1. Radhe, Shyam



    My dear teacher, I miss you everyday, even though you’re right here with me.

     



  2. It is incredible to think I was terribly, terribly sick in this photo, for when I see it, all I remember is the great joy and love I felt on this day.

    After a night of violent vomiting I was weak in bed, half-watching strange Indian television, when Shyamdas came in to check on me. He sat on the side of the bed, along with Carla and Bettina, and held my hand, made me laugh and told me I must find the strength to hike with them today to a very special place. Somehow I did. And that afternoon at the Jain temples, in the gorgeous golden sun and clear, blue skies, I was surrounded by a sense of love and peace that is still very much with me.

    Thank you, Shyamdasji.

     



  3. This time last year, I was experiencing the Taj. It’s incredible to think it’s only been a year since my life changed forever in India. Jai Sri Krishna.



    The purest, most magnificent love surrounded us.



    Radhe!

     



  4. Missing India.

     



  5. Missing India. Daily.

     

  6. Lost in Leelah



    I spent the first hour of my day with Shyamdas, and some lovely Kirtan, lost in the Bhava.



    Looking forward to spending the evening with dearest BS.

     



  7. Govind, our angel.

     



  8. An important piece on the deeper meaning and importance of yoga. And the bizarre omission of its Hindu roots in its new, Western branding.

     



  9. I’ve stalled on writing a post about India long enough. The realization came that I probably never will be able to write one summary of a trip like this one—because it was one that changed my life.

    How did it change your life? Well, I’ve simply said that I felt like I went to India with something unknown broken, and I came back with whatever it was fixed.

    What was your favorite part? Well, every moment was my favorite moment. I lived completely in the present for seventeen days. Every single second more profound than the next. If you want more specific answers: a sunset boat ride on the Yumana river, an intimate musical performance by Deva Premal and Miten, and the unconditional love that flowed freely.

    What was the worst part? Shopping for saris. It was a memorable experience, full of chaos — crammed into a small shop, flying fabric eventually piling up over my head, the high-pressure shop-keepers, the translations from Hindi to English, the thousands of rupees converted to dollars…

    How was the food? The most delicious meals I’ve ever had. All vegetarian. All eaten on the floor with my right hand. All prepared by on amazing man named Mohan who cared for our ever need.

    Did you get sick, I heard India is really dirty? Yes, I did get sick. I had my turn of a non-food-related stomach flu that caused me to sleep on a cold marble floor in a cold bathroom of a nice hotel. I threw up for 6 hours and was ill for 24 hours. (The above photo is me recovering. As you can see, being sick in India I was happier than on an average day in the States.)

    Who did you go with? I went with six fellow yoginis from Naples and New York—one of which was my certifying teacher, Carla, of Love Yoga, who got the trip off the ground. The journey was organized and led by Shyamdas, a great Bhakti, Vedantan scholar and author and translator of several incredible books. American-born Jew from New Haven of all places, he’s been in India for over 40 years.

    Where exactly did you go? The Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) and the Rajastan countryside, specially an area called Brij, where you’ll not find on a map or in a Lonely Planet guide.

    Did you see the Taj Mahal? Yes. And it was absolutely spectacular, but forgetable compared to the rest of the trip.

    What is different about you now? Well, I’m more focused and more clear on what I want in life. I’m more complete and ready to start it.

    Are you an enlightened Hindu now? Not exactly, but I do feel, in a sense, that I found God in India and that that energy has taken up residence in me. It entered on the third day when, spontaneously my heart opened, my eyes welled up with tears and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of love and great joy.

    Have a look at these photos and you’ll see just why India is so incredible.

    Radhe! Radhe!

     

  10. Nerds and Birds

    Obviously my nerdy ornithologist tendencies could not be restrained while in India, a country that is rich with life, including bird life.

    Egrets, herons, grebes, moorhens, wrens, cormorants, bitterns, sandpipers, hawks and other familiar North American-type birds abound, but here are some of the more unusual winged creatures we came across… that I can identify. Dozens, I could not.

    Horn Bill



    Okay, this bird should have been easy to figure out given the GIANT HORN on its face and all, but it perplexed me until I got home to Google it. They looked like a cross between an anhingha and a toucan. A couple times these birds awkwardly landed in trees near me, looking all Pterodactyl-like.

    Jungle Babbler



    These things were kind of like the Indian mockingbird. They were very loud, very abundant, but not nearly as vocally talented or cool. Well, maybe their name…

    Rose-Ringed Parakeet



    Essentially the pigeons of India

    Plum-Headed Parakeet



    I only saw two of these fellows, on the last day, in Nathdwara.

    Common Myna



    They were, in fact, quite common.

    Painted Stork



    I saw many of these monsters flying and wading. Seemingly more abundant than our endangered Wood Storks

    Yellow-Wattled Lapwing



    These creatures with the nice paint job looked like shore birds in the wetland fields. They moved along as though they had somewhere very important to be.

    Black-Winged Stilt



    Plentiful, dainty, little supermodel birds.

    Purple Sunbird



    Half of a misnomer, these guys are basically black.

    Ruddy Shelduck



    Like me, these ducks love the Yamuna River

    Ashy Drongo



    The crossed tail made them really easy to identify.

    Indian Peafowl



    These gorgeous birds were just as magnificent and surprising to see in the dusty fields as the Indian women working in their colorful, sparkling saris.

    White Throated Kingfisher



    Indeed beautiful enough to name a mediocre beer after.

    Green Bee-Eater



    Landed on a branch at Shyamdas’s in Nathdwara just as we were eating lunch. Practically a bird sanctuary, that front yard-garden.