Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yoga in India

A few of the retreat from near my bedroom

My trip to India has so far fulfilled and surpassed any and all of my expectations.  At lunch the other day we were discussing the Ayurved Retreat should actually be called Ayurveda Retreat/Spa/Ashram/Hospital/Resort/Haven in the Clouds.

The setting is absolutely picturesque, set among fields of tea, high in the mountains outside of Coonoor.  Most mornings I can look down the valley on my walk to the Yoga Hall and see clouds below me.  On my walk I also see mist in the pine trees on the hill across from the peak where the retreat is located.  Tropical flowers are everywhere in even more outrageous prportions than I am used to in Uganda although many of the varieties are a familiar sight.  Tiny chimpmunks live in the area, scampering across the footpaths and often when I'm laying on my back in the Yoga Hall, I will see one or two on the sky light.

kitten that crawls in my window and hangs out (don't tell Sahara)

where we eat when the weather is nice

my little room

temple at the retreat for Lord Ganesh

herb garden (one of several)

vegetable garden where our food comes from

My Monday to Friday schedule is as follows:
5:30 wake up
6:00-6:30 meditation
6:30-7:30 beginner yoga
7:30-8:30 yoga practicals
8:30-9:30 breakfast
10:00-11:00 yoga theory
12:30-1:00 weight-loss yoga
1:00-2:00 lunch
2:00-3:00 various activities are provided each day such as cooking classes, Ayurved class, spirituality class, trip to Coonoor to visit temple or stroll around town, or a visit to a tea plantation. (I've done them all except the tea plantation which I plan to do next week)
3:00-4:00 intermediate yoga
4:00-4:30 tea
4:30-5:30 yoga theory
5:30-6:30 meditation
7:00-8:00 dinner
I usually go to bed by 9:30

My Saturday schedule is the same, except from 10:00-12:00 I have a test over what I learned that week.

Me, Jessie and Florencia in Ooty
Elsa, Flo, and Jessie waiting for the train
Sunday is a free day besides yoga from 7:00-8:00am.  My first Sunday here, I taught the Sunday class.  Last Sunday, I went with Jessie, Florencia, and Elsa to Ooty on the train.  Ooty is a bigger town than Coonoor with various shops and restaurants.  I purchased a knitted hat/scarf doodad that has come in hany.  Yes, you read right.  Hat and scarf being worn by me in India in July.  It can be cold out here.  It's also the beginning of the monsoon season which makes it sometimes damp, but nonetheless, it's a fabulous place to be.  Several days have been sunny and clear and warm enough to just wear shorts and t-shirts.  In Ooty, I also bought lots of interesting potions and oils which promise to cure toothache, stop aging, tea to make you slim, and some magnificant silk scarves.

on the train

People come from all over the world to the Ayurveda Retreat for many different reasons.  Yoga classes, Ayurveda classes, detox, weight loss and isease or illness treatment.  Ayurveda is a very ancient form of holistic medicine involving herbal medicines, massages (using tons of oil), steam room sessions, ghee treatment, acupressure, and yoga.  They treat practically anything here and with incredible results.  Some of the nationalities of people here are French living in Austria, German living between New York and Hamburg, South African living Dubai, South African living between France and Qatar, Begian, Indian living in Hong Kong, Indian living in Singapore, Malaysian, Uruguayan, French living in India, American living in Jerusalem, American living in Saudi Arabia, Spanish, Indian living in Denver, Ukrainian living in London, and Swedish.  There are only about 20 rooms at the retreat, so the atmosphere is really friendly and it's easy to know everyone here.  People come and go, but the rooms have all bascially been full since my arrival.

the yoga hall

inside the yoga hall
view of Coonoor

taking a walk

The food is all vegetarian and Ayurvedic and delicious.  For breakfast there's fresh fruit juice or coconut water, mangos, papaya, guavas, and pomegranates, and one savory dish of rice and lentils, potato dosas or various other masala dips with tasty flat breads.  In Ayurved, eggs are not allowed nor cooking honey because it's believed to become a poison to the body.  It does allow ghee, paneer, and fresh milk from a cow that lives not far from my bedroom.

There are only 2 people in my yoga class, me and Cibele, a Brazilian married to a Kiwi living in Australia.  We have two yoga teachers, teaching different aspects of the course so basically we're haveing one-on-one tuition which is incredible.  Dr Shentil and Ganesh are our teachers.  They are brothers and are both incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of yoga.  They're patient and kind which also makes them exceedingly good at what they do.

So far in the class we have learned lots of Sanskrit which is quite difficult, different meditations, sun salutation in depth, yamas, niyamas, effects of yoga, the history of Patanjali (the father of yoga), opening and closing prayers, rules and regulations of asanas, and kriyas (body cleansing techniques from neti pots to vomiting....).  I find it all fascinating and hope I can retain all this information.

There is an Ayurveda class going on at the same time as our yoga class lasting the same 6 weeks.  There are four students who are learning many of the massages and they use me to practice on which is fabulous.

I will continue to keep you updated on my journey.

(I was on someone's borrowed computer so this is not spell checked or edited and I have so much more to share and many more pictures, but there's no time. )


  1. sounds like you are having an amazing time! Keep up the great work.

  2. I can't believe you wake up at 5:30 almost every day. Impressive. Despite the early schedule, this all sounds absolutely fascinating. I'm so glad you're taking this trip and having this experience, and I can't wait for you to teach me all about your healthy lifestyle... or you cooking for me. ;)


  3. Sounds magical. I love that the little kitty crawls in your room! sweet. oklahoma is looking more like an option for christmas for a few days. keep me posted on your plans.

  4. I love this!!! I have been into yoga myself lately and this has inspired me to look more into programs in Costa Rica! Moving there on Tuesday and hopefully finding something in this field (or on the side).... starting a blog as well! Sounds like an incredible journey you are on and I admire you so much. Maybe see you around the world someday...

  5. Fabulous! Thanks for taking the time to share!

  6. I wish I had the drive you do to learn all these different things and go all over the world, but I don't so I am going to live it through you. Sounds like you are having a great time. I am so happy for you. Miss you tons!!!