Sunday, 20 March 2016

I'm Back :D

Here I am again... I know.. It has been a while... probably more than a year.. I apologize for that.
But the important is that I’m here, now, present and grateful for the amazing life I’m living. I’m on a bus heading to Esperance, South West Australia. In my mind thoughts, memories, projects, ideas and loads of emotions. Short summary for what happened in the last year. After Thailand I spent the “summer” in Italy (March-November) working at my usual workplace “Gelateria di Castellina”, best gelato ever and best people ever.. If you happen to be around Siena you need to check it out! I know, i know... not totally vegan but many flavors actually are and the dark chocolate is simply amazing (especially the one with salted peanuts). And for me its a second family, during the years I worked there for 6 years maybe. So I spend a summer under the Sun of Tuscany saving money for travel to Australia. I arrived in Sydney in December, traveled to Melbourne, Perth and now Esperance. Detailed posts of the single experiences will follow shortly . Still if I get good WIFI...hahaha if there is one thing that doesn’t work here in Down Under its Internet. For the rest I love this huge country and its huge distances but the best thing so far are the chilled people and the vegan options everywhere.
I have been surprised from the first day that in small supermarkets you find veggie burgers, tofu and ready vegan meals; not that i am a fan but definitely it makes everything easier ;) Almost knows what vegan means and they don’t look strange at you like if you were an alien and the vegan communities are big, strong and active.
For my luck after few days in the Hostel i found a cheap single room in the city close to Hyde Park, sharing the flat with other two lovely vegetarian souls. Pretty funny because I didn’t know before and after few days living there Kathrin, my ex-flatmate, asked me: ‘Can I ask you something’ ‘Sure’ ‘Are you vegetarian?’ and me ‘mmhhh actually vegan’ trying to not appear totally crazy due I was used to peoples reaction around Europe... by my surprise she was really excited about it and confessed me she was thinking of going vegan too.. We had a short talk about it and I felt home. She isn’t totally vegan yet but I know you will do it girl! :D I spent 2 months in that house feeling home and I just realized that I never sent my chocolate cake recipes to my other flatmate, sorry Ants, they will come shortly
I met so many new friends and can’t be thankful enough for the great souls I meat trough Sydney Vegan Club. As I arrived on the 10th December my Christmas was prospecting to be pretty lonely. So I decided to participate to a random Vegan meeting at the beach, Beachmas, and was one of the best days ever. I had so much fun and made friends for life. Miss you guys soooo much.
I fell in love with Sydney, I explored the Northern Beaches, the Eastern Suburbs, Newtown, the Blue Mountains, the Royal National Park, the Botanical Gardens and much more... I worked in a Raw Vegan Restaurant close to Bondi Beach and ate the best Vegan Pizza ever at Gigi’s. I even tried to surf just discovering that I choose not really a beginners beach with not really beginners waves hahaha... it will take me a while to try again but I didn’t give up yet! I saw the popular Fireworks at New Years Eve from a really nice and quiet spot. If you ever happen to be in Sydney by that time of the year and wanna enjoy the fireworks out of the big crowd without paying a ticket then check out Duff Reserve between Double Bay and Rose Bay. I think its a great spot for a reading afternoon too, always wanted to check it out in daylight but haven’t had the chance yet.
I spent two amazing months in Sydney and I’m looking forward to meet all the people that made my stay so awesome soon again. I traveled to Melbourne in a van along the coast with two new friends but that definitely deserves a post on its own.
I promise this time the waiting will be much shorter
For now thanks for reading and still being here with me.
May all living beings be happy, healthy and free
Namaste

Pictures will follow shortly ;)

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Benefits of a Squat Toilet and how to build one!

Humans mainly use one of two types of defecation postures: either squatting or sitting. People use the squatting posture when using squat toilets or when defecating in the open in the absence of toilets. The sitting posture on the other hand is used in toilets that have a pedestal or "throne", where users generally lean forward or sit at 90-degrees to a toilet seat.
In general, the posture chosen is largely a cultural decision and is determined by early childhood habits. However, it may also be dictated by the available toilet type, as a squat toilet can only be used in a squatting position, whereas squatting on a toilet designed for sitting is not recommended. When people are travelling to different countries, they may therefore be forced to use a different defecation posture than what they are used to or prefer. That happened to me. I used a sitting toiled since a can remember but on my last travel i have been forced to use squat toilets. At the beginning it felt weird and strange but soon i realized that my bowel movements where quicker and less demanding. I never had digestion issues or bowel movements irregularity, that is way it made me think even more. If I can spot this differences maybe for somebody it would really make the difference. I started reading and looking for more information about it and what we ignorantly call 'progress' may is exactly what actually helps make us sick.
I think everything that happens naturally is the best thing for us. In nature we would squat for complete a bowel movement so probably our body is designed that way. A Study from 2003 done by doctor Dov Sikirov discovered it took an average of 51 seconds for a bowel movement while 'sitters' took an average of 130 seconds. Different studies (you can check them in the references) confirm that the most effective posture for urination and defecation is the squat position. Squatting is as basic to good health as drinking plenty of water, eating a balanced (vegan) diet ;), getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.

Benefits of Squatting

# Makes elimination faster, easier and more complete. This helps prevent "fecal stagnation," a prime factor in colon cancerappendicitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Protects the nerves that control the prostatebladder and uterus from becoming stretched and damaged.
Securely seals the ileocecal valve, between the colon and the small intestine. In the conventional sitting position, this valve is unsupported and often leaks during evacuation, contaminating the small intestine.
Relaxes the puborectalis muscle which normally chokes the rectum in order to maintain continence.
Uses the thighs to support the colon and prevent straining. Chronic straining on the toilet can cause hernias, diverticulosis, and pelvic organ prolapse.
A highly effective, non-invasive treatment for hemorrhoids, as shown by published clinical research.
For pregnant women, squatting avoids pressure on the uterus when using the toilet. Daily squatting helps prepare one for a more natural delivery.

Squatting is a difficult position to adopt straight away, with patience after a couple of weeks everybody will get used to it. The muscles we use to defecate are exercised by getting down into, and up out of, the squat position. Not only will your balance improve but you will also give your spine a beneficial stretch.
So what are you waiting for? You can install your own squat toilet, removing your toilet altogether and replace it with... nothing or a hole in the floor! Or..
..you could buy or build a support that transforms your throne in a proper squat toilet and if somebody doesn't wanna take the risk they can still compress their intestine and sit down ;)

How to build your own Squat Toilet



You can either buy the "Plan" on the "Lillipad Squat Toilet Platform" website at the following link:


You will get all the instructions for build this support for transform your western toilet in a squat toilet.



Or you can design your own plan for make it more personal ;)



Once you have all your pieces ready you have only to glue them together and fix everything screwing little L shaped metal plates on the inside corners.


For be sure about the stability I used 14 of those ;)




And this is how it looks like at the end:






















I love it, and it doesn't bother for a normal sitting style use (I didn't convinced my mum yet)...

For more details or information don't hesitate to contact me!! I will be glad to help.

Lots of Love

Namastè




Sources, References and more info:


Studies:
2010 Japanese study on the Influence of Body Position on Defecation in Humans.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1757-5672.2009.00057.x/abstract
Dr. Dov Sikirov, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Vol. 48, No.7 (July 2003)
http://www.springerlink.com/content/rlu7151837n07562/
Sikirov, B.A. Israel Journal of Medical Sciences, 1987: 23 
Alexander Kira. The Bathroom. New York: Penguin, 1976
Janet Balaskas. New Active Birth. London: Thorsons, 1991
Joseph Heller and William Henkin. Body Wise. New York: J.P. Tarcher Inc./St Martin's Press, 1986
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth, 1969
Jacobs, E.J. and White, E. Epidemiology, 1998 July, 9 (4)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Permaculture.. The Discovery

So many things to talk about and do not know where to start from :)

Let's start from where I left you last time, Permaculture Design Course, simply awesome and inspiring. Not only the teachings were awesome but the teachers and all the people I met too.

Mindfulness Project
The course I chose is a two weeks one and it is teached one week in Khon Kaen (third largest city of Thailand) and the second one in Chiang Mai. The first location is the Mindfulness Project, a quite new project where there is lots to do and decide. It has been founded by Christian and Anja, a lovely german couple that decided to leave everything and move to Thailand working hard for what they believe in. You can find more on their website: www.m-pro.asia and hopefully I will post soon an interview for let you know directly all the amazing work they are doing. The location is an old abbandonated school that would become our home for the next few days. It has everything you need, a big kitchen, two huge rooms with mattresses and mosquito nets, squat toilets (one of them is western if you aren't delighted yet with the functional eastern style ;) ), outside showers, hammocks, yoga mats etc. The outside doesn't look so pretty yet, quite dry and poor, because everything is in progress because the works just started less than a year ago but it will shine in a matter of nothing.
Garden at Panya
The second location is a much more established project and it is in Chiang Mai. The Panya Project (www.panyaproject.org) is one of the oldest Permaculture Projects in Thailand and has been founded by Christian Shearer, one of our awesome teachers. It looks completely different from the Mindfulness; completely green, with a huge garden, big trees, natural buildings, etc. and even if Christian isn't living there anymore looks like there is always somebody worried about taking care of the place and the animals. It was really inspiring seeing a project at the really beginning and one after 10 years of Permaculture.

The word Permaculture was first coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1978. Originally it referred to "permanent agriculture" but was expanded to stand also for "permanent culture," as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka's natural farming philosophy.

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system."
Bill Mollison


Permaculture Design emphasizes patterns of landscape, function, and species assemblies. It determines where these elements should be placed so they can provide maximum benefit to the local environment.
The central concept of permaculture is maximizing useful connections between components and synergy of the final design. The focus of permaculture, therefore, is not on each separate element, but rather on the relationships created among elements by the way they are placed together; the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts. Permaculture design therefore seeks to minimize waste, human labor, and energy input by building systems with maximal benefits between design elements to achieve a high level of synergy. Permaculture designs evolve over time by taking into account these relationships and elements and can become extremely complex systems that produce a high density of food and materials with minimal input. It can be applied to the design of housing and landscaping, integrating techniques such as agroforestry, natural building, and rainwater harvesting.
The design principles which are the conceptual foundation of permaculture were derived from the science of systems ecology and study of pre-industrial examples of sustainable land use.
The three main Permaculture Ethics are:
Natural Building Art
Earth Care: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
People Care: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
Share of surplus: Reinvesting surpluses back into the system to provide for the first two ethics. This includes returning waste back into the system to recycle into usefulness.
By adopting Permaculture ethics and principles in our daily life we can make the transition from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible producers. This journey builds skills and resilience at home and in our local communities that will help us prepare for an uncertain future with less available energy.
In few words it is the only way for a sustainable living future on our planet ;)
Howard and Christian
In our two weeks course we learned a lot about it and how to apply it in our daily life, it was really inspiring and a life changing experience. Surely the topic is amazing but also our teachers were awesome in keeping always the concentration and curiosity of all the class really active. Thanks again to this amazing living creatures that brought and shared so much with us: Christian Shearer, Christian Carow and Howard Story (founder of WWOOF Thailand and much more). Thanks for your passion, patience, smile and love. It was a honour, a pleasure and an inspiration work with you :)

18 Days Compost
After this awesome time I had only few weeks left to spend in SE Asia and I decided to go back to Khon Kaen at the Mindfulness Project. Here I was already feeling at home and there was sooo much to do and to learn.I met a whole bunch of new amazing people that where there for volunteering and helping with whatever needed to be done. In few days we improved the garden beds, we planted trees and flowers, we produced new adobi bricks for natural building (we got the record of adobi in a day, 84 bricks in one morning!!), we raised the remaining high garden beds, we dug and started the foundation for the compost toilets, we helped Monks building the local Monastery, we carried on with the mosaic decoration on the raised garden beds (still long way to go) and many other things.

Chilling Out :)
Staying in a project like this is like being part of a family, you learn things about others, about gardening, natural building, composting, cooking, but the most important thing is learning things about yourself. You learn to play with your limits, you realise you can do much more you thought, you learn to open yourself and share your fears and emotions, you learn to trust and love yourself because there is nothing wrong in you and in your feelings, nothing wrong in your reactions or behaviors. Learning to be honest with others and especially with yourself brings you to feel free to accept and love yourself. And Love on the other hand changes your attitude and behaviour towards yourself, others and life. Once you learn to accept and love yourself the whole Universe start to love yourself and you will start to love the whole Universe.

May all living beings be full of loving kindness
may all living beings be healthy and free from physical pain
may all living beings be relaxed, calm and safe
may all living beings be happy, content and really free



Sources&more info @:
PDC material

Monday, 19 January 2015

Climbing&Snorkeling

Reading my Tripadvisor guide, trying to find out which island to visit, I came across popular Rock-Climbing places like Kho Phi Phi or Railay Beach.
I always wanted to climb so why not start in one of the most limestone cliffs ;)
I checked online different schools and reviews and opted for a 3 day course at Railay, on there website no experience was needed.. but definitely if you count on survive 3 days, I can tell you now, you supposed to be in a quite good shape! I was definitely not hahaha.
I booked a nice Hostel at Ao Nang Beach where the Pick-up/Drop-off service was included in the course fee. The only negative side was the Air condition really low all the time, I got a cold in Thailand coz of that… LOL
I reached Ao Nang in the afternoon and after a couple of hours on the beach I decided that finally the time has come for a Thai Massage :) I checked Tripadvisor and spotted a close good rated centre, a little bit hidden and it was perfect, the massage bed was with jungle view and the massage itself was awesome, can't believe I paid only 250Baht (5Euro) for it.
Wednesday was the first day of the course, they picked me up at the Hostel and brought me and the others aspirant climbers to the pier where we caught a Long tail boat to Railay.
Arrived to the "Climbers Office" we got our equipment and our lovely climbing shoes and divided in groups of four, each one with a own teacher, we reached the awesome "wall". In the meanwhile I discovered that I was the only one that booked 3 days and talking with people they already had some experience I realised that probably I was asking a bit too much from my self. By the way… what is done is done so let's climb! :)
The beginning was very tuff, and after the first route I really asked myself  what ever I was imagine while booking a three day course (probably I had too much money to spend). On the first day I climbed 7 different routes and belayed once. Almost at the end of the day I had a nice chat with my instructor and realised that I was asking too much from myself.. as usual.. not enjoying whatever I was doing. I was getting angry or frustrated when I couldn't find the right spot where to put my foot or my hand and doing so I would find less and less spots. Only being curious and enjoying whatever you're doing you will get the best out of it. I enjoyed the second day much more, and the first 30 metres high route gave me the adrenaline to afford the day forgetting how sore my muscles already were ;)
I couldn't afford a third day though and I exchanged it for a Snorkeling+Sunset Cruise with Night Swim. Probably something that I would never have booked in normal conditions. It was really nice, if you don't consider the fact to be with almost all couples, two of them in honeymoon, hahah. The night swim was amazing, I saw already the fluorescent plankton on the beach when i was in Egypt but see it in the water is magic. Basically you are still in deep water and everything is dark, as soon you move your arms or legs, the moved water becomes lighted, a thousands of little dots switch on and it feels like to be lost in the universe between stars. It was wonderful.
I wanted to spend my last days in south on an Island and I choose Ko Mook, so the day after I took a Minibus to Trang and then a Fairy reaching this Island at south of Ko Lanta. There were really nice snorkeling trips especially the Emerald Cave, but all of them where for minimum 2 and maximum 4 people. I started to ask if I could somehow enjoy another group but nobody knew if there were trips booked from other people so the only thing I could do (for not pay for two people) was asking around if somebody was thinking about doing it. Slowly i gave up, deciding that the following day would be better… I spent the following day in my room running between bed and toilet.. again.. I slowly get sick of it LOL.
And now is today, my last day in South. I asked again this morning if there were any trips booked but the guy at the reception could barely understand me, so I went to the beach hoping to be more lucky. Passing by the diving centre I decide to ask them and the girl explained me that I could reach the cave by swim or canoeing. Canoeing for almost an hour alone was pretending too much from me and I skipped it, swimming too, having eaten nothing the past day, but if I could rent some fins and mask I would definitely go for it. Full of enthusiasm I started to check out all the snorkeling stuff renting places and none had my size fins. Okay it's definitely not meant to be.
I'm taking it like a sign of destiny and a good reason to come back :) I rented a mask+snorkel and enjoyed some snorkeling close to the beach.
Tomorrow morning I will leave again and travel towards north Thailand because my Permaculture Design Course is about to start, so excited about it :D

May all Being be Happy

Namaste

Monday, 12 January 2015

Bye Bye India

After almost a couple of months I have to say "Arrivederci!" to this never-ending-surprisingme-country. It has been a great time and I'm really happy about everything buuuut… Welcome Thailand!
India is full of everything, colours, spices, people, beautiful locations, history, cows, amazing beaches, dogs, but also traffic, rubbish, noise and local people, at most, see you as a cash dispenser. Everybody invites you to his shop, taxi, restaurant, hotel saying they get the best price and trying to squeeze out of you as much as they can. Of course non everybody is acting like this but I would say the majority and personally I found it a bit stressy.
35 Baht and a special twin banana included :)
On the other hand India teaches a lot, how to get rid of expectations, how to be happy just with what you have, how much material stuff is dominating us and how much you should appreciate more what you have at home, it is the mother of Yoga and the spreading of Vipassana Meditation, mentioning just two of many else.. And how to forget.. Indian Food… ohhh so yummi :D
Maybe as a revenge from the country I didn't digest well my last meal, I was already on the plane and i felt really bloating once reached Thailand. Anyway I took the train to centre Bangkok and then a Rickshaw to the Hostel for 60 Baht (the first one asked me 450 Baht (looks like new country same story..). Of course my room wasn't ready (It was 9am) and I had to wait till 2pm for the check-in. I left my luggage and went on exploring the city :)
After experiencing Mumbai and Bangalore I really liked Bangkok, it is still a city, noisy and with traffic, but also friendly and easy going, tough happy to leave tonight. There is people selling food everywhere and every two o tree stand you find one selling fresh fruits so as soon I felt better I bought some Jackfruit and I ate it straight away on my way back to the Hostel. Luckily I felt bad just after checking in and could rest on my bed for the whole afternoon, running time by time to the closest toilet. So glad I had decided to stay on night here :)
This morning I felt better, at least I could control my 'evacuations' so I decided to check out China Town leaving my luggage at the Hostel, due my bus is tonight at 8pm. I couldn't reach China town, feeling weak and dizzy I went to the closest Pier and took a Longboat back to the headquarter.
Sipping a nice strong lemongrass tea, I bought some bananas and some bread and I will be fine for today ;)  In a bit I will recover my Backpack, pass from a close Vegan Restaurant to get a Take Away Vegan Cake and then head to the Bus station.
Krabi I'm coming, looking forward for my Rock Climbing Course at Railey Beach :D
Namaste

Friday, 9 January 2015

The Magic of Hampi

I heard about Hampi only few weeks ago during my Yoga course from people they wanted badly pass from here before leaving India. Curious about it I googled a bit and came to know that its ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi.
Virupaksha Temple

The dynasties that ruled the Vijayanagara empire from 1336 to 1565, the last great Hindu Kingdom, with Hampi as their capital, constructed many forts, ramparts, temples and statues. Hampi was chosen because of its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides. 
The site is significant historically and architecturally, but not least its beauty is simply stunning! The topography abounds with large stones which have been used to make statues of Hindu deities. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area, to discover additional artifacts and temples.
Kadalekalu Ganesha

Hampi and its surrounding is the centre of hundreds of sights and ruins and you can't visit everything in one go. Some are pretty close to the village centre but others are more far and spread, for those is better if you hire a driver that will take and show you around.
On the train journey from Margao to Hospet (closest public transport reachable town from Hampi) I met an amazing couple from California, Kelly and Domonic, and we spend most of our time in Hampi together. We had two fully days for visiting and I will make a short summary of our tours :)
DAY 1
Pushkarani

Due some of the best sights are reachable by walking we just started to hang around the main Bazar and we explored the Virupaksha Temple, where we had the luck to meet Lakhsmi, the resident Elephant, we walked trough the Elephant Bathing Temple (there are some work in progress) and reached the river for an incredible view of the natural stone hills around and a quick hair cut. After we walked up the Hemakuta hill on the east side coming across with Kadalekalu Ganesha . The giant statue of Ganesha, was carved out of a huge boulder at the northeastern slope of the hill. The statue is 4,5 metres tall and among the largest sculptures in Hampi. The belly of this statue resembles a Bengal gram (Kadalekalu, in local language) and hence the name. A sanctum is built around the statue and the pillared hall in front of this sanctum is as charming as this giant statue itself. This is probably my favourite site of all :)
Hazara Rama Temple

Walking down we encountered several ruins and explored the Krishna Temple were the art is beautiful. On the pillars you can find figures related to Krishna's life. In front of the Temple there is a Pushkarani (a pushkarani is the pond from where the temple's water needs used to be met) and in the centre of it there is a small mantapa. Climbing on the close by rocks we found a little cave and we wondered what would be going on in there at that time. Getting back we were on the way of a Monkey Troop moving and they all just passed by very close... Amazing!
Laxmi Narasimha

Walking more down we found the Badavi Linga and the Laxmi Narasimha, they were great! The Badavi Linga is inside a mantapa (in indian architectur is a pillared outdoor hall or pavilion for public rituals) and it's a Linga made of black stone, it's the most massive of all the lingas in Hampi, more than 3 meters tall. There is no roof and due a canal passing trough it, the linga is always submerged under water. Laxmi Narasimha is the largest of all idols in Hampi, almst 7 meters tall, and carved on a single stone. The idol is called Ugra Narasimha but it cannot be termed Ugra due the Laxmi idol on top of it. Unfortunately the Laxmi idol has been damaged so the idol remains popular as Ugra Narasimha.
A few steps more toward south we visit the Chandikeshwara and the Uddana Virabhadra Temple. Heading back to the main Bazar we walked up the Hemakuta hill on the west side encountering Sasivekalu Ganesha. In Hindu mythology Lord Ganesha (also known as Ganapathi or Vinayaka) is notorious for his food habit. One day he ate so much of food that his tummy almost busted. He just caught a snake and tied it around his tummy as a belt to save his tummy from bursting ;D.
Vittala Temple

On the west side of Hemakuta Hill you can enjoy the best sunset view of Hampi, and there are several ruins and temples including the Jain Temple. This was our last stop and after we headed back to the Bazar, checking out small local shops and enjoying a nice dinner at Funky Monkey, I got the Veg Indian Meal for 160 rupees (2Euro/ 1,70Pounds) and it was great! :)
DAY 2
On day two we decided to take a Rickshaw to the far east Vittala Temple and from there walking back along the river visiting several sights on the way. :)
Elephant Stables

The main attraction of the Vittala complex are the musical pillars, approximately there are 50 pillars and when tapped they produce a sound, each different from an other. Probably these do not belong to any of the standard musical notes, but the musical tone of the vibes earned it’s the name. Opposite to the Vittala temple there is the world famous Stone Car, carved on a single hard granite rock. 
Walking our way back we encountered the Purandaradasa Mantap, King's Balance, Varaha Temple, Rama Temple and the Achutharaya Temple. Here you could get trapped in a improvised guided tour with some local guy that tries to make some tip, if you don't want his service just make it sure from the beginning so later you wont feel obligated to tip him (normally they will just point out the obvious of the buildings). The Achyutharaya Temple was called 'Sule Bazaar' and apparently precious stones and diamond trade was carried on there. We had a short pit stop in the shade of the side mantapa with 'peanutbutter-banana sandwiches' made on the spot, delicious and definitely an energy booster for the rest of the tour.
Underground Temple

Outside the temple there is a big Pushkarani (water pond) that look quite creepy due the stagnant water ecosystem.
Walking along the river trough the Kodanda Rama Temple we reached the main Bazaar area and found the Nandi Bull called Eduru Basavanna (Basava facing Shiva) because it is opposite to Shiva Idol of Virupaksha Temple. 
From here we hired an other rickshaw trough Talarigatta Gate towards Elephant Stables. This was the shelter for the royal elephants, the walls of each shed are plastered with lime, sand paste and at the top of each shed is a sphere-shaped Gumbaj. Close to the stables there is the Lotus Mahal built in Indian and Muslim style.
Walking back we enjoyed the awesomeness of the Hazara Rama Temple, there are a series of sculptures on the walls. There are figures carved in series, yoga postures, Hindu gods and goddesses, scenes from the Ramayana... Inside there are four carved black stone pillars, these heavy cubical pillars contain gorgeous bas-reliefs of Ganesha, Mahisha-mardini, Hanuman and many forms of Vishnu. The large central ceiling has a diagonally square courses with a finely carved lotus motif in the centre.
Life Flower

 We passed from the Danaik's Enclosure, ending the tour at the Underground Temple. For some curious reasons, this temple dedicated for Lord Siva was built many metres below the ground level and due this, almost all the time the sanctum and the core parts of the temple are under water, restricting entry to the inner areas. I wouldn't give any points to this sight if there wasn't a local lady that insist taking off my shoes and go inside for a refreshing 'feet-in-the-water-temple-visit'. She showed me every step and brought me safely till the final hall with a Shiva Linga, dwelled by bats. At the end we were really amazed by this visit and happy to tip our guide :)
The River 


Our driver was already waiting for us and brought us back to Hampi. My new friends were going to leave the same day so they had their last shopping tour and we enjoyed a meal together at Ravi's Guest House. I'm really thankful that I met them and hope to see them soon again, maybe in Thailand ;) Thanks again Kelly and Domonic for the great time spent together and  wish you all the best on your journey and in your life!

Coming back to me, I have another half day to spend here and beside writing this long post I decided to chill out at the river due a 32h journey that is waiting for me, having my last Chai at Manibaba's shop, enjoying the sunset from the Hemakuta Hill and thinking about the many new informations about this place... sleeping a night on a mattrass on a roof terrace or finding a whole snake skeleton hanging from a tree... coz all this can happen in Hampi ;)

Thailand I'm cooooooming.... 

Namaste

Monday, 5 January 2015

My Vipassana Experience

It's 2015!!!! I think I will remember this New Year's Eve for the rest of my life :)… One word? Awesome!!!


I have to say that it was tuff and really hard especially the first days but I really think it could change my life, I kid you not!
Now… let's talk a bit more about Vipassana Meditation, it is actually the meditation technique diffused by Buddha. It is a really logical technique that aims to help you get out of misery, getting rid of cravings and aversions. We more or less all know that those two control most of our lifetime mood, we all know what means craving  for food, for spend time with certain people,for feelings, jobs, money, situations etc.. Or on the other hand feel aversion versus the just above mentioned.
Meditation Hall
Everything that we experience creates a bad mood (misery) sooner or later, if it is something pleasant we will crave for it and if it is unpleasant we will have aversion towards it.
Vipassana teaches us how to get out of misery, how to enjoy every single moment accepting it as it is and knowing that it will pass because nothing is permanent and everything is changing continuously. Whatever we experience is just matter of our mind so we need to learn how to control our mind, not only at the conscious level but also the unconscious one and here comes the difficult part, you were waiting for it weren't you?
For get out of misery we need to change our minds habit pattern (the pleasant/craving and unpleasant/aversion connection) and for doing that we need to understand it not only intellectually but also physically (experiencing it). It is like learning to swim, you can read thousands of books and watch hundreds video of swim techniques and lessons but if you never get into the water you won't know how to swim. Same thing with mind habitat pattern, you can read about it, studying and understanding it but you need your body to experience it for change the habit pattern of your mind. The 10 days full immersion course is required if it is your first experience in the practice, to get to know the technique properly and understand how to work with it. It is all about body awareness and learn how to accept the impermanent ness of each moment and sensation.
Nothing to do with Religion, Gods or Spirituality; only you and yourself in meditation!
I would recommend this experience to everybody, maybe not in India if you never been here and specially if you are not used to Indian Food ;) There were some single rooms and I got one probably because they knew that putting me in the dormitory could be too much, but don't expect that everywhere, most probabably you will share a room with others.
I personally was amazed by the food and breakfast was always a surprise, I'm in India since more than a month but i never had a traditional Indian Breakfast and probably I would never go to have one if I didn't make this course.
I wouldn't order a sticky Tapioca dish, rice flakes with cauliflower or Spongy coriander and coconut topped bread with a sweet chutney if I had the choice. Even the breakfast and the puffed rice at 5pm (last meal) were fully flavoured and full of the most incredible spices.
Each country has its own menu regarding the traditional food of the country itself but strictly vegetarian.
The beginning was really hard, specially sitting all those hours, for me the 4th day was the worse, they say much people get mad on the 2nd or 6th one... for everybody is different, but usually there is one day when you seriously think about packing your stuff and run away. Stay!!! Seriously!!! Whenever you decide the time has come to try it out and whenever it happens that your mind wants to leave and thinks  that it is not for you please stay!! Whatever you gain for those ten days, will be much more valuable than all the physical and mental suffering at the beginning.
I really wish that I will have enough discipline to carry on with the daily practice but already the feeling and the emotion you get at the end of the course repay you all the effort you will put into it!
If you would have more information or have any questions just comment below or write me personally at laura.mischler@gmail.com
I will be more than happy to share more of this amazing experience with you. You can also find much more information on the official website https://www.dhamma.org

I'm again on my way for the next adventure and hopefully I will be writing from the magic Hampi next time, stay connected and enjoy life!

May all beings be Happy and Peaceful!