Treated like a true princess

Well, what a different experience it’s been here. I absolutely love Thekkady. The vibe of this little town high in the mountains is just magical. The 9th Annual Flower Show, which is like our Royal Show, is also next door which means people are out and about having a wonderful time. But before I get to how wonderful this place is, I need to close off what happened at last night’s resort from hell.

When I was leaving, walking down the very narrow canal back to the main road, I noticed a black thin ‘thing’ on the path. I stopped instantly thinking it was a snake. Turns out it was. There was no getting past it either. My options were – turn back (which traps me in the resort) or step over it. So I stepped over it! Hoping it was dead I took the risk. It didn’t move so my assumption was it must be dead – but it looked VERY alive! When I asked my driver if there were snakes in the area, he asked if I had seen that one, as he had seen it too. He confirmed it was dead as he too stopped to look at it. Far out! I also worked out that the bird I heard in my roof this morning was actually attacking a snake. The thing that slid down the tarp and stopped at the edge where the tarp and wood cornice met would have been a snake. The weight of it was too ‘dull’ for it to have been anything else. Seriously!!! I will not be going back there, ever again.

I didn’t even care that I couldn’t do my yoga this morning. It would have tainted the practice if I had! No, not really – but with ants and spiders everywhere, it wouldn’t have been a pleasant practice by any means.

My journey to the current destination has been quite different. With a new driver who is more forthcoming with information about where I am, what to see etc it’s been really lovely. With 25 years of doing this job, I guess he is quite accustomed to what travellers like. The trip to Thekkady has been like no other trip I’ve taken in India. Here we are up in the mountains, and we spent about 3 hours driving up spiraling, cliff hanging roads to get here. The crazy driving doesn’t stop though. Buses overtaking trucks on blind corners with a 500-foot drop only centimeters away. No biggie!

Travelling through hills full of tree plantations, the scenery has been nothing short of magnificent. Of course I took many pictures, some of which we stopped for and others with a window down – action shot.

Arriving in Thekkady, the vibe of the whole town was instantly different. It just felt like a great place to be. And then the vibe improved even more when we arrived at my beautiful hotel. With a greeting where I had a golden bindi painted on my forehead, I knew I was in a lovely place. I’ve been treated like royalty in this magnificent hotel. My room is also to die for. Another huge bed, large enough to have a small yoga class in, and a beautiful new bathroom. Certainly a step up from last nights experience! But most importantly, I feel safe here. People surround me, which is my most important thing when staying anywhere. In fact, lots of people surround me as I’m on the fence of their royal show listening to traditional live music!

For someone who is very quite, and I really do need my quiet time, I realize it may seem odd/ironic that I want people around me. But when traveling alone, I just feel so much safer this way. India is a crazy place and I just like knowing I’ve got people near me. Plus – I like people!

This evening I went and saw the most interesting traditional dance show I’ve ever seen. With some of the most elaborate costumes and face painting, it really was an amazing experience. Much of this performance was based on facial expressions. I’ve never seen anyone move their eyebrows of cheeks the way these two actors did. When I have access to good internet again I will be sure to post pictures. My descriptions will no doubt do an injustice to what I actually witnessed this evening.

Finally, I’ve ended my night with the most wonderful traditional Indian vegetable curry dish. With about 5 red chilies in it, my mouth was on fire by the end of it, but nonetheless the meal was amazing. And everything was so clean! I had about 4 waiters waiting on me, all with incredible manners. I’ve truly been treated like a princess since arriving at this place. I’m sad I’m only here for one night, but so very grateful for this short stay regardless.

Tomorrow morning, I have a date with elephants, tigers, deer, cobras – whatever the jungle brings to me whilst on my safari boat ride. I shall keep you posted!

Namaste xx

P.S. still working on getting pictures up. Internet is getting worse the more inland I go. I’m trying!

Making more friends - "Hello Sirsasana!"

The mind is so powerful. It can hold us back from pursuing and achieving what we truly desire in life or it can see us excel and meet our wildest dreams. In theory, people know this. I’m not saying anything new here - but in practice, it’s a little more challenging to apply. Yoga is a fantastic way of challenging the mind, our beliefs, our fears. For me, Sirsasana is one posture I never believed I could do. Even when our teacher assured two weeks ago that we could all do it, I was sitting in class thinking - “I’m sure everyone else can, but I know I can’t. I’ve been trying for over a year and failed miserably”. Well, I was proven wrong today. Today - I was up! Whilst holding the position I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. In fact, writing this now I can’t wipe the smile off my face. You see - achieving an asana like Sirsasana - The King of Kings - means so much more than achieving something physical. Here, there is a connection of the body, breath and mind, and when these become one, working in unison, then we can achieve great things in life (beyond asanas). I consider an asana as a symbol of our own power. If we can challenge ourselves to keep trying, to be patient, to learn the correct techniques, then anything is possible. Today, I proved this to myself and I feel so incredibly happy with this achievement. So much so, I didn’t want to wait until tonight to blog about it. Also, my hips are fantastic today. I sat in one position for about 40 minutes before having to move. That is 100% unheard of for me! Normally, I’m the squirmer in the class moving from cross legged to one leg bent back to cross legged because I feel like my hips are about to explode. But not today! It seems my body is finally beginning to surrender to the practice which is exciting. Again, through commitment, dedication and a desire to achieve it’s amazing what beautiful things can happen.

As of this week, our schedule will also include attendance at Mysore Style classes. Here we are to observe the students and how they train in this type of class. People travel from all over the world to train Mysore Style so I am looking forward to sitting in. I wasn’t selected to sit in today but at some stage this week I will.

This morning I will prepare to teach Surya Namaskara - one part of me hopes to be selected as I have prepared well, the other part hopes I’m not. Well see, shall we!

Namaste xx

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Clearly not me, but you get the idea!!