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Saying farewell to Esalen

There are lots of reasons people do yoga. Some people practice it purely for spiritual reasons, while others for the mental, emotional, and physical benefits. Not being a particularly spiritual person, I do it for the mental and physical aspects of the practice. My reasons are simple: when I do yoga, I feel happier and healthier.

Throughout the week, some of my fellow students have shared their experiences on how yoga has changed their life and also shared some of the mental, emotional, or spiritual breakthroughs they’ve experienced during this workshop. I have my own stories about how yoga has improved my life, but they seem to pale in comparison. Yoga didn’t help me heal after a motorcycle accident or a major operation, and it hasn’t helped me deal with the grief of a lost loved one. It’s possible that I’ve grown too cynical to realize its full benefits in my life, but maybe I get exactly what I need from it and no more.

So here we are, the last day of the workshop. I am going to miss the delicious routine that I’ve had going this week, which was comprised of yoga classes, 3 to 4 soaks in the baths each day, and lots of good food. After so much yoga and luxurious bathing, I bet you’re thinking that I should be a master at stilling my mind by now. Remember my Pranayama yoga on the first morning? Well, this morning, my Pranayama experience went more like this:

“I wonder what it means when you dream of being surrounded by oversized cakes and pastries.” ………. “Need coffee.” ……….. “Coffee and a double serving of granola…yeah.” ………. “I need to remember to get the recipe for kale salad.”

I would like to tell you that the lengthy pauses between arbitrary thoughts represent an improvement—a “stilling of the internal dialogue” that is the ideal—but they actually represent periods when I lapsed into a light slumber. Perhaps this indicates that I have a lack of discipline, but yesterday when a goat grazing outside the yoga dome passed gas repeatedly during a meditative pose, I was able to quiet a massive fit of giggles. Doesn’t that take discipline?

So after a week of blissing out on yoga and mineral baths, I’ve had no little epiphanies to report, no spiritual awakenings, and zero improvement in the Pranayama department. But I’ve learned a lot from the instructor, experienced wonderful yoga classes, reveled in the beauty of my surroundings, eaten fabulous food, met wonderful people, and discovered I could bathe naked in public. I think the week has been a smashing success. I can’t wait to return.

As always, thanks for sharing in the experience. Until next time…

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About colleen finn

Colleen Finn is a globe trotting, sight seeing, day tripping, frequent flying traveler with a penchant for voluntourism.

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