We just completed our week long yoga retreat at the Phool Chati Ashram lead by Lolita Ji. Our days lasted from 6am to 9pm and while at first the days seemed extremely long, as we got into the rhythm of the Ashram lifestyle things began to pick up and now looking back it seems a week wasn’t enough. We began our days with meditation and neti pot cleansing to clear our nasal passages which helped with our breathing. Twice a day we had yoga which was expertly lead by our seasoned yoga instructor Lolita Ji who through her patient, dedicated, and cheerful personality demonstrated the positive long term affects of the ashram way of life. It should also be noted that all our meals were made from the vegetables found in the ashram’s garden and were 100% vegetarian, but don’t let this fool you… the food was amazing!!! The opinion is unanimous, it is simply some of the best food we’ve ever had. Top that off with a constant flow of chai and needless to say our bellies were satisfied. After breakfast we went on mediation walks which involved exploring the local area while attempting to stay silent. A hike to a gorgeous waterfall and bathing in the Ganga river were just a few of the things we experienced on our walks. Another one of our a daily activities involved helping clean up and maintain the ashram. This was called “karma yoga” and up until I googled that phrase I thought it was just something they made up to make everyone go along with it without question. As the day went on we resumed our yoga and meditation. Between the two each and everyone of us were challenged in our own way. The meditation which called for us to focus and clear our minds required many of us to face internal issues that would other wise be buried deep within our consciousness. On the flip side yoga tested us externally by bending and twisting our bodies in ways that most of us hadn’t experienced before. Despite all the difficulties we encountered it can be said for sure that all the students gave their best effort and that we pushed ourselves to new limits. The Phool Chati Ashram was truly an amazing and impactful experience for everyone.
Here are a few photos from Varanasi!