Its a busy day of site seeing for the group so we got up early for asana class before sunrise. We went up to the roof our our hotel which overlooks the ghats and the Ganges and did a very strong practice as the sun came up. The sun rose, like a pinkish orange globe, burning away the clouds and the smoke and bringing its radiant light. The scene and the mood was quite inspiring. Since it was still chilly, I taught a very strong flow with lots of movement and no time to rest or to lose the heat we were generating. One of the group remarked, I think you packed a 3"-hour class into an hour and 15 minutes. I thought to myself, "Well, that's my specialty!"
Since normally I use the pre-dawn hours for my own practices I decided to stay in the hotel for the day and practice, rest and then head back down to the ghats for a walk about and to soak in the energy here. The group is off to see some local sites and I will meet up with them later. I am looking forward to some time for reflection.
We had a change in our itinerary after what we might now refer to as "the train fiasco."We were going to ride a train back to Dehli to catch our plane to South India. But instead we are going to fly to Dehli.The train would have been 20-hours; the flight is only 2. So we get an extra day in Varanasi and we bypass the potential for the train schedule to go amiss again and re-traumatize everyone! Our hotel right on the river was not reserved for the extra night and so we moved to a new hotel a little further away from the ghats. It is SO nice and my inner spoiled white girl is just loving it. (as are the other spoiled white girls on the trip!)
Hospitality in India is really quite supreme. There is a teaching here that by serving visitors, you are serving the Lord and so many of the Indian people really take that to heart. We were greeted here with marigold malas around our necks and a shower of rose petals, after which we were promptly seated in a waiting area and served 7-up and chai. (A side note about soda is that whether or not you think soda is good or bad, healthy or poisonous, etc and so forth, it tastes great when you are India. It is just one of those things- the sweet, fizzy bubbles are just perfect here for some reason. As are many sugar-filled goodies that would never pass my lips at home but somehow seem perfectly appropriate in this context!)
So, that's a bit of an update. Tomorrow is mostly travel and transition. Then we go from Chennai to Tiruvanamili for a visit to South India- Yogi Ramsuratkumar ashram is there, Mount Arunachala and Ramana Maharshi's ashram are on the agenda. As are some Hanuman temples and some Shakti temples. More soon.