Day 1 of Yoga and Meditation retreat in Varanasi

Just roll with it, roll with the punches

For a successful time in India, every visitor needs to relax and just roll with it. You can make a plan as best as you can but there’s always some sort of change, delay, mishap or something is just a bit off the mark. Some say to take your expectations and lower them by 20%.

Dragging my bright blue carry on, I walked through a very crowded market area today. How many tuk-tuk and rickshaw drivers offered me a ride to the airport? Can’t count that high but it’s just as many as the number of feet I rolled over. And no one seemed to care; at least, nobody complained to me. I also knocked over two bikes as well; that was certainly a my-bad moment.

I went from one hotel to the next. The Yoga retreat takes place at a hotel that I’d rather call a motel so you can imagine it better. Check-in was at 11 am, according to my confirmation. Turns out that now it’s at 12. No worries; roll with it.

Give me the wifi password and I’ll wait as long as you want!

12 comes and goes and since I booked a shared accommodation, they can’t let me in the room because my roommate is out buying medicine for his severe stomach illness. Great. That guy’s gonna be my roommate; Mister Butt-Rocketman. He’s going to bomb the toilet!

The staff either read the look of displeasure on my face or knew that Rocketman definitely needed his own room because in the end, we both got private rooms. The room is basic, not sure clean but in no way gross. Huge bed just for me and a tiny tv on the wall that used to be a computer monitor in another life before reincarnating as a tv.

Wifi in the room didn’t work, the phone wasn’t working, no one had seen or heard from the ill Rocketman, the Australian girl turned out to be from Italy, and no one knew when the yoga program would start. So many unanswered questions in the beginning and the hotel staff seemed indifferent.

Usually I’m the one known for my glorious lack of communication but this was beginning to test me; I was imagining the evil Google review I was going to write and giving the company an earful over the phone.

Man, this bed is comfy….

Knocking on the door wakes me up and it’s the yoga instructor and the instructor of yoga philosophy and anatomy. They introduce themselves and finally provide some answers and overall clarification. The first class would start at 2 and end at 7pm.

The first class was a review of the first day.

Wait, what? I thought today was the first day. No, of course not; they started yesterday. From Sunday to Friday, she said.

Wtf, you serious?

I expressed in a diplomatic manner. I was told it runs Monday to Saturday.

She gave me the Indian head nod that indicates “sure, whatevs” and so, just like that, I’ll be here until Saturday but will I be the only one? Just roll with it.

The lecture was a long and winded review of yoga history, its founders, philosophy and some aspect of anatomy according to yogic tradition. All the terms were in Sanskrit and the lecture seemed more like an advanced language lesson of Sanskrit, rather than anything to do with yoga or meditation. After the teacher made her point, she’d always say “right?”

…Why sure, or course!

Meditation was cool. I think that was the second time ever in my life that I’ve actually given it a serious attempt. We were given a cool necklace with 108 beads that looks like a Rosario. After ever full breath, you advance one little bead. I actually felt my brain throb a little; either I was about to embark on a cosmic journey …. or I was dehydrated. Probably dehydrated.

108 beads in a Meditation Mala

Yoga class was awesome and kicked my ass. Hours later, I’m still sore and this gives me a bit of pause for what to expect for the rest of week. The Italian lady teaches Acro-yoga already and is now dabbling with this old school version of yoga just for kicks. So she’s very advanced, meanwhile I’m lamenting that we didn’t end in my favorite posture of Savasana; because I really needed to lay there for a while and recoup.

Back in my room, I wolfed down a protein bar and some cereal as I waited for dinner. I fell asleep and woke up at 9pm when they knocked on my door with that dinner I had been waiting for. Normally, I’d be worried that it’s going to be a long and sleepless night due to that prolonged Siesta-asana session, but my body,,,my body is telling me I’m gonna sleep like a baby.

I’m looking forward to day two; which will start at 7am with cleansing practices using a cool Netti pot, followed by breathing practices and a morning yoga routine.

Jala Neti Kriya
Let’s do this!

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