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Christmas & New Year Adventures

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GABRIEL MORRIS: I have finished the retreat at the Sivananda ashram, and moved back over to the Hari Om Guesthouse. The retreat was really good, though I won't miss waking up to an alarm at 4:30 am, that's for sure. A couple of times I admit I reached over and shut it off and went back to sleep.

Here are some very interesting sites taken before and after the retreat.

Here is a great view of the Himalaya from near the ski resort at Auli, above the town of Josimath.

Karnaprayag, where two rivers converge, then join with another river further downstream where it officially becomes the Ganges.

More views of the Himalaya from a bus and some interesting scenes along the road.

Sunrise over the Himalaya seen from Kausani, northern India, just west of Nepal.

Just to give people an idea of what it was like, the schedule for the retreat each day went like this:

5am: meditation
6am: yoga
7am: breakfast
9:15: chanting and meditation
10-12am: teachings
12 noon: lunch
Afternoons: free time
6pm: guided meditation
7pm: dinner
7:30-9:30: satsangs (spiritual chants and songs), teachings, and a few different things such as a short movie one night, and on another a slideshow of one of the swamis trips to South Africa

A short tour of the Sivananda Ashram here in Rishikesh, where I stayed for a week through Christmas and New Year's day

On a random note, I have to recount a funny little story that happened the day before the retreat began. I was staying in the same hotel where I am now, a stone's throw (literally) from the Ganges River and the Laxman Jhula bridge over the river. I was taking some photos near a restaurant ~ the German Bakery (Rishikesh really caters to the western tourists) ~ that was right near the bridge. They make an excellent nutella pancake there. Although, if you spread nutella on just about anything it'll be pretty delicious.

So anyway, I had just taken the photo of the dog lying on a bench in the sun in front of a blue and white ad for Hindi language lessons (above), when a guy came out of the restaurant and walked over to me and said, "Are you Gabriel Morris?"

"Uh, yeah, where do you know me from?" I said, because I didn't recognize him at all.

It turned out that he belonged to my travel group on Facebook, and had recognized me from having seen my photos. We had actually exchanged messages online about another trip he was planning. I joined him for lunch that day and chatted with him for a while. He was Indian, from Rajasthan state but was going to university in Mumbai, and was doing some traveling around India between semesters. We made plans to meet again for dinner that evening, but he ended up having a change of plans and left Rishikesh that afternoon.

A pretty wacky thing! It's definitely a small world and getting smaller by the minute with the internet!

Someone singing as part of the New Year's Eve celebrations at the Sivananda Ashram

Chanting in the main temple at the Sivananda Ashram

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More from Gabriel Morris


Article Pic Biography
Gabriel Morris was born in Vancouver, Canada, raised in rural northern California and has also lived in Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Alberta. He is an admitted travel addict as well as outdoors enthusiast, cultural explorer and spiritual seeker with a B.A. in World Religions. He has travelled sporadically since the age of eighteen, and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
His next adventure, takes him to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Nepal and possibly elsewhere. He will be exploring tropical paradise in the Philippines, visiting with orangutans in Malaysia, participating in spiritual ceremonies in Bali, practicing yoga in India, and much more.
Download an e-copy of his published book Kundalini and the Art of Being completely free, here: Gabriel

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