My secret notes of Indian ashram (Part I)


Meeting with friends, a glass of red wine, some serrano ham, and coffee latte for dessert – such a moment of a weekend in Rishikesh is unbelievable. In this city there is no meat. No alcohol. Most often you will not find coffee, since locals always drink masala chai (black extra sweet tea with milk).

And people flow from all over the world to the city of the soul, the capital of yoga. They leave behind all the comfort of modern life and look for wisdom and spirituality, by studying yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, or just by meditating near the Ganga River.

The offer of the spiritual services is very wide, so it is important to choose the right school or ashram. There are some yoga teachers who are just trying to make business out of yoga, and the level of such a school may be even lower than in Europe. Indeed, hocus-pocus is not lacking, everyone who has time is trying to bewitch you: palm reading, healing using Reiki energy, or fortune telling.

When talking to the girls who are studying ayurveda and who already tried all the magical stuff here, I hear incredible stories. A girl from Dubai assures that the astrologer predicted accurately her past; however, she was not satisfied to hear that she was just a volunteer nurse in her previous life. A girl from The States is convinced that when a seller of energetical stones put some kind of stone in the middle of her forehead (according to yogis there is so called ”third eye”), super energy, or some kind of electricity, pervaded through her body.

It is not easy to avoid wizards. When I bought a braclet souvenir, the seller read my palms; in the street I was suddenly stopped by a strange woman who rubbed my left hand with some little beast (it seemed like a strange hamster), giving a pleasant smell of French perfume to my right hand; finally, when I was selecting a ring in the juvelery shop, I heard suddenly a voice from nowhere: “if you dont know exactly what your stone is, don’t buy – it is dangerous”, and immediately a pleasant looking monk offered his service.

Curiosity led me to let this young monk demonstrate his talent, which consisted of naming my personal characteristics and to guessing how is my love life was from an astrology website… Uh, hold your horses little monk, we decided that you would tell me about the meaning of colored stones. Thank you! After a few seconds I was walking towards my ashram, where I strengthened my mind and body for one long month.

What can you learn from living in an Indian ashram? Chochocho…. The sky is the limit! Besides learning yoga asanas you can get advices on how to hypnotize with a glance, to heal the eyes so that you no longer need glasses, to loose weight, and even how to stay young. Pure miracles rather than science.

Most presumably, a smile is now playing in your face and you think it’s all mumbujumbu. However, as the yoga masters are saying, the chosen way of life cannot be understood intellectually. Experience comes only through practice. Thus, some of these exercises should be made on a daily basis, and maybe after a year, or maybe two, you will actually see some results. As in many areas of life, if you put some effort you will, not surprisingly, deliver results. The law of attraction.


Diana Olsson

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