BEAT THE RETREAT

BEAT THE RETREAT

I did. Despite my initial fears, that I wouldn’t like it, I loved it. Sure, there were parts which challenged me and I found difficult, but I overcame them and I didn’t quit.

I arrived jet lagged at 7am. High wooden gates protect the retreat from the outside world. Cars don’t drive inside. Walking through the gates, I thought why am I here? I don’t do yoga, supposing I don’t like it?

I limped across an orange dusty courtyard to meet Shivendra. As I sat down, I glanced around, and saw the retreat surrounded by jungle. It’s quite dry, but plants and trees still flowered. All the buildings were built from wood and the roofs covered in palm leaves.

Shivendra welcomed me to the retreat. His eyes radiated kindness and before I could stop myself, I poured out the tale of my relationship breakup. He listened and said.

“It’s a terrible thing that happened to you, but it has happened. You can’t live in the past. Let us look after you for the next 14 days. We will get you better.”

What did I have to lose? I knew something had to change. I had felt emotionally stuck for months, reliving the pain of the breakup continually in my head. However hard I tried to put it aside it would always come back and haunt me. If only I had done this. Why did it have to happen to me? Did she hate me that much? How will I cope travelling alone for a year?

I thought about it for 30 seconds and agreed. I upgraded to a single cabin, because Shivendra, who I’d spent several months corresponding with, thought I needed to be alone and have peace and quiet.

My cabin was the first one in a row of three. It had a small deck and a view of a magnificent coconut tree. Inside, though was dark, the mattress was incredibly uncomfortable as it consisted of padding, no hotel luxury here. A large mosquito net covered it. Thank goodness, I had brought extra strong Deet mossie spray, but if I didn’t spray thoroughly I’d get bites.

Time for an appointment with the Ayurvedic doctor. He took my pulse and pronounced I had too much water in my body. He prescribed daily massages, and treatments for the next 14 days and no yoga.
I arrived on Friday which was a rest day for the retreat. Brunch is at 10am, and with it my first opportunity to meet my fellow guests. The vegetarian food is cooked from scratch, and delicious. At times, I found it a little bland, but some guests must avoid all spices. Guests sit on cushions on the floor, and around long low tables.

I found a seat next to two women. They talked about England, and I could identify with very little, it seemed the UK has changed considerably in 10 years.

I had my first treatment that afternoon, which consisted of an hour and a half massage with oils. I had expected to keep some clothes on, but no. I was instructed to remove them all, and a bandage was tied between my legs. Was I embarrassed? Yes, but I shut my eyes and tried not to think about it

At 6pm dinner time. More fantastic veggie food. I retired at 7pm to my cabin. I thought I’d slept like a log. No. I hardly slept a wink. I heard scrabbling on the roof which lasted for hours, and then a soft tapping sound. A frog found its way into the bathroom and sat looking at me.
Welcome to Swan.

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