After last year’s immersive yoga experience in Northern India, I was most looking forward to returning to India for some more yoga. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to do nearly as much as I had on my previous trip, but that just wasn’t the nature of my travels this time. I did, however, try to do some of it on my own, and when I did fit it in, I soaked it up as much as possible.
Through this I managed to discover that what I love most about India is its connection to yoga. Maybe that has to do with my first month in the country last year, but when I step on my mat in India I feel the most at peace I ever have; I don’t believe that’s a coincidence.
I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous to practice in Goa, especially with its reputation for partying. But, during my three sessions, I felt just as much at peace as I did in Rishikesh, the beauty of my surroundings each time could have been the key to that.
Ashiyana means home in Hindi and its exactly how I felt after crossing the bridge to the sprawling beauty that is this Goan retreat center. It’s a peaceful hideaway and sanctuary perfectly situated near the river and beach, where yoga classes, holidays, and trainings are offered. We dropped in for a morning class and it was set in a beautiful studio. Since it was my first Indian yoga class in a year, I had high expectations and they were easily met. We were also able to enjoy breakfast here, which was vegetarian-friendly and one of the best meals during my time in Goa. This may or may not be due to the huge vats of both chai and ginger tea. In the future, I’d love to return and spend more time here, taking classes and visiting the Ayurvedic spa. Maybe I’ll even run a retreat here one day!
Teaching at Casa Menezes
There was something special about staying at the heritage home stay, Casa Menezes, more on that in a future post, I promise! Since we didn’t want to get up extra early one morning to head to a nearby yoga studio, I offered up my services. While we didn’t have mats, we broke out our towels and had at it. Even though I was planning on teaching outside in the beautiful surroundings, a storm the night before made that more difficult. Instead, we moved to one of the front rooms at Casa Menezes. It wound up being one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever taught a yoga class. In my life, I never would have imagined teaching in a house that was older than the Taj Mahal, but I feel so grateful for that opportunity. One day, I’d love to host a retreat here, as I think it’s the ideal location for one.
Poolside at Casa Menezes
Since we all wanted more yoga, David, owner of Casa Menezes, picked us up some yoga mats and Goa’s Tourism Board sent two teachers for us. As much as I love teaching, sometimes it’s nice to have someone else lead the practice. This session was probably my favorite of the trip, as it was really tuned into what I had learned last year. This experience was not just physical, but also spiritual. I even knew some of the mantras that were used and said them alongside the teachers. This particular morning, I was feeling a bit under the weather with a migraine still lingering from the night before, but this yoga practice helped just as I had hoped it would. Practicing out in nature helped as well, I’m sure of it. But, even better were the teachers, a husband and wife who taught together. They led the session beautifully and assisted each of us as we needed it. I would head back to India just to take more of their classes and hope to one day again soon.
When I visit Goa again in the future, I think it will be solely to practice yoga, either by leading or attending a retreat. It’s such a gorgeous area of the world to practice and being able to have a variety of experiences helps enhance it. I loved a lot about my trip to Goa, but I think my yoga experiences were my favorite of everything I did.
I was a guest of Ashiyana, Casa Menezes, and Goa’s Tourism Board on the #Escape2Goa trip, but that in no way affected my experience. As always, all opinions and views are my own.