The first two-week session ended at Purple Valley yesterday, which meant it was time for my dad to return home. I can’t believe how fast our time together went by. It seemed we were looking forward to the trip and planning this adventure for ages, anticipating what it might be like and imagining what it would mean to both of us. Without a doubt, our time together in Goa has been beyond memorable. Perhaps what was most fun about being here with Dad was spending time with him in the company of others who were getting to know both of us for the first time. How often do you get to make new friends, with your dad by your side?
It’s hard to believe that our second week at Purple Valley is already halfway over. I’m not ready for this experience to end – so I’m staying! That’s right…instead of moving on to Rolf and Marci next week as originally planned, Amy and I have decided to spend more time practicing with Petri. She’ll stay on for a third week, while I’m playing with the idea of staying right through until the end of the month. My practice has felt really strong here, and I want to seize the opportunity to see what more concentrated study with Petri could bring.
Since I began practicing Ashtanga yoga, I’ve often heard that one gains great benefit from adopting a “beginner’s mind”. That is, looking at yoga through the eyes of someone who is encountering this ancient practice for the first time, who has no agenda when it comes to adding on poses and learning new series, who sees each pose as only a new shape to make with the body, who is confronting new sensations of discomfort and thriving on new feelings of growth and improvement, and who – most importantly – remembers it’s just yoga, and nothing more than that.
Last Saturday, along with my dad, Amy and Zev, I left Mumbai, bound for Goa. While the flight was short and uneventful, our cab ride to Purple Valley left me feeling like I’d been dragged onto a ride at Universal Studios that I really had no desire to be on in the first place. Each road we took was a 2-lane highway, packed with slow moving vehicles like buses, carts, and tourist-driven scooters. Our driver, who had to quickly deposit us at the retreat centre before going back to the airport for one more pick-up, was in a race with everyone else on the road. Constantly jockeying for position and passing into oncoming traffic whenever there was a split-second chance to get ahead, he had me closing my eyes on more than one occasion. When we finally arrived at our destination, I got out of the cab with wobbly legs and wandered into Purple Valley, slightly dazed but happy to have finally arrived.