Shiny Happy People Holding Tadasana

Day 6 in the Big Yogi House, and I’ve sweated my way through more items of clothing than I ever did at Ataturk international. At least my face is not so shiny beetroot, that has faded to more boiled Brit in the heat and humidity of a foreign country. I say foreign but really this more middle class than a Wimbledon. We even have feta and more pomegranate and coconut water than you can shake a Waitrose essential chocolate eclair at.

It’s the kind of place where gals wot ‘ave found them selves after boarding school, self loathing and self harming have come to earn a crust. Mummy and Daddy fund the life whilst they’re putting their lithe young backs into teaching the great unwashed masses the great truths and yogic mysteries whilst nibbling on a little salad, but ‘can’t eat the dhal daaa-ling it so aggravates my lower colon. This piece of spinach leaf will do just fine, mwah.’ Little North London in Goa. To be fair not all the staff are like that, but does form the majority of the non local workers. The faint sound of well bred Londoners’ laughter wafting up over dinner table does make me think that the colonials are taking a too late rear guard offensive to the Russian onslaught of a North Goa.

So everyone’s in their swanky yoga kit, a bit of Lululemon, some Sweaty Betty and some other brands and then there’s me with my recently purchased ‘not so cotton’ bright print, ripped after the first wash tat-shop harem troos. Most of the ladies have a scant bit of fabric covering the boobilage that stretches and breathes with them. My full on head to toe covering stretches, then appears to rip, or else sags (a bit how I’m feeling after a two hr yoga class with the ceiling fans turned off). Hardly conducive material to wicking away the perspiration. Just as well my low slung gusset isn’t waterproof as it’d be a tidal wave of filthy rancidity out of them puppies when I take them off to have the first, the second and on to the fifth shower of the day. Luckily laundry is so cheap, as are the clothes. Maybe I should give up and just have a new wardrobe for every change of clothes throughout the day (the record is probably 6 changes, excluding jimjams for beddingtons.

We kicked off with a puja, a priest came and did a fire ritual and blessing. Time did seem to be money and he was on the clock for sure. He was chanting so fast he sounded like a Peter O’Sullivan commentary on the Grand National… And it’s shiva at the back, coming up fast, Vishnu on the inside looking for a break, and it’s Krishna, it’s Krishna on the bend taking the lead, peeling away from the others, and as we cross the finish line it’s a Shiva Rama dead heat.Om shanti, shanti, shan-tee-ee-eeee…And up and out the door quicker than the red strings were tied round our little teacher training wrists.

The flower mandala for the puja

The course is really enjoyable, despite a shaky start of over sharing injuries and then we were chanting in the dark of a power cut on the first night. Under stress, eg when asked to chant my ears stop working and even when the words are in front of me I still get it wrong. Tea lights next to the coursebook where the words to the mantras were cast a faint gloom on proceedings which were mostly the teachers pronunciating beautifully whilst playing drums and a ukulele respectively (I think even they’d admit that was a bit too full on for day one) and us (ok, just me) going ‘muffley..shree…prum-ee-I don’t know…shiva……..argh’. An hour never to be repeated.

We are also practically a Eurovision in the making with the various nationalities on the course and after my attempt at the chanting it’s no wonder the UK are nil point most years. It’s a mixed bag of Northern Europeans in the main, and a couple of North Americans. There’s Tanya, Mia, Erdmutha, Anu, Renata and Caterina all from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Norway, and the British contingent (in the minority) are Jemima, Sarah and….Gary…Gazzer, the Big G, Gazbollah…or Shree Gary-Ji. A lamb to the slaughter among ten laydeeees. Apparently Gary is a name in decline, only 300 born last year. We’ve got double bubble on the Gazzer front as we’ve not only got our Gary but then there’s 3G Gary staying here, (who appears to have taken  a wrong turn off the rugby pitch) which does call into to question if there is a Gary shortage in the UK right now with what appears to be the excessive amount we have here.

Week one ends tomorrow, and I’m slowly learning my asanas from my elbows (which remain tightly tucked in in Bhujangasana), where I’m going wrong (mainly turning up for yoga it has felt like for a couple of days!), and how to breathe whilst sweating furiously, and not to clock watch for the shivasana time. We are all a bit stiff from the practice but it’s worth it so far and our philosophy tutor turned up today and that’s going to be a riot for sure. Last night’s yoga nidra was perfect, I fell asleep just after the ‘say to yourself ‘I won’t fall asleep’ and just before the ‘count back from 50 (or was it 54…really, no idea, I was out of it).

So all is good in the Mandrem hood, just need the shop ladies to stop hassling me and it’ll be perfect 🙂



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