This is Me, in Haidakhan
When international travel opened up in February of 2022, I was excited about a trip to India I had canceled due to Covid. The flight was scheduled to leave Los Angeles on March 20, 2020, the very day we all went into lockdown. As soon as the word was out that India had opened back up, I booked my flight immediately. I needed to unravel the last two years of the Pandemic. Life had been so strange. I wanted to unpack and ‘reclaim my life’.
During the lockdown, I kept sane (literally) by staying connected to an amazing group of people on Zoom. They gathered from all over the world: The Canary Islands, London…Australia and we would meet in the typical Zoom room, Brady Bunch style, and breathe as a group to beautiful music. There is nothing more soothing than getting in touch with your own breath. It aligns the mind, body & soul. (To learn more about Breathwork, read my blog!)
It was so exciting to meet a lot of those familiar faces from Zoom in person for the first time in Delhi. What could be more heavenly than traveling through India with 15 Breathworkers? The journey began at a five-star hotel but we were quickly whisked away to the base of the Himalayas to Mahavatar Babaji’s Ashram, Haidakhan.
I must admit: it was a terrifying, cliff climbing jeep ride. I cannot even begin to accurately describe the seven-hour trip. Bulls and steers blocked lanes on interstates (looking rather bored). Drivers attempted to avoid the bulls, at the risk of a head-on collision with another car. This went on for hours. As you can imagine, I eventually stopped looking! I could not, however, peel my eyes away from the unrelenting poverty of the country. Hours and hours passed and there was no reprieve from seeing how devastatingly poor most of the population is. This was disturbing at first, but I began to notice a collective consciousness in the middle of the pandemonium. As a traveler, in the first few hours, you are startled by the chaos of it all. Then you slowly but surely become a part of it. I decided to let go of my fear and surrender. I put my trust in the hands of the driver and gave up complete control. It felt good to let go and let God and to be weaved into the chaos. I embraced (and admired) the confusing disorder and the messiness. I was one with it. India is a total immersion of expressive beauty in motion and it pulled me into its heart forever.
The sparkling water of the Ganga river flows out of the Himalayas and runs between the two Temples of the Ashram. Bathing in the crystal clear river at 4 am was required before Temple. We are here to celebrate Navaratri: The Divine Mother festival, which is met with the same excitement as Christmas and New Years in America. Who is the Divine Mother? The Universal Life Force that flows in every atom of creation.
The wheat farmers and all of the villagers trekked down daily from their tiered properties to ring the bells. Oh my goodness, the clanging of the bells! (I must admit, I was like a five-year-old child when I was lucky enough to find a bell to ring.) This was followed by chanting beautiful songs and pujas with fresh flowers, rice & incense. I loved running to temple with fresh river water in my hair! After Aarti, we crossed the river for a daily sacred fire ceremony to honor the elements and to cleanse our karma. This ritual is holy and everyone dressed nicely. Rows of women in brightly colored saris lined up next to the fire pit. For an hour, coconuts and rice were tossed in while the priest chanted the 1008 names of the Divine Mother. Swaha!
After the fire ceremony, several yards of hemp were laid out in rows and everyone would gather and sit (criss-cross applesauce) and be served the most delicious vegetarian meal! The priests, the villagers with their bright-eyed children…about 300 people would sit down to a feast! It was the only meal for the day for a lot of those people, and the servers kept our plates nice and full! Sitting under those giant oaks was like being in the Divine Mother’s dining room with my true family. It was my favorite part of each day; filled with sweet treats, gratitude and so much abundance!
It is a tradition for the Ashram Vedic Astrologer to provide an Astrological Indian name. We were invited to a small ceremony and were told to wear our best clothing for the event. I opted for a white Kurti with fresh ocean Pearl beading on the front. I felt like a bride in it! That evening I was given my Indian name and I was told that the name represented grace and sophistication and that it is the highest name in Vedic Astrology! Grace? I’m working on that ha!
With that said, I would like to extend my love for India to you by offering a new Ayurvedic facial/healing experience in the Cottage. It seems only appropriate to give my Indian name.
Lavanya’s Ayurvedic Energy Cleanse
I will not be placing this on my list of services! If you are interested in a description of this Facial/Healing hybrid, please feel free to email the name ‘Lavanya’ to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to send you a thorough description of it.