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a yoga retreat holiday in Kerala_ India

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									Travel                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Travel



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       Sat Sunrise...                                                                              Debbie Kindness
                                                                                                                                                    a reat
                                                                                                                                               a yog ret holiday in Kerala, India
     The Ashram rules                             and mosquito net and asked to sign an          the group. Bhakti, or devotional yoga,        Located in Gods own country, Kerala          then sneaking back into the Ashram (like       that will challenge you in many ways
                                                  acknowledgement of the Ashram rules in         wasn’t my thing – I was really just           - South India, the Ashram served up          giggling school girls). After all, rules are   and be far more rewarding than you can
     state: Attendance
                                                  order to be allowed to be part of the yoga     there for the yoga. However despite my        fantastic local pure vegetarian fare.        meant to be broken.                            possibly imagine. This is so much more
     at Satsang, asana classes,                   program.                                       internal dialogue squirming and little        To concentrate our mind and body to                                                         than a holiday. It’s not always easy, nor
     karma yoga and lecture is                                                                   voices asking, “what would my friends         physically perform four hours of asanas      Situated by the picturesque shore of           is it always enjoyable, but you will come
                                                  The Ashram day began at 6am with               and family think”? Surprisingly I really      each day, a good diet was essential.         a large dam, the Ashram really was a           away with a life experience that your
     mandatory. And consumption
                                                  a gentle awakening at the morning              began to enjoy the chanting. By letting       Sattvic food, which contains no              slice of heaven. In our spare time we’d        whole being will thank you for.
     of meat, fish, egg, and alcohol              satsang. At 8am, with a glass of chai for      go I succumbed to the vibrations of the       stimulating ingredients, such as garlic      head down to the dam to relax in the
     is not allowed in the ashram.



     W
                                                  sustenance, the first yoga asana class of      energy created thus enhancing my overall      or onion, yet remains surprisingly           balmy waters, despite the sign advising,       For more information on Yoga
                                                  the day began. With a choice of beginners      experience.                                   tasty, is based on traditional Ayurvedic     “swimming prohibited – crocodile”.             Vacations, visit http://www.sivananda.
                        hat? I thought that I     or intermediate class to attend, we would                                                                                                 The waters of the dam were crystal clear       org/ndam/index.html.
                                                                                                                                               principles. In fact the Ashram, being
                        was on vacation. A        breathe, relax, stretch, twist, hold, bend     Although the routine was fixed                                                             with absolutely no sign of crocs.
                                                                                                                                               built around what was once an Ayurvedic
                        yoga vacation aimed at    and stretch some more as we’d learn and        sometimes we did have a change of                                                                                                         Debbie runs
                                                                                                                                               hospital, still has an Ayurvedic centre
                        stressed, overworked      improve our yoga practice. Then we             scene. As each day was completed with                                                      By the end of the two weeks, my sore           personalised and
                                                                                                                                               and resident doctor.
     foreigners, like myself, looking to do       would do it all over again in the afternoon.   the evening Satsang, mornings also                                                         overstretched muscles and ligaments            unique small
     some yoga and meditation in a tropical       This was of course my favourite part           began with meditation and chanting.           Ashram life quickly fell into a routine. I   had come to grips with four hours of           group tours
     paradise.                                    of Ashram life – what I had come for.          One morning, we had a silent walking          was excited to learn that in addition to     yoga asanas every day, and my lotus was        around India.
                                                  Sivananda yoga was simple, and as for          meditation to the lake to experience          Ayurvedic massages for just $10, there       coming along just nicely. Far more than        Also specialising
     Having just finished escorting a tour                                                                                                                                                  the physical changes, I realised how           in private
                                                  classic hatha yoga – there were no bells or    the magic of seeing the sunrise over the      was a laundry lady. And, oh excitement,
     around colourful, bustling North India, a                                                                                                                                              I’d slowed down and relaxed. Back in           itineraries, she
                                                  whistles there. It concentrated purely on      rolling misty hills. It was truly a wow       a café which dished up herbal teas, juices
     week of doing nothing but stretching the                                                                                                                                               Delhi for a day before I caught my plane       can create an
                                                  benefiting the mind, body and soul.            moment and one that will stay with me         and healthy snacks.
     body and calming the mind sounded like                                                                                                                                                 home, I felt completely unperturbed by         itinerary to
                                                                                                 forever.
     just what I needed before heading back to    Every evening at 8pm, lights were                                                            I was amazed at the diversity of my          the chaos and mayhem of the city and           ensure you get the most out of your Indian
     reality.                                     dimmed and my fellow attendees and             We also had daily karma yoga, the idea        fellow vacationers who hailed from           experienced an overwhelming sense of           holiday. Whether it’s to experience ayurveda
                                                  I would quietly enter the spacious             being to carry out the duties given with      Britain, Canada, Italy, Portugal, Austria,   tranquillity I’m still managing to hold on     and yoga, have a Himalayan adventure, a
     But this was no beach holiday. The reality
                                                  meditation hall and make ourselves             no attachment - neither enjoyment nor         Iran and Spain to name a few, and of         to now – a few weeks since returning.          cultural extravaganza, dive the Andaman’s,
     was that this was a working Ashram
                                                  comfortable for the satsang. Sitting           dislike. You could find yourself scrubbing    course India. I immediately clicked with                                                    stay in a Rajasthani Fortress, ride a camel or
     and there were rules and regulations                                                                                                                                                   So, a yoga vacation in India sounds like
                                                  cross legged on reed mats we would             the loos or slicing pineapples in the cafe.   my Danish room-mate who soon became                                                         elephant in the desert or photograph one of
     that challenged some of your beliefs and                                                                                                                                               the kind of holiday with a difference
                                                  commence with a half hour of meditation        My job was to set up the hall for the         my partner in crime. Skipping the                                                           the last remaining wild tigers - why not let
     values along the way - not necessarily a                                                                                                                                               your body, mind and soul is craving? If
                                                  followed by chanting and singing               nightly satsang. I felt kind of good about    occasional lecture or class to indulge our                                                  the team at Incredible Indian tours create the
     bad thing. Checking in at the Ashram                                                                                                                                                   so, get ready for a complete experience
                                                  intended to raise the energy level of          that – I guess I was attached.                coffee addiction in the nearby village,                                                     holiday of a lifetime for you.
     I was handed a set of sheets, pillow


62               | www.blackrosemagazine.com | June 2010                                                                                                                                                                       June 2010 | www.blackrosemagazine.com |                         63
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