Yoga Holiday, Part 1

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On Sunday, August 28th I headed to Reith bei Kitzbühl for a 6-day Yoga vacation and Ayurveda lectures at the Sivananda Seminarhaus. I had MANY doubt about my ability to stick to the schedule which included:
– no coffee
– waking up at 5:30 for Satsang
– meditating and doing 90 minutes of yoga on an empty stomach
– eating 2 meals a day – 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
– doing a second class of yoga
– doing a second Satsang session after dinner
– did I mention NO COFFEE?

Somehow I managed. I flaked on 1 morning Satsang and slept in until 7:30 and I snuck down to the little town for a cappuccino. The first 3 days I felt like crap – headache, tummy ache, and sore all over. I made a few adjustments to my diet on the advice of an Ayurvedic doctor, Dr. Anjani S. Kulkarni and the tummy problems vanished right away. I skipped the salads, yogurt, cheese, fresh fruits, and desserts and ate soup, grains, and cooked vegetables. I had a fresh fruit in the afternoon by itself.

For those of you who don’t know what Satsang is, it is about 20 minutes of silent meditation, then singing kirtans (songs in Sanskrit), a lecture, and then an Arati ceremony. From Wiki: Arati is a “Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities.” Lots of incense, hypnotizing Harmonium music, various gurgling stomach noises, and pins & needles from sitting cross-legged for 90 minutes! I took advantage of my advanced age (68) and sat in a chair.

Many people of all ages and from all around the world travel here for vacations or for teacher training courses. The tables in the restaurant are really big and you get to know everyone very quickly! Most people were there by themselves. Typically, it went like this:
– Hi, where are you from?
– How long are you here for?
– How long have you been practicing Yoga? (answer: 0 to 40 years)
Then the conversation progressed to talking about other ashrams, other styles of yoga, health issues, Ayurveda, and so forth. After 5 days, I was the old pro and I was answering the questions of the new arrivals.

Things I learned:
– Always follow the teacher’s way of doing things
– Everyone farts sooner or later
– Phone is always on silent and tucked away
– Breathe through your nose
– Always clean your nose before flinging boogers all over your mat during Kappalabati
– Get a decent pedicure BEFORE going on a yoga holiday. You will be spending a lot of time staring at your toes. Ditto for wax or hair removal!
– You don’t need a fancy Spandex yoga wardrobe here – just comfortable trousers and a t-shirt
– Flip-flops are important – you will be leaving your shoes at the door about 1,000 times a day.
– Bring a flashlight. You may be going on silent meditation walks early in the morning or in the evening.
– Savor every blessed moment in corpse pose! You are charging up your battery.
– Shoulders are not earrings! It’s o.k. to relax and lower them.

More later!

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