Tag Archives: travel

Through the Eastern Gate

Anyone seen it?  Website with trailer

Chöd drum, Sister Yeshe in Dehradun, tibetan buddhism
Chöd drum, Dehradun

WHAT moves young, educated people to give up their lives in material security for a spiritual quest that is characterized by uncertainty?
Through the Eastern Gate is a documentary film about the aspirations, practices and ways of life of three young Westerners who follow three different eastern spiritual traditions.

pranayama, south india, tantric yoga, spiritual search
Hatha yoga, South India

In the idyllic rural setting of South India we get to know Ronela – a Finn who dedicated her life to traditional Tantric yoga. In Dehradun, in the North Indian foothills of the Himalayas, we meet Sister Yeshe – a young Australian nun who practices Tibetan Buddhism. And in Turkey we finally follow Aziz – a Californian Sufi dervish…

whirling aziz, istanbul, turkey, spiritual seeker, documentary
whirling Aziz, Istanbul

Deccan Herald: It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Raking in moolah

It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Preethi Nagaraj, Mysore, Apr 15, DHNS:

An American national, Jason Thomas (name changed) comes to Mysore once in two years. A photographer and ‘certified’ yoga instructor, this 39-year-old makes the heritage city home for almost 30-45 days during his visit, as he has been doing since the last eight years.

“I come here to update my yoga skills and back home, I am associated with a yoga school where I teach during the weekends at US $ 20 – 40 per session (two classes) depending upon the kind of yoga our students want to learn,” he reveals.

While he has stuck to teaching simple yoga, his contemporaries who switched over to more popular forms of yoga earn up to US $ 80 – 120 for every session, he says. His yoga school charges him nearly Rs 25,000 as a refresher package.

While in Mysore, Jason stays at a guest house run by his ‘friend’ who is a foreigner, paying about 1,500 per day for a bed and breakfast facility. The place is managed by Alisa, a lady who traces her roots to Greece, and lives in the UK. She is one of the people who manage the place, ‘Nest’ in Vijayanagar, and by an estimate, makes a neat Rs 1.5 lakh per month accommodating her ‘friends’ who book rooms via internet. Locals are strictly not allowed inside this ‘six-room accommodation’ house. Such guest houses are aplenty on Contour Road, VV Mohalla, Lakshmipuram, Kuvempunagar, Vijayanagar, Bogadhi among other areas.

The police, who recently sent out a circular instructing the yoga schools in the city to teach only those who arrive on yoga visa or student visa, claim there is more than what meets the eye. Speaking to Deccan Herald, a top source said, at any given point of time, there are 3,000 to 5,000 foreigners living in Mysore on tourist visa, mostly enrolled with different Yoga schools.

Tracking problem

While they appear before the police when they arrive in the city, it becomes difficult to trace them afterwards. As a result, the police instructed the hotels to provide them with details of their foreign visitors. What then came to fore was the case of a mega ‘business’ being run by some foreigners who visit Mysore on ‘rotation’ basis.

Most Yoga schools are aware of this. Says Sudesh Chandra of Upanishat Yoga Kendra in Kuvempunagar: “The foreigners who come here stay together for security reasons. I am told they run guest houses too.”

The schools which enroll foreigners, certify them which is in turn used to earn more dollars back home. And this, purely, is the prerogative of the school. Yoga schools want the Government to create a central authority to formalise the teaching methods, thus adding a natural check to the system.

originally posted at the Deccan Herald

Ongoing Reading List: India + Yoga + Hippies

Just got finished reading the latest in the Indiafile genre, which surprisingly, was not chick-lit.  It was a bit boring though.  Sorry. Magic Bus

And the list begins:

The Age of Kali: Indian Travels and Encounters by various

Are You Experienced? by William Sutcliffe

Asia On My Mind by Sally Hovey Wriggins

Dork Whore: My Travels through Asia as a Twenty-Year-Old Pseudo-Virgin by Iris Bahr

Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Fear and Loathing in New Jersey by Debra Galant

First There Is a Mountain: A Yoga Romance by Elizabeth Kadetsky

A girls’ guide to India – a survivor’s handbook by Louise Wates

The God of Small Things: A Novel by Arundhati Roy

Holy Cow:  An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald

Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East by Gita Mehta

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta

Midnight’s Children: A Novel by Salman Rushdie

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America by Stefanie Syman

Wanderlust and Lipstick: For Women Traveling to India by Beth Whitman, Amy Scott, and Elizabeth Haidle

Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton

Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary Perspectives by Mark Singleton, Jean Marie Byrne

Yoga School Drop Out by Lucy Edge

The Yoga Teacher by Alexandra Gray

Enlightenment (American-Style): Ayahuasca

Two drug tourists on a spirit journey or is it just fast food spirituality?  Visit National Geographic to watch this short documentary on Ayahuasca.  There is also “Extreme Celebrity Ayahuasca” if you can’t get enough…

Campaign for a greener weiner

posted by ebean

Ways you should go green but aren’t (and how to do it)



  • Learn about Virgin Blue’s Carbon Offset Program or take a look at TerraPass
  • Bring your own food and snacks in reusable containers.
  • Bring your own headphones and reading material from your local library or used book store.
  • Bring your own beverage container.  They might not refill it for you from the service carts because you are a freak with a metal water bottle so be prepared to fill it yourself at water fountains after security.  You should only drink water anyway.


  • Invest is some reusable food containers and ask the restaurant to use them instead
  • Spend your money consciously and visit restaurants that are trying to green up their ways.  You can find listings (although sparse) at dinegreen.com, the greatgreenlist, and eatwellguide.  It ain’t easy being green

How are you going green?

Notable Blogs of the Day: Travel

Posted by ebeans

It is rare to find yourself in the thick of a yoga blog.  The more you search, the more you find interesting blogs that once were.  Be sure to check out these blogs while you can still read them “fresh off the press”.

  • YJ Cambodia Yoga Challenge
    From Notes from the dump

    From "Notes from the dump"

    About: “The Seva Challenge is about taking a small group of leaders and setting a significant fundraising goal for each person who comes on the trip. Through the funds raised, we will be able to leave Cambodia knowing we have made a difference…” read more
    Who: Seva Challenge participants

  • Om Factory on the Road
    From Were working on the picture album...

    From "We're working on the picture album..."

    About:  “Watch out! Twelve Om Factory yogis are about to storm Southeast India under the auspicious guidance of Lord Murugan. In two days we kiss ice storms goodbye and summer saris hello…”  read more
    Who: Retreat participants (Katie Clancy with FaraMarz, Amanda Wentworth, Kristin Sullivan, Alex*, Deborah Shapiro, Jennifer Seymour, Carey Urban, David Regan, Kara Bingham, Denise Fahmie, and Karen Fuchs)

    *Name changed by request.

Day Retreat from New York

posted by ebean

Can’t afford a yoga retreat to Tulum?  Why not opt for a “daytreat”?

From a recent Jivamukti Yoga newsletter:

With Jivamukti Co-Founder Sharon Gannon & Hoftra Professor Joshua Greene

Saturday, April 4, 2009, 9AM – 5PM

Immerse yourself in a restorative day of yoga and devotion at the exquisite 200-acre Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island-only 40 minutes from Penn Station via LIRR. For advanced and beginning practitioners alike, this rejuvenating retreat includes yoga asana classes with renowned Jivamukti co-founder Sharon Gannon, dialogues with popular author-teacher Joshua Greene, a live kirtan group, poetry, nature walks, and delicious vegetarian meals. To see photos of Old Westbury Gardens, visit
www.oldwestburygardens.org – the perfect location for this exhilarating excursion into the ecstasies of the soul.

Comments from last year’s retreat:
“Simply amazing-beautiful, loving, can’t say enough about this marvelous day.”
“Much more than I expected. It was wonderful to have such an experience so close to New York!”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for this memorable day.”

$150 all inclusive or $120 if you register before March 1.
Call (212) 353-0214 ext. 0. to reserve your place or visit our website for online reservation- www.jivamuktiyoga.com

*Please bring your own mat; we also suggest you bring your own blanket or sitting pillow. If you require blocks and or belts feel free to bring those as well.

Read this blog: 100 Days in India

Posted by ebean

Photo from 100 Days in Indias post Cultural Program

Photo from 100 Days in India's post "Cultural Program"

We’ve gleaned that someone (Bobby?) is traveling around India for 100 days (or at least that’s what the many pictures and title imply).  Amazing pictures of India.

100 Days in India