India, Tours

the Bells of India

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It’s the sound of the bells that I remember most. The ring ring ringing. The tone true and pure. Even today, thousands of miles away at Amma’s Ashram in California, tucked back into a small valley with foothills surrounding it, I recognize the sound. It immediately reminds me of the stillness within.

India is a land of contrasts and an indescribable tapestry of life.  I remember seeing Gandhi’s peaceful tomb surrounded by a vast park and outside that a great conflux of cars and people. Stillness and traffic jams juxtaposed.

Heading North, leaving the city with its historical significance, my face pressed against the train window, I watch the buildings become homes and shacks and the shacks become trees and the trees become meadows. The air clears and I listen for more bells. Religion (as I call it being from the West) is different here. It’s incorporated into daily life. It isn’t just a Sunday thing. The bells ring every morning. The prayers are prayed, meditation a cornerstone of prayer, and chants takes place before daily life begins. Bright  red string wrapped around wrists and sandalwood paste in white and the red Tilak announce to the world that you have participated in a ritual or ceremony. I wore mine with pride. I left them on for months until the string turned white and they started to fray.

Rishikesh in its glory, a beautiful place, two parts each on one side of the Ganga. It is a place for spiritual renewal. A place where people travel on pilgrimage. Seekers and Sadhus abound. And again the bells. Every morning around 5:00, the call for prayer announces itself. Even the monkeys are sleeping as I wrap myself in a blanket and find my sandals in the dark. I wander the closed streets and just follow the bells. I don’t know where I’m going and it doesn’t matter, really. The bells announce my path for me.

Going home I stop at a beautiful site outside Delhi and in front of me is a bell. I pick it up gently and hear the sound that is now like my heartbeat. It’s never far from my altar now that I’m back in Northern California. I ring it often to remind me of the pieces of my heart that I left in India.

-Julia Myers Patterson

India, Tours

Lakshmi

Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. 💖 She is the wife and active energy of Vishnu. Her symbol is the lotus flower. 🌸

She also protects from ill health and adversity. In Hinduism, worship of Lakshmi is considered a suitable remedy for the alleviation of suffering. ✨

Mahalakshmi is a form of Mother Goddess or Shakti. She is popularly known as Sri or Lakshmi. 🙏🏽 Lakshmi Puja , or the worship of the goddess of wealth, is the main event of Diwali in North and West India. 💥

This November, we will be in Rishikesh to celebrate Diwali and make offerings to this Hindu goddess of wealth and health. We will immerse in Indian culture and share in their festivities. Every night is filled with lanterns, candles and celebrating. Every home is cleaned in anticipation. New clothes and gifts are purchased. Your participation is requested!💫

India, Tours

The “Vibe” of our Tour

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“I love your Welcome Packet, but what is the actual ‘Vibe’ of this trip?” we were asked by our latest registrant.

I loved this question because it made Julia and I stop and think about how to best describe this journey. It isn’t just a yoga trip. It isn’t a typical “group” tour, rolling up to sacred sites in a giant bus. It’s not a self-help retreat… those are all the things this trip is NOT.

Julia and I had a great conversation, talking about what this trip IS. Together, we came up with several words that we think speak to our trip’s vibe. Here are a few:

Spacious – To truly be present, so far away from everything familiar.  To experience internal spaciousness.  10 days of self-exploration, with free time built into each day for deeper diving.

Loving – Julia and I are holding a loving container for our group.  From the moment your feet touch Indian soil, you will be warmly welcomed and lovingly held.   From the gentle morning meditation to the good night golden milk & cookies, each day has been thoughtfully planned with your sweetest Unfolding at heart.

Fun – So many special and wonderful things are being planned. Including Diwali in India – which is, in itself, a festive occasion filled with fireworks, treats and gifts. Many magical moments await you! Julia and I can hardly contain ourselves but we want to save some surprises!

Unique & Exclusive – Throughout our years of travel in India, we have been able to hand pick our favorite vendors, guides and experiences.  This trip incorporates the very best of who and what we love the most in India, and mixes in our own special offerings for a very special experience you won’t get with anyone else!

Stretch – Not only will you be stretching your body and having that opportunity twice a day with gentle yoga and Hatha flow, but you the individual will be stretched personally and spiritually.   Julia and I both remember what it was like to travel to India for the first time and we will be there holding that loving container to support you and make sure it doesn’t feel too overwhelming.

Flow – The Ganges River (Mata Ganga) reminds us to stay in the flow, stay present, and stay reverent to what IS.  You will have plenty of reminders not to become overly attached to outcomes, but to stay in the flow and enjoy your journey. India is the perfect teacher for this. We will have many beautiful ceremonies on (and in!) this most sacred river.

Connection – A group of men and women come together for 10 days in India, and through a series of shared exercises and experiences, we form a Tribe.  Together we co-create a supportive community that shares laughter and tears, personal triumphs and incredible adventures. Each one of you brings your own flavor to this group masala and we value your unique contribution to our community.

Self-Love Affair – India has a beautiful way of stripping away who we think we are and reminding ourselves what is actually at our core. Julia and I hold the intention that you will re-member aspects of yourself.  There will be a special ceremony held for reflection and appreciation for each group member.  We want you to return from this trip completely in love with yourself.

Something very special awaits you, we would love to have you join us!

Register HERE.
“Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! ‘Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of your old life and into the new!” – Kenneth Grahame

India, Tours

Rishikesh or Bust!

India we are coming!  16 beautiful souls are hearing the call of Mother India.  Julia and I are beyond excited to spend our days preparing for this special journey and talking to interested men and women about one of our favorite subjects – India.