My how time flies! Before more time goes speeding on by, I want to share with you some pics from a recent trip to those saucy temples of Khajuraho. A world UNESCO Heritage site! I’ll be working on the text of this trip in the coming days but for now, let the temples speak for themselves!
Giving Anand Yoga Village a second try
After the first mediocre Hatha Yoga experience at Anand, I decided to give them another try. Why?
Well, I saw they offer a Tibetan Sound Bath. I had no idea what this was and this is why we travel! This is why I do what I do. So, sign me up!
Basically, you lay flat on your back, close your eyes and listen to someone lightly ding around on the metal sound bowls. Simple enough.
I loved it! It was so mentally relaxing. I could easily recognize when I was actively present, that is focusing on my breath and nothing else really. Just enjoying the present moment; without the million interruptions that our hectic monkey-brains love to provide. At times, I had thoughts of either the past or present. But instead of going along with the thought and giving it more energy, I was able to chuck it out and continue focusing on the present.
I’m certain that at some time during the one hour session, I fell asleep. Eventually I woke up again but my leg was the one falling asleep again. I needed to wiggle around a bit and get comfortable. The sound bath continued and the tones vibrated in my body and when two tones sounded on top of each other, the sound seemed to take you to a different place.
When it was all said and done, I was floating on a cloud. I can think of very few things that have hitherto given me a similar feeling of anti-gravity zen. I can’t even say that a super relaxing yoga class has ever made me feel this way; even though I’ve had plenty of zen-inducing classes. This sound bath is different because it was nothing physical at all. We didn’t have to do anything other than lay there on the floor. All the action took place in the mind and from there, the wonderful effects are dispersed throughout the body. The instructor who conducted the class was super friendly and had that positive yogi aura to him. He was very knowledgeable and answered a wide array of questions regarding the background of the sound bath and this tradition.
In conclusion, after the Sound Bath I went ahead and got the 5 class pass. I’m looking forward to Sunday for the next Sound Bath. Aside from this, I’ll also be checking out some of the other classes that are offered such as: Pranayama Breathing, and Journey to Handstand.
…which I’m still working on the Headstand, probably shouldn’t bite off more than I can chew but it’s worth a try!
Today’s yoga adventure yielded a delightful find. Tucked away at the Southern part of the beach, you’ll find Anand Village.
Location, location, location
The location itself is perfect. I did one yoga class there and I didn’t hear any traffic, construction noises, people, etc. If you’ve don’t yoga throughout India, you’ll know that you’re always in for a surprise somewhere along the way!
The huts and cabins there looked very clean, well-made and comfortable. They are not over the top fancy like at Kranti Yoga (the Mercedes-Benz of yoga schools) but the accommodations at Anand are decently nice!
The guys chilling in the reception were a little weird and I felt like I was bothering them but whatever, I was there for the yoga.
Onwards to the yoga shala itself, see the pics. What a relief to finally find a yoga shala with clean and flat floors. Mosquitoes weren’t an issue but then again it was 11am. If I do an evening class here, I’ll let you know if the mosquitoes suck me dry. There were quite a few huge ants and other annoying flying bugs but they didn’t really get in the way. A super cute dog decided to visit each participant during the yoga class. He was quite the charmer! Clearly, he feels like the owner of the shala.
The yoga itself was mediocre. 400 Rupees and the class was taught by a very nice young gal, who I think recently must have completed her teacher training. I was hoping for a true, Indian guru or Swami sort of person. The instructor this day was still using her notes and seemed nervous. She did offer good adjustments when I was struggling with one of the twisting-pretzel poses.
It all depends what you want out of your yoga experience.
Anand seems to target the young, cute girlie yogis. It’s a trendy, hip ambience perfect for the young millennial crowd. I’m pretty sure the yogi-gals who go here probably feel safe and at home at Anand. I’ve heard some horror stories about other yoga schools that are run by creepy employees and owners. That’s for another blog post, however.
I’ve never been sexually harassed by a instructor or ogled like a piece of meat so I don’t really care. I’ll go yoga anywhere. Since I’m older than the average at Anand and just a normal dude, I’m going to keep on looking for a more authentically Indian yoga-experience.
Anand does offer quite the variety of styles including a Tibetan sound bath. On account of this, I’ll give Anand one more try.
On the beach.
Thanks for tuning in, catch you next time!
Joking aside, what are some of the best places to practice Yoga in Goa?
I asked myself the same question when I was there and because I’m an old-school foo, there was only one way to find out.
The obvious place to start. I complied a list. Had it ready. I didn’t even need my mat because most places provide one.
Then I start asking the locals about yoga and it led to me starting a new list. The nice thing is that the locals here are very direct and tell it like it is (provided they don’t have a hidden agenda like recommending only their friend’s yogashala).
The guy who owns the beach huts where I’m staying, upon hearing which yoga school I was going to visit, said “No, don’t go to that one. They are just there to take your money. It’s not for real yoga”
My mouth started to water….omg…is it time to meet the real yoga gurus who live like hermits out in the mountainside, away from all us petty mortals?
He ended up recommending another school. This one is good because the main teacher is from the Himalaya region (historical center of yoga) and is a true practitioner of the yoga philosophy, not just the stretching and poses.
So begins my yoga journey. First place to visit: Aranya Yoga Ashram near Palolem Beach.
The school itself is located behind a popular coffee chain, Café Coffee Day. There’s a small alley to the left of the café, which looks dark and creepy at night. Yoga schools as a whole are very different than in the USA. Don’t expect a fancy building! It’s tempting to think that the schools look sketchy based on their rough exteriors but that’s just how it is here. Generally, the quality of instructors and their instruction make up for it. If it doesn’t, then look for a new yoga school!
I was curious to meet this this guru-master. The next day I walked to the yoga center for the 8 am class.
I went to Aranya for a drop-in class just to check it out and liked it so much I bought the pack of 10 classes. The famous school’s founder taught the first class which was excellent and why I bought the pac of ten. However, in subsequent classes, he taught less and less.
As a result, it’s worth sharing this relevant info that may be useful for others thinking of doing the drop-in classes. I’m saying these things neutrally, as I do enjoy “most” the lessons.
- In case you’re looking for a true ashram, Aranya is a yoga school, not an ashram in the true sense of the word.
- The drop-in classes are actually part of the Teacher trainings that the school is running at the time. This means that as the teachers-to-be get deeper into their training, they start to conduct the yoga lessons as part of their practical/training.
I don’t mind it as it’s interesting to watch in case that I’d like to do a Teacher Training one day. Also, it’s challenging for me to keep up and I’ve been progressing quite well. It does tend to feel a bit cliquish as the teachers in training naturally get more of the attention and mainly just stick to themselves.
There are a few students who find this less than ideal, as we expected Baba to do most of the teaching. He does chime in but seems aloof at times. Also, it can be pretty intimidating if you’re a beginner or lower intermediate.
As I’m nearing the end of my ten pack of classes, my experience has been pleasant so far. However, the price is a bit high given that the Master Yogi himself hasn’t been leading the majority of the classes. I think I’ll check out some other schools for good comparison. Then I’ll consider whether to sign up again at Aranya.
I hope you found this info helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you traveling to India sometime soon? Already here? Want to have outlandishly unique travel experiences?
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Life’s too short to be just a tourist. Let’s be explorers!
Hi! I’m Beto. I’m one of those curious thinking types. Like an anthropologist, I’m studying humanity, hoping to unravel some profound secret. My approach is boots on the ground and in the nitty-gritty. Basically where Life happens.
Before the age of the Internet, I used to read about awesome places in books from our little shabby public library. I told myself as a kid, I can go there too! Why not?
In the age of the social media and blogs, I’d read travel blogs by young guys and girls who look like Barbie and Ken dolls. I told myself as an almost old-fart, I can do that too! But I have to wonder, is there a short, chubby brown doll for us other folk?
By now, in my mid-thirties, I’ve lived and worked in several countries. I’ve had an awesome time by just being me: a down to earth, curious person. Always armed with my Mexican-humility with a penchant for making jokes and making people laugh.
Through all my travels, I’ve never once been lost. Would you like to know my travel secrets? Keep coming back to Beto’s World as I roam the world and share my travel tips and secrets with you.
Don’t listen to the negative-Nancy’s who say Do Not Visit India!
To be honest, I didn’t know much about India before arriving, but I know not to listen to the nay-sayers. So here I am, loving it, and now I want to give you 100 reasons to visit India.
Actually, 100 reasons to visit anywhere! The important part is to pick up and go!