Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 2016-Reiki Newsletter

Reiki and the Five Elements

You may wonder what’s the relationship of Reiki and the 5 Elements and what the practice of 5 Elements could possibly bring to our Reiki practice?
First of all, what I mean by Elements is the building blocks of our “being”. The elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether first defined by ancient Greeks to explain the nature of existence. However similar concepts existed in all ancient cultures around the world. They even say there is also a 6th element, the mind. In short, what I mean is what constitutes our “human being” as body, mind and soul as well as the qualities that makes us a human being and what makes the Universe.   
In that sense, I see the knowledge and practice of 5 Elements as a great companion to my Reiki practice. For me, the purpose of Reiki practice is to “be the Reiki”, or to recognize that I’m already Reiki (the Great Bright Light). For me, what this means in practical sense,  is to live in a non-dual world with pure consciousness with unconditional happiness and peace, without any anger, fear or worry, with deep gratitude. It means to manifest my highest potential in life, and love my self and all living beings with infinite compassion.  A person who lives in this state of mind is well-balanced, in harmony and peace within and with everything around.
How could the practice of Elements help to achieve this state of mind? I think the practice of Elements does it in 2 ways; first by balancing the Elements, the building blocks; so that the person is in harmony within. A person who is in harmony can’t help but be in good health, and good state of mind and eventually in harmony with everything else (non-judging, accepting, surrendering). On the other hand, the practice of Elements also helps to let go of Elements which eventually helps to rid the Ego, the self, so that what stays behind is the True self.
I also see lots of similarities between what the Reiki symbols represent and the Elements. If we look one by one:   
Earth element represents groundedness. No wonder one feels safe, secure and free from any fear when grounded. It also reinforces our life purpose. When we ‘re balanced in Earth element, we acknowledge our right to be on this Earth, we recognize our uniqueness and uniqueness of our abilities. Earth element is also nurturing, we nurture our own qualities as well as bringing the best in others. In our body, it’s represented in our bones and muscles.
If we have too much Earth energy, we may be stuck, not flexible and unable to make the next move. Too little Earth energy makes us spacy, not able to make decisions, even angry, agitated and depressed.
Water is about the flow, the flexibility. Water takes the shape of its container, is flexible. Water represents the creativity. Life started in water and even fetus grows in amniotic fluid. Water is represented in our body in all fluids, the blood, the saliva, the recreative systems, kidney and bladder. If we’re balanced in our water element, it gives us the ability to flow with life at ease.
If we have too much water, it’s hard to concentrate and we may lose ourselves in the current of our thoughts and feelings. If we have too little water, we can’t flow to life and dry of creativity.
Fire is the passion. It’s the force behind the action and ambition. Fire is also the power that triggers all of our body systems. It’s represented in our body in digestive system, there is literally a chemical reaction going on, a little fire, in our bodies. The force of fire is transformative, just like it transforms food into energy, it can help to purify us and move to the next stage of our lives.
If we have too much fire, we may burn and deplete ourselves out and may not be tolerant to others. If we have too little fire, we don’t have the ambition to do anything.
 Air is about movement, motion and change. As wind blows, separates the clouds and brings out the sun air element can move unnecessary thoughts and bring clarity to our minds. It has the ability to move freely in a playful way and expand to infinite. Air is subtle but powerful, it hosts the prana, the life force. In our bodies, it’s represented in lungs.
If we have too much air, it may be hard to concentrate, focus or grow roots. If we have too little air, we may resist to life and resist to change.
Ether is what holds all elements together. It enables all elements to exist together. It’s open, inclusive and accommodating. It’s represented in our awareness. Our awareness can shrink or expand as space.
When we have too much space, we may be disconnected. If we have too little space, we are confined and stuck.
If we practice balancing our elements, we find ourselves deeply grounded to the earth, we feel safe, secure without any anger, fear or worry and with a correct life purpose, we flow tru life with ease, we’d have the passion for right action and transformation and a clear mind and expanded awareness.
This is the exact same space the 5 Reiki precepts point out: No anger, No worry, Deep Gratitude, Honest action, and Compassion for self and all.
What are the ways to practice Elements? There is a structure called  a stupa that represent, amongst many other symbolism, 5 Elements in Buddhism . I was very lucky to visit and circumambulate some sacred stupas (Shanti stupa in Ladakh, Boudhanath in Kathmandu as well Dochula pass with 108 stupas in Bhutan). To my experience the practice of 5 Elements gets very easy when you’re at the presence of a sacred stupa. However, we can’t find a stupa in our everyday life, let alone a sacred one. What we can do instead is a visualization of a stupa in our body or reciting the syllables that represent each Element. With this practice of mindfulness, our elements get in order and balanced which brings balance and harmony inside and out.  
Shanti Stupa in Ladakh, India

Boudhanath, Katmandu, Nepal

108 Stupas in Dochula Pass, Bhutan

We’ll practice few of these meditations during the Reiki Day next week. Hope to see you all at Hoffner House in Northside on Sunday September 25th, 2016. 
Here is the invite: 

Love & Light,


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reiki Newsletter: May 2016

Dear friends,
I did this few times in the past, like after I was trained with Frans in 2008, I called my past students for a re-training based on my new understanding of Reiki.
It happened again, this time, after reading Robert Fueston’s book; Reiki :The transmission of Light; I realized the mistakes I was making during my classes on history of Reiki and I decided to stop talking about Reiki history and simply refer anyone curious about the evolution of Reiki in the West to Robert’s book.
Robert Fueston is one of the pioneer Reiki researchers, and we’re very lucky to have him talk to us on Cincinnati Reiki Day this Sunday, May 22nd.

First of all, I’m fascinated by the effort Robert has spent to find and train with Mrs. Takata’s original masters or their senior students. Robert has compiled and classified how Mrs. Takata’s teachings evolved, including evolution of attunements and he provides a list of practices that are originally taught by Mrs. Takata vs. non-traditional practices adapted later into the system of Reiki.
Oh and the mistakes I was making….I realized that Iris Ishikuro is not Mrs. Takata’s cousin but one of her Master students. Just because I heard this story from my first Reiki Master, I continued the misinformation. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Mrs. Takata gave priority to spirituality aspect of Reiki and then the physical aspect, and that she allowed her teachings to be taped and it’s not all oral teaching tradition after all. In fact Mrs. Takata was working on a book herself. You may discover many other facts about history of Reiki form Robert’s book.
It’s an incredible opportunity to hear his research first hand from Robert. I can’t wait to listen to him on Sunday. Hope you all can make it. The morning session is for Reiki Masters from 9:30 A.M. until 12:30 P.M $10 (cash only.
Potluck Lunch 12:30-1:30 everyone is invited!
The afternoon session is open for all levels of Reiki practitioners from 1:30-5:00. $10 (cash only)
Please RSVP to Maria Kammerer at

Love & Light,


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Living with 100 things challenge

I’ve been doing an adopted version of the “Living with 100 Things” challenge for a couple of years now. The best thing about this challenge is that you can make up your own rules and goals; and I shamelessly made up mine. I don’t think I could ever do the whole challenge, nor I would want to; but there are people out there who can do it and that’s very inspiring. I bow to them!

One problem with my challenge was my tracking. I didn’t have a good base and I changed my rules along the way a little bit. Hey! I’m doing this for fun (and to raise awareness and to help Mother Earth) and I’m the queen of my rules. Yet, I wish I had a more accurate measuring system at the beginning. When I first started, I knew I wanted to limit this challenge to my clothing items only and even within that, I had some rules: No outerwear, no underwear, no socks, no shoes, no scarfs (I have a serious problem there!) and gift items don’t count.  It was simply an effort to reduce my everyday clothing, and I stick to this rule to this day. It’s just that I missed to count some items  at the beginning, oooops  L  With that, I know I still had well over 300 items when I started. Well, that shocked me, but don’t judge me until you take a count of your inventory J

Over the years, I made a twist to my goals but I didn’t change the overall goal of coming down to 100 clothing items. The twist I made was to have an additional goal that min 50% of my total clothing inventory will be previously owned items.

Drum roll please….. As of Friday  May 13th 2016, I have a total of 163 clothing items vs over 300 items when I first started (that’s 54% reduction) and 47% of this (77 items) are previously-owned . That means even though I’m still 60% over my ultimate goal (163 items vs. 100 items), I’m about to reach to my 2nd goal of having 50% previously owned items.

That’s enough math, let me talk little bit about why I still have this inventory.
The root cause, of course, is the attachments. Attachments to clothes that I didn’t even wear for 10 years;  clothes I got from India (that I wore not more than couple times), sentimental clothes (I still have old Cincinnati Yoga School t-shirts, the school closed 10 years ago),  some well-kept, classical, night/holiday wear (that I don’t wear more than once a year). Also I notice more than 70% of my inventory is summer clothes, just too many t-shirts and tank tops. May be I need to do a detachment ceremony to part from my beloved items.  This gives me enough thought until next year!

 If you ever inclined to do this, my advice would be:
-          Define your rules and decide what you want to include and exclude early on
-          Decide your tracking/measurement base
-          Just have fun!

In the meantime, thanks to the pioneers of this movement!
This is the blog of the original father of this concept:
I like Miss Minimalist’ blog :

Love & Light,

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reiki Newsletter-April 2016

Dear Friends,

There is so much going, I want to share it all with you.

We are thrilled to welcome Frans Stiene back to Cincinnati for another Shinpiden (Reiki Master/Teacher) class. Frans is my awesome Reiki teacher and he visits us from Australia every year. Frans teaches Reiki from a traditional Japanese perspective as a way to find the True Self. Being Reiki is Finding the True self. How do we become Reiki? That’s what Frans teaches based on Mikao Usui’s teachings.

This will be the largest class ever. We have 30 people on the Intensive day and over 25 people for the Shinpiden class. I forgot how many times I took this class before. If you’re curious why I took this class many times, read this article:

There is one event, you don’t want to miss, that’s the Public Talk. Frans graciously offers a free public talk every year. His talks are always enlightening, engaging and fun. This is your chance to meet him and listen to Japanese Art of Reiki. This year, there will be a book signing for Frans’ latest book: The Inner Heart of Reiki. It’s an amazing book that takes you deeper into your practice and teachings of Reiki.

Come join us this Saturday April 9th at 5 pm in Sharonville Convention Center for a Reiki presentation and healing experience during Victory of Light Festival.  Invite anyone who may want to learn about Reiki, or if you’re a practitioner, come to share Reiki. Everyone will get Reiki experience, everyone!

Wednesday April 20th 7pm-9pm
Clifton Cultural Arts Center
Herrick Gallery
3711 Clifton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220
There is free parking at the Recreation Center behind CCAC or at McAlpin street.

April 22-23-24, 2016

1 day INTENSIVE (for those who has taken Shinpiden before)
Thursday April 21, 2016

 Sorry all individual sessions with Frans are already  full!

May 22, 2016
Hoffner Lodge, Northside

This year we will have a special guest joining us for Cincinnati Reiki Day. Robert Fueston founder of The Reiki Preservation Society and author of, Reiki: Transmissions of Light, Volume 1 The History and System of Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho.
It will be a unique opportunity to learn about the history of Reiki, Mrs. Takata's teachings, and the growth of Reiki in the West, from a top Reiki researcher. Robert is a librarian and an avid researcher. He has trained directly with some of the masters of Reiki, including Mrs. Takata's students and with Japanese teachers.
You can find his book on amazon. please buy the one being sold by The Reiki Preservation Society. This book is a must read for any serious Reiki practitioner or Teacher. There will be a book signing at Cinci Reiki Day.
RSVP for Reiki Day to Maria Kammerer at

Are you are experiencing stress, are you struggling with challenging life situations, are you dealing with serious pain from chronic conditions? Do you want to heal yourself? If so, my good friend Sundar has started a new initiative and you are a prime candidate for his Healing Club.  
 For eight weeks, on a weekend day to be finalized, you will need to volunteer an hour of your time, and join the free online live cast. Each week, you have to fill out a short feedback form to help track your progress in healing. Send an email to, and you’ll have a one-time free access to this 8 week trial. Be quick, iIt’s starting on April 15th.

 As a Reiki practitioner, you’ve no doubt experienced healing and other miracles. Now there is a way you can share these stories. Check out the flyer to submit your stories to share them with the world!

Sundar is about to start another class to help aspired practitioners to deepen their spiritual journey through Reiki. This is a yearlong experiential program, where participants meet every other week.  I’ve been attending these classes for over a year and they’re AWESOME!  I’d strongly recommend this program. Send a message to, or check out the attached flyer for more info.

Another great news is for Animal Reiki practitioners! Kathleen Prasad, the author of many Animal Reiki books is coming to Michigan. Kathleen will teach a Reiki III / Animal Reiki Teacher training in August in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can find event info in:

So many people have been asking me what I’ve been doing to heal myself and how I’m doing. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. I’m compiling all the Complementary and Alternative therapies I’ve been doing in a Handbook. If you know anyone who’s impacted by cancer or any other serious chronic disease, or anyone under stress due to their health condition, please feel free to share my e-mail and I can share all these stress reduction and healing tools and techniques I have compiled. So, We all can heal ourselves!.

Reiki Hugs,
Love & Light,
Zeynep Premdasi Yilmaz

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

India Trip Notes-Rishikesh

Rishikesh and the morning dew (from Daya's camera)

On our way to Rishikesh, we stopped to meditate in a cave, said to have been  Vashishta’s. Vasistha is known as the first sage of Vedanta philosophy and had Lord Rama as his disciple. Yoga Vasistha, one of my favorite texts, is the discourse documented between Vasistha and Lord Rama. I read it 10 years ago and this was a reminder for me to go back and read this masterpiece again.
Vasishta's cave
Located on the banks of Ganges and gateway to the Himalayas, Rishikesh is the unofficial yoga capital of the world. I loved it 10 years ago and I fell in love with it again. I felt safe, secure, and a sense of belonging 10 years ago and I felt exactly the same now. I’ve heard many times people talk about Rishikesh as “spiritual” and it’s twin sister Haridwar as “religious”. Surprisingly it feels exactly like that, I feel the heavy dogma at Haridwar and that’s exactly why I like Riskesh better. Rishikesh is light, Rishikesh flows, Rishikesh doesn’t care about your religion.
Ram Jula 
There is an ashram in every corner and the yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings mushroomed across the city. Beyond yoga, I was surprised how outdoor adventure activities like rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, even zip lining multiplied.  Now you come across a 4x4 trucks with rafts everywhere and lots of Westerners come here for outdoor sports.

We visited Sivananda ashram every morning and had our morning meditation there.
Swami Sivananda in 1930's
 Swami Sivananda came to Rishikesh in the 1930’s and popularized meditation and yoga. We visited his cottage on the river, the temple where “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama” has been chanted non-stop since 1942.We had a very nice surprise at the Divine Life Society where the current president Swami Vimalananda has invited us to his daily discourse and even chanted  “Oh God Beautiful” for us. He is 84 years old and giving discourses every day!  It was unbelievable to sit at his foot, get his blessed food and listen to his satsang.
receiving prasad from Swami Vimalananda

At sunset, there is one location to go in Rishikesh: Parmarth Niketan ashram. Founded by Swami Chidanand Saraswati, it’s the largest institution in Rishikesh. 
Swami Chittanand Saraswati

I have fond memories from my previous trip. I especially owe gratitude to Swamiji because after reading his book, A drop of Nectar that he gave us during our satsang in 2005, I decided to quit eating meat. Also that book planted the seeds for environmental awareness and sustainability for me.
Parmarth Niketan ashram
Parmarth Niketan holds a beautiful aarti ceremony every evening and is definitely a popular destination for tourists as well as locals. We participated the aarati right on the water and released our wishes to the river. My wish was, again, to let go of anything that is not in harmony with my true self, let go of any past karma and its manifestations in this life and past.

The next day, we visited and meditated in the beautiful domed Kriya Yoga Ashram. They kept the main meditation hall pitch dark, away from any sensual distraction, perfect to pull all attention, just like the caves we visited. One evening we were invited to the ashram of a modern spiritual teacher, Sri Vanamali Devi, and had a satsang together. She allowed us to see her meditation room, which I’m eternally grateful for. The energy was extraordinary.
Mataji Vanamali Devi

For me, the highlight of our Rishikesh visit was our purification ceremony in Ganges. We went to a beach up the river which is way more quiet (and clean) than the banks in Rishikesh. As part of the purification ceremony, we wrote our wishes to leaves and released them to the river. My wish, as usual, was to release and to let go of any karma and its manifestations and anything that is not in harmony with my true self. In India, modesty is important. You cannot wear swim suits to swim in the river. We all had extra cloths to cover up. It was so much fun to hold hands with girl friends and dip ourselves into the refreshing waters of Ganges. As tradition, we dipped 3 times. If there was one moment in life where I felt totally pure, almost transparent, without any burden or identity, it was after the dip in Ganges. I literally felt the Ganges washed away all that is not needed, which I am eternally grateful for.
1-2-3- Dip
We also had free time for sightseeing and shopping. It’s hard to resist to buy books in India, it’s so cheap. Even though I was determined not to, I ended up buying few books, Babaji and 18 Siddha Kriya Traditions among them. I also visited the organic super store of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Now both Baba Ram Dev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar are into organic /ayurvedic products in India. Times are changing! Guru’s are getting into business (for good reason though!!).
On our last day, we had free time in the morning and I visited Swami Dayananda’s ashram, the ashram we stayed in 10 years ago. To my sadness, I learned that Swami Dayananda had passed away 2 weeks prior. He was an incredible Vedanta teacher which I loved reading his books and commentaries in Vedanta. Swami was also the Guru of India’s current Prime minister Narendra Modi. Deep bow to Swamiji!

That same morning a couple people from our group went to visit a charity school founded by Shahla Ettefagh. Shahla is an incredible person who came to India as a tourist, stricken by the poverty she witnessed, started a non-profit school (Mother Miracle) for under privileged kids. She expanded her operations to empower girls and young women as well as to provide nutrition and vocational education to youth. Hats down to Shahla!  She helps me have hope for the future of humanity.
Mother Miracle School
Anandamayee Ma's ashram in Haridwar
Anandamayee Ma-The Bliss Permeated Mother
That same afternoon we took a 45 minute bus to Haridwar. Haridwar is also known as the town that hosts Kumbha Mela gathering in every 12 years. We’ll visited the ashram of Swami Keshabananda, which contains the ashes of Lahiri Mahasaya. Then we went  to the ashram of Anandamayee Ma, the “Joy-Permeated Mother.” Her ashes are kept here in a special shrine, and the house where she lived is preserved. It’s so easy to feel the love permeated from this lovely being. Her love is still palpable. 

Lastly, this trip would not be possible without the selfless efforts, pure spiritual intentions and deep devotion of our Ananda tour leaders. They relentlessly worked for each one of us to get the most out of our experience and deepen our spiritual connections. 
Deep bow to them all!

Rishikesh Ghats Farewell until next time...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

India Trip Notes-October 2015

Badrinath Temple

Imagine a sacred temple on a Himalayan top that the priests close down in winter, where they light a small oil lamp which they find still lit when they return in May. They believe that sages and deities descend to worship in Badrinath temple while residents of the town move to lower altitudes, due to heavy snow, every November until May. 

When I heard the name Badrinath, years ago, I knew I had to go there one day. At that time I was just back from India and I had a map of Uttaranchal region. I remember opening the map and marking Badrinath on my map. Now 10 years later, I was finally on my way. I knew it was going to be a hard journey, it’s never easy in the Himalayas but I also knew it was worth the 3 day road trip.
Badrinath is considered one of the 4 holy hills in Himalayas (Badrinath, Kedernath, Gangotri and Yamunotri) and a sacred pilgrimage site. It’s believed that even 5,000 years ago Badrinath was sacred and visited by holy persons and even at that time it was known to be old. Just imagine! I’ve been to one of the other sacred hills in Himalayas, Gangotri, 10 years ago, now I have 2 more to go J
We flew from Leh back to Delhi and took the 4 hour train to Haridwar and then bus to Rishikesh. We stayed overnight at Rishikesh and from there started our driving trip, slowly climbing through small villages and above beautiful river canyons, following the Ganges River, toward one of its two sources. On the way, we passed the holy spots where two rivers merge (Prayags) and the confluences produce great spiritual energy. It’s a custom to bathe in these holy convergence points. We passed through 5 of these prayags, Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandprayag and Vishnuprayag. Devprayag is essentially the site of the beginning of the river Ganges, as Bhagirathi river from Gaumukh and Alakananda rivers confluence. The town is remarkable as it sets at the convergence of these two rivers. 

The route to Badrinath is one of the most difficult one due to the lofty terrain, curves and cliffs yet the most scenic and beautiful.  After driving all day, our dinner and overnight stop was at Rudraprayag, another convergence point.
Dev Prayag
We continued driving the next day, the whole day, much of the time still along the Ganges, as more and more beautiful and lofty panorama unfolded. The drive definitely takes some faith and a skillful driver is the best investment you can make. I survived the last half an hour by chanting. We were all hungry and tired and honestly I was about to lose it to the dark and endless curvy roads when finally the lights of Badrinath emerged out of deep Himalayan darkness. “Wahe Guru” 3 times to our Sikh driver! J

Ritual rites for deseased
Badrinath, at an elevation of 10,200 feet, is remote and so beautiful, with a tangible spiritual power that anyone can feel. The colorful temple of Badrinath enshrines the sacred statue discovered in the river by Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century. Adi Shankara was inspired to dive into the river and find the lost statue of Lord Badrinarayan and reinstate it in the Badrinath shrine. The statue depicts a seated, long-haired yogi (yes, its’ indeed looking just like Babaji). It’s hard to see the features when covered with all the garments and flowers and unfortunately the face didn’t survive the centuries but we were very fortunate to witness a ceremony (Abishek pooja) at the temple that revealed the statue to the public. We had to go to the temple at 4:30am and wait in the line to be admitted but who cares about the freezing temperatures, in the end we witnessed something extraordinary. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised how organized the line was (lines usually don’t work in India). They called our names one by one and got us all on a single line to get into the temple. Given that there were hundreds of people waiting outside the shrine to just get a glimpse of the statue, it was pretty impressive that it all worked very orderly.  Around 70 people stocked up in the small shrine and all seated miraculously. The ceremony lasted for 2 hours and it was one of the most unique and moving ceremonies I’ve had to witness. It was full of symbolism so I’ll not attempt to explain it fully but, the smell in the air, the fire, the prasad, the drums that beat louder and louder mixed with chanting coming from hundreds of faithful pilgrims that waited outside just to have a glimpse of the statue rise up and up until the curtain is pulled and the statue is hidden again until next time. 

At our hotel, there was another westerner group. The news spread very quickly that they are Marshall Govindan and his students. Marshall Govindan’s book of “Babaji and 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Traditions” was on my Amazon wish list for last 6-7 years. Everytime I purchased something from Amazon, it didn’t feel like it was time for me to read this book so I kept it in my wish list. Who could have guessed I would meet the author in Badrinath. It turns out that Marshal Govindan was building an ashram in Badrinath and he graciously invited us for a practice together. It was another magical experience to walk to the ashram up the hill from our hotel, still under construction and join their outdoor chanting and the fire ceremony in the Himalaya sunset and meditate and chant together.
Our common ground is Babaji, the yogi who brought Kriya yoga to our times. He is a immortal guru who is around 2000 years old. Always looking 16 years old, there are many people who have an account of meeting Babaji personally and being instructed by him directly. I remember last time I was in Himalayas, I was hoping that I could have an encounter with him. Who doesn’t? Now I know why Marshall Govindan said he’s building his ashram here because this is the place one can feel Babaji’s presence. His presence is palpable. Now I know Badrinath is his abode J
A 3 miles walk from our hotel was the last village of India, Mana, it’s just 15 miles from the border of Tibet. Here, ancient history becomes blended with even more ancient Hindu mythology. I personally felt like I was living a scene from Mahabharata, the great Indian epic. Our first stop was a cave attributed to Ganesh (my dear Ganesh), the elephant headed God who removes obstacles on the paths. This is the cave where he served as Vyasa’s scribe for Mahabharata. I opened my heart to Ganesh and prayed to remove any obstacles from my way, especially the self- imposed ones, so that  any karma, root causes of karma or its manifestations in this lifetime and the past be cleaned at all levels, physical, mental, emotional or spiritual and I can be in perfect harmony  with my Divine self . 
All Mahabharata characteres were here 

Vyasa's cave
Short distance up the hill, there was the cave where Vyasa is said to have written the Mahabharata epic. As we entered the cave, I noticed a tall, sturdy sadhu sitting in meditation, breathing softly. His hair was pulled back, yet locks were pouring to his shoulders. Honestly I said to myself, who the heck do you think you are, behaving like Vyasa! As my eyes adjusted to darkness, to my astonishment, I realized it was the statue of Vyasa. I was so sure he was alive and breathing seconds ago. I had one of the deepest meditations there and I went there back the next day to meditate, with my deepest gratitude to Vyasa for revealing himself.

Here in Badrinath the characters of the Mahabharata come to life.  “Stairway to Heaven” marks the path the Pandava brothers took at the end of their lives; the shrine where Draupadi (Pandava’s wife) dropped her body,
Neelkanth Valley
Bhima’s bridge, the boulder Bhima is said to have placed so his brothers could cross the Saraswati River; the Saraswati river, which represents Shuhumna, the central energy channel in our bodies, emerges here from the mountain and goes underground only to emerge hundreds of miles later. Nara-Narayana, the twin-brother avatars working for the preservation of dharma have transformed themselves into mountains as they may stay here at Badrinath.
One day we hiked to Vasundra falls. It’s a 3 miles hike on Stairway to Heaven. The hike was tough as the stone pebbled walkway was very steep at times. It took me 2.5 hours to get to the falls. Not too bad, given the high altitude.  The view of Vasudhara river valley was very scenic as Mana village got smaller and smaller and disappeared behind. I was so exhausted when I get to the falls, I simply laid on a rock and enjoyed the cool breeze and the sun. My lunch of power bars, nuts and fruit never tasted so good.

Another hike was to the Neelkanth valley. Neelkanth is one of the central Himalayan peaks at 6,500 mt (21,600 feet).

On the way up, we come across a rock that Lord Vishnu left his footprint when he first descended to Earth. We meditated at that point, offered a chant and continued hiking. The deep blue sky pierced with snow capped Himalayan tops, puffy clouds travelling over mountain tops, flowers, even the nettles make it easy to see God in everything you look.
I was determined to leave any karma that don’t serve me anymore behind so I made out a practice. Every single bridge I crossed over (and we crossed many rivers), I prayed to leave any karma behind. I imagined karma shedding off with every forward step. Similarly in every waterfall I put my feet in to the water to wash off any karma and visualized any karma dissolving into the water. Chance of practice is limitless!

Adi Shankara's cave
On our drive down the hill from Badrinath, we stopped at Joshimath to visit and meditate in Adi Shankara’s cave. Joshimath is one of the 4 monasteries Adi Shankara has established in 4 cardinal points of India. Joshimath is the north one.  Sankaracharya was a great philosopher, a poet and a sage who lived in the 8th century. He started his spiritual journey when he was 8, he traveled around India all the way to Himalayans, he wrote many books, poems, commentaries and he died when he was only 32.  Shankaracharya’s philopophy is called Advaita (non-dualistic) philosophy advocated the oneness of individual soul and cosmic soul. Everything is GOD.. I was first exposed to Adi Shankara during a Dave Stringer Kirtan (chanting) over 10 years ago. One song touched me so deeply that even though I didn’t understand Sanskrit words, I had goose bumps. I think sometimes even the vibration of words are enough to move you even though you don’t understand meaning. I got the CD to read the lyrics (which is a Sankarachraya poem). Now it was surreal for me to be in the cave where he got enlightened.  Here is the translation of his poem.
the tree Adi Shankara is enlightened under
i am not mind, intellect, ego or memory;
Not ears or tongues, or smell or sight; not ether, air, fire, water or earth.
i am consciousness and bliss.
i am not virtue or vice; pleasure or pain, not mantra, not sacred place,
Scripture or sacrifice; not the food, the eater or the act of eating.
i am consciousness and bliss.
i am beyond all things. i am everlasting, self-luminous.
taintless, and pure; immovable, blissful and imperishable.
i am without thought, without forms, I am all pervasive, I am beyond all senses;
i am not detachment or salvation or anything that could be measured.
i am consciousness and bliss.
Shankaracharya (788-820 A.D.)

Saluting all saints and sages of all religions who came to illuminate our paths with deep gratitude.
Himalayan Sunset