Somewhere between dreaming and waking, the birds' songs infiltrate. Before my mind can construct its reality, the world wraps itself around me and enters deeply – stretching from never into forever.
I awake in another universe – sitting up and almost opening my eyes before I "remember" where I am. I feel the presence of twenty yoginis bidding farewell and hello to their own souls, and swear I can feel Moorthy, my spiritual adviser, staring right at me. There is no confusion this time; I was most definitely not meditating, I was sleeping.
I do not feel guilty for this, as one might expect. I am exhausted and have spent many hours of this last month "sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position" offering my devotion up to some greater understanding – mostly to no avail. I follow my breath for a moment, summoning the powers within to at least keep me awake physically if they are not going to awaken me metaphysically.
I decide that Moorthy probably cannot see into my soul and listen to "the most distant sounds" for a little while. The warm Arabian Sea steadily yawns and sighs under a lightening sky, greeting the shore and waving away the moon. I imagine the dogs resting languidly in the sand and outside our shalla, as beat from their nocturnal hours of howling as we are. The birds, on the other hand, have only just warmed their vocal chords and call across the rolling green hills to tell tales of love, nesting, and hunts. Focusing on them I feel their heightened excitement and long to join in on the fun – to escape this mandated silence.
I am in Goa, India- which some people say is not “Real India.” It is an international tourist destination that first popped up on the Beatnik radar in the sixties and quite literally has entranced drifters and families alike ever since. Real India or not, the tiny village of Junas Wada, Mandrem Beach, with its two roads and two shops, is delivering an authentic yogic experience to me and my fellow yoginis-in-training at Himalaya Yoga Valley Center.
Monsoon season, which trapped my dear friend Lori inside the power-less Villa River Cat for days on end, ravaged Himalaya Yoga Valley’s usual grounds and relocated us to Dunes Beach Resort. Many of us are staying at Dunes Beach in either private or shared beach huts or “tree houses.” The resort is one of the more popular local habitations; with on-site internet, western toilets, ayurvedic massage, delivery laundry, rental scooters, and bottle-water washed salads, one forgets what exactly it is they miss back home. Coming across the occasional cockroach and the unavoidable electrical black outs and water shortages are small prices to pay for authenticity.
The restaurant, where we spend nearly every hour we are not in our shalla, offers an eclectic menu and Jitu and his boys fall over themselves to make us happy. Anything else I need, from body scrub to pens to Double Dutch brownies from Arambol, a popular beach village north of Mandrem, I procure at Guru’s shop up the dirt road. This is also were I make the rare phone call, sharing my most intimate news with whomever happens to be perusing the chocolate bars or chatting with Guru’s wife at the register.