Time for a spot of Yoga....

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August 10th 2013
Published: September 1st 2013
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I am going to live my life with Peace and Joy, as I am going to control my emotions. Now my life will be full and Joy and Peace, Forever – Yoga Nidra Resolve.

So, after our pampering at Beyond Wine resort, it was back to reality for a couple of days where we were held up in a hotel room somewhere close to Nasik town centre. The weather was miserable for our time there, so we pretty much just stayed in and vegged out whilst catching up on emails drinking coffee and eating. The reason for this massive waste of time was because the next venture, attending a Yoga health centre, was due to start in 2 days’ time and truth be told, we had nothing else better to do.

We had booked this course a few weeks ago after seeing a couple of forum posts about it, and decided that as we was going to be in Nasik, and we wanted to do some Yoga, why not? The cost was suspiciously cheap for 10 days full board, own room and the yoga, but we decided to take the plunge anyway.

The place itself actually turned out to be more of a Yoga medical centre than an Ashram which is what we were hoping for, however since the cost of their ashram was around twice as much as this we decided to give this a whirl and see what it entailed.

The centre itself is fairly basic, as are the rooms, but pretty much what we expected from the details of the course that were provided to us before we came. We were warned that this was not a luxury resort and that if that was what we were after, we should look elsewhere! After a consultation with the doctors on arrival and describing any medical problems that we had, we received a quick check-over and was then recommended certain treatments for our ailments. It transpired that along with the Yoga, we would also be able to receive various Ayurveda (ancient Indian herbal medicine) treatments which would work hand in hand with the Yoga we were doing in order to help heal us physically and mentally, and help us feel a whole lot better than when we turned up. Sounded just the ticket to try and sort out my on-going stomach issues and Donna’s undulating high blood pressure.

The days would all be structured in pretty much the same way each day with a 6am start and 10pm bedtime. In between those times there would be a hive of activity including Asanas (Yoga Poses), Pranayama (Breathing techniques), Yoga Nidra (Meditation) and chanting, along with steam baths, massages, and herbal medicine drinks thrown in to ensure our health was at its physical peak.

The first couple of days were actually pretty tough going for us both. Donna was suffering from a really bad cold and couldn’t do much but snot, sneeze and sleep where as I was suffering on a mental level. Basically l was feeling a bit claustrophobic and anxious at being in this place for the foreseeable future and not having done anything like this before, I just couldn’t quite get used to the idea. It’s not like I couldn’t just walk out at any moment, I mean this is hardly a prison, but I just didn’t feel comfortable.

What didn’t help was the food. It turns out I get a bit grouchy when I don’t eat, or when the food I have put in front of me is something I’m just not over the moon on eating. Don’t get me wrong, I generally will eat most things and actually dislike very little, however for those first couple of days, it was like they knew exactly what I didn’t like, and were therefore purposely feeding me all those very things. I know I now come across as a spoilt arse in those last sentences, and I should appreciate that I actually have something to eat especially after seeing some of the poverty here in India, but, I am just telling you how I was feeling at the time. To be honest, I think Donna shared my dislike for the food just as much, but she tends to moan about food a lot less than I. Despite not loving the choice of food, we always finished what was in front of us whether it was raw veg, watery soup, gruel, semolina, or dreaded Papaya fruit. Firstly because it’s polite, but truth be told more so because in the back of our minds supressed way down, we know it’s good for us.

Having sampled various treatments such as cabbage steams, powdered medicine and even Turmeric set alight and inhaled harder than a frat guy on a bong at spring break, Donna had finally beaten her cold. After having pulled myself together, I too was also starting to perk up after Day 3.

The Asanas and Pranayama were getting progressively more advanced each day and we really started to find ourselves relaxing into the meditation sessions. The food was still questionable, however we got over ourselves, put on a brave face for the doctor that insists on watching us eat every meal and got it down our gullets!

Mid-way through the time here, we were both really starting to enjoy ourselves and were actually feeling pretty good with all this yoga, chanting and healthy food. This surprised me a little as it was now a good few days since we had drank a coffee, a whole week since we had a beer and it’s these things that tend to make me a happy bunny, so I guess it was working.

A spanner was thrown in the works by Day 6 when we were told about the 3 day programme we were about to embark on. It involved a full day of only fruit and veg (no big deal really), followed by a whole day with nothing but hot water with lemon (ah, not so good), finishing with a day of nothing but juices and liquids (after a day of only lemon water, not what you need!). In addition to this, on day 3 of 3, there would be no reading, and no talking from 5am until 5pm….. tough considering we would be stuck in our room for much of the day.

Both of us were up for the challenge though and if it gave our digestive systems a rest, helped us shed a couple of excess pounds and made us feel a tonne better afterwards, then we were game.

Somehow we managed to pull through the three days and somehow neither of us really felt weak or like we were about to pass out at any moment. This programme was one that we were told we could do at home every 15 days if we felt the need…. Can’t see us doing it too often truth be told (although Donna insists she wants to do this once a month when we return home), however if ever in need of a detox, say after Christmas etc, then it could be worth considering!

We were rewarded with a day out to visit the Ashram in the countryside and a visit to some temples, alongside some local guys from another of the centres the following day, these chaps were really friendly and helped explain some of what was going on in the temples as well as acting as ‘bodyguards’ keeping unwanted questions, stares and hassles at bay. It was great to get out of the centre for a day and see some sights we wouldn’t have seen if we had been organising this ourselves. The day was brought to a close with plenty of Namaste’s and handshake from our new Indian buddies along with the obligatory photos.

With only one more day left this pretty much rounded up our time here, and Donna and I were both happy to get back to the routine of Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation with our in-house Guru.

Our time spent here was one that was initially approached with hesitancy of the unknown. We certainly had our ups and downs in there throughout the time, whether it be due to the food, the sometimes unreliable time schedule or the amazing benefits gained from the Asanas and Yoga Nidra along with meeting all the helpful staff around the place. All in though, both of us really enjoyed the experience and agreed that this would set us up nicely for our two weeks of intensive Yoga in Rishikesh in September at Parmarth Niketan Ashram on the banks of the River Ganges.

Leaving recharged, spiritually minded, calm and even a few pounds lighter, we felt ready to face India once more and were almost looking forward to the challenge.

Jumping in a rickshaw bound for our hotel for the night in Nasik feeling chipper and calm with the world, we were ripped off by a full 50R (about 60p) straight away by the driver…….I was FURIOUS.

Looks like it will take a few more sessions for me to fully ‘control my emotions, and live in Peace and Joy Forever’ although it was a start!

Additional photos below
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1st September 2013

Interesting...it would have weird'ed me out too.
As for papaya, squeezing fresh lime juice on it will vastly improve the flavor.
2nd September 2013

Thanks for the Papaya tip! Will give that a try next time although I think its mainly the smell that puts us off!!
2nd September 2013

Downward Dog?
At my age, I couldn't even do the downward - and, even if I did, I'd probably not be able to do the upward afterwards! I could probably manage the cabbage steams and certainly the papaya (even though its smell is somewhat reminiscent of Spanish drains).

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