Our eco chic columnist, Jo Wood, recalls a life-changing pilgrimage to Tibet
Jo Wood, our eco chic columnist, recalls a life-changing pilgrimage to Tibet
I’m back and I’m thrilled to be writing a column for Natural Health magazine again as we start the new year. I always like to think a new year, a new you. It’s the perfect time to adopt a new attitude and a fresh outlook on life.
I went on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash in Tibet back in August 2010 with the mystic yogi Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the founder of the Isha Foundation. I’d love to share some experiences from the journey with you as it fits in so well with a natural health approach to life.
My journey started off in India, visiting Sadhguru’s ashram in the Tamil Nadu district. It was an amazing place – so peaceful and everyone was so warm and welcoming. The ashram is at the base of the Velliangiri foothills and the Isha Foundation run all kinds of meditation, yoga and wellbeing residential programs there.
I visited some local organic farms where I witnessed how the devastating effects of climate change have been affecting the land, and I also visited some tree nurseries as part of Sadhguru’s Project GreenHands initiative which aims to combat this climate change. I even planted my own tree at one of the local schools. Part of Sadhguru’s teachings are to make us all question how we can make our lives more sustainable. We take trees for granted, and by planting and nurturing one tree we are giving something back to the earth, but it made me realise we all need to be doing so much more.
I was sad to leave the ashram but I had an adventure waiting for me in Nepal and Tibet and I couldn’t wait to get on the road. I met up with Sadhguru in Kathmandu and this is where the pilgrimage started for all the groups of mediators. We drove for days through treacherous mountainous roads, high altitudes and fluctuating temperatures until we arrived at Lake Manasarovar. We camped at the lake for a few days and spent our time meditating and listening to talks by Sadhguru. I found myself getting upset because, despite the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere, there were still terrible litter problems – there was plastic everywhere. This reinforced my belief that there is still so much more work we need to do to educate people about recycling and caring for the earth.
We made the final five-hour journey to Kailash on foot. The landscape was so surreal as we headed to the base of this mountain where yogis and spiritual masters have been going for thousands of years.
It was intense to witness Sadhguru going into his trance-like and meditative state and I was curious to learn more about the science behind his yoga and meditation practices. In our culture we always seem too busy to stop, reflect and appreciate what the earth gives us in return.
I’m therefore hoping that you’ll join me by not only planting a tree but also making time to appreciate the things we take for granted and reconsidering the way we live our lives. If we all make small changes this will result in a big change.
To find out more about Project GreenHands, visit the website: projectgreen hands.org
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