2015 India – Goa

My decision was made and so flights and the retreat were booked and the countdown started. At the 13th of April Paul dropped me off at Dusseldorf Airport for my flights to Goa via Abu Dhabi and Mumbai. As both my first two flights arrived late I had to rush to catch my connecting flights which I did, just…

Many, far too many hours I left Dusseldorf I arrived in Goa where Raj, a driver with a big welcoming smile on his face, was already waiting for me to bring me to Little Cove Resort, another 90 minute drive. The last bit was absolutely breathtaking, plantations, an abundance of coconut trees and small villages caught my eyes. The last two kilometers were over a bumpy unpaved road but then, there it was!

I arrived at Little Cove just after 8:00 am whilst a yoga class was taking place. I Totally forgot about my tiredness and enjoyed watching the class whilst zipping from a glass of fresh mint tea and a fruit salad.    

After class Pardeshi, the yoga teacher and owner of the resort, came to welcome me. At 11:15 a fantastic brunch was served at the yoga shala and I got to know some of the guests. Not much later my tiredness caught up with me and I slept a couple of hours in my bungalow, to wake up just in time for my first afternoon session of yoga.

In the evening all of us had dinner under the starry sky but not much later I decided to call it a day and headed back to my bungalow.

The next day I woke up after a restful night of sleep and just made it in time for the morning session. 90 minutes of what must have been the most intensive yoga I have done so far. It seemed to me al asanas (poses) I have been taught the last couple of years came together in one single class and there were even some new ones as well. Intensive indeed, but did I feel good after….

Especially when the staff, dressed in beautiful saris, arrived and brought us a fruit salad and some mint tea. What a way to start the day. After a shower I went to the beach for a short beach walk, and then it was time for lunch which was served at the yoga parlor. A delicious selection of vegetarian dishes, each of them complimentary to each other, a true feast for the palate, I really needed to control myself as I was eager to loose some weight during this trip.

After lunch I found a shady place at the beach and it was my intention to start reading… I made it to page three after which I dozed away, waking up just in time for an Ayurvedic massage. Totally rejuvenated I headed back to the beach for some sunbathing and dipping in the warm Indian Ocean. I was joined by some of the other guests and it was wonderful floating on the waves and chitchatting about our travel experiences.

Back out of the water we were treated once more on a wonderful fruit salad and I had some time for a refreshing shower and read a bit at the veranda of my bungalow. Hardly was I seated or one of the staff brought a refreshing lemon ginger tea. At 17.30 Nadia, the second yoga teacher at little cove rang the bell and all yogis (just the 9 of us) followed her to the rocks at the end of the beach for a meditation pranayama session, a guided meditation where the focus was on breathing techniques. I had some doubts whether I could last the full 90 minutes and the first part I perhaps did not focus as much as I should as I had goosebumps all over my body, impressed by the stunning location and almost unearthly beauty surrounding me. Once I disconnected myself from my surroundings though I was led by Naida’s voice into a deep state of relaxation, something I have never experienced before in this form.

At the end after we were asked to open our eyes I gazed a couple of minutes to the Indian Ocean before we made our way back to Little cove. Not much later a, once again, fantastic meal was served, I chatted a while with some of the others and then off to bed.

Within a week after arrival at Little Cove Yoga Retreat I felt the place was doing wonders to me. I felt like a total different person by then, extremely relaxed and happy. Since a couple of days I have not felt dizzy at all, something which was hard to believe after almost 11 months of almost constant dizziness and nausea. I felt like a totally new person, rejuvenated and fresh.

The first week had been a very lazy one, knowing I had time enough I did not feel the need to go anywhere and immersed myself in the yoga sessions and guided meditations. I Woke up every day at 7.00 am, enjoyed a cup of mint tea and waited for the first yoga session of the day. Every day I practiced the headstand and was gradually improving.

Once the yoga morning session was completed the rest of the day was just accepted as it came but was in no way boring. Sometimes a massage, some sunbathing, or a swim in the India Ocean.

Before I realized it was 5 o’clock and depending on the mood we either have another yoga session or head towards the rocks and meditate. Apparently during one session dolphins were jumping out of the water in front of the rocks where we meditated but as I had my eyes closed for the full hour I missed out on that.  

On Sunday some others and myself decided to go to Agonda, a small village 2 coves further on. There were some tourists around and some shop owners waiting for customers but for the rest it was not world moving. Will have to go back the next weekend though to buy two singing bowls and some spices as I did not get to that this time. Met the rest of the group in a pub and initially wanted to order a banana smoothie. As there was a power cut in the whole area though that wasn’t available so I opted to be a bad boy and got myself an old monk rum and coke, my first one since I arrived. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon watching the cows sunbath at the beach and watching the world go by. Late afternoon we returned to Little Cove, just in time for dinner.

As it was Sunday there was no yoga or meditation class but instead of that we were treated on a performance by local dancers, a nice experience. They started off with a couple of simple dances and things got even more interesting when the next couple of dances were performed with candles balancing on their heads. Them there were some dances involving to twist and untwist colorful pieces of fabric, finally it became a bit uncomfortable when we were asked to join in for the last two dances, just felt that little bit clumsy….

Next morning an early rise as usual for the daily yoga session, followed by a fruit salad and tea. Four of us Emma, Lorraine, Sadie and myself, had decided to go on a day tour to a National Park in East Goa. The drive over there took about 1 1/2 hour and led through small villages and plantations. There was enough to admire but still I managed to doze away a couple of times. Once arrived at the entrance of Bhagwan Mahaveer National Park we had to change cars as the last 45 minutes we had to drive over a red clay dirt road and cross some wells as well.

The place seemed to be popular with local tourists as there was a non stop flow of people leaving and coming.  It did not take us long before we saw the first monkeys and we even were lucky enough to see two mothers and babies, they were very cute indeed. Our main goal of the trip was a waterfall with a wonderful pond in front of it. The perfect place to swim and so we did!

Time was flying by fast and unfortunately we had to leave already as Raj, our driver was waiting for us at the entrance of the park to bring us to a spice plantation for lunch and an excursion. Fortunately it was not to far away and lunch was fantastic. For the first time in over a week we tasted fish and chicken and as we were already ‘breaking’ the rules we treated ourselves on a beer as well, it was a holiday after all.

The excursion was really interesting and the guide told us a lot about the different spices and their uses. Once we completed our walk through the plantation we visited a friendly elephant but non of us was brave enough to have the infamous elephant shower.

The way back to Little Cove seemed to go much faster than the way up but as we had already expected earlier we missed out on the evening yoga session so it was time for a shower and some relaxing before dinner was served.

Although the trips of the last two days had been very nice I somehow felt distracted from my yoga regime, it was an interruption of an almost mediative flow of relaxation I had found myself in the last week. So I have already decided to immerse myself into another week of yoga without any more side trips.

Time was flying by fast. I thoroughly liked waking up early and starting the day with an extensive yoga session. it somehow made me feel energetic to absorb and enjoy the day and enjoy everything it brought. A week passed by quickly and the next Sunday I went back for a quick shopping trip. I wanted to buy some spices and a singing bowl. Although successful with the spices I was not convinced about the quality of the bowls so I decided not to buy them. Fortunately we were back in time at the resort so I could witness some of the cooking skills of Sunil and the other staff.

It was the day after I did realize that only this Saturday I would be home again… I could not believe I only had 4 days left before starting on my long journey home. The decision to come to Little Cove has indeed proven to be perfect. For a long time I have not felt as good as the last 18 days over here. It has been over a year and a half now since I did not feel a 100% and somehow it started to have an impact at me. With this experience however I am confident again and am looking forward to the future. Is it the simple lifestyle, the yoga, a vegetarian diet or the lack of alcohol? Maybe it is simply the stunning surroundings I find myself in, an isolated beach, hundreds of coconut trees and the crashing of the waves at the shore.

Heaven is a place on earth and I think I have found it. but even heaven is not perfect as in spite of my daily Skype calls with Paul I did miss him terribly. Still it was good to switch off a while from everything and work on my own well being. Eighteen days of yoga, meditation and relaxation. No dizziness, no nausea, I feel good, life is good.

Yoga asana’s and meditation on the rocks…

Thank you Pardeshi, Nadia, Sunil, Ram and all the other staff at Little Cove Retreat. The three weeks with you have been absolutely amazing and you know it meant the world to me. Not only learning to relax and experience the gentle art of doing nothing, but also deepening my yoga skills and getting introduced to meditation… My time over here was the first time I felt completely human again after my operation. It has given me the strength to look forward to a bright and happy future. Shukriya, bless you and your families, I hope to be back next year!

Continue the journey in Mumbai