Friday, September 17, 2010

Five Days in September.

Last week I had every intention of blogging on a daily basis. I thought I might ease one or two mild bodily discomforts while learning what this thing called Afrikan Yoga is all about. Certainly, I was looking forward to having a lot of quiet time by the beach to do some writing and thinking and resting and all that good stuff that one associates with a retreat..

...not so much. Who knew these things could be so exhausting?

Day one was fine. I felt like a beached whale trying to do the samba but that was only to be expected after two years of inactivity. Besides, there were six other retreatees to meet and get to know. And lots of fresh teas to consume: cinnamon, vanilla, lime, lemongrass... Babuu, a bouncy young entrepreneur with pecs the size of grapefruits and a plot on a spice farm, would get his mama to brew up some teas for after the evening practice with stuff he picked fresh as we watched him.

On day two I saw the right side of 6:00 am for the first time this year when I woke up for morning meditation... and learned to my surprise and through powerful experience that meditation should come with a mental health warning. I was slightly more graceful at yoga (think gimpy manatee), but the day passed in a haze of total highness brought on by excessive deep breathing of fresh air and consumption of herbal teas. I am starting to understand why some yogic types float and twinkle their way through life sustained by nothing but water and sunshine.

On day three, total system shut-down. Yoga done right is holistic, which means that you experience a lot of physical as well as emotional and psychological sensations as you open up to the practice. Physical detox is hard. While I wasn't as sore as I had expected to be considering the 4+ hours of practice per day, I was certainly ready to rip out someone's liver and eat it raw. Not quite the tranquility I was expecting...

...but on day four, I woke up in peace. I spent the morning smugly enjoying the sensation of being ten kilos lighter and the afternoon being kneaded into a coma by Asha, the most nurturing masseuse who has ever laid hands on me.

Back in Bongo for 24 hours, it is already getting hard to recall that sense of total relaxation. So, what is Afrikan Yoga* in a nutshell? Basically, like any yoga, it is a mind-body system of practice with a spiritual component to it. A couple of hours per day composing blogposts in my head hasn't yielded an answer on how to describe the philosophy or sensations of Afrikan Yoga. So I won't bother trying to reduce the experience. I'll just say this: it is fantastic, and I am hooked. You should try it. Especially if you are African.

There will be some more Afrikan Yoga information/opportunities in the next few months- I'll keep you posted.

*Tamare Smai Taui. Also: there are pictures but my intertubes connection is so slow that I was re-incarnated three times before the damn thing realized it couldn't handle so much data.

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