Tag Archives: Travel

travel yoga mat-review

In the midst of traveling this summer, I didn’t want to forgo my yoga routine because I’ll be in hotel rooms and what not. Luckily, my amazing sister-in-law found a sweet deal of a yoga mat that is perfect for traveling. And, let me tell you, I just did my first routing in the hotel room using it, and I loved it! Every single minute of it.

The Manduka eko SuperLite travel mat is freaking awesome. It weighs only about 2 pounds. Just like Manduka mats overall, it has amazing grip and definitely won’t make you slip and slide all over the place. We’re in a pretty humid locale right now, and that didn’t affect my mat either. The thickness is only 1.5mm. I tend to like a cushier mat, because my knees hurt if I leave them on the ground too long, but with the padding of the carpet underneath my mat, it’s perfect. The other thing that I like about this mat, is that it doesn’t slip and slide on the carpet either. It stays put, so you’re not surfing while doing your routine when you’re on the go. The best thing about this mat, is that you can fold it up like you would a tshirt and stick it in your suitcase.

mat folded up real nice to fit in my suitcase

mat folded up real nice to fit in my suitcase

And of course, it’s part of Manduka’s green line, so it makes everyone happy.

I definitely recommending getting this mat, even if you’re not traveling, but just want a thin grippy, awesome mat for your at-home practice. Thanks Manduka for making a killer yoga mat. The traveler in me really appreciates it!

 

this is my 100th post

I can’t believe that this is my 100th post on my blog. I feel like my blog has developed with me as I take on new challenges, and begin to see my life in different perspectives.

This blog post is dedicated to my own personal growth. I feel as though my attitude about life has changed quite drastically since I graduated college a little over a year ago (WHAT?! a year?!). I’m the happiest I have ever been. I have the greatest friends and family a 23 year old can ask for. I’m traveling and exploring this world and this life. I’m opening my eyes and my thoughts to different things that have come my way. I’m [attempting] to live a healthier life. I’m trying to be greener. Life is going pretty great right now. Sure I complain here and there about silly things like it’s hot, and I have to take a bus when I much rather take a plane. But, in the grand scheme of things, I have no real complaints.

It’s amazing how when you take a step back, and really think about all that you have done, your pros begin to start outweighing your cons. You realize that life really isn’t as bad as your drama queen self makes it out to be.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that it is all about attitude. I’ve learned that I have the capability to change my life, all by changing the way I look at things. I can view the glass as half empty, or realize that the glass will always be 1/2 full of air.

The world is huge, and there’s a lot to be conquered still for little old me. But the biggest world that needs to get conquered is the world within me. There’s so much to do, but so little time. So, are you going to waste it on worrying about the little things?

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mumbai mumbai

I’ve made it to Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Today, we took an all city tour of Mumbai! I’ve been to Mumbai on several occasions, but I’ve never actually seen the city. I know it’s super cheesy to do super touristy things, but recently I’ve been loving it. I mean, I love the hidden secrets of cities, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s cool to really see the history of a city. Surprisingly, I had a really awesome day, despite being on a bus for about 10ish hours, and going to some places that I didn’t think were very Mumbai-ish. We basically did a huge bus tour of the city. We visited the beaches that surround Mumbai (all Arabic ocean—the water is so gorgeous might I add), looked at various old buildings that are a part of the city’s history, and naturally saw some of Bollywood’s biggest stars houses (including Amitabh Bachan, Shah Rukh Khan, Rekha, and Salman Khan…also Kajol’s house I can see from my aunt’s house!).

The thing that struck me the most about this city was how you can really see how much of an influence the British had in this city. You can tell by just the architecture that is seen throughout, especially in South Mumbai where a lot of the older buildings are, and where the Gateway of India is located.

It’s also safe to say that I don’t think I’m used to such crowding, not even in big cities like NYC. There are people everywhere. Literally. One of my cousins told me every day about 25 million enter the city, including residents, visitors, people who work in the city, etc.

One of the biggest tourist attractions, or so I think, is the Gateway of India. It was created to welcome the first arrival of King George V and Queen Mary during the British rule in India.

I think the big thing I saw was how long influence can last. Sure, the architecture of Mumbai is something so physical, but it has left such an impression that it has become part of the city’s culture. It’s important to remember how our actions and words leave an influence around those we surround ourselves with, because it can literally become a part of who that individual is.

I don’t have much more to say. I am definitely exhausted from the day! Mumbai is such a magnificent city, and I wish I had more time to explore the city. If India is on your list of places to go before you die, I highly recommend Mumbai! Below are some pictures from the day!

Beautiful sunset over Mumbai

Beautiful sunset over Mumbai

Looking over the shore in Mumbai

Looking over the shore in Mumbai

Another building built during the British era.

Another building built during the British era.

Forgot exactly this building, but built during the time the British were in India--you can really see the influence just in architecture

Forgot exactly this building, but built during the time the British were in India–you can really see the influence just in architecture

Close up of the Gate of India

Close up of the Gate of India

Gate of India- built in 1911 to welcome King George V and Queen Mary to India for the first time

Gate of India- built in 1911 to welcome King George V and Queen Mary to India for the first time

inner reformation

So, I’m at my grandmother’s house in a small village, which isn’t so small anymore. I’ll be here until Saturday, and I don’t have any internet. How am I writing this post you say? We made a day trip to visit someone, and I brought my computer to get some work done.

I have a TON to talk about from my last trip to Shreenathji and Udaipur. I can’t wait to post everything. But, since my computer is about to die, here’s a daily encouragement that really makes you think!

“Where can we find the royal road to reformation and change? Emerson declared: “Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind.” He strongly urged us to undergo an inner reformation. I want you to be assured that the challenge to which we set ourselves day after day–that of our human revolution–is the royal road to bringing about a reformation in our families, local regions and societies. An inner revolution is the most fundamental and at the same time the ultimate revolution for engendering change in all things.”                –Daisaku Ikeda

I just read an excellent book called “The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenke” by William Hart (I think I’m going to do a book review on it, so be on the lookout soon!), and it talks a lot about how we are responsible for our own selves, our own suffering, and our own progress. And, I’ve mentioned it too in some of my previous posts about how we are responsible for our own happiness and no one creates our problems but ourselves. We hear this all the time from the all time favorite quote of Gandhiji‘s “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. This quote or some sort of paraphrase is literally shoved down our throats in every setting you can think of. So, there has to be some truth to it, right?

When we start to live a life in which we are truly happy, that positivity is going to spread to others and we can really truly be a catalyst of change. But, are we ready to take on that responsibility?

Sometimes, I wonder if I can do it myself, it’s definitely a huge task to take on. But, if we can start with even the smallest thinking of “today’s going to be a great day”, we can begin to be really be that catalyst, if for no one else, than for ourselves. Because at the end of the day, we are responsible for our own lives.

How are you going to start the human revolution?

 

want more awesome daily encouragement? be sure to check out www.sgi.org

back for a day

So, we got back from our mini trip really late Friday night. All I can say, is what an excellent time I had. I don’t really know where to start to describe everything, or even if what I say in words on this post will 1. make sense, or 2. give my trip justice.

Like I said, we went to Somnath to visit a few temples in the area that are important in the Hindu religion. It was actually pretty neat. For those of you who don’t know, in Hinduism, we believe that God takes human form when society is in need of being put back on a path of good. When he takes a human “birth”, it’s called an avatar. There have been many avatars to come, but one of them, Krishna, is one most people have heard of. Anyways, 2 of the temples we visited were locations where Krishna spent his last few moments in His human body. It was pretty neat to see where He took his last steps.

We also went to Diu, a city that’s very island-like (actually, I think it is an island. If not, it’s definitely a beach). It was founded by the Portuguese, and is seriously one of the prettiest places I’ve seen in this area (granted, it was like an 8 hour drive, but whatever). There, we hung out on the beach for a few, and went to another temple, and just chilled. There’s an old Portuguese fort that we checked out as well.

On the way back, we stopped by another palace in Gondal (all these names sound very Lord of the Rings-esque. haha). Finally today, me, my parents, and my aunt and uncle took a day trip to this huge step-well (essentially, a well, but you can take steps down to the bottom) and a Surya Mandir (Sun Temple) about 2 hours away from Ahmedebad. Again, both places were so immaculate and beautiful (see pictures below).

All I have to say is from the past several days, is wow. If there was one thing I saw this past weekend, it was a whole lot of happiness. We stayed with a family who had 18 people living in their house. Their livelihood consisted of fishing. They lived a very simple life, but if there was one thing I saw, it was how freaking happy they were. They just felt as though they were so blessed by God, that not having things that I feel like I need (my iPhone, laptop, my 50+ pairs of shoes, etc) wasn’t even important to them. Talk about living a simple and humble life. Something that I’m over here trying to do, but am no where close to.

There is just so much history and culture in this world that I am so incredibly unaware of. I really feel as though life is too short to just sit in your house all day and not experience what’s out there. A lot of people know I am an avid traveler, and will take any opportunity that is presented to me to visit new places. I love long distance travelling. But, what I learned from this past weekend, is that you don’t have to travel far to literally experience a slice of history. The Surya Mandir is 1,000 years old, and it was just a short trip away. No one ever said that travelling consists of going to places every single person in the world has heard of. There are so many treasures in not-so-well-known places, like, Veraval (the small fishing community where we stayed this past weekend).

The new year is starting soon, and the first thing I’m doing when I get back to Memphis is planning out the next few months of places I can go and visit, even if it is just visiting a few friends somewhere, or going to some retreat. I’ve always found that my money spent on experiences rather than things gives me a better understanding of who I am, and I leave with a ton of awesome memories that I can put down in my life book. So save up a few bucks here and there, and go, get out and see something new!

Tomorrow, we leave for Udaipur and Shreenathji for a 2-day trip. I can’t wait, despite the early 5am leaving time. Another city to conquer and learn about, another opportunity to find out something about myself I didn’t know.

all the fishing boats at the harbor at the end of the day

all the fishing boats at the harbor at the end of the day

all the boats in Veraval

all the boats in Veraval

beach at Diu

beach at Diu

such a beautiful beach

such a beautiful beach

palace at Gondal

palace at Gondal

Adalaj Step Well

Adalaj Step Well

a small view looking up

a small view looking up

oh! hey mom and dad!

oh! hey mom and dad!

Surya Mandir

Surya Mandir

really intricate carving throughout the entire mandir

really intricate carvings throughout the entire mandir

just chillin at Surya Mandir

just chillin at Surya Mandir

If you’re not sure where to start your traveling journeys, check out NatGeo’s Best Trips 2013, including MEMPHIS. But, seriously. Great list of places!

tick tick tick and tock.

Yesterday, I was at my cousin’s place just hanging out. All the kids here take essentially what I call extra tutoring classes for everything. And I don’t mean just the ones struggling, everyone. For every subject. It’s a little ridiculous and I wouldn’t have survived in school or college here. They call it “tuition” (pronounced tyoo-shun) and they literally go to these things for hours upon end. She was getting ready to go to her tuition for accounting. She’s taking the last step for the equivalent of our CPA in May. Anyways, I asked her how far it was from her house. And she goes, “Yeah, it’s pretty far. Like 15 minutes away.” I thought in my head, are you joking? 15 minutes in America is nothing. Even in big cities where you have crazy awesome public transit, 15 minutes is nothing. It takes me 20 minutes just to get to Wal-Mart from my house. I was really shocked at the perceptions of time here. Even when I landed at the airport, I asked my aunt and uncle how far home was, and they said it’s about 15 kilometers (which I quickly figured out in my head, based off of a 5k being 3.1 miles, is about 9ish miles away). To me, that was nothing. 9 miles is an easy 20 minute car ride. But here, 20 minutes seems like the equivalence of 3 hours. I thought back to the countless number of times I drove from college in Birmingham, AL all the way back home to Memphis. That was a long 4 hours. But 15-20 minutes…?

I started to think about the importance of time, and the utilization of it. We’re always complaining how we don’t have enough hours in the day. I wish I could count how many times I’ve said myself, or I’ve heard others say, 24 hours just isn’t enough. But, when you look at it from a bigger perspective, it really is. I’m 22 years old, that’s the equivalent to 192,720 hours. Now, tell me that’s not a lot of hours. So the question becomes, how can I stretch every minute I have as far as possible? How can I really utilize each hour that I’m awake so at the end of the day I’m not complaining that I didn’t have enough time to get X,Y,Z done.

The past few months, I’ve been living at home with my parents and just working on applications for grad school and stuff. But other than that, not doing a whole lot more. I have a routine, but I definitely have plenty of free time during the day when my parents are at work. A really good friend of mine semi-got onto me for not making the most of all this time I have. And, he’s right. Instead of watching 5 episodes of HIMYM, I could cut back to 2 and spend that extra 1.5 hours to read or perfect a skill, or learn something new. But, it’s just so much nicer to be passive than active, right? Well, we all know that quote, “an idle mind is the devil’s playground” or some variation of it. So back to my original question, how can I stretch one minute to make it last “forever”?

Every morning, I wake up and meditate. Not for super long, but I try to for at least 30 minutes. I really recommend everyone just sitting by themselves for even as little as 5-10 minutes and just clear your mind and try to just focus on being in that moment. Anyways, this morning I was you know, meditating, and without thinking, my hand moved to my face to scratch an itch I had. Now usually, when you just quickly scratch your head or arm, that sensation goes away fast. Go ahead, try it right now. Experiment time: how long after do you feel that scratch? Ok, so I went and scratched my face. And I know this may sound crazy to some of you, but I kid you not, that sensation lasted for at least 5ish minutes, and more than that, I felt it deeper than just my outer most layer of skin, seriously permeating through however many layers of skin there is, down to muscle and bone.

I think this is the answer to my question. We need to figure out a way to make these sensations and eventual perceptions that we feel last longer than a few seconds. One way to do that is the ability to control our senses. This is one of the messages found in the Bhagvad Geeta. As humans, it is easy for our senses to control our mind. We like something, we’re attracted to that, we want to taste that, all of this then controls our actions. But, really, it should be the other way around. Our mind should be strong enough to control our senses. I don’t know the science or philosophy behind this, but if we can control our senses, than I think we can control what we feel, and make that feeling last longer than it really does. In turn, we might be able to make our time last longer, because we would be able to feel the after effects for much longer. Any experts out there please feel free to comment!

I woke up from my nap today (napping is somewhat mandatory here. Ha. Everyone takes a good hour, two hour nap if you’re home in the afternoon), and found a bird trapped inside the house. There are 3 windows we have, and the middle one was open, but it was trying to escape from the window that was closed. But, the funny thing was, the solution to his problem was literally right next to him. He just couldn’t see. This is so applicable in our lives, if not for you, than definitely for me. The answer to so many of our life questions is right in front of us, but the hard part is realizing that it’s there. My life has become now, more than ever, a spiritual endeavor to seek truth. And the solution to this thing we call life is here. It’s written by our ancestors and sages and saints and thousands of people who have come before us. But, if I don’t stop watching TV all day and try to uncover what’s out there, how am I going to be able to travel down this road? It’s as easy as stretching the minutes of my life as far as they’ll go.

Mosquito Bite Count: 2 | Serious Craving: back to Taco Bell. Yum.

the little bugger trying to get out.

he’s out. and free.

last one. he’s so cute.

hey folks. i’m back.

i know it’s been a long time. a year. more than a year. i know. there’s no need to really linger on what my life has been like since my last post. but i will say this. i have met some pretty incredible people, and have begun to do partake in cool things that are changing the way i look at life and how i see my future. it’s exciting really. i don’t really wanna get into details right now. i’ll start unfolding these thoughts over the next couple of days.

but what i do want to tell you all is about the current journey i just started about a day ago. i am going to india for three months. i left the states october 1, and am currently sitting at the dubai airport waiting to start the final leg of my travelling. i’m exhausted. and i’m not going to lie, i broke down and couldn’t stop crying for about 3 hours because i’m scared. (okay ps there is a baby right now WAILING and the mother is not doing anything about it. what the?!).

i decided i wanted to go to india for an extended period of time around before i graduated college. i mean, i’m taking the year off. i won’t have an opportunity like this again. here are the goals of my journey:

  • to become a yoga fean. i’m taking private classes for the first month, and then when my mom gets to the motherland, we’re both partaking in this 10-day intensive at an ashram. and i don’t mean just for exercise purposes. i mean everything. this yoga experience will seep into every aspect of my life, and bring a consistency to the way i live. we, or maybe just me, compartmentalize our lives. this is me at school, at home, with my family, friends, significant others, work, etc. but i’m never the same me with the same thoughts and same motives in every aspect. this ultimately is hindering me to reach the higher truth. i need to be stable in my personality-intellect, body, mind, and soul. i think yoga will help.
  • to begin to understand sanksrit. and i mean read, comprehend, write, the works. sanskrit was the very first language in the human world. how cool?! and a lot of what we consider ancient languages (greek, latin, etc.) actually derive from sanskrit. another cool thing. if you’ve read my “this is me” page, you know that i read the geeta. well, one of the things i have to do when i read is read a transliteration of the meaning in english. when i do this, the real meaning of the words change. so i’m changing that. and i’m gonna learn sanskrit. a dude on the plane said it’s one of the easiest languages to learn. crossing my fingers it is!
  • travel. i’m an avid traveler. a lot of my friends can attest to that. my belief is that there is just a ridiculous amount of culture out there that every person should to some extent be exposed to. india, has some of the most spiritual and beautiful sights to exist in the world. when my family comes, we will be travelling to south india, as well as some spiritual and holy places. we will also be paying our respects to the one man who is responsible for a majority of what makes me, me by going to his hometown in Roha. i cannot be more excited.

these are only just snippets of my overall goal. my new tagline for my blog is that this site is a compilation of experiences and thoughts i have had on my journey to seek truth. my hopes from this trip is that i leave india, understanding a little bit more of what makes me nishita. spirituality is a key ingredient here. if i can leave india a little bit more spiritual, then i think that my goal will have been accomplished.

i’ll be sure to post pictures of everything, and my notes, and thoughts, and anything else you guys ask for! i hope this journey becomes something more than just for me, but through my experiences, you can understand yourself a little bit more as well.

until next time. peace to all.