the Ganges with him...! I declined politely. Its very hot at the moment here. When you go into a shop in the afternoon, more often than not the propriators having a little snooze. And its easy to burn too. The evenings are beautiful though, with a cool breeze and the river is lit up under the moon. From my balcony its like looking down on to Arcadia, wide turquoise river, palaces, graceful bridges and temples in the dark forests.
I've been reading a lot more Iyengar too. The principles of Yama and Niyama in much greater depth and also the spiritual qualities that we are all supposed to be blessed with though it's hard work to retrieve them. Tapas means practice, practice, practice amongst other things. People have said to me to have a week off etc, but I think its important to maintain practice for change's sake. If it hurts you can modify it or just do breathing. Though with Panchakarma its best to be very gentle. When I went to practice this morning it was agony, even after a weekend off, and I didn't try anything ambitious. Interestingly Garbha Pindasana which has always been beyond me was possible today, my arms hooked through and I was comfortable. But as for a standing forward bend, it was so so stiff. I talked to Dr Arora about it and he said that over the 3 weeks I have to expect all the aches and pains to surface, to be very gentle and just do easy asanas until the pain stops. Its just so weird because this time 8 days ago I was having strong pain free practices doing pretty much everything. I know the pain hasn't come from harsh practice because I'm quite injury paranoid. So lots of hot baths and sleep... One thing I have learned though, is that Hatha Yoga is far stronger than a lot of people think. And its actually very easy to overdo it. In the ashram, being used to a very dynamic practice it felt as if we were doing nothing a lot of the time but then I could feel the change in my body, I felt stronger, 'harder' almost, but thats not the ideal word. Its interesting. And what is also very interesting is something Gandhar said- that if you practice Pranayama daily your body will maintain its flexibility/strength, even without any asana practice whatsoever. Very interesting. I'm starting a Pranayama diary today for my UK course. It'll be good to see how that goes. Earlier on I had a Shirodhara treatment which I love because afterwards you are totally present. Its as if the citta vrtti get poured away with the oil. I hope it'll be like that. You continually get told that if you can control the breath you can control the mind. I think that is so exciting- imagine what you could do if you could control your mind and your thoughts- to not be affected by anything that happens around you, but to be calm, to be guided...............

Posted by victoria8 01:09 Archived in India Tagged women

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