The bright culture of India has fascinated me since I was a child. I grew up in the Bay area, California where every culture and color has a place and time to be celebrated. My father has always been an advocate of enjoying and experiencing the vibrant collage of ethnicities that make up our home state. So when I was young he made sure to bring my sisters and I to the various festivals and events in an effort to experience something unknown to us.
I have endless memories of dancing in native American Pow Wows, tasting foods from around the world and watching beautifully decorated belly dancers hypnotize their audience with undulating movements.
Beyond just attending special cultural events, we would regularly go out to eat at various ethnic restaurants. As a vegetarian my father preferred to visit Asian restaurants, and Indian food has always been his favorite.
As I grew older my fascination with India truly surfaced when I began to dive deeper into Yoga and attempting meditation. I have always had trouble quieting my busy mind, and the idea that one could achieve inner peace through these ancient techniques seemed allusive and out of reach.
When the opportunity to visit India presented itself to us a few short weeks ago, I was ecstatic. I always knew that I would visit India one day, but that day came a lot sooner then I ever expected. We were invited to a 2 week Ayurvedic Treatment and Yoga retreat at foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India. We quickly made arrangements for our travels and within 2 weeks we found ourselves at Ayurveda Bhavan in Rishikesk, the Yoga capital of the world.
We arrived early in the morning completely exhausted. Our flight path to arrive in Dehradun had made it so we were not able to sleep on the plane, and staying up all night is much harder on me then it used to be. In a sleepy daze we found our driver waiting for us outside the small Dehradun airport with our names written on a sign.
The drive to our home away from home was gorgeous. We drove through lush green forests, and even passed through an animal reserve where animals like Bengal tigers, sloth bears and elephants are protected and roam free.
Upon our arrival we were greeted with gorgeous marigold garlands and rose petals were placed on the crowns of our heads with a short welcoming prayer. We were then shown our room, and given a few hours to rest before our special consultations with the doctor.
Every culture and country has its own approach to medicine and India is no different. The gentle and friendly doctor reviewed our current health concerns with a smile, and gave his special diagnosis so we could begin our body work treatments.
My exhausted body could hardly wait, and I was not disappointed. My first body treatment consisted of a 4 hand massage, which I have never experienced before. The last 20 minutes of the massage warm oil was delicately poured on my forehead in soft gentle waves, lulling me to sleep instantly.
After my first treatment I enjoyed a delicious vegetarian meal and decided to get some rest, I slept peacefully the entire night.