'Where should I go in Goa?' As a travel writer, it was a question I kept getting asked by people travelling in India. The answer was, I didn't know. Goa is a state, rather than just one destination, and the character and appeal of its beaches are constantly changing.
On the face of it, I can see that my decision might look a lot like a spineless lack of will-power and abject failure. But let me tell you why you're wrong, and actually quite mean. I contend that I am not so much 'giving up' as 'relinquishing-one-less-than-satisfactory-aspect-of-my-life-in-favour-of-attending-to-more-fruitful-pursuits'. The title needs work.
I know yoga can seem intimidating. To the uninitiated it's hard not to be put off by the glamorous yet impossible looking photos flooding our social media streams or the strange words and unknown history of it all.
For some, there is something about ecotourism that screams fad-for-the-rich. You go to a remote location, dine on local insects, and revel in the fact your toilet is a hole in the ground. Then you go home, tell all your friends, and have your back patted for being so environmentally conscious.
Yoga is everywhere these days. It's fair to say it's become well and truly mainstream. In most Western cities yoga studios are as ubiquitous as fast-food joints or liquor stores. 20 million Americans say they practice yoga. So, what exactly is happening here? How can we explain the meteoric rise of yoga?
You know that feeling you get when someone presents you with an amazing opportunity to present and sell your course, class or program and part of you is like YES! But as you picture the scene in your head the sense of jubilation begins to fade.
A drive to improve the way one looks is often the precipitating factor that causes one to begin yoga or any kind of new workout regimen. Of course, we can usually see the positive health benefits, too, but oftentimes, outer appearance is what first motivates us to change.
Yoga is very much about being present, on and off the mat. By leading a more mindful life, the aim is to change the way we think about our experiences; being more aware of each moment, more accepting and less judgemental.
Eliana, mother of Dominic, who took my yoga session, is 85 but not, if you know what I mean. Unexpected, impatient and eager for new experiences, she sports the attributes of youth not age. We had a conversation about her fascinating life and what brought her to her vocation as a healer via a career in fashion and teaching.
Yoga is not a pick-n-mix, you cannot take the fitness aspect, asana, and ignore the aspect of jnani, self knowledge, or bhakti, doing selfless service for others. We cannot afford to pay no heed to how our daily consumerism, and lack of resistance toward consumerism, propels the impoverishment of brown bodies in the East
A little slice of Indian Ocean heaven, Constance Ephelia is the picture perfect beach retreat that doesn't disappoint. Our journey to the Seychelles is not direct, and somewhat tiring but on arrival the WOW factor and immediate air of calm and relaxation out-weighs the jet lag.
When I began doing yoga it was to escape and balance out a very stressful corporate job. And it worked. It really worked. And I suppose it is still "working", however, I am more cautious now than ever about my involvement and relationship to yoga.
I am a traveler. I enjoy navigating foreign terrain. And I am typically a serial monogamous, years of long-term relationship after long-term relationship with desert in between. Due to this, the rules of this type of playground are very foreign to me.
There are few places today where we aren't able to see our reflection - mirrors abound, selfies taken at every opportunity not to mention the media obsession with perfect looks. Yoga is one of the only spaces where all devices are out of sight and the external is abandoned.
When talking with other birth professionals about how they can grow their business', I frequently notice the passion poured into their work, far outweighs the profits taken out. Alongside how common the same self-limiting beliefs prevent amazing women (I tend to work with women) from stepping up to be viewed as the valuable specialists they are.
Tantra and anything else that purports to make us all more attractive with additional sexual prowess must be worth investigating. There are no limits to the alluring promises made by companies who sell us products or makeovers to improve our sex lives.