This End Update!

Visit Rachel at her new studio The Yoga Bar in the heart of Cincinnati, Ohio

Yours truly living the dream in her new home of Cincinnati, Ohio

I spent October through December in magical Mysore, India, once again practicing in the home of Ashtanga yoga, this time under the graceful guidance of Saraswati. What a true gift to study under such a woman in a country where women as gurus are beyond a rarity.

I knew when I returned to Mysore that my travels were winding down - I had decided to move to Cincinnati, Ohio (my hometown) and in a few months I would leave the home of my practice in India and once again become a full-time, U.S. resident.

I settled back into Mysore life quite quickly and contentedly, moving into a beautiful flat in the home of my Brahman/landlord Ganesh who not only sheltered me, but nourished me with frequent Hindu teachings and pujas.

The shala was blessedly unpopulated this time around and as such I secured a 4:30a.m. practice time which, (I won’t lie – sounded like cruel and unusual punishment at first, but…) I came to love. I took every chance I could to study beyond my asana practice, to explore India, and to experience new teachers.

In November a nasty cycle of illness began, which resulted in me contracting something really dreadful from a mosquito – this lead to a complete lapse in my Ahimsa practice (non-violence)… and a few Full Metal Jacket episodes of flying insect eradication on my part. I would like to blame this lapse on the fevers and lack of sleep, but truth be told I have never been able to reconcile the scientific or environmental benefits of those vile, buzzing, biting, virus-carrying creatures and just perhaps this was all the excuse I needed to let lose my inner destroyer – No offence to Shiva…. Om Namah Shivaya.

This cruel mosquito-gifted ailment came with the added joy of… let’s call it a really powerful ‘cleansing cycle’. This ‘cleanse’ gifted me with hours of time on my squat toilet the true gift of which I now realize whenever my heels touch the ground in down dog or yogi squat. Decades of high heel wearing Achilles tendon shortening practice overcome by one month on the shitter in India. I do not recommend this method for you dear reader, if you are struggling to relinquish your heels as well, I say slow and steady wins that race.

Just as I started to mend from this experience I got hit by whammy number two. Perry.

Perry, as I affectionately refer to him, is the parasite that came to live in my digestive system and made me realize just how stinkin’ dirty India truly is. Perry led to trips number two and three to some of India’s finer emergency rooms and aryurvedic practitioners and also instilled a kind of germaphobia in me I never thought myself capable of. Suddenly, every glass of water was a life or death decision, every bug my mortal enemy and every prepared meal a game of Russian Roulette.

Special thanks here to Carla, Julian and my driver Apu – all of whom helped me immeasurably in my moments of need. And to my dear Liz… there may be no kinder gift than dropping off rolls of toilet paper to a friend in need in India.

So reeling from three weeks of solid communion with my squat toilet I was more than ready for a nurturing trip to the US for the holidays. The promise of loving family and friends was so urgently needed that I chose to ignore the rumors of sweeping Indian visa reforms afoot. A few preparatory calls to various embassies and consulates left me secure enough that I could pop home for mashed potatoes and mistletoe that I happily jumped on a plane to Ohio.

Skip ahead a few weeks when I should have been returning to India but was finally informed that short of a letter from the American Embassador to India himself… I was persona non grata in “Increadible India”. Seems while I was opening Christmas gifts and gorging (and purging thanks Perry you MF-er) on pumpkin pies… India decided that those of us traveling on multiple-entry, 10-year visas ought really to enjoy 60 days outside of the subcontinent between trips. This meant I was not allowed to return to India until February 8, two days before my originally scheduled departure date, the effective end to my yogic round-the-world trip and two months after my closest girlfriends were arriving in India to visit and travel with me. This is really bad, I thought, and boy was I right….

Side Bar: LBM, AAA, KR, Sandra, Jelena and Nina – my heart truly broke to not see India through your beautiful eyes. Shelley, oh what could have been – Mysore got of easy me thinks ;) Another time my beloved sisters.

Sometimes momentum shifts sneak up on you and sometimes you see them far off in the distance with plenty of time to right your course before they hit. This one jumped me from behind, slipped a black bag over my head and set about immediately kicking me and Perry in the stomach over and over again.

As I hung up my phone and affectively hung up all hope of returning to my beloved Mysore flat and half my wardrobe… standing in the parking lot of a diner in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, I realized in an instant… I am no longer what I label myself to be. Rachel Catherine Roberts Global Yogini became Rachel… unemployed, home devoid, Ohio resident. It felt like I hit a wall going 100 mphs, and it sent me reeling for months.
Now it is April, almost May and I have transitioned to Rachel Catherine Roberts full-time yoga teacher, part-time writer/photographer, girlfriend, recommitted daughter, loyal, stable friend and fulfilled soul.

There are so many lessons in both my travels and now in my stillness… so many I should probably write a book ;)

Thank you all so deeply for the gift of an audience to share my journey with. Thank you for all the support and challenges you threw my way. Thank you for the gift of your practice and your patience.

Lokah Samasthah Sukhino Bhavantu – May all beings everywhere attain happiness and freedom!

Be well, be wise and be joyful!


p.s. You can continue to follow me at - I hope to see you on your mat sometime soon.


Anonymous said…
oh rachel, i had no idea of all that was really going on for you while away. i also had some unexpected experiences in india (who doesn't??) which humbled me and taught me greatly. i truly appreciate what you wrote about labels, how we come to think of ourselves as something, to learn maybe we are 'nothing' at all.

i return to the US today and we'll see what yogini turned US resident for a bit?
blessings dear sister...heather
kristy said…
wow thats neat that you got to live in India for awhile. I am sorry you got sick and did not get to go back. I am living in mexico right now and i love it!
Monica said…
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Erin said…
Hi Rachel- It seems that the link you your website leads to a furniture store. Would love to read more of your experience (I am returning stateside after 10 years of abroad, and think I can relate! 2 of those years were in Bali!) if there is more to read.

A fellow Yogini,


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