Yogi Lessons from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro 

My Yoga Practise got me to top of the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro, 5,895 metres. 8 day Lemosho Route. 

Be in the Moment 
You will hear your guides and porters say Pole, Pole. It is the mantra of the mountain, the whole of Africa really and means “slowly” in Swahili. Our high achieving and energetic group find the turtle like pace frustrating for the first day, as the walking was easy however it wasn’t created to drive us mad but actually intended to combat the high altitude we would be climbing. I dropped into a mindful moving meditation, just keep walking and looking, fully immersed in the moment, knowing I would never get this day, this trail, this hike ever again. I was “pole, pole”. Immersed in the journey not the destination. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro removes the clutter of everyday life, eliminates the outside world and teaches you to be in the present moment rather then unconsciously speeding to the next place or activity.

Find Gratitude 
Gratitude is easy when you are happy and everything is going well however it’s not so easy when there is discomfort. On day 2 of the Lemosho route my group got hit by rain followed by hail, I was wet and cold, discovering my rain coat wasn’t really cutting it. We made it to camp to wet bags, tents and sleeping mattress. It was easy to be down however finding gratitude can really make your Kilimanjaro days brighter. I found gratitude for my husband for digging trenches around the tent to redirect the water, the lovely Singa for endless cups of tea and the cook for a nourishing hot meal. That is pure luxury on the side of the mountain.

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Just Breathe 
At midnight, I had six layers on my top half and fiver layers on my bottom half. It was freezing. We formed a line of headlamps for a six hour hard uphill climb. Looking up was giving me waves of dizziness, I looked directly forwarded, put one foot in front of the other and just breathed. No chatting, nothing else. Just breathed in through the nose and out through the mouth. After hours of walking, our guide yelled out, next stop Stella point. We turned the corner to Stella point to see a beautiful crescent moon and the slight yellow tinge of the imminent sunrise. It was exhilarating, and exhausting. We made it to Uhuru Peak as the sun was breaking free of the horizon. It was humbling and empowering.

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