The jet lag has been really strong this trip. Our sleep patterns are radically off but it feels like we are getting toward normal. Rain and thunder is the soundtrack in the background. Today is the new moon so we don’t have practice. We are free to explore the surrounds at our leisure.
Yesterday I was awake at 2:45am. I figured this to be the perfect time to practice some meditation and was able to sit for an hour and then Ethan came in and joined me. We were all awake by 4:00am and so we took our time getting ready for practice with Rolf at 7:00am. We made the drive at 6:30am to Vagator from Candolim. It was a very easy trip and the rain wasn’t too heavy for the beginning of the drive. The early morning in Goa is a really nice calm time. People tend to sleep in a bit more here in Goa so the roads are quiet in morning with only some cows walking around enjoying the relaxed environment. Traveling by car is the mode of choice with family through the rain! Most tourists here rent motorbikes, especially during the dry season. The rule of thumb when driving in India is don’t stop. If you stop you have been defeated. Luckily our driver is a sweet man who is not in a hurry. This is a godsend in India!!
The drive takes 25 minutes and we arrive to the shala where Rolf is set to teach and it is a thatched roof hut with a concrete floor. There is a concrete wall on one side with tarps strung about around the outside. There is a big blue Shiva statue greeting you as you walk into the courtyard and the area we are practicing in normally serves as a chill out pad during the dry season next to an attached restaurant or cooking area. By the time we had arrived the rain was coming down so hard that it managed to seep through the sides and flow like the Ganges river across the floor. We found a dry patch and set up slightly up stream with Ethan’s mat unrolled in between ours. We sat and patiently awaited Rolf’s arrival. When he showed up he had the warmest smile and said, “so you decided to come during monsoon?!” He gave us both big hugs and it truly was so great to see him. His presence is so incredible and he still looks amazing. Rolf is a genuine yogi. There is nothing commercial about this man. He has been practicing yoga so intently for so long, just to see him you can feel the sublime quality of a life of dedicated practice. What a rare treat. So while mother nature was delivering a challenging array of elements the practice brings us a familiar calm and serenity.
Today we were instructed to practice Primary Series. This was great to ease in as our bodies are feeling a bit stiff and lethargic. We brought coloring books for Ethan which he very patiently worked on while we practiced. About mid way through he decided to jump in and he did some jump backs and up dog and down dogs and into poses following Tamara. He worked through a couple of vinyasas and my heart completely melted. At 5 years old, he took his first practice in India with Rolf and I could hardly believe it! As always we leave it up to him if he would like to practice or not. He has been around the yoga since he was born, but this was the first time I saw him move like this. I am left speechless and very proud. Rolf also took notice and commented how special our son is.
We finished practice and it was still pouring down rain and so we suited up (full rain gear, crocs and umbrellas) and travelled back home. We had time to eat something and take a short rest. After we met with Savita of Children Walking Tall, the non profit organization in Mapusa (pronounced Mop-sa) which is about a 30 minute drive away.
We thank everyone back home who brought in clothes and donations for this organization. We were overwhelmed with the generosity and goodwill that you all have expressed in helping us to raise some awareness toward those in need in this region. We were able to tour the school and its facilities. They do really good work here and help to brighten the lives of these small children. They work with approximately 130 students with help of the staff and many volunteers. The first time you see the slum in India it changes you. We take so much for granted and I personally can’t imagine what it would be like living in these conditions… especially during monsoon! It is our hope that if we work together like this then even the smallest gestures of kindness can amount to big change! They were so thankful! Children Walking Tall
Just when you think it is raining so hard it starts to rain even harder. There is so much storm activity across this part of India right now. We had a bit of a laugh yesterday as we realized we may be just a little crazy!
Thanks for posting, Todd. Always love reading your travel blogs & expecting this 1 will be really special! So glad Ethan is diving into his own practice. Audrey has started practicing w/ me as well, & it’s so cute — she gives it her all! Warms my heart to know I’m passing something so special on to her. Sharing this practice w/ our students & our children allows it to live on, continuing to inspire & transform-