When China meets India

Myanmar is a country where religion, customs and traditions have weathered the storm of time. People still carry out rites and ceremonies that their grandparents did. Whichever ethnic region you may visit, the people live in age-old ways.

While most of the world has adopted the Western suit and tie, people in this country still proudly adhere to their national dress and ethnic costumes.

Everyone soak off the smiles of the Myanmar people. Wherever you go, sincere smiles will be a greeting. Shy, giggling smiles from children and from adults. The wish to help, to be hospitable, to bring you joy is true. It’s it because the country is predominantly Buddhist? Note sure, here you will meet Hindu, Muslim, Christian and still will be welcomed the same way. Probably this innocence in the people is part of the culture here.

I started in Yangon where I stayed few nights in Chinatown in a place called Hostel He-O. I first went to the incredible Shwedagon Pagoda for the sunset as friends did recommend me and I spent few hours sitting and watching the ballet of monks and visitors lightening candles and making offerings all together in devotion.

The day after I went to Kali Hindu temple near my hostel and I made an enormous Puja before starting my travel, I felt the intensity of my call to the deity that was in unforgettable experience. In Yangon, I did the museum and a park where I learned about ancient text in Pali about Buddhism and spent my evenings eating veggies BBQ on the streets with many locals. That was great and then a friend met me and we went to Bagan, the site of the thousands Pagoda and temples…

Schwegadon Pagoda
Offerings and rituals
Lights and candles for Holy spirit

Thousands of temples that are spread across the plains of Bagan are the most impressive testament to the religious devotion of Myanmar’s people – and rulers – over the centuries. They combine to form one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia and provide views quite unlike anywhere else on earth. The sunrise is spectacular as few lucky tourists are flying each morning with balloons over the archeological site which creates a fairy tale painting. I was going almost everyday in a row for 5 days. I took my yoga mat to the temple to do my self practice in this massive sanctuary of spirits. While in Bagan I took a room with a friend to a place with a nice rooftop and a garden to relax after long days of visiting. I think it’s smart, and you can rent a e-bike to drive around the site by yourself and stop anytime and everywhere you want, instead of booking an organized tour.

Bagan was a dream, few weeks before I was thinking of visiting a place with many temples and mountains. I love the atmosphere of temples and mountains in general. I felt very charged and inspired in the middle of this decor, not knowing which time that was, I felt I was travel back in time where my heart belongs, and I spent hours driving the e-bike just enjoying passing through the thousands and thousands of temples and Pagoda. The sunrise is spectacular with the ballet of balloons floating in the sky. After Bagan, I decided to take a bus to Kalaw.

Thousands of temples in the sacred land
Ballooning above the Pagoda in Bagan

Kalaw, where I stayed only one night and two days. I came by bus in the middle of the night and I took a room to a chalet up the city. Kalaw was great for the market with so much healthy food, like Gotu Kola leaves and many medicinal plants. I booked a trek for the next day with Ever Smile, owned by Haki, a cool rasta local girl. They offered me 3 days Trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake with all food, accommodation, boat, and even sending my luggage to my hotel in my arrival for … 25€ ! Wow ! We was 11 people from all countries like Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Argentina… And all together walked from villages to villages through beautiful rice field (even of that was dry season) lakes, forests and met colorful folkloric local people from different ethnicity who welcomed us each nights to sleep at their place. We all slept on the floor in the same room and enjoyed the cold bucket shower bathroom 🙂 camping style of course. I remembered the beauty of Myanmar women and their kids, a pure and sincere innocence in their eyes.. incredible presence. Something authentic that is lost from majority of us, I felt that their soul is still the same than when they was children even if now they are adults. Nothing in their existence is been conditioned and has colored their natural radiance. I was in love and highly inspired.

Finally Inle Lake, with two feet seriously damaged from the Trek, as I was walking with converse, 7hours a day. From a wooden boat we crossed the lake and met the famous fisherman, a must see there. We stopped by few workshop who sell silver or different textiles, I could not resist again and I bought a nice cotton Chinese shirt in a dark green colour. I love buying in Asia !

A fisherman at sunrise in Inle Lake

In Inle Lake, I was not amazed that much by the city or anything but the boat tour was fabulous. What was very intense there, was the sudden change of situation from traveling and being disconnected from the world without internet, and arriving back to the city with the horrific news about the global sanitary crisis that the world was facing. All did receive severals messages that a virus was spreading the world and all airports was closing so we needed to organise ourselves and ended our travel. Many came back home and others finished their visa in the country to leave as well. But while I was watching this chaos, I will always remember that while my mind has been hacked by some online contents and from the words of my western community, I could not stop remembering to those beings who was speaking another dialecte that only them could understand in their villages, where they all live happy and in simplicity with just the minimum, not having any ideas of what was going on for us or at the other side of the world. I found the meaning of Heaven there, because their mind was not intoxicated by our society – they can live peacefully as long as they not understand our language, then no poison can enters their minds and their physical bodies. I contemplated long long hours those people, trying to fit with them but I don’t know how can I go back with them now, so I did accept my situation and move back to my life in the future with this wisdom. Also ended my travel in Myanmar with millions of colors and amazing memories from this magical land.

I wish for myself and others to gain this same immunity against our controlling society, keeping a mind opens, loving and non intoxicated by the conditioning of manmade society but letting the natural and organic organism fitting by itself into his natural environment, NATURE. Only by connecting so deep with our environment we know how to protect, respect and fit into this world. Again this adventure taught me so much about myself and life. I found my roots in Asia and forever my heart belongs to this side.

Let your heart and Soul be free as a wild bird
Spinning around the orbit of Sacred wisdom

I had a dream there one night – In my dream, I saw a world not living in slavery of any kind. Even if the Burmese people have peaceful life – they are still slave from their lands and agriculture and us, westerners, we do not have this hard work but we are slave from our new technology. The dream was connecting the two, agriculture and technology where technology was playing a huge support for humans in order to build an harmonious way of living on Earth for us, for others beings and for the planet. That was a beautiful dream that I wish to see before dying ♥️ maybe a prophecy.

Publié par Sophie Foucher

Lives between Europe and exotic places, here is my story: I worked as a fashion Buyer for 10 years in Paris and get the chance to travel a lot during fashion weeks and experienced to live abroad. At 30 I changed my life and relocated in Hong Kong, where in parallel of my work I was studying Yoga and Ayurveda from short trips to Bali. Influenced by my teachers, peers, environment and my travels… I felt unstoppable and this year gap changed my life. First, I attended in Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Monastery my first Vipassana course – the 21 days of silent meditation in 2013. I did an Ashtanga 200-YTT in India in 2013, I stayed under the guidance of certified Ashtanga teachers of KP Jois as Prem Carlisi, Damien de Bastier, BNS Iyengar till now. Completed an Ayurvedic course with Deepak Chopra, M.D., F.A.C.P in his foundation of Ayurveda and also with Dr Ramesh Kumar from the University of Ayurveda in Mysore – India. Completed a Dietary Course called ‘Food is your best medecine’ with the Dr. Veronica Waks M.D., N.D. which is about planning a food plan who works the best with different type of people. More recently in 2018, she stayed under the guidance of well known Ayurvedic author Janesh Vaidya in his center in Kerala to be trained as a Yoga Therapist and integrating Yoga-Ayurvedic program that she is able to teach now. « My experiences make me understand that the key component for health and wellness is traveling into a healing environment, as it is an extraordinary step into the process of self-discovering and how to transform our life with new habits and then sustain this lifestyle for our own health ».  That’s why I choose to use my yoga retreats to guide others for self-discovery and adopting a spiritual practice into their life “Sadhana” and all tools that has benefited me. You can visit my website : www.vitaminesea.org

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