Listed in: Ayurveda Yoga Holiday
Now that I’m back in Berlin - which seems so very quiet by comparison - I recall two fantastic weeks at the Ashram full of yoga, Ayurvedic massages, tasty Ayurvedic food topped with friendly people who welcomed me so cordially to their family.
I stayed there in monsoon time and as many people had told me before that June/July was not the ideal travel time for India I was a bit concerned. It turned out, however, that those concerns were all in vain. The daily downpour was great and I enjoyed being there at a time which seems to be very popular in India. Everything was lush and green and tasty mangos were ripe.
Vrindavan itself has a lot to offer – a bustling town, a bazar, many temples – and it is situated very close to Agra so that you can visit the Taj mahal or Fatehpur Sikri without any difficulties. On my trips I was accompanied by a fantastic and very likable driver who would not lose his cool no matter what happened – which is remarkable considering Indian traffic.
Even before I arrived I was impressed how Ramona took care of everything. She answered all my questions with great patience and organized the entire trip for me. It was all so very uncomplicated and quick – that was really great. I was picked up at the airport and from the minute I arrived at the ashram I felt at home.
I had booked the Ayurveda-Yoga-retreat and so I was able to spend a lot of time with Yashendu who did not only take care of everything but also gave a lot of thought to the things we discussed when I got there. For example I wanted to lose a few pounds during the two weeks and improve my fitness level. Yashendu specifically designed my yoga exercise plan according to that (I had individual lessons) and included some real “killer exercises” which were fun and soon proved successful.
He also had many good tips and ideas for improving my diet and made me drink more water than in the 38 years before… (@ Yashendu: I still have two liters of water straight after getting out of bed :) )
He also supervised my massages. I could simply indicate if I had some pain in some special body part and he would tell Sumitra, the very friendly and very able masseuse. I also got a special treatment for my foot joints during which a small bag filled with herbs is heated on hot sand and applied to the areas of pain. Both, the massages and the foot treatment were great. After just one week I stared to feel fitter and more agile – like a “complete overhaul”.
I also had an appointment with an Ayurvedic doctor who established my dosha and designed the measures to be taken with Yashendu. I also think that the special Ayurvedic diet contributed greatly to my wellbeing. And what is more: the food tasted just great!
In addition to taking care of everything Yashendu is also a very congenial, optimistic person and I very much enjoyed spending time with him with was both fun and food for thought. I had a great time!
In general I was touched by the friendliness and sincereness of all ashram residents. For instance I had some trouble with my credit card during my fist week and they just lend me some money without any further ado. (For all fellow-Germans who also never take care of the important stuff in advance: Many (at least) German banks expect you to inform them beforehand if you plan to use your credit card in India.)
I thoroughly enjoyed the family dinners, walking in the garden, watching the school children learning and playing. And I also found that the contrast between the quiet and peaceful ashram and the bustling roads of Vrindavan made a perfect mix. I found it great that I could take part in everything whenever I felt like it but at the same time I was able to retire completely. (There is also a big bookcase for all other bookworms)
Another point that I found remarkable is the complete absence of religion in the ashram. Also the children’s education appears to be completely secular which I think is very good. I came across very open-minded, reflected people who never tried to force any beliefs on me. We were able to talk about any given topic and I think that this is why I felt I got a little insight into the culture even after such a short time.
I wholeheartedly recommend visiting the ashram to anyone who wants to take a little break from his/her everyday life. Also to people who wish to connect more to their body. You won’t return with a “steeled body”. But I could relax very well at the ashram and I resolved that it is not a dress size that matters but more of a feeling – a physical awareness. What more could you wish for than a sound mind in a sound body?!
Finally I also liked the thought that I am spending a fantastic holiday and at the same time I can support a project as important as the school. What the entire ashram family does for those children is simply remarkable and I can just recommend to anyone to come and see for themselves.
Have fun while you’re there and all the best, Sirka.