Rishikesh – Yoga

On the event of the first ever International Day of Yoga, I want to share my journey from being an Advertising wizard to a Yogini and back. This World Yoga Day, let’s oath to bring yoga back to our lives, back to our culture and preserve it as it deserves to be.

It always seems impossible until its done. – Nelson Mandela



noun: yoga
Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.

Yoga capital

One day, I decided that I want to be a yoga teacher. But why a yoga teacher? I knew basic Yoga and I wanted to learn more. Being a nomad at heart, I wanted to earn while I travel. So I thought, why learn yoga just for myself? Why not learn to teach? That ways I can teach and travel!

The ganges.
River blossoms

Yoga Practice

So I ended up in the Yoga Capital of the world – Rishikesh. What better place can there be to learn Yoga. I desperately started ransacking the internet to find a good yoga center/yoga school in Rishikesh. Rashi Kalra, Outdoorsy.inI learnt that most of the Yoga centers/yoga retreats in Rishikesh are not registered. I finally applied to Yoga Chakra, a Yoga Alliance International (YAI) affiliated school for yoga teachers training which has worldwide recognition. Being the only Indian student he ever had, he gave me a special rate for the training. I enrolled myself for RYT200 which is 200 hours of intensive training. My course was a month and a half long, which was eventually extended to two months. Everyday seven hours of training, six days a week. (5 hours of Yoga and 2 hours of Theory, Meditation & Pranayama) 

Sense of achievement

Initially it seemed impossible for me to get any yoga poses correct, but my teacher Yogi Om ji, kept motivating me. I also had to do extra 3 rounds of Surya Namaskara everyday unlike others who just had to do 6. Surya Namaskara helps in boosting stamina, strengthening the body and natural body posture. This was not Yoga for beginners and I had to put an extra effort to catch up with the rest of the class. Two weeks later, I could do most of the Yoga Asanas while perfecting the other Asanas. I was able to do a headstand (shirshasana) by then!

A world from upside down
The first headstand picture at Maharishi Yogi Ashram, now known as The Beatles Cathedral.

Lost Culture

In my time there I realised that almost 99% of people in my class and other yoga classes are foreigners; which made me wonder, why aren’t Indians keen to learn yoga? Why is it dying from our culture? Why is it so popular in the rest of the world? I remember that it was a part of the school curriculum for our previous generations. 1My father, mother, uncles, aunts, grandparents, learnt yoga in their schools! The westerners apart from yoga are learning our Scriptures, Vedas, Sanskrit language, Classical Music, Bhagvad Gita, Sitar, Harmonium, Bhajans and Mantras etc. Something that I never had an interest in. I wonder, why? I realised that I don’t have any knowledge about the roots of my own culture. I don’t have anything to teach to my future generation. That after my parents’ generation, all that knowledge and wisdom is going to be extinct. It saddened me.


I made a few good friends there, most of them were from the yoga class and the rest came along. When you stay at a place for that long, you start identifying travelers who are like you. You cross paths with them everyday, at yoga classes, cafes, playing music, or just strolling down the road. My dearest among all were Amarjit – a Kundalini Yoga teacher and the wisest man I’ve ever met, Claudia – my friend from yoga class and Alex – a professional didgeridoo & sitar player and a masseur. I learnt a lot from them. Amarjit’s wisdom, Claudia’s determination and Alex’s warmth have changed me and my perspective towards life and people in a lot of good ways, making me a better person.

A yogini

By the beginning of January, my training was complete but I continued going to class. I got my certificate along with the others after a final test and a few classes (where I taught Yoga). I felt so proud of myself. I was literally ticking things off my bucket list. Om ji’s one of the most knowledgeable men I’ve met in a very long time and the humble man that he is, he was very happy for me. Please do visit his centre those who’re willing to learn Yoga the right way.

Longing to stay

I felt good about my life in Rishikesh. It felt like home. It felt like I had an extended family and a purpose there. Life felt a lot more meaningful there. I wanted to build a life for myself there. As the time to go back was approaching, melancholy was in the air. But then I realised I didn’t want to leave in sadness. My time there, was full of good vibrations that should accompany me back to where I came from. I learnt amazing lessons, made wonderful memories and even greater friends and that’s all that I needed 🙂

My farewell lunch, The Last Supper

And then came my last day at this mystical, enchanting, spiritual place called Rishikesh.. I called it home & still do…


World Yoga Day 2015
International Day of Yoga 2015 featuring yogini Rashi Kalra

Got featured in expert fitness blogger Deepika Khosla’s latest article about Yoga & Meditaion Follow her at Twitter Instagram


12 Comments Add yours

  1. This made for such a great read Rashi. Thanks for coming up with all the information; I, too, am thinking of going for an advanced course now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 911rash says:

      Thank you Shikha 🙂


  2. Love the way you write. So simple and beautiful, like all things natural.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 911rash says:

      Thanks Kobita.. I wish to gain more influence from you…


  3. Akram Khan says:

    Couldn’t agree more, very well narrated 🙂

    We met in Rishikesh for the 1st time and it was a pleasant surprise to meet you. I guess it was your calmness and positive aura that attracted me.
    Your know for so many year i used to go there just to enjoy the nature and do all the possible adventure sports. You made me see Rshikesh from a different angle. So keep up the good work and continue spreading positivity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 911rash says:

      Thank you Akram for those kind words..


  4. Sam says:

    Hey Rashi,

    This was wonderfully written. I could almost sense the lovely experience you must have had. I have been practising yoga for over a year now, and Ive always wanted to learn it for myself. But being the sceptical self I am, I think I wont be able to master most of the poses. I can manage very few now.
    However I do see myself learning some day, I wanted to ask you how much do you think the entire stay/learn would cost me? I know this is probably personal, But I just think I need a plan and probably save up for it.

    Any information would be helpful. 🙂



    1. 911rash says:

      Hey Samira.. Thanks for writing me.. I’m glad you like it.. I’ll be glad to share the details with you.. Please mail me at 911rash@gmail.com or message me on my Twitter.. Will reply you there.. 🙂


  5. Samar says:

    Nicely written. Like the previous post, I felt like I was there 🙂 The music adds to the effect. Write more!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sattva says:

    Our yoga establishment is in rishikesh and it is to an incredible degree surely understood as individuals begin from india urban gatherings and in addition in like way from abroad. We give experienced yoga educator get prepared in Rishikesh and it do 200,300 hour yoga teacher get prepared in rishikesh.

    Liked by 1 person

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