India, the land of all possibilities and unexpected encounters...
Pondicherry kept popping up around the corner of random conversations and I started becoming curious to visit the former French territory as well as Auroville. I booked myself a night train on the way there and an night bus on the way back, to experience both quintessential ways of travelling in India, though thinking it’d be more fun if I had a travel companion…
Two day before leaving Rashika and Param came to The Yoga House. As the good host that I am, I showed them around, explained the concept to them and the benefits of yoga, going on and on so they end up offering me to sit and share some chai with them. My trip to Pondy came up during our chat and Rashika mentioned that she’d been wanting to go for a while. I heard myself respond “Do you want to come?” and she said “YES!”
Next thing I know, we had a blast in Pondy!
Two gourmandes on the road, enjoying French food (first croissant in 6 months!), walking around the typical old town and its beautiful French-inspired houses, the busy market around the old clock, Lakshmi temple where
the elephant by the same name blesses you if you’re kind enough to feed her, Aurobindo ashram and the promenade full colorful carts of all sorts and snacks…
Feel the vibrancy of colors despite the threatening monsoon sky, the smell of fruits, the jasmine and the explosion of flavors of the chats from the street vendors, the "melody" of the honks despite the wind blowing, the vibrations of every bumps in the road, the tightening of my hands every time a truck or else suddenly popped up in front of us, the cool and the dexterity of my driver who took me exactly where I needed to go in one PEACE. India teaches me a little more about SURRENDER every time I hit the road...
When Maud told me she might need some help with local marketing at The Yoga House I cringed.... I had NOT left the corporate world and its marketing nonsense to dive back into it on the other side of the world. But when she explained that it was more about letting the people of Bangalore know about TYH and find creative ways to animate this beautiful outdoors space, I relaxed.... I wouldn't have to find sneaky way to lure customers in and make them pay more than they could afford but rather organize a farmer's market with local farmers, makers and bakers, running their own business while sticking to values similar to the ones embraced by TYH: authenticity, simplicity, health, balance, quality, truth.... So here I went, scouting around town, touring local markets, talking to people to find individuals who would resonate with all this and whom we resonated with, personally and professionally. We basically only selected vendors that we wanted to buy everything from! Hard task for me knowing my weakness for natural food, beautycare and healthcare.... We ended up with a beautiful selection of 10 entrepreneurs, offering organic produce, muffins, cakes, bread, sweets, grains, pulse, condiments, honey as well as organic cosmetics and soaps, as excited as we were about growing the health conscious community of Bangalore. The funny thing was that most of them knew
each other already.... almost as if they were waiting for the missing link to embark on common ventures and adventures.
When the big day came, we were as were ready as we could, leaving room for unexpected but everything went
perfectly smooth. Great synergy among everybody, nice weather and ambiance, amazing guest turn out so much so that half the stalls were sold out by 4pm while we planned to go on much later than that.... Overall, fun healthy
conscious Sunday in Bangalore - I love market~ing in the end :)
Before I left for India, countless people asked me: "What will you do after???" And I'd consistently respond that in an *ideal world* I'd love to have a little yoga
studio, with a little cafe and a little shop where I'd sell natural cosmetics...
Then, when in Rishikesh for the Yoga Festival back in March, I met Kadambari who invited me to come to Bombay. While planning my trip, I never intended on going there, yet, every time I thought about Mumbai after Kads' invitation, I had
butterflies in my stomach and thought it might be worth looking into... What did
the heart of Bollywood had in store for me??? I would soon find out...
Once I got there, I wanted to take a class with Kads as a yoga teacher so she suggested I come to The Yoga House where she taught. Little did I know that I was about to walk into my dream come true: a little yoga studio, with a little cafe and a little shop that sold natural cosmetics. Mind-blowing... I loved everything about it, from the white and blue walls, to the Kansa vaisselle and clay mugs used to serve the delicious healthy food, to the selection of hand-made soaps, multicolored scarves and philosophy books... Oh and it was run by Maud, a French yogini living in India for the last few years. Though I was planning on heading to Tamil Nadu for an Ayurvedic course after my yoga teacher training, I couldn't help but thinking about TYH and how much I'd love to be part of it. So after a few days, I decided to be bold and asked Maud if she needed a hand in any shape or form. And she did! Not necessarily in Bombay but in Bangalore. I was sold - I offered to help in the kitchen, to clean the dishes, to forecast her sales and plan her stock, I was ready to do anything really... she offered me better: to give my first yoga classes and help her raise awareness about TYH Bangalore! It's been a month now since I started living in that little oasis in the middle of rather dull city I have to admit, compared to all the other vibrant places I visited in the last 4 months and I'm loving it! Teaching yoga makes me a little more humble each time and made me realize that I'll never stop being a student myself. Confidence builds up a little more each time but doubt and "I'mnotgoodenough-ness" are never too far. Yoga is all about finding balance, about getting into each pose with our best efforts yet hold it comfortably, about finding comfort in the discomfort, about letting the breath open our mind, body and soul. It's about stretching our muscles as well as our monkey mind, about being determined, disciplined and committed to a daily practice. But more than anything, yoga is about patience, detachment and healing, whether you wear the student or the teacher's mask.
The reason why I'm telling you that story is simply to remind you that life is always ready to manifest your deepest desires. Clear intentions are powerful beyond words. On that note, I have a Farmer's Market to finish prepping, will blog about it next week!