mardi 14 février 2012

Bangalore to Bordeaux

Lovely last full day in Tiruvanamali. Sunrise to Sunset on Arunchala.  Masala dosai with Sharon from Cork J Splish, bloosh, sploosh, steam and water everywhere. The Indian bus, Tiruvanamalai- Bangalore express,6 hours, 2 lovely ladies in saris share food with me. Bus driver takes care of the sole back packer, checked that I managed to get food, toilet. Most (had one scary experience) Indians have been adorable, relaxed, curious about the nature of your work, how much you pay for chapatt? one young girl shouts out of the bus. Water explosion bus break down, dirty engine water all over my bags, the women’s clothes, men pass large bottles of water, .10 minutes later, we’re off for Bangalore where I get a rickshaw, taxi, 2 planes, train to Bordeaux where i arrive wearing flip flops and pink socks, the rarest of the rare, an extraordinary voyage, said in a melodious Indian tone and shaking of the head.Namaste


On the road from Pondicherry to Tiruvanamalai. The more we drive, the greener it gets, enfinnnnnnnnnnnn some nature! A bit of nature. Arrived 3 hours later. Surprised, expected the ashram to be in a secluded place,it’s sooooooooooooooo busy yet again. First things first, I sit under the tree and have a fresh coconut. I look up and see Arunchala, the sacred mountain towering over the Sri Ramana Maharshi (a great hindu spiritual master) Ashram.
A very warm, calm welcome. There’s a room for me.  I booked back in November. My room is very simple, yet another hard bed, but perfect. Small window with wooden shutters. A picture of Ramana hangs on the wall. Like in  the other places communal showers and toilets and cold water.
100s of people line up for warm, spicy lunch, served on a banana leaf.  Skinny strong men go around dishing out the food. The quantities are always huge. I wonder where these thin men put it all? I believe the secret  may be in the spices that keep the agni, digestive fire going! I watch the young boy next to me and see how he balls up the food and then “clock”, pops it into his mouth with a swift thumb movement. Monkey see and monkey do. Suddenly I don’t feel so awkward and start enjoy eating with my hand.
I’m very eager to climb the mountain, grateful to be here. What a wonderful place to be! Walked  around the mountain barefoot one day to suss it out. The next day set off at 530 am and climbed to the top of the hill of fire, light, dawn- Arunchala! Slow, sure barefoot steps on the cool slabs of rock. Half way up, more light. Big rocks needing big steps and flip flops. Crouching, hugging rocks so as not to fall back. Scary. On top, black and greasy from all the ghee that has been burned. The ritual is to kiss the feet of shiva. Some fella built a cave up here and runs up and down the mountain everyday! He offers tea. yuuuuuuuuuuuuuh. I offer to pay him and he says this is not a tea shop but I can make a donation to his guru. However when I do place some rupees in front of the shrine, he keeps a very close eye and I can hear the cash register cccccchi chinging in his eyes.  Suppose the fella has to live. May not be a tea shop but he checks the “donation” like a spoilt child on communion day doing his accounts. Walk down the mountain and end up in another part of town! Quelle surprise! Beautiful kollams for “poongal” the harvest festival. A 40 rupee rickshaw takes me back to the ashram. I ask for Shiva shakti and get dropped at Shivashanti! I feel calm, the same calm I felt yesterday when I came down off the mountain.
This ashram is perfect for meditation, reading and reflection. I read “the Living Words” by  Sri Aurobindo and La Mere and “ Effortless Meditation” by Swami Madhurana, a student of Shri Ramana Maharshi.He recommends self-enquiry as the fastest path to Moksha, freedom.

The Flower market Pondicherry

Marigolds, roses, lilies, all in abundance, pure beauty!


A visit to the Sri aurobindo ashram and La mere.  Bought lots of books and sent them back to France. La mere's speaks of oneness , yes but within that oneness each and everyone of us has a sacred  individuality. After a short rest I make my way through the bustling dirty streets for a drink and dinner. Passing one temple on the south boulevard I marvel at the number of people, stopping to buy Prasad "offerings" and going into the temple. The whole country lives off this devotion busiess. Bless themselves, pull their ears and bounce up ad down, lie on the floor, turning both cheeks to the floor.Never-ending pujas5 minutes upthe  road,  a cathedral, same secneario mostly men rushing in for their daily prayer.Devotion to the divine in its many many forms…from monkeys , hanuman to the vigin mary.I think to myself what does it matter  the form, they are all god. 

Varkala, the cliff beach

Staying in a little hut by the fisherman beach- Odayam beach. Re-read the Bhagavad Gita.
Woke up before the crack of dawn. Walk by the sea, meditate by the sea. Sitting in a café, watching the fishermen shout, and pull in the fish, tug of war style. Excellent ayurvedic massage treatments. Cardamon tea and chats with Cormac , sharon, treasa on the beach. Love to you Irish yogis. :)

Kanyakumari Sunrise 1st January 2012

Kanyakumari, a very special pilgrimage point, to greet the sun where the 3 seas meet, the bay of bengal, the Arabian sea and Indian ocean.

I left the Ashram after the midnight OMs, kissed veryone goodybye and hopped in a prebooked taxi to travel through the night to get to kanyakumari for sunrise.

According to legend Kanya devi was supposed to marry siva but he failed to show up at his wedding day! Kanya Devi is now considered a virgin goddess who blesses pilgrims and tourists who flock the town.


lundi 13 février 2012

Pain in India

After day 2 in Sivananda ashram, I woke up after a short nights sleep in the dorm with spinning fans, nad very hard bed with a really sore neck/shoulder..thought I just needed to shake it out so attempted yoga practice that morning. During the first posture, an awful pain went shooting from my neck to back. The ayurvedic masseuse massaged my neck and shoulder but I couldn't tip my head back without buckets of tears flowing forward.

Thankfully I could still join in the " finding your inner voice" workshop. Breath, free expression, singing- it was wonderful. So I wouldn't be doing yoga for while. I put all my heart into singing, beautiful morning meditations and socializing.One day attended a yoga class for handicapped people! They students were inspiring! 

One day, Jospeph the yogi recommended that i go to the temple near the employee quarters. Everyday they chant there from from 4  to 430 . Om Namo Narayana for 30 minutes. This is one of the most sacred hindu mantras.

This mantra also has a special significance in Kerala, where Shree Guru  Narayana, a great social and spiritual reformer lived from 1855- 1928. "One religion, one caste, one man" 

Junko, a japanese friend,  and i joined them every day. Chandra, the gardener invited us to the kitchen, where we all sat on the floor and had a sweet chai tea. I was as happy as larry! The more I sang the less pain I felt. At night the pain came back. Every morning felt very scared, when I couldn’t get up out of bed by myself. So i continued the singing, the more I sang, I more my heart blossomed….


Settling in the Ashram

The group karma was great today, passing logs of  wood from the forest to the kitchen! wonderful! I spoke to a lovely japanese lady who's here with her son doing yoga! she tecahes children in Japan.  The ashram is very sociable, lots of travellers chatting about where they are coming from , or going to.Everybody here seems to be on panchakarma. a 14 days  ayurvedic detoxification oneself. So many options in india it is bamboozling. So one afternoon, I sat down to meditate. I had a tingling sensation on my left hand so I thought oh, what does that mean? After continual tingling, itching, I opened my eyes – a mosquito was biting me!

Sivananda Ashram Dec 25th -Dec 31st

Arrived in the ashram at 4am on christmas morning. Got  a rickshaw from the bus station to teh Rickshaw. I enquired as to where it was and he gave me the exact kilometrgae so I trusted he was pretty genuine. He rang the bell at the gate continuosly until , a young American or Canadian girl surfaced. She gave me sheets, showed me a bed in the dorm. Yoga was at 8. I suggested that I might not make yoga as I may need sleep. She looked at me in a way that suggested that I should be at yoga. Right so.

Special Christmas lunch served on a banana leaf. The most exotic christmas lunch I've ever had(sorry mam, you know i ve never really been big into the turkey scene). The ashram is beautiful, magical, mysterious.  

The first day was quite overwhelming, morning meditation , chanting, yoga, lunch, karma yoga, more yoga, meditation and chanting. I was hesitant to join in the chanting at first. That didn't last too long.
Surrounded by like-minded people. Yogis, reikis, travellers, camino st Jacquers - wow!

100 rupee Haircut

3 women joined in the process. One a pair of scissors in hand,  I suggested layering having had a quick glance in the mirror of very angular, blunt cutting.You get what you pay for rang in my head. The whole layering concept seemed foreign and scary to her so she passed the scissors to the next lady. Was delighted with the cut at the time. Later, back in france held up a mirror and saw the back.aa hah. Photo taken before the haircut!
Now I understand why it cost me 1 euro 50.

vendredi 10 février 2012

Yoga en entreprise Ceva Sante Animale Summer Seance

Weekend Yoga Dans les Pins November 2011

"OM my GOODNESS! What a wonderful retreat we had this past weekend at La Villa des Pins! Healthy Bio-yummy meals, with heart centered people tucked away on beautiful forested land with swans, peacocks, squirrels and a dog filled with joy and Yoga sessions graciously led by our yogini Tracey. Ooh...let's do it again soon! Thanks!"
Concetta Antonelli

Thank you the Depins family for your warm welcome at Villa des pins, Gonzague Depins for the super Artwork,  Olivier DePins for the Photography, The Malabar for the ricecooker and food tips, Francois Araujo  Asahii and Christophe Baurech for the organic, locally produced vegetables and herbal tea. 

Invitation gratuite au Yoga sur les Quais Octobre 2011

Thank you to Sophie Regnier, La Mairie and all who came! 
See some photos here taken by Nathan-thank you.

Yoga Saluations au soleil II Juin 2011

YogaVibes: Yoga Flashmob a Bordeaux: On y avait pensé mais elle l’a fait, le Jeudi 16 Juin 2011, Tracey Farrell a organisé sa deuxième Yoga Flash Mob au miroir d’eau.

Premiere Salutaion au Soleil sur les quais, rive droite, Mai 2011

Mysore To Trivandrum Bus adventure 24th December 2011

Arrive at the bus station at the crack of dawn. Next Bus 19h.Ayee. 2 buses possible. Go for bus to Calicut 120 rupees. It’s a fast bus. 6 hours later we arrive! On the bus, feel like i'm on one of those funfair rides you pay 5 euros to be scared out of your wits for 5 minutes. Only this journey is much cheaper and much longer! The bus drivers seems to be blind to the fast oncoming  buses as he overtakes and beeps the horn- they drive head on(footloose style) until the very last minutes, when someone , usually the smaller party gives way to the other vehicle.
I have a comfortable seat beside 2 indian ladies.Oh the road to Calicut. 200km. Later on, there are 5 of us in this seat for three. The people look beautiful. Happy. At the bus stop, the bus driver, very macho?  indicates where I can eat.I'm thrown up a spicy sardine with a chapatti. I attempt to eat it but its so bloody hot, I can’t- the indians watch me and laugh. I try to save the chapatti from the red curry so that I can eat it later with some melted chocolate! Chapati and chocolate. The road is long and winding. Monkeys watch the passing trucks. We come to a stop every 5 minutes, engine off – due to traffic jams on the hairpin bends. The bus almost goes over the cliff- every corner anxious , curious heads pop their head out the window. Later on, a young Christian couple with 2 children are beside me. They celebrate christmas and midnight mass. I am surprised. Apparently there’s a very high number of Christians in Kerala. Later on in the night I see beautiful stars(the ornamental kind) everywhere. The bus breaks down so looks like im going to be on this bus for Christmas eve. Baked banana and mango juice for dinner.


Breakfast, dosa,i a rice pancake, sweet lime juice, papaya, pineapple, baked beans- not the Heinz kind, coconut chutney, white rice and urad dhal, white lentils. There was no sugar in the ayurvedic centre but when I got out on the streets I soon discovered that everything is sweetened. The chai, the coffee, the milk shakes , fruit shakes- sugar is always slipped in . One has to be very firm- NO sugar. The number of times I went for a juice or lassi, seeking a sugar-free, more natural option, and as I drank the sweetness, thinking to myself, this is too sweet to be true,  lo and behold , there was added sugar.
The juices, pineapple, pomegranate, watermelon, and banana lassis ( a yogurt and fruit based drink). Fresh papaya, firm and tender- a cross between cooked pumkin and a carrot ,only sweeter. Fresh coconut meat and juice. All in abundance for a few rupees. Speaking of watermelon, one day in Varkala , I got a lift-taxi to the Naranaya ashram. He stopped to chat to some fellas on the side of the road. When I enquired what he was doing i was told he was getting the watermelon skins for his cows. Now that is exotic; No wonder the milk tastes differently here.
Out on the streets of Mysore, my eyes gleamed with amazement. I had heard descriptions but to be here amid wandering goats, cows, mad driving rickshaws, buses driving head on , until the very last moment.A man drives by on a motorbike, 2 people on the back and is that a goat in between them- yes, a goat straddles the seat. Infant-like disbelief and joy arises. OOOOOOOOh india.

Rickshaw ride early morning

Luggage, customs , toilet where I namaste, om and pray for a safe, inspiring journey(thanks sati). There are many ways of getting to mysore-decided to go for the easy quick option and take a taxi. I felt a little guilty taking the “easy” way but I thought why suffer? I had been travelling for 2 days, and a taxi paid here will support the local economy. So guilt free, sure of a win win situation, though, still a little fearful for my life I got into the taxi. He stopped at one stage for tea asking me if I wanted one. I declined at first, and then thought when in rome, so I had my first mini paper cup of the sweetest of sweet chai tea at 6 am on the road to Mysore. As we drove into Mysore the sun, brighter than the sun I knew at home rose majestically from the surrounding mountains. Music is blaring everywhere, not soft gentle mantras but all sorts of bollywood, hindi type clinging clanging. I have arrived in Bollywood.Namaste :)

jeudi 9 février 2012

Mysore Man!

Checked into a very nice Ayurvedic centre (my parents had been very generous at christmas so I treated myself to a two day package), a beautiful, lush place to settle and pamper my tired body, to eat satvic(sanskrit for purity and goodness) food before hitting the streets of india. Ayurveda, the science of lifeSpeaking with the Ayurvedic Dr I expressed why I was here. To relax, find vitality and lose some of this tummy fat. She looked at my belly, and nodding her head, in her most beautifully sari clad body and melodious voice she replies  "we cannot work on that kind of weight in 2 days”.  Loud bells were ringing. I had been pre christmas indulging and 3 days of in flight meals. Get back on the satvic path T.
The Ayurvedic Rice, Khicheri, lentils, three veg curry and chappppppppppppati were delicious. I came to India with a strong desire to do lots of yoga, find  lightness in my body, and learn lots to bring back to my students. Things didn’t work out exactly as I had planned. The first two days I had extreme lower back pain during the night. Didn’t know what was going on, the hard as rock bed?the anxiety? or perhaps built up tension that needed releasing? One night the pain was so unbearable I got really scared and insisted the Dr take my temperature the following morning to be sure all was well.My temperature was fine so I checked out.
That morning I had read in a book from the library how people on the spiritual path sometimes ignore the importance of their bodies.I had turned a blind eye to how much weight I had put on. I had cleaned up a lot of stuff inside through reiki, singing lessons and self study and neglected the outside. I had come to realize it wasnt me who “controlled” all. So now it was abot finding the balance between what is in our control and what isn't.3 weeks later a phrase in Ramana Maharshi's little booklet came to mind, “ when you stop seeing a difference between interior and exterior” when the body, mind, and self are all one, that is the true self, that is yoga".

Doha Demons

In doha airport  I had some demons coming up, negative thoughts, call it what you may. Perhaps anxiety had flared up old mind tendencies.I wrote and wrote, I came back to breath.  I can see clearly the polarity, light-dark( usually the more light there is the more darkness there is) So, i'll battle through the darkness, to come to understanding, to accept it first, be aware of tendencies before moving towards more light. A simplified image of the bhagavad Gita comes to mind, in battle we can choose the demon ways or the godly ways..A few days later, an irish friend shared a similar experience and it reminded me that I wasn't "bad" but just human, and the life battle is, little by little, to overcome the negative-destructive to let the light shine through.

   Negative- positive, pain-pleasure, guilt-joy, heavy -light, but then all of these words are perceptions. what is good , bad? What if we  were simply an expression of who we are. What if we just let ourselves be? As opposed  to right or wrong..but to do that we must set on an inward jouney to discover and let go off conditioning, control, let our tendencies come up...until we find our true inner self, Namaste


Landed in India on Dec 21s t , I-N-D-I-A, india, india , india. I kept saying the word over and over as I did when younger until the word becomes meaningless- anybody else do that? Then bing,  I got In Dia, Dia is the irish word for God. That best sums up what happened in my first trip to India. The land of people who speak in melodious tones whilst moving the head in all directions..fascinating.