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Thursday, 21 December 2006

Yoga Madness in Crimea, Ukraine - Page 3

Written by Antonina Okinina
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It was the end of the June when I packed my knapsack to leave for Crimea, Ukraine. The knapsack was about to burst open because of my sleeping-bag, tent, and a percussion drum (I still don’t understand what evil forces made me pack it). It was my fiancé who told me we had a chance to get into an annual international conference of ‘YOGA’ magazine.

Yoga on the Seashore. seaOne of the much-loved Kaciveli features is long shoreline. The beaches nearest to Kaciveli are civil ones; though they are vastly occupied by holidaymakers. Yogis and yoginis preferred the remote end of the shoreline: huge plates crashing into the sea. The plates are convenient for individual practicing, so from dawn till dusk you could find yoga adherents frozen in intricate asanas. An interesting detail, while practicing along the shore, they usually stay completely unclothed. Beachfront atmosphere in Kaciveli is very liberated (unlike Simeiz), and a great part of holidaymakers are nudes. Now it’s even hard to figure out if it were the yogis who made it so liberate or if it was Kaciveli that influenced yogis in this bareness question.

Full Moon Party. It was huge blood-red moon that rose upon the Kaciveli shore and made us grab our percussion drums (that’s when my time came) and arrange a full moon party. Unpretentious and calm, it was a party with drum playing and guttural vocals on the beach. It’s hard to say anything more.

crimeaAcross Crimea. The formal part of the conference usually lasts one week. But many of yoga adherents, especially tent inhabitants, stay in Crimea much longer. After conference is over, they leave Kaciveli and go to the Crimean Mountains not only for traveling, but also for practicing in the wilderness (well, place of Power after all). I liked the idea and joined a small group that was heading to the cave-towns of Eski-Kermen, where we visited mountain monasteries and performed some yoga and Zigong practice. Afterwards, my companion and I left the group to explore the Grand Canyon of Crimea.

The Canyon. The Grand Canyon of Crimea is something like a huge tectonic crack through which the mountain river Auzun-Uzen bears its waters. The narrow part of the canyon is about 3 km long, so you could walk right through it just for a day. Actually, to do that you’ll have to climb cliffs or walk waist-deep in the freezing water. And while doing that, you’ll be under the threat of slipping into the flows of Auzun-Yzen and under the threat on stone-fall and even tree-fall.

The narrowest part of the Grand Canyon of Crimea is about 2 meters, while the deepest point is above 300 meters. It means that even during a summer day, straight sunlight shines only from late morning until early evening. After 9 p.m. I found that electric torch was out of use because it lit only the darkness I was drowned in. Theoretically, I was standing in the open place, so I couldn’t believe that there was any difference in sight with open or closed eyes– the darkness was perfect.

It’s time to say that the Grand Canyon of Crimea is like two-faced Janus: one face at night, another in the daytime; one face in arid season and opposite then the weather is wet and rainy. I haven’t seen the canyon in autumn or spring, but those who’d been there and seen it assured me that the flow grows really strong and furious and the “crack” becomes impassable. Still, there are a lot of stories of those who put their fortunes to the test and some of them were drowned by the fierce waters of Auzun-Yzen.


There was an old oak-tree with a huge hollow in it at the eastern end of the canyon where most of the tourists started their hiking route. The tradition was to put letters inside it (because of this the tree was called “mail-oak”). No wonder that most of letters were wishes of coming back alive.

(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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