The names conjures up a dichotomy of images from the peaceful, spiritual ideal of yoga retreats and ashrams, to the chaos of crowded cities overflowing with crime, garbage and slums.
Michael and I have been in the southwestern village of Mararikkulam North for almost a month, staying at a rustic, oceanside homestay called Arakal Heritage.
During our 6 weeks here, I’m taking an intensive Stress Management Through Yoga Teacher Training Course as well as repeating Reiki Level’s I, II, IIIA & IIIB. Every evening since we’ve arrived, I’ve been immersed in the traditional teachings of the Bhavana Muktasana series of yoga – purely mental series of yoga – Karma yoga, Bhakthi yoga & Jnana yoga and Pranasamyamana group of yoga or Maha group – yoga for controlling and purifying prana – Mantra yoga, Hatha yoga, Raja yoga and Kundalini yoga. In addition to this, I’ve been deepening my understanding of Reiki with a lens of yogic wisdom along with a much better understanding and study of the symbols.
My mind is a spinning wheel of questions as I learn yogic philosophy, psychology and physiology. Sanskrit mantras. Mediations. Hatha physical poses. Pranayama breathing practices, etc…
It’s going to take me months, even years to unravel these profound spiritual teachings to make it part of my own fabric as well as be able to move into each Hatha posture – including headstand – properly before I even think about teaching a class.
I’ve been given seeds, and now I have to make my garden grow!
India, for us has been time to wrestle with our busy minds and hear its overbearing volume within this spiritually infused quietness, the peacefulness of this area.
India has been absolute beauty and songs of nature sprinkled with garbage because the area is without a proper waste management system to deal with it.
India has been a welcomed embrace by its people whose sweet smiles are genuine and kind.
India will be Michael and I living in a one and half room villa for a total of 41 nights! Needless to day, there are moments when the toilet seat left down reminds us of the book – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Marriage!
Incredible India!!!!! <3
Here are some more moments…
My yoga teacher/Reiki Master says cows are considered sacred because they provide milk, like a mother’s milk and are therefore considered a second mother – and holy.
Here, our neighborhood water buffalo is out for her afternoon graze… I love this picture because of how she is looking at Michael!
Here is the owner of the water buffalo, walking her to her grazing spot! The water buffalo is quite tame and she’s very gentle! <3
Michael and I eat here very morning for breakfast! No, that doesn’t say POOP – it says PDDP! 🙂
One morning, as we ate breakfast, we were delighted to see an organized crew of women moving all the garbage on the side of the road into piles to be picked up and put in the back of trucks by men. We wondered where the garbage was being taken?
Another roadside clean-up. It’s been our experience, even at our homestay – that burning garbage is how they get rid of it. That is why there is smoke in these pictures – roadside fires burning piles of garbage.
Now onto home decor! This is a cool stone at the base of the steps of our homestay villa!
A small jackfruit that had just fallen from a tree, on the property of the homestay.
Water birds! Here is an eastern great egret. I’ve taken this picture with my iPhone 6 – so not the best quality of pictures when zooming in, like this one.
Same location, different day – an Indian pond heron.
One Saturday morning, Michael and I set out to explore the road along the beach. We discovered the blue carts on the beach we frequent are little tea shops selling Indian tea and snacks.
Later, the little tea shop is shutting down for the day. Take notice of the puppy laying at a wheel. We call this puppy Yoda – because of her ears!
This is not a picture of the little tea shop’s owner backing up his bicycle. This is a picture of the drama going on between Yoda and a crow! You’ll see Yoda laying by the wheel of the little tea shop. And a crow.
The drama is that the very intelligent crow wants whatever silly young Yoda is snacking on. Intelligent crow keeps pecking at Yoda’s tail to get her to move! Yoda kept snapping at the crow, to try and get the crow to stop! Crow eventually gets Yoda to move and swoops in to steal the desired goods!
This was ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS!!!
Feisty, as we’ve named her, in her home under another little tea shop!
Yoda stops by to say hello to her neighbor Feisty!
A few local men relaxing in the shade.
As we start up the road there is a more sophisticated tea shop still open for business!
Local teenagers wanting me to take their picture!
This appears to be some type of prayer house?
As we walk off the main paved road onto the well worn beachside path, we discover a woman being filmed while she paints!
As I take a photo of this boat, I hear a scuffle… to see a lizard!!
Our friend, Olive decided to join us for our walk.
Two young girls say hello!
Scenery along the way!
Then, among the humble housing lining the beachside path were these walled gorgeous buildings of carved, deep red-wood and bronze clay shingles with immaculate grounds.
The All-Seeing Eyes Boat! 🙂
The view as we started walking back to where we started!
Back on the main beachside road near our homestay, we run into the same teenage boys who are trying to negotiate with Michael to trade one of their earrings for his sunglasses!
A beautiful red flower!
One morning I went to the beach to practice yoga meditations – but it was impossible to focus as I brought crackers to feed the crows and of course, Yoda and Feisty wanted some too!!
Yoda!!!! She’s digging a hole under my legs!!!
Feisty and the crows!
Toad or Frog? Sits at the fish pool between two villas at our homestay! He’s there every day – just chilling out in his corner! 🙂
One evening I walked to the beach!
Here comes Popeye and Olive – running full tilt towards me and covered in mud!!! I had white cotton pants on and lets just say this didn’t end well….with doggie paws and mud and sand ALL over me!!! 🙂 🙂 <3
Setting sun….. so beautiful……
Olive – in black and white photography!!
Olive – in full color!
Yoda watched the surf…. <3
And, finally…here is this sweet, goofy little puppy – Yoda – who doesn’t yet know how to cross the log bridge – look at us on the other side of the creek, as if wondering where we are going without her? <3
Life is India wonderful!!!
S, <3 🙂