Leon’s Rishikesh & Yātrā 2023 – Words and Favourite Pics


New Zealand is very quiet and very still after returning from 3 weeks in India. Spending a week in Rishikesh, and then 2 weeks on Yātrā in the Himalayas (with a 2-night chaser of Agra to visit the Taj to finish it off) could best be described as an explosion of sound, colour, smell, taste (₹300 Deluxe vege Thali is always worth a 45 minute wait), thrown together with a fantastic group of people often crammed into precarious all-day bus rides excitedly waiting for their next coffee/chai/ice-cream/lunch break. Before I got on the plane to leave New Zealand, someone told me that it was guaranteed I’d come back from India deeply changed. I’d like to think that was the case, especially because of the opportunity to reconnect with my Ashtanga Yoga practice with Mike, and for each of us share our love of the practice in such a beautiful location by the Ganga. I could write endlessly about the many memories and highlights from India. Here are a few that I think will stay with me forever, and will hopefully inspire others to take up the wonderful opportunity that Mike has given us:

  • Early morning coffee on the balcony, watching the dawn break over the Ganga before heading upstairs for practice. That early stillness with only the rushing of the Ganga below was a deeply calming way to begin our days in Rishikesh.
  • Pauline driving off invading monkeys who were attempting to ransack our rooms. Pauline is much braver than I!
  • Café Aeropress, courtesy of Mike the Barista was always deeply appreciated before another all-day bus ride.
  • The sudden and unexpected peace, coupled with what might have been spiritual overwhelm and 3200m of altitude when reaching Gangotri. Bex giving me a big hug when she realised I was having a moment.
  • Stuffed my knee at the top of Kedarnath just as I was starting to descend, then went thru all the emotions over the next 7 hours whilst peg-legging it down the mountain and avoiding being shunted off the edge by horses. Reached the bottom with Mike meeting me to carry my bag and Bex, Gemma and the crew immediately giving me a care package of fruits and fresh samosas! We’d all agree that we had the best bucket shower on earth after that 2-day experience.
  • Did I already mention Deluxe Vege Thali?
  • The people, the people, the people. Thank you, Mike, Iggy, Bex, Adam, Anna, Alex, Cecelia, Esther, Gemma, Maggie, Nevada, Paul, Pauline, Reuben, Sophie and Zuleika, and of course to Mohit, Montijaz & Vishal!


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