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Friday, 20 November 2009

Yoga in Goa - Page 2

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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.

Our mornings begin with meditation at 6:30 sharp, when the sun is still asleep. The first week we were led by Moorthy, a wandering spiritual seeker we have lovingly dubbed our own “Yoda”, through chanting, pranayma (breathing techniques), and meditation; the second week, we began cycling through the attendance list to guide each other. One Yoga in Goa, yoga teacher training India, Junas Wada, Mandrem Beach,  authentic yogic experience, yoginis-in-training, Himalaya Yoga Valley Center, Villa River Cat, Dunes Beach Resort, Arambol, purification process, Ashiyana, Ashley A. Coopermorning a week, we take a contemplative walk on the beach. It is an excellent opportunity to wake up slowly, gently with the village – watching the fishing boats skim out across the calm pink-reflecting waters and the sun rise languidly over miles of unbroken palm canopy. Other mornings, we have kriyas, the six traditional cleansing techniques performed to purify the physical body, which might take the prize for least enjoyable practice and I feel bad for the other guests who are trying to sleep as we gag and blow our noses from neti-pots.

After meditation, we spend twenty minutes in shared silence which stretches from rising until after asana (physical posture) class. Ideally, we are meant to write in our morning pages, warm up our tightest joints and muscles, and sip tea. The silence allows us to conserve and observe our “self” and I find it well-suited to my practice, although we are apt to forget and stifled giggles break out around the plate of green bananas. On Thursdays, we spend the entire twelve hours in silence – or at least, we are supposed to.

Lalit, the director of our school and a life-long yogi, leads morning asana class which lasts two hours. We generally stick to the same basic series, learning it so thoroughly we can perform it with our eyes closed, and do. After asana, we usually over-indulge in a breakfast of muesli, porridge, tea, fruit, and toast before waddling back to the shalla for class. The first week, most of our day was devoted to philosophy class with Moorthy and focused on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. My prior yogic experience had been limited to over-heated rooms and vinyasa flow, but yoga is a philosophy and a lifestyle and the actual physical practice is a single stepping stone on the path – although a beautiful art.

Yoga in Goa, yoga teacher training India, Junas Wada, Mandrem Beach,  authentic yogic experience, yoginis-in-training, Himalaya Yoga Valley Center, Villa River Cat, Dunes Beach Resort, Arambol, purification process, Ashiyana, Ashley A. CooperThe second week, workshops and classes such as ayureveda – which is translated literally as, “the science of life/longevity” , anatomy and physiology, ethics, teaching methodology, and business management were introduced and our second two-hour asana class began being dedicated to teaching in pairs, which evolved to small groups the third week and entire classes this last week. Tashi, a native Australian woman born to Buddhist parents and a great inspiration to us all, leads our evening asana class. In all, Monday through Friday classes last for twelve hours with a half day on Saturdays. I am really impressed with the progress everyone has shown. By the third week, things appeared pretty dire and our personal insecurities were not well-hidden.

Throughout our training, most of us are experiencing the natural “purification process” that occurs when one is detoxifying her body through diet (most of us are adhering to vegetarian diets free of alcohol and drugs) and asana (as most yogic postures are designed to detoxify specific organs). Come week three, we were exhausted- physically and emotionally- some of us suffering the inevitable stomach bugs and dehydration, and one person in particular (me) breaking out in seemingly-inexplicable rashes.


Without our normal coping devices, our bodies, minds, and spirits were working to cleanse themselves of whatever impurities we had consciously and unconsciously weighed them down with throughout our lives. That which we had long ago buried deep within began to rise up - forcing itself to be confronted. Sometimes we understand our pain and were ready to face our history; sometimes we just acknowledged our experience and released. Other times we could not, or would not, admit the wrongs we’d committed or suffered. It seems, however, that once one endeavors the path of purification, resistance to its process is futile.

Fortunately, with nineteen of some of the most incredible women walking this green earth and one great man, we survived and thrived. These women are doctors, UN advisors, researchers, personal trainers, travelers, activists, small heroes to small countries and children, lawyers, students, and writers – they are truly inspirational. We were all entirely certain of the divine crossing of our paths.

(Page 2 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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