Story: My Trip to the Foothills of the Himalayas


I hope this note finds you well as we begin the last week of August. I have one more week in India. I'll be honest, I have mixed feelings about going home. I feel like a new person and if you know me well, you will likely have to get to know me again...

Whatever challenges and much hard work this month gave me, the biggest challenge will be to keep up with my practice back home, continue to progress and better myself at the rate I have here in India. I want to stay true to myself, even more so now than I have in the past. I have accumulated many more tools and knowledge to continue my journey and will share a glimpse of what that may look like on Wednesday 8/26's newsletter.

Last Sunday morning at 4AM I hit the road with 7 girls and our two Indian friends, owners of an Ayurvedic organic store in Rishikesh, to see the sunrise on the foothills of the Himalayas, only 25 km from where I stayed. I could not leave India without taking a glimpse of the Himalayas being so close.
The girls at the top of the mountain
During our Yoga studies, all our teachers told us that Rishikesh is a place of high spirituality because of the Himalayas. People get transformed when they lay eyes on this colossal mountain range. They experience a deep spiritual awakening. So after meditating daily twice a day and studying philosophies of yoga and practicing my asanas several hours a day for 3 full weeks, I wanted to find out what I would feel when I saw the Himalayas.

We drove out and 5km from the trail where the car was going to drop us off to finish the trip by foot, the road was blocked by rocks and gravels from an avalanche. So we started walking, we were not going to turn back so close. We arrived at the summit of that one mountain to a temple. We went to the temple, got blessed, paid our tributes to Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati and started to take in the sight.
Shiva statue
There is no words to describe how I felt. After taking a few pictures, I sat down in my cross-legged position, closed my eyes and started my daily morning breathing practice (pranayama). The air was so thin and pure, it smelled nothing and was easy to inhale. I would hear birds, and feel the rising sun on my face. For the first time since starting meditation, my mind got quiet immediately. Too absorbed in my breath and my acute awareness of this incredibly imposing force of nature that this mountain is, I forgot myself. I had no thoughts coming to my mind. I forgot I was sitting there. I forgot I was meditating. I was one with the mountain.

Sunrise on Himalayas
Then I opened my eyes and starred for 2hours at the foothills of the Himalayas. The colors and the clouds changed all the time. I was like hypnotized. The objective of yoga and meditation is to reach the ultimate state of consciousness. Consciousness is felt when you feel complete in your body. You are so completely fine, you are ok with yourself the way you are, you are OK with your life exactly as it is. In that moment, I felt exactly that way. Pure happiness, peace and health in my body.

It is when we don't feel complete that we look for someone or something to complete us, to make us feel happy and that is the beginning of a whole list of physical, mental, emotional health issues.

But we were born with that state of completeness and happiness within us. A baby does not think of himself as incomplete, and even separate from what surrounds him/her. A baby sees mommy as himself, daddy as himself, the light, the bedsheet, the clothing as part of himself and is happy just being. There is that oneness at birth and that bliss of being in existence, which is lost as soon as our parents differentiate us from them by naming us, then put boundaries between the family and the community, then culture and education adds layers and layers of conditioning. By the time we turn 5, we have formed habits that we will continue to enact for the rest of our life and which will further distance us from our consciousness, that feeling of completeness. We often feel confused, undecided, shifting about who we are, what are we here to do, what decisions to make about work, relationships and such and we also forget what nurtures our bodies and mind the best.
Emma and the Himalayas
I came to India with several questions in my mind and a deep need to get some clarity and make sense about some business and personal matters. My daily yoga practice helped me progressed in my decision making process but it was not until I saw the Himalayas that all the answers hit me right then and there. I found the answers to all of my questions. I got clarity on how I can further the health of my clients in a much more transformational way, how I can maintain calm, peace of mind and zen in my life while working hard at my career and how to live the rest of my romantic life.
Temple on the mountain

Meditation is supposed to be effortless because emanating from the parasympathetic nervous system which generates a deep sense of relaxation. Next to the Himalayas, concentration and meditation was indeed effortless and my questions disappeared. I felt so small, so insignificant, so unimportant and my life so short that my ego, intellect and mind who always seem to be the ones creating trouble and confusion for us humans got shortcut. I stopped thinking because my thoughts in that short life were so insignificant, that I could access my consciousness, (or true self), and hear what it is I should do with my short life, how I can experience life for myself, without an agenda, and accepting what comes my way.
Sun through the mountains

I left the Himalayas feeling free of any burden I was carrying with me on the hike up the mountains such as the pressure to perform, feelings such as shame, regrets, and fear which were attached to life events I left behind on the mountains. I came down the mountain with more knowledge, lessons learned and certainty about what actions to take and more joy. Our teachers were right, the majesty of nature spoke to me.

May I encourage you to make plans to spend more time out in nature on your own on a weekly basis? Share you experience with me below when you do.

I will post a panoramic video of the foothills of the Himalayas on a separate post.


Green Mountains