© 2018 by Where She Goes...

Namaste!

June 15, 2016

I've finally arrived at Chandra Yoga, following 26 hours of door-to-door travelling. After surviving on a cocktail of Gatorade and coffee, my tired traveller's body isn't feeling like a model 'temple'. Failing to commemorate the last mouthful of caffeine and chewing on the final ‘Fruitella’, I am surprised at my willingness to go cold turkey on these everyday addictions…I must be tired!! Yet in all honesty, I am really looking forward to a detox from Sauvignon Blanc/ Starbucks/ Haribo, a world away from temptation, high up in the Himalayan Mountains in McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala. However I’ve just heard that there’s a wine bar up the road (yes- an actual wine bar nestled in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountains!) so let’s see how long my will power lasts…

 

I don't think I have ever been so high. For almost an hour my taxi climbed up steep, narrow tracks that curve around vertical cliff edges (whilst simultaneously swerving out of the path of oncoming traffic!) taking me above and beyond the clouds, approximately 2,200 metres above sea level (so 1000m higher than Mount Snowdon!) The town of McLeod Ganj- sometimes known as "Little Lhasa" or "Dhasa" due to it large population of Tibetan Buddhists- is the annual home of Chandra Yoga from April to July. Their main centre is located in Rishikesh but in the summer months they relocate to the high altitude region of Upper Dharamsala for more manageable temperatures (it’s currently a chilly 28 degrees!) And I’ve arrived just in time for monsoon season, which is said to be particularly wet in this region! The serene setting of the school is sheltered from the sounds of traffic by thick Deodar forests and offers magnificent views of the Kangra Valley. It is also only 500 metres from the Dalai Lama’s Temple- Tsug la Khang- so I am hoping I might get the chance to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he occasionally offers public talks in his temple (selfie stick at the ready!!)

 

For the next 30 days I will be studying for my 200 hours yoga teacher training qualification (Chandra Yoga offers the Yoga Alliance teacher certification). The curriculum includes yogic history, philosophy, and practice and is taught via classes, self-study, verbal tests and teaching assessments. As the traditional practices of yoga began in India more than 5,000 years ago, there are real benefits to training in India (besides having an incredible experience!) Chandra Yoga teaches classical Hatha and Ashtanga and places a real focus on the philosophy and anatomy of yoga, something that often lacks importance in UK-based yoga training schools. The programme will also enable me to be immersed in the yoga lifestyle- 100% of the time- without distraction! Although saying that, I am within hiking distance of several hidden treasures including Bhagsu Waterfall (turns into a 10m cascade during monsoon season), Dal lake (1,775 m above sea level), Triund (a 2,743 m ridge that offers spectacular views of the valley) and Masroor Temple (a group of monolithic rock-cut temples), so I have a feeling my time on the mountain won’t solely be focused on yoga...

 

 

 

A modest landing at Dharamsala/Gaggal airport...

 

The beautiful view from my balcony...

 

Where I am in the world right now!

 

 

Useful links:

 

-Chandra Yoga: https://www.sushilyoga.com/

-Lonely Planet's Guide to McLeod Ganj: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/himachal-pradesh/mcleod-ganj

-McLeod Ganj's tourism website: https://www.mcleodganj.com/

 

 

 

 

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