life in an ashram

My indian trip ended in an ashram in Rishikesh, a way too short experience that I will try again for sure.

Rishikesh is a yogi heaven, a city of pilgrimage at the gateaway of the Himalayas where hindus and yogis come, as it’s considered a holy place by them. You might have heard of it as well because that’s where the Beatles retired for a while, in the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh who founded the movement of transcendantal meditation.

Rishikesh is also a heaven place for vegetarian people. I haven’t seen a place where they serve meat in town! It’s amazing to be able to pick something on the menu not wondering if they put meat broth or other animal products in the food. (Except for milk product as they are not vegan). The food was amazing everywhere we went.

The people of the ashram was very welcoming and immediatly informed me about all the ceremonies I could join. The room was super simple, two beds with a thin mat a sheet and a wool blanket. The bathroom was very basic (but at least I had my own), a shower, a sink and a toilet (without toilet paper but with a little shower to wash myself. No heater could be found in the room (the night can be cold in the Himalayas) but I had another blanket that I use in the plane, so I was not cold at all.

Every evening they organize some chantings in their temple, it was amazing. I had my chanting mala with me and was happy to use it. The energy that emanate from this kind of event is very powerful and joyful, we ended up dancing almost in a trance

At dawn there is a Guru Puja. Guru Puja is a ceremony of gratitude honoring the lineage of spiritual Masters, it creates an invitation to the Divine. Of course I also had time for meditation. After a nice Chai massala tea, I asked for a yoga class and they sent me their teacher.

It’s the first time I was taking a class with an Indian teacher in India. I told him I was teaching as well, and that I was curious to see how they were teaching and practicing in the country of origin of Yoga. The teacher laughed and say: “you, western people, are not practicing yoga, you are doing gymnastic, and it’s very sad. I see some western teachers coming here, the rythme of the flow sometimes is more dance than yoga”. And honestly I know is right, for most of us. I’ve taken fun classes where we do a mix of asanas and dance with loud music, but I agree, it’s so far from the tradition of yoga.

His class was very interesting, we did yoga for the eyes, warmed up the body by jumping around, and finally practiced some asanas, and savasana. But it was not over after savasana, he made me practice some chest opening on the floor, such as salabhasana. We finished the class with some pranayama exercises.. And where I only teach one pranayama exercise per class, we practiced nadi shodhana, kapalabhati and Bhramari (the bee breathing)!

The adjustment were also different, way more vigorous,. Where in the west most of the teachers are cautious with their hands on assist, in India they go for it, to say the least.

The life in the ashram is simple and spiritual, a nice break from our intense life in our challenging world. I will go again for sure.

Some ashrams in Rishikesh:

Parmarth Niketan ashram

Sivananda ashram

Anand Prakash Yoga ashram

Madhuban ashram


Magical Jaipur

India stole my heart. Honestly, I had negative preconceived ideas about this trip, mostly because of all the people who tells you how much you will be sick or how many traumatizing stuff you will see. It’s also true that it was a yoga retreat pretty well organized and that we were not backpacking around. But for a first time it was exactly what I needed.

After Delhi and Agra, we went to Jaipur, the pink city, and it was the highlight of this trip. Yoga twice a day with Annie Carpenter, and many excursions. Everything was breathtaking. The city itself is incredible, we had lunches in some hidden gems where we forgot where we were, shopped in many different places from cheap bazar to high end stores, visited a local house, learned how to fly a kite (it’s a Jaipur favorite lol), and we’ve attended a private concert of Rajasthan traditional music (absolutely delightful). We also had the opportunity to watch briefly a polo game not with horses but with camels (one of the most ridiculous thing I’ve had the chance to watch lol).

The variety of vegetarian food is incredible here, and I was surprised by how they are ahead of us in terms of healthy food. You find superfood and many organic stuff super easily.

I highly recommend Jaipur modern kitchen for some healthy vegan/vegetarian indian inspired modern cuisine. And for a nice royal experience baradari inside the city palace, where you can eat or have a drink.

After a short week in Jaipur we headed to Rishikesh where I’ve spent a few days in an ashram. I’ll write about the ashram experience shortly.

If you have more questions about my trip, send me a message.


Agra and the breathtaking Taj Mahal

We left Delhi for Agra, by train. An intense ride where the train rolled over a motorbike, a piece blew away the window of,my row, the train had to stop. I had pieces of glass all over my hair, a man was bleeding a little. India is always an adventure!

Did you know that the Taj Mahal is the Tomb of love? Built by Shah Jahan for him and his wife Mumtaz, who passed away while giving birth to their 14th child.

A love story that deserves a Hollywood movie. He met her when he was visiting a market anonymously. She was watching a necklace, he bought it for her. They’ve been married for 20 years.

Right before she died, she asked that when the time comes they will be buried together. So he built the Taj Mahal, where they are both still buried.

In Agra, pay a visit to the Red fort as well. Beautiful monument from the moguls era.

An interesting note for us yogis, it’s forbidden to practice yoga inside the Taj.

Delhi, a fascinating city.

Honestly, we were expecting the worse for our first time in India. Everybody has something to say about it: rude people, dead bodies in the street, scary stray dogs, but also good things about how it is fascinating. And it really is fascinating.

Yes it is dirty but we were expecting worse, some part of the city are totally fancy and hip, we had lunch in a place name Social in a hip part of Delhi, amazing fusion food, and obviously in this country I can find many vegetarians options!

We started in the morning by visiting the biggest mosque of the city and a rickshaw ride in the old Delhi. I absolutely loved it. It is so typical with thousand of people everywhere, good and bad smells, so many colors, people honking everywhere, all your senses are awake. It could be overwhelming but so fun! I highly recommend the rickshaw ride in the Old Delhi.

People are nice most of the time. ( seriously the rudest people were the staff of our fancy botel). Our guide told us what kind of clothes not to wear (no short pants, no short skirt..) so we won’t be provocative.

Regarding stray dogs, one of our retreat mate was bitten the first day and had to receive a rabies shot… So I have to refrain petting every dogs I see, and it’s not easy as they are so cute and everywhere.

We left Delhi this morning to Agra, by train. A scary experience that I’ll explain in my next post.

Namaskar from India.

Dubai, a friendly destination for people with a healthy living

I would never have picked Dubai as a destination, but we had a stop there on our way to India, so we’ve decided to stay 2 days to check what was going on in that famous city.

Our first impression was that the airport was super crowded and the staff not super friendly. When you go out it’s a very interesting place that mixes tradition and modernity.

Some parts of the city might make you think of Manhattan but with more friendly and patient people. Speaking of patience, it is a quality you will have to have as everything is taking more time than in Europe.

What to do:

⁃ I’m not a shopper but if you’re into this you will find everything. They have big malls everywhere

⁃ The souks:: Gold souk, spices souk, old souk, they all are in the old Dubai, and if you’re in search of traditionnel stuff, I highly recommend it.

⁃ Enjoy the beaches: Ok let’s be honest, they are not the prettiest beaches in the world, but the water is clear, although polluted by all the boats, jet sky, tankers, that cruise in front of Dubai.

⁃ The desert: It was definitely the highlight of my trip, but I have to admit I’m a desert girl. The sand has a beautiful color, the dunes are pretty, the sunset is unbelievable…. But it’s dirty. It always makes me sad that most of people can’t do a simple thing as picking up their trash after them, it’s so simple and helps our planet to stay gorgeous…

You have many other things to do such as the dancing fountains at night anear the famous Burj khalifa ( tallest building in the world) or take a pick at the burj al arab 7 stars hotel, or indoor skiing, or sky diving… Everything is possible in Dubai.

A healthy living in Dubai


I have to confess, as a vegetarian, I was a little bit worried about the food. I was wrong. There are many vegetarians and vegan options in the restaurants (more than in my country), there are vegan and/or organic places as well such as:

– Comptoir 102 on Jumeirah street (also a nice concept store)

Yogawise I was thrilled to find this cute studio :

– Yoga la vie. A very friendly yoga place . I took an amazing swing (aerial yoga) class there with Gisele, a super sweet and talented Brazilian girl, the best aerial yoga class I’ve ever taken. The studio also has a few yoga clothes, yoga mats, and props on sale.

Yoga la vie is located at the Golden mile on Jumeirah palm (building 10 Galleria 2), you can check their schedule and book online at yoga la vie Dubai

I had a really nice time in Dubai, a destination I thought I would not like. As we didn’t stay long we took a tour the first day and were amused by the pride they have for their country, there is always something better, higher, stronger, or in the Guinness book of records, I would say that the only thing they are lacking of, is humility…..

Now, on our way to New Delhi, India, for, I assume, a total different atmosphere.

4 years being vegetarian. The upside and the downside.

31st of December 2013, I had my last piece of meat. Ham I remember. I was in Miami. And I’ve decided to become a vegetarian.

My love of animals first, and my yoga practice, made me shift to that way of life without effort. Knowing the deep suffering that most animals go through before ending up in our plates, just this, was enough. The yoga practice just made me open my eyes. I didn’t want to be that person again, who knows, but doesn’t want to really know…

I have to confess that except for ham from Italy, burgers and chicken I was not super fond of meat, and I’ve stopped eating baby animals like veal and lamb 15 years ago.

The effects on my body arrived fast. While I used to go to bed feeling heavy, this feeling disappeared after a few days. Surprisingly I felt less stressed out, and I had less anger as well (yes I did spell it right, anger and not hunger). I’m wondering if the stress and the pain felt by the animals in those horrible places and before they die make them produce some sort of hormones that we absorb when we eat them? I don’t know, I’m not a scientist, but I swear I felt more at peace.

Another big surprise, my body was more flexible. I’ve read later during my yoga studies, that meat makes you stiff, I swear I felt it.

My health has improved, in 4 years I had only one cold after a long trip in a plane where it was super cold. No more migraines, i used to have cold sore regularly, now I have one once a year or less.

Of course as I like to be coherent I’ve also stopped buying leather. I’m still wearing the shoes and bags I had from before, but I’m not buying leather shoes or bags anymore, and it’s kind of fun to search for cool vegan stuff, and not that difficult. Even if you want to be posh Stella McCartney is a militant of the animal wellness and does not use animal product in her collections.

I absolutely enjoy being a vegetarian, it made me discover new vegetables, and a new way of cooking and I really enjoy it. Also I’m totally vegan at home, I stay vegetarian when I go to restaurant, because where I live, it’s already tough to find a vegetarian option (goat cheese salad, or tomatoes and mozzarella).

One of the downside of a vegetarian way of life is when you go out to the restaurant. You have to be very careful, they cook almost everything in veal or chicken broth to make it “more tasty”: risottos, some pasta, even soups! People say we are always telling everyone we are vegetarian, but may be if the menus in the restaurants were more honest about what’s really meat free or not, we would not have to ask….

Now let’s talk about the BIGGEST downside of a plant based diet. Its meat eater. They almost always want you to eat meat. I don’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard: For once you should try this meat it’s so yummy, or, Come on this is shrimp it’s not really an animal, or, you probably lack of protein, did you think about your health (coming from someone who has a lot of stomach issue while I never have any).

Just to be clear when I go out with friends I NEVER ask them to eat veggies, they eat whatever they want it’s a problem with them and their karma, so why the hell they can’t do the same? Why can’t they eat their meat while i eat my veggies without wanting me to eat corpses?

It’s like my decision has an influence upon their life, like they feel threatened. Unless they are secretly ashamed? I don’t know, but this is the only downside I faced as a vegetarian.

Hopefully some days people will be more aware, and the suffering will end. Who knows? But in the meantime can we respect each others?


If you want to be more aware may I recommand the documentary: cowspiracy

1 year of daily meditation

Today is the first anniversary of my daily meditation practice. I’ve been meditating for more than 3 years now, but not every day. 
1 year ago I stepped out of a toxic relationship that left me drained out emotionnaly, because I’ve invested so much in it when the other person was just selfishly  waiting for me to make all the efforts. I’ve decided that meditation will help me heal. And it did.

I’ve learned so many things!

 First, I’ve learned that i will not stop the flow of all my thoughts, no.. but I will learn to observe them in peace.

I’ve learned that we are NOT our emotions, and I manage now to sit and observe those emotions without being carried away by them (ok not all the time yet, but quiet often)

I’ve strangely developped some weird skills like feeling the energy around me,  or having this weird feeling of energy in my hands (I still need to figure this out).

I’ve learned patience, and that was a first. I also learned acceptance and forgiveness with some amazing guided meditations on the app “insight timer” I’ve understood that when people hurt you it’s sad about them because they can’t do better than hurting you, you are not the problem, it’s them.

Of course I didn’t become perfect or THAT wise lol. But I have improved! For the best. Strangely enough I’ve also learned to say no, quietly (I used to wait to say no until I was so angry I was about to explode lol), or to put on hold some relationships where I didn’t feel respected (that is also probably a consequence and a lesson learned from the toxic relationship).

I meditate to the sound of relaxing music, gongs, crystal bowls, in silent, or most of the time I use the guided meditations on  Insight timer (wich I recommand warmly and I promise I have no interest doing so), the app also helps me keeping tracks of my meditations! (The stats option is super cool, since for example I know that since I’m using that app I’ve meditated 103 hours and 30 minutes lol).

My favorite place to meditate is half seated in my bed or when I travel, in a plane.

I’m so looking forwart to this second year of magical power!

You should give it a try!