Yes, I’ve caught the Yoga bug! I admit it, I’m a yoga convert. I never had a good word to say about it before I came to India. If yoga was mentioned in conversation, I would quote my doctor and osteopath’s opinion – ‘you shouldn’t do yoga with a back injury.’
I had severe sciatic pain in my back, which I controlled with medication for years. At the retreat, I had 1-1 yoga classes with Om (see my previous post).
During my stay in Anjuna, I came across a poster advertising Yoga Nidra tacked to a tree. A class was scheduled for the next morning. I went and met Yashu, who runs beyogabound (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The ‘warm up’ before Yoga Nidra was hard, and I couldn’t do it. Immediately, I felt discouraged, but afterwards, I had a long chat with Yashu who specialises in helping people recover from injuries. I ended up having two private lessons, with more exercises that I could incorporate into my practice. It takes about an hour a day but I combine meditation with the yoga. In the Asana of the Crocodile, part of the pose is looking up at the ceiling. At the beginning I couldn’t do it, five weeks later I can!
While in Anjuna I went to the market which takes place every Wednesday. It began life with the hippies in the 60’s, who needed to fund their stay in India, and they sold jewellery and plaited hair. Drugs were openly displayed and sold without any police interference, but that doesn’t happen today.
The market is big, colourful and busy. Tourists come from all over North Goa to pick up bargains. The day I went was extremely hot, probably in the middle 30’s, crowded and noisy. I thought I’d be good at bargaining, but in fact I was terrible. I found it hard to walk away from a stall without buying something. This was the reason I ended up with 4 soap stone elephants, 4 Pashmina scarfs, 2 large duffle bags, a sarong and a scarf!
I overheard tourists bargaining hard, so they’d get a few more rupees knocked off the cost. I’d give a price, and the guy would generally, after a couple of minutes agree. So, I think I overpaid most of the time. The stall holder where I bought a Pashmina scarf, told me he travels from his village in Kashmir for the tourist season. He relies on the money he makes to feed his large extended family.
When I first came to India, I wondered why all these blue tarpaulins hung over half-finished buildings or sheds. I found it shocking when I realised extended families live in them. Little children run around and drink water from a hosepipe. You must drink bottled water, otherwise you’ll find yourself sitting on a toilet for hours! Here there is no social security. A person must rely on their family and friends if they can’t find work.
I’ve also found it upsetting seeing the cows wandering along the road looking for food. They are left to roam where they please, until they’re chased off somebody’s property because they’ve munched through a hedge! It’s so dry, there’s no grass and many of them are pregnant and malnourished.
Dogs are left to roam the streets. Some of them have collars and presumably owners. I haven’t seen a vet’s surgery yet. Most dogs are underweight and in poor physical condition. Where I stayed in South Goa (next blog post) I was warned not to walk back at night because the pack of dogs might attack me. Yes, I did heed this advice.
Next time – driving, beaches of South Goa and Russians!
The photo is of my amazing yoga teacher Yashu.