Against a backdrop of the disaster of the Himalayan Tsunami, life continues.
Last night was the graduation ceremony of the 300 hour yoga teacher training course and we all had a Hindu ritual blessing us and traditional Indian music concert with haunting violin and wooden flute, melodious sitar and rhythmic tabla drums.
This morning, one of the other classmates led us in a 3 hour Thai massage workshop where we learned foot and leg massages. Thai massage, which partly originates from Indian Ayuvedic traditions, has a lot in similar with Ayuvedic massages. Like Ayuvedic massages, it is medicine. It is a healing process, removing blockages of energy and removing toxins from the body. Similarily, it also works on energy lines in the body and chakras (energy centres/transformers in the body). Thai massage works on stretching the body, so it is like yoga except the massage recipient is completely passive and relaxed. In contrast to Ayuvedic massage, the massage therapist aims to use gravity and the weight of their own body to massage and stretch rather than muscles in their arms and hands.
In the afternoon, we took a trip to a local temple high up in the mountains. With 10 of us each in safari jeeps, we winded up mountain roads through small villages, beautiful green terraced slopes of mountains, and passed many groups of monkeys sitting at the side of the road. Apparently, they gather as people sometimes give them bananas. It is amazing the effects of the rains though as our jeep was constantly slowing down to go around small landslides where mud and rocks encroached on the already narrow roads.
The temple was up high on a mountain top after a long white staircase. We were blessed by the resident priest.