This month, I’ve shipped myself off to a ayurveda, yoga and meditation retreat.
I want it to be like a reset button for my life – break the old bad habits, create some new healthy ones and regain some balance in my life so I can generally be a better person.
Having no idea if it would work, further confused by a mixed reception of skepticism and enthusiasm from various friends and family I set off to Thane to meet the ayurvedic doctor who would assess me and prescribe a treatment plan for my stay.
I have to say I felt a certain amount of guilt leaving my daughter and using my precious annual leave and money on something that was just for me. It goes against your instinct as a mother.
Her babysitter had another view – they felt that by making some much needed changes in myself, getting a better handle on controlling my emotions and reaction to stress specifically, I could be a better mother, employee, relation and friend and that not just me, but everyone around me would benefit.
Healing yourself shouldn’t be viewed as a selfish thing, but the pressures of modern life seem to reduce the act of doing something like a yoga & ayurveda retreat to something self indulgent -akin to being pampered in a spa – something only for the rich with no responsibilities. Even I felt this way, hence the guilt. Luckily I have my family to encourage and support me otherwise I would never have done this.
After seeing the doctor who assessed my dosa prakriti (body constitution) and noted any medical issues, we continued on to the centre near Ganeshpuri. The journey was very pleasant. The Maharastra countryside is so green and lush in monsoon it feels like a magical landscape from a film, color corrected so that the greens leap out at you, vibrant and unbelievable. Darkness fell as we were nearing our destination and the trees lit up with the twinkling fairy lights of fireflies, flashing in unison. We got a little lost and google maps nearly took us down a muddy track into a small pond. Yogesh from the centre came to our rescue on his scooter, meeting us near a temple that he told me was for the non-angry incarnation of Kali which I took as a good omen. The path got narrower and bumpier and before long we had arrived at Fire Mountain retreat centre.
We were greeted by the warm and welcoming Lee and a round little over-excited dog. As we sat down for dinner and spoke to Lee and Yogesh my anxiety lessened. Lee, a kind faced American lady, told us her story of being a retired chief technology officer (a fellow geek – another good omen) and how she had now embraced her ‘other life’ full time, following the spiritual teachings of Bhagawan Nityananda and Swami Muktananda, in the retreat with her colleagues Jeanetta and Dewa. The foundation is a charity which helps provide employment and education for the Padukas (local tribal women) and does a whole load of other good stuff in the community, which I will write about later.
Yogesh told of his many years experience in ayurveda, training therapists along with his brother Hemant. He also told us about his about his home village, which in another lovely coincidence is where our maid Jasmin is from. Reassured I was going to be well looked after I went to bed in my very comfy, cosy room that was to be my home for the next nine days.
I will write more about my experiences on this trip in parts 2 & 3 coming soon..