Getting started at Yoga

On Monday we said goodbye to Bogmalo beach and decided that as we cannot justify high taxi fares during our journey, we would get the local bus.  The bus to the nearest town, Vasco de Gama was cheap (about 40p) but like all Indian buses, old, hot and crowded.  At the bus station we managed to suss out which bus we needed to get us to Panjim, which is the state capital of Goa.  Paul was crammed on the middle between 2 Indian men with his huge and heavy back pack on lap and no room to move.  We traveled over a huge river bridge about half a mile long which was so narrow and bumpy we felt sure the bus was going to go over the side at any minute!  Stayed over 1 night at an AirBnB in Panjim so we could go out ‘on the town’ that evening for Ali’s birthday.
We planned to take another bus on to the yoga retreat 15 miles up the coast at Mandrem, but our tuk-tuk driver for the short journey to the bus station persuaded us that he could take us the whole way for around 800 rupees (£10).  The day was already hot and the thought of negotiating the bus station and lugging our backpacks onto yet another crowded bus  caused us to wimp out and agree to his proposal.  At first we chugged along merrily avoiding most of the potholes, enjoying the cool breeze (no doors!) and appreciating the many roadside stalls full of beautiful marigold garlands made ready for the Hindu festival of Dussara.  The engine was a bit whiny and after around 25 minutes the driver stopped the tuk-tuk and went around to fiddle with something at the back.  We didn’t think too much of it until it had happened 3 or 4 times and then we realised that the tuk-tuk was overheating and probably wouldn’t make the whole journey.  With some praying to the god of tuk-tuks, the driver managed to get us to the ashram – but we didn’t hold out too much hope for him to get back to the city that day!
As complete novices in the [art?] of yoga we were not sure what to expect.  On arrival after the welcome ceremony we launched into our first philosophy class! Difficult to argue with a text written 1800 years ago dealing with the modern world (although Alison would very much have liked to argue about several points!)  We also did our first Asana yoga session – ooooh the pain!!
This morning we were up at 5.50 am to climb up a large hill overlooking the sea and do meditation on the top!  It was actually not bad, but OTHER members of our group were so enthusiastic we have to do the same thing tomorrow morning except on the beach – curses!
The ashram is all vegetarian and of course tee-total but we did enjoy a special meal tonight all served on banana leaves – pictures below.

The picture does not do justice to just how crowded the bus was
Tuk-tuk photo showing all the safety features!
Ali during early morning meditation, with help from the dogs
Special meal at ashram

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