Yoga in Goa (Iain)

A few years ago I visited Club La Santa in Lanzarote for a triathlon training camp. It was a week of swimming , biking and running. It was a fun week but the accommodation wasn’t great. I was one of six middle aged sweaty men packed into to a room that barely fit four.

As soon as we discovered this we requestes a room upgrade. The new room was better but not by much. I assumed this was as good as we could get.

A few days into the trip I went to visit a guy who was having a holiday nearby. He had access to five swimming pools, four restaurants which were all inclusive and the TV in his room had Sky Sports.

I asked him how much he paid for it. I was expecting it to be allot. It wasn’t. He was paying half of what I was paying.

That night I went back to my my place with its one swimming pool (which I had to book in advance to use), three restaurants which all charged money and I had no TV let alone one showing Sky Sports. For the rest of the holiday I called the resort – Prison Camp La Santa.

It’s fair to say I had trepidation about signing up for a week long yoga camp. Would it be a similar prison like experience?

This was my typical day in paradise. Which isn’t an exageration. It was quite literally where I was as the local beach was called Paradise Beach.

Which is a pretty cocky name to give it. What if there was better beach nearby? They’d think Paradise Beach had got ideas above it’s station. In Scotland we’d be too modest. The beach would be called Nae-bad Beach.

Paradise Beach

The yoga retreat was for 7 days. You can find out more details about the 2019 one here https://yogagoaindia.com/guest-yoga-retreats-in-goa/ (Look for Retreat to the Motherland with Jala Yoga)

A typical day would be

7am – Chanting
I’m not big on chanting unless its at a football match and the chant is “the ref is effin idiot”. So instead I went for a jog on the beach. Goa is very hot (35C during the day) so this is the only time a run was pleasant. I’d try to get 5k in before heading back for …

8am – Asana Practice
Most days this was a mix of ashtanga and yin. It was a good balance of poses/breathing exercises.

Ohm!

By having the same teacher each day I got familiar with her favourite yoga cues for moves. As the same cues would make daily appearances. My favourite the teacher used was:

“You are welcome to stay in this pose for as long as you like but when you’re ready…”

I wonder how long I could stay in a pose for. Would everyone have to wait for me? Maybe I could spend the whole class asleep.

After class I’d head for….

10 am – Breakfast.
Usually an Indian option and a scrambled option – eggs, chickpeas or paneer. I was happy when it was eggs. Less so when it was paneer. They also had nice rolls, and fresh fruits and salad.

The cafe area was the only place for WiFi and annoyingly it had a a limit to the number of folk who could connect. Most days I would go to breakfast hoping to check social media but end up with a “could not start networking” message. The upside of this is that i forced everyone to be social with eachby chatting about how bad the WiFi was.

WiFi is very important to Indians. One time the whole town had a power cut. There was no lights, no TV, no kitchen equipment working BUT the WiFi still worked. They kept that on a battery so it wouldn’t go out. That priorities – selfies first, self preservation second.

After breakfast I’d head to town for a swim in the sea. The sea was a 20 minute downhill walk from the Shala which meant it was a 20 minute uphill walk on the way back. This was a hard slog in the heat of the day.

There was allot of stalls on the way to the beach. As I passed the shop keepers would shout out “hello my friend. Come look. I have great pashminas/sun glasses/shoes etc” or whatever it was they thought I might need.

Strangely the one place they didn’t bother me was when selecting a seat on the Beach. In most Mediterranean countries you can barely look at a seat without someone coming over and asking 10 Euro’s for it.

1400 – Lunch
I’d head back to the shala for lunch. It was a similar selection each day . I usually got the hummus and veg wrap. To balance out the healthiness I’d eat a twix afterwards. At the start of the yoga retreat there were 7 twix’s in the local shop. By the end of the week there were none.

1600 – Workshop
At 4 o’clock there would a workshop on yoga topics ie headstands or mindfulness. They were very useful but I skipped the ones I wasn’t interested in. One day I did an ecstatic dance workshop. As an uptight British man this was a challenge. I’m still too traumatised to talk about it!

1900 – Dinner
The highlight of dinner was deserts. Sometimes they’d have home made cookies but other times they’d go to the local shop and buy chocolate bars and cut them up.

Strangely. They never once had twixs. Someone must have eaten them all.

The twix eating champion