THOUGHTS ABOUT MY TRIP TO INDIA // yoga, spices, elephants

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GRATITUDE. I’m so grateful for yoga. And it may seem silly to be grateful for a popular form of exercise, but movement is medicine. Prior to yoga I used to experience uncertainty which lead to self-loathing, but now I feel so much self-love. Yoga has healed my stress, it keeps me balanced, agile, and its also helped me develop strong relationships. And if you haven’t figured this one out yet, yoga brought me to India.

When I travel, I normally create my own food tours but India was different. I wasn’t focused on the food, I was focused on me and my yoga practice. I’d wake up to quiet darkness, and then I’d sit among the palmtrees to watch the sunrise.

Yoga took place in a shaded hut infront of the ocean as we flowed to the sound of the waves crashing. The warmth of the sun melted away any tension in my body and I discovered that I could move into shapes that not only requires strength but mindfulness.I found peace and creativity by journaling each morning. If you’re a writer, you should try it.

Instead of reaching for your phone when you wake up, reach for a pen.

After breakfast I’d sit for hours writing about anything that came to mind. When I needed a break, I’d take walks on the beach and float with the tide. The water was so soothing, especially when the tide was high.

The most inspirational moment for me happened at a local spice plantation. We were walking all around the property- smelling leaves, sniffing bark, tasting fresh spices like cardamum and peppercorns straight from the tree. I found it easy to identify cacao, clove, cinnamon, curry leaves, lemongrass, etc., but I was completely stumped when our guide showed us a piece of fruit with a red flower and a brown nut. It was nothing I had ever seen before, the smell was faint yet familiar… and that’s when I realized this experience alone was worth the entire journey. I just discovered nutmeg, a common spice in the US, in its original form, and a reminder that the power of education is priceless.

And for those of you who can recall my itinerary, you may be surprised that the nutmeg experience surpassed my darshan experience with Amma, but truth be told, I learned something from both experiences and will grow from each of those opportunities.

Nutmeg aside, elephant sightings happened and they’re my favorite animal. I’m not sure how I initially connected with elephants (possibly with the influence of Dumbo), but my current connection is Ganesha, the Hindu Deity (with an elephant head and a belly full of sweets) known as the mover of obstacles. Ganesha is my homeboy and I find it comforting to know that I’m being taken of even when he puts obstacles in my way.

So those are my thoughts on my recent trip to India. India was never a place I thought I’d want to travel to, but I’m so glad I did. If you go to India, go during the winter because I’m so grateful to have missed the 0 degree weather in NYC. And if I go back to India, I’d probably head North, focus on the food scene and organize a home-stay with a local family.

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