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Yoga in India: Cultural Immersion, Self-Knowledge

ABCNEWS.COM | ILANA D. ARAZIE | 11/12/09

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I needed an escape, a vacation that would shake me out of my routine, and leave me with more than souvenirs and digital photos. So when the yoga center in New York where I'm learning to meditate organized a two-week yoga trip to India, I decided to go.

We flew to New Delhi and the next day traveled several hours by bus to Rajasthan, in northern India. The dilapidated cobblestone roads along the way led to still-narrower streets crowded with stores and one-room houses. Men, women and children squatted along the roadside, draped in vividly colored garments.

On a hill overlooking the village of Samode, we stayed in a former maharaja's palace that has been turned into a luxury hotel. Here at the Samode Palace, guests are made to feel like royalty, with staff offering help at every turn, beautiful courtyards, a pool with a view of the mountains, and regally decorated rooms. For yoga, we met in a grand hall adorned with arches, balconies and chandeliers. The walls were decorated with intricate colored tilework, and sunlight poured through the windows.

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