Monday, February 22, 2010

Yoga Vacation Part I


About a week ago I stayed for three days at the Sivananda Ashram at Neyyar Dam just east of Varkala Beach . After spending a week lolling around the beach and sipping coconut juice, I was ready for some yoga, meditation, and silence.

I took a two hour taxi ride to get there through skinny, winding roads and jungle. The cab was sweetly scented, since the driver had draped a fresh jasmine lei over the rear view mirror. Colorful Keralan-style houses in every imaginable shade stood out against the greenery of coconut palms, rubber tree plantations and tapioca fields. I saw purple, bright pink, turquoise, teal, lilac, powder blue, melon, lime green, violet, apricot, periwinkle and many more colors. A man on the road herded a gaggle of ducks. He had a stick with a plastic bottle on the end which I surmised was his herding staff to keep the ducks in line. The driver said he sells the ducks for the eggs they lay. "Very tasty, very strong."

Along the way I stopped at the Steve Irwin Crocodile Preserve. There was one rather stagnant pool with four crocodiles floating around. They are served "beaf" every other day. They're doomed. Hopefully the nearby waters were crawling with them.

I arrived at the ashram, ready to submit to structure and discipline. The grounds were beautiful. Set in the jungle were ornate temples, an open yoga/satsang/lecture hall with brick arches, rubber trees bleeding latex, and a "cannon ball" tree with exotic cream and pink blossoms and an equally exotic scent. The requisite crows were there but so were tree pieds, chatty jungle babblers, and Indian robins.

Thankfully, I reserved a shared room. The dormitories were adequate, but a little grim. My room had two beds, a private bath, small table, and a simple veranda. I scored. I felt like I was in the lap of luxury.

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