31 March, 2015

Journey to Goa / Voyage à Goa

Mumbai is the port of entry if you are on your way to Goa. The new Mumbai international airport is beautiful, and is a far cry from my first experience in 1988 (which I will happily describe to you one day!):

The city flashes by in an overstimulating bombardment of lights. If you look closer you will see all sorts of things...

But on your first visit, you may prefer to just let the beauty of the lights wash over you.

Or give Mumbai a miss altogether, and head directly on to Goa…

The Retreat Center I stayed at is unusual for Goa (which is usually very touristic and leans far more toward the 'Yoga Holiday' than toward the more 'authentic' ashram experience I had the good luck to find.

I chose the low budget, row houses -- which were perfectly fine.

Though I thought the cottages seemed very appealing with their pleasant front porches to relax on.

The food was fantastic! Indian vegetarian mostly, though they made some wonderful noodles the night I started to return to reality and thought of taking any photos. Clean, not too spicy but full of flavor, made with the best quality ingredients of the season.

If you want an ayurvedic massage, a consultation with their ayurvedic doctor, or a full week-long treatment, the facility is on the grounds and the doctor seemed very good to me.

In between classes, meditation sessions, lectures and Karma Yoga (service) (which I enjoyed doing in their lovely gardens), there is the 'Fake Beach' where you can chill, sun, read, snack and chat. Groups went down to the Night Market, the Flea Market and the beach during the week as well.

I preferred taking a stroll in the jungle nearby, where fresh cashews grow wild, and monkeys swing and swagger.

The center is entirely eco-friendly and is the dream child of its founder, Gyan. He has built it from scratch and brought in his colleagues from the Bihar School of Yoga to help him in running its year-round programs as the Center grows.

I look forward to sharing some of these experiences with you, and to introducing you to India, if you have an interest. I hope, also, to introduce you to Atma and Ganga (the lovely couple who taught the Chakra Workshop that you might have heard me mention). They, along with all of the teachers and staff at the Center, were helpful, knowledgeable and kind.