“You are yoga girls?” We settled down on a row of high bar stools along the small beach road in Agonda. The Nepali guys behind the bar are laughing. “All pretty girls come for yoga”. They are right, also we are here for yoga. A group of girls from Switzerland, Norway, Germany and Belgium. We order small Kingfisher beers and discuss the classes of the day and our travels.
Yoga in India. After practicing yoga at home for 3 years this was my next step in finding my inner yogi. I had become skilled in the downward facing dog, warrior poses, and back banding through camel poses. However, I was looking for more. We did the occasional Ohm mantra at the beginning of class, some teachers would even reside yoga related poems, but for me this wasn’t it. How could a practice which has been around for thousands of years be about exercise, about begin good at being flexible?
7 days in a yoga retreat in Goa. Morning class at 7.30 AM, afternoon class at 5:00 PM. The brightly colored yoga mats on the covered rooftop of the retreat are facing a large Shiva image. The sun peeks through the curtains in front of the doorway. Our guruji walks in, faces the image and performs his morning prayer. Dressed in white, calm eyes and a bright smile face the room. We start with breathing and meditation, followed by our asanas for the day, and close with relaxation.
I recognize most poses, but it feels different. Not only because of the overwhelming heat, the somewhat dirty yoga mats or the sound of monkeys in the background. The whole practice feels connected. This is not only about flexibility, but about knowing your body, physical and spiritual. “Keep it straight the spine, constant state of breath, comfortable seating position, engage your glutes, excellent, very good”. These phrases are stuck in my mind and will bring me back to this rooftop, even when im long gone from the laid-back surroundings of South Goa.
The Nepali guys in The Road Side Bar know how to address us yoga girls, who come to experience the true practice of yoga. On their wall they have written: I want a girl who cares about her health, but not her sobriety, like she does yoga, but her water bottle is usually full of vodka. Because despite all spiritual, deeper connections, we should not take ourselves to seriously, and enjoy life.