I had been living in Spain for many years, living a normal peoples’ live, and doing normal things, having a normal office job. I guess nowadays it is also considered normal to end up suffering from the burn-out-syndrom.
So did I, and ended up trying to find a way to relax my body and soul. This is how Yoga found me, Kundalini Yoga, to be more precise. Kundalini Yoga is a powerful tool, which includes a lot of meditations in its practice. In the beginning I thought there was something wrong with me. From time to time I took a glimpse on the other yoga students during the meditations. They all seemed so immersed in their practices, their faces reflecting a deep expression of inner calm. This was absolutely NOT what was happening inside of me. My mind was spinning around like crazy revealing me a huge mess in my mind. A non-stop internal dialogue with my self was constantly taking place. I asked the teacher about this. She just laughed and said that what was happening to me was in fact completely normal. This process is like cleaning the mind from old stuff to make space for new stuff. I got kind of addicted to this inner world of mine that just revealed itself to me and after only a few months I started the teachership programme of Kundalini Yoga.
One day a poster in the yoga center caught my attention: An alternative, spiritual trip to India, the cradle of yoga. Until that day, I never felt especially interested in India, but something told me that I had to go; and so I did. This was in 2007.
As soon as my feet touched Indian soil I had the sensation of floating through the air all the time. All the unknown sensations, ununderstandable things, smells and the liveliness of the place were putting me into another state of mind.
The programme was Delhi – Rishikesh – Amritsar, a two and a half weeks trip. In Rishikesh we would attend the international Yoga festival. I say “we would”, because I did not. Come-on, first time in India, so many things to see and explore, how could I restrict myself to being stuck in an Ashram, while the real world outside was calling me? I could practice yoga anytime back home, but who knew if I would ever come back to India.
So me and a couple of friends from the travel group, were hanging out in chai shops, strolling through town, enjoying baths in the Ganges and living our little day-to-day adventures. Actually, Rishikesh is a good place to just sit in a chai shop for hours and watch the world go by. The most unbelievable things just happen right in front of you and you don’t even have to make one step. Things just come to you.
In the chai shops, of course, one also gets a chance to talk to other travellers. Thing that kind of depressed me, as most of them were travelling through India for months or even years… and me only for a couple of weeks. This made me ask myself the question: Why did I never backpack before? Traveling is the best investment in life, the memories will accompany you until the last of your days on this planet, while material things sooner or later will fade away.
One morning I met him. A strange thing that happens to most travellers in India is that you automatically wake up and go to sleep very early. As I was the first one of the group to be awake, I decided to take an early walk on the banks of the Ganges. I walked on the little sadhu trail, breathing in the magic of the morning, when people offer their prayers to Mother Ganga and the healing sounds of the early worships in the Ashrams fill the air. Suddenly an orange clad figure appeared in the mist. It was a young sadhu I had already crossed several times during my excursions. He politely saluted me “Hari OM!” while he passed by. I returned the greeting and turned around again. So did he. I could not resist asking him if I could take a picture. I had felt shy to take pictures of the Sadhus, who are so fascinating and photogenic to a tourist. But this one seemed friendly. We ended up having a nice cup of chai together and he became our personal guide of adventures off the tourist trail during the rest of our stay in Rishikesh.
And here starts a new chapter of the story of my life.