When my mom became a yoga teacher, I was not interested at all in her new hobby. Sitting still and staying long in poses to stretch my body? No, that was too boring for me! She had a good idea and took me to India – a new era of my life started. There was always a spirtual side in me, but it was hidden somewhere deep. I have always been attracted to nature, to the planet, I felt a lot of love, I woke up happy, I cared about people, I believed in God and I read a lot of Paulo Coelho. But I was so judgemental towards myself and also others in my daily life. I wanted eveything to be perfect and stressed myself when things didn’t happen the way I wanted them to be.
So in the year of 2012 we travelled with our yoga teacher Adnan Cabuk to Northern India and Nepal. Our first destination was Rishikesh, a small town in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India that is known as the World Capital of Yoga. It became famous to the Western countries when the Beatles dropped by for a visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram.
I was fascinated by the simple life and happy faces of the people living on the streets. It seemed that their only belongings were their clothes on their body. And of course there were cows and monkeys everywhere you look. The colours were amazing. Women and men wearing beautiful dresses and comfortable clothes. We ate very good and healthy food, all vegetarian, since meat has been banned in the city for many years. I really had a good feeling in Rishikesh and I felt very comfortable. We took a holy dip in the Ganges, checked out some temples and ashrams, where we practised yoga and meditation. Ok, in this time I had a hard time sitting longer then 5 minutes on the floor and closing my eyes. My meditation experience was zero. I had to stand up and walk around in the city again. I rather looked outside then inside. When I look back now, I see how everything worked out step by step.
By taking the night train we headed to Amritsar, a city located in the Majha region of the Indian state Punjab near to Pakistan. The Golden Temple blew my mind. It is the spritual and cultural centre for the Sikh religion and is called Sri Harimadir Sahib. It is a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. The four entrances of the temple are a sign to welcome everybody independent of cast, creed or race. And you feel it as soon as you take your shoes of and walk barefoot on the super clean ground. I think I said wow like 300 times. We spent all day until late evening in the Golden Temple.
One of my favourite destinations was Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s residence and the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. When we were on the bus driving to Dharamsala I felt that I got more and more excited. I love the mountains and there was something in the air.
I remember a moment when the bus stopped for a little break and I took a picture of the Himalayas in front of me. Then I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I felt the energy rising in my body and was connected so deeply to that moment. I felt the cool fresh air in my face, the presence of the mountains, the trees, the earth I was standing on. It felt like home.
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal and the largest Himalayan state in Asia. I couldn’t get enough walking through the streets of Kathmandu Valley. We visited a lot of historical places, temples, gardens and also a special hospital, where they only host old people, talk to them and do yoga with them everyday. I haven’t seen so many smiling elderly close to death in my life before. One of the other highlights was flying over the Mount Everest with a little plane, the highest point on earth. And of course, we shopped a lot of amazing scarves, blankets and other local things. Kathmandu, I will be back soon.