RISHIKESH, India // The second week of our trip in Thailand Jenny got food poisoning for 48 hours. We have had good fortune since then and both have been healthy up until midway through India when we simultaneosly got colds while staying in an ashram in Rishikesh. Maybe it was the close quarters and shared yoga mats, maybe it was just the germs of India, we don’t know. What was supposed to be a fun learning experience and experiment in simplicity turned into a struggle for the first few days in the ashram.
There was intentionally no air conditioning and we probably had one of the most basic rooms on our entire trip. In India, and especially Rishikesh, we noticed that unlike lots of other countries there is a lack of quality pharmacies or health stores. There are no CVS or Walgreens anywhere, or anything comparable. Luckily we had medicine with us, but we exhausted the entire supply of cold medicine in 3 days.
What made the situation worse was that we were trying to meditate and learn pranayama. Pranayama is a set of breathing techniques used for relaxing the body. When I can’t breath out of either nostril due to my cold, how am I supposed to breath through one nostril? To make matters worse, the yoga in the afternoon was considered “power yoga” which focused on really difficult poses and holding them for longer periods. Instead of pushing myself the first few days to improve, I just tried to make it through class. It reminded me of football practice in high school where we had to do pushups and people would try to do as little amount possible depending on where the coach was looking. This was where my mind was wondering to as I tried to make it through the yoga class in India doing just enough to get by. We couldn’t enjoy learning or participating which made me really upset. I was constantly trying to get well again.
During our few free hours in the afternoon we would walk 20 minutes to this new western cafe named Pure Soul and get fresh squeezed orange juices. After a few days the colds subsided and we were able to participate and learn again, but it made me grateful for the times in my life when I am healthy and able bodied to do things that I enjoy in life. It made realize how lucky I am to be able to learn things, participate in fun activities, and have energy to accomplish goals.
In the end, I think this experience made me stronger to realize the power we have in life when we are healthy. There are a lot of distractions in life, and this reminded me to not waste time on things that don’t matter or things with little meaning that will not affect my happiness or help me grow.