Unshaken as The Himalayas
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Sandeep Pandey. Photo by Agnieszka Rostkowska
Soul + Body, Breathe In

Unshaken as The Himalayas

Agnieszka Rostkowska
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time 14 minutes

For centuries, yoga adepts and spiritual seekers have been heading to Rishikesh, a small city in northern India, hoping to find ancient wisdom in its purest form. Przekrój editor and yogi Agnieszka Rostkowska followed in their footsteps to talk with Sandeep Pandey, one of the most renowned yoga teachers in the Himalayan Yoga tradition.

Would it even be possible to count all those ashrams and schools of yoga?—I ask myself maneuvering between holy cows and rikshaws on the narrow streets of Yog Nagari, the “city of yoga,” as Rishikesh is often called in Sanskrit. The walls of the houses, cafes, and hotels are sealed with tens of posters advertising everything the modern yogi may need: daily drop-in classes, short- and long-term courses, themed workshops, special retreats, and yoga teacher trainings, as well as all kinds of meditations, mantra chanting, singing bowls and gong concerts, ayurvedic massages—this list seems to be endless. However, I did not come to Rishikesh to benefit from all that, but mostly to talk with Sandeep Pandey, an expert in Himalayan Yoga, which is the classical, meditative form of yoga.

Posters in Rishikesh. Photo by Agnieszka Rostkowska

Agnieszka Rostkowska: We meet each other in the lap of Himalayas, in Rishikesha city often referred to as “the world capital of yoga.” How did it gain such prominence?

Sandeep Pandey: Rishikesh is the gateway to the Himalayas, where yogis, sadhus—those who left their home to live simple ascetic life—and saints have been dedicating themselves to spiritual practices for centuries. Some of them still live in the caves high in the mountains. Before going into the extreme temperatures of the Himalayas, many were first staying for some time in Rishikesh, a town with a milder climate, to prepare their bodies and minds for the harsh conditions awaiting them.

People eager to grow spirituality followed their path. Among

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