Monday, 4 January 2010

India part 2, day 1...

So here I am in Goa, using a computer in the communal room at Purple Valley yoga retreat with so many lines running down th escreen and letters rubbed off the keyboard I will apologise now for appalling typing and spellling. I arrived late on 1st January to begin 2 weeks with Noah Williams and I have so enjoyed reading other people's accounts of intensive courses that (at the moment) I am planning to blog as much as I can, while balancing this with the need to get away from technology! I took loads of notes yesterday so I'll see how I go, but forgive me if my posts are a bit more stream of conscience than normal...

Day 1 was actually a bit of a struggle. It's really hard not to compare to "last time" and think about the people who I met here, the teachers, the vibe - all of which are very different this time around. I wish in a way I'd kept a diary when I was here before, as I'm sure I felt just as lost on day 1 (if not more so). The major difference is that last time my expectations were so different: I was here to get over my broken life, as long as I didn't have a breakdown I would consider the trip a success. This time the focus is so different, it's more about getting my practice back, working on my practice, refining the things I don't do well (or easily). I'm not spending my whole time trying to figure out how I will fit this into my life (and if I want to) which is how I felt before, and I know now how tough it is to integrate the practice when you get back to the real world. In a way I hope that will make the expericence all the more powerful, because I can reference it against my real-life as opposed to seeing it in the bubble of the retreat setting.
I have a whole list of notes for what I intended to put in this first post but I have limited time on the computer so I'd better make it brief ;) Yesterday morning there were 2 led classes, full primary at 6.30 and half primary for beginners at 8.30. My plan was to go to the early class (as I don't practice full primary I like teh opportunity to see it and try it all once in a while) but I cleverly managed to set my alarm wrong - it was set for 6am, but only for Monday-Friday . Luckily I woke at 7.15, made it to the second class and was glad I was really tough!! If I was a complete beginner I honestly think I'd have had heart failure (or a nervous breakdown): 5 suryanamaskar A's, 5 B's (normally that gets cut in led?) then prinary up to navasana, no modifications, vinyasas on both sides, no skipping (with 1 exception - the 2nd revolved triangle). In other words, almost the same as my usual practice, but then we cut straight from navasana to the closing 3 postures, no backbends, no closing and I sort of missed it! Then in the afternoon we had conference, and I wrote 12 pages of notes (yes, I am a yogadork). I am planning to write some of that stuff up but I got a huge amount out of it, I got to see more of my new teacher and he told some really sweet & funny Guruji stories (always a big hit, as soon as the Guruji accent comes out you know you're going to make the ashtangis giggle) but there's one thing I must share now as Noah spoke to me about it this morning. I've always disliked led classes, I never feel like I connect with my breath or my pactice, it's always a rush to keep up, and I feel like it is wrong to feel that way.
But yesterday Noah talked about led classes with Guruji in the last years of his life, and he talked about how they didn't even hold any of the asanas in later years - because the function of a led class is to learn the vinyasas and when to breath. That is it. I told him this morning it was a relief to be told that as I'd felt a bit guilty about not liking led, and he told me he hates them too! And they are just there to learn the count, and where to breath. As he put it, it's not really yoga in a led class because your focus is all external.

Now I really have to go as I've overrun my time slot on the computer. More later (I hope). If I take 12 pages of notes every day at conference though I'm never going to have the time to write about it, let alone to write about my practice too, not when there's so many hours of eating and lounging about to be done too!!


  1. Thx for using your valuable computer time to blog about the retreat! Looking forward to much much more as this was a workshop, I considered attending myself, but never made it and am still stuck in a freezing climate far up in nortern Europe.

  2. Hi Mel,

    Thanks for the update. Enjoy your time.

    Love Helen

  3. Hi Mel,

    So glad you made it to Goa.

    Sounds an intense led primary, though its good to get the body moving after travelling.

    Its strange when you talk about disliking led, I always did led Primary and when i was forced to change to Mysore practice I found it really hard to have the concentration and motivation to take myself through practice, but after 2 years of mysore style I wouldn't have it any other way.

    At least by blogging you are keeping a diary, you will enjoy reading it when you are in Goa this time next year!


  4. Hi all, thanks for popping by!! I have soooo many notes, some I can share, some I suppose I should censor (I wish it wasn't the case but you can't be 100% honest when it's all public, can you?) so am hoping to make some more time to write it as I go.
    Thanks for commenting Roselil and sorry you couldn't make it here too! I'll try not to make you too jealous.
    And sorry I will miss your trip to London Helen, hope to see you soon though! Hope you have a great birthday :)
    That is funny Kevin, with led I just find it relentless and it feels like it's never going to end! Same here though in that initially, I was very resistant to Mysore classes and thought I would never adjust to it.
    Mind you had such a shocking practice today I'm hoping I feel OK about getting on the mat again tomorrow, I don't know what was going on but my body hurts, I didn't sleep well and it was all about survival. And once that was in my head, that was it - I was just trying to get through it without bursting into noisy tears (i saved it for padmasana & managed to keep it quiet). I guess it's all part of teh proces though, you have good days and bad days and the bad days probably teach you more. Have been wallowing a bit in it today though, I think I need to change the broken record...anyway it's at least 2 hours since breakfast, must be time for lunch!

  5. Hi Mel,

    It takes time to get the sleep pattern when you travel eastwards, when you don't sleep properly you feel tired to start with.You will probably have a great practice tomorrow, its when you get on the mat without expectations that the good ones seem to happen.

    We are expecting more snow today, brrrr, you enjoy that warm sunshine while you can.

    We'll have a croissant for you on Sunday.

  6. Hi Mel,

    I agree with Kevin, my body aches if I do not get enough sleep. Lie by the pool and relax and enjoy the sunshine. Seems like a strange concept with all this snow!

    I had a wonderful birthday thanks, went for some lovely walks in the countryside. I will of course have lots to eat for breakfast on your behalf, how many pret breakfasts does it take to replenish a hungry yogini! Will catch up with you soon too.

    Enjoy your time, if it's hard in a way that's a great thing. You are undergoing inner change and have the time to allow it. Try not to get attached to any of it though be in the moment and breathe. Never written such a long comment, whoops!

  7. It's funny, I'm just the opposite, my body aches if I sleep too much, it just seems to close in on itself. Anyway Mel I'm sure you'll have lots of great practices whilst there, and many thanks for blogging about it! It's getting me all jazzed up for Kino in Thailand :)

  8. Hi Mel,

    Hope you are still enjoying your practice in the indian sunshine.

    Helen and I ate breakfast for you this morning!