Ashiyana, a place to heal
I chose to stay at Ashiyana to start my trip to India. I wanted a place near the sea where I could rest and recover from jet lag and the stress from the last months. This place exceeded what I had in mind…
My first night in India did not go as planned. I booked a room at the Holiday Inn by the airport to rest a few hours before my flight to Goa. I contacted them a few days before my trip to make sure me they will have a room for me because I was arriving at 2 am. Guess what? They didn’t. When I saw two other people with the same predicament I quickly realized negotiating was futile so I went to the suggested hotel escorted by an employee of the hotel.
Sometimes things happened for the best and this was one of those times. The Pride plaza hotel turned out to be better and less expensive. The complementary breakfast buffet including the made-to-order dosas were amazing! The cook explained what they were and I was in for my first culinary delight in India. With a full belly, I left happy for the airport.
The flight to Goa was delayed only one hour and after a couple of hours we landed uneventfully. Soon I will learn, flights are never on time. The driver from Ashiyana was waiting for me despite the delay. I felt asleep shortly after the car left the airport and woke up when we’re almost there!
Entering Ashiyana, I saw the shala with people in it and I asked at the reception when the class was starting. They let me drop my bags in my room and checking in later so that I can join the class. A gentle practice that ended with the teacher singing while playing her guitar was the perfect beginning to a most rewarding stay.
I heard people after the class rushing to catch the sunset and I followed suit. I was not prepared for the amazing sight of the long beach and the sun setting over the water. I remained glued to the sand until I can no longer see the sun. It was dinner time and I was hungry. Needless to say, I quickly returned to Ashiyana and found everyone already seated at the long table and eating.
The food was everything I heard and more. Fresh arugula salad, dhal, rice, and some sort of raw balls for dessert. The paneer was the best one I ever tasted. But equally impressive was the people I met at the table, we quickly connected and I made friendships I hope remain in my life for some time.
I woke up next day in time for the morning practice. Two hours feel like the right amount of time for a class. I wish I could teach classes that are this long. After a succulent breakfast, I changed to get ready for my treatment. Two hours and a half of bliss.
The treatment started with oil massage (abyangha). A young man skillful and quite professional gave me vigorous massage with warm sesame oil and quickly relieved the tension I had in my body. A warm oil treatment (shirodhara) followed. I heard about this treatment before and everyone raving about it. Still, I was surprised by the instant bliss I felt. The warm oil in my forehead was the most soothing touch I ever felt. When it ended, I was lead to the eucalyptus sauna. It looked like a cave and smelt divine. I had to take a break and return to it. The heat was getting to me and I was carefully not to aggravate my Pitta.
Jumping in the pool of natural water with minerals was the perfect ending to the treatment. And all of the sudden I was hungry like a Lion. I headed to the neighboring village just a 2m walk and had a lassi with cheese nam. Exchanging money was easier than expected. Fare rate offered, no-hassle transaction.
Another surprise awaited for me that afternoon, Klara, a teacher from Paris led us into two intense 2-hours practice ending with chanting a short mantra 108 times. I could not believe the amount of prana I felt rushing into my body. I recognized that this is one of the major attractions of a vigorous physical practice. I was very impressed with her skill for adjustments. Karla is a wonder of flexibility, grace, and strength. She uses her entire body to bring you into the right alignment and the most challenging expression of the pose that you can do.
I spoke to her in several occasions and found out she was previously a dancer. A physical injury that ended her dancing career led her to yoga and teaching. I am forever grateful to her teachings. One of the amazing synchronicities, we were both at la Rosa de 4 venti. Last year, she left the day I arrived! I enjoyed sharing my pics and some of my experiences in La Rosa with her. Hope our paths cross again some day.
The days at Ashiyana passed quickly between beautiful meals, beneficial practices and treatments, fun in the sun at the beach with my new friends. I felt the real me surfacing and shining again as it should.
One night, listening to some recordings of my energy medicine classes with Rebecca, I got inspired and wrote the post about discernment. Her class was one of the steps in the biggest transformations I have experienced. Some how going over them at this time, the knowledge sank deeper and felt able to share it.
I met impressive people at Ashiyana and I like to share a couple of these magical encounters. One was Anita, a 12 year old girl, that roams the beach painting henna tattoos, removing hair, and massaging people. She works the high season in Arambol beach to help her family. She wore me down and I agreed to a henna tattoo on my right foot. She told me she may want to be a yoga teacher when she grows up. I pointed out that yoga teachers don’t make a lot of money. She said… money comes and goes, money not important!
After a couple of days, I had another ayurvedic treatment, a massage with pressure on energy points helping you release deeply seated toxins and leaving you renewed (siddha marma). The woman giving the treatment used to be an accountant 10 years ago… she is very aware of energy and I was able to feel the energy she channeled through the massage. I felt at times like a flush. I looked at her in awe and said did you feel that? She had a big grin on her face. If you go to Ashiyana, this treatment is a most!
My clever young friend from Spain managed to organized a cooking class. It was more a demo than a class but we did get our hands into the dough, literally! rolled nam and cook it… Unfortunately, an exchange with the cook proved rather difficult because he speaks little English and I don’t speak Nepalese. Yes, all the Ashiyana kitchen staff was from Nepal and we had momos one night! Deliciously amazing, the sauce wasto die for and yet I don’t have the recipe. Waiting for the Ashiyana cook book to be published soon.
I met a group of wonderful women and for respect to their privacy I won’t mention their names. We laughed, talked, ate, and practiced for several days. We all came from different parts of the world, spoke different languages, had different ages, and yet we all want the same thing, health and healing! We bonded and that last week of the season felt like our own private retreat. A true celebration of life. I am very grateful to all of them for their love and friendship.
Several women I met were doing panchakarma for 2 weeks. They had more severe issues to deal with. Moral of the story, don’t wait until you hit rock bottom. Seek help and restore when life gets trickier. No one can heal alone!