Yoga. "Yay," is the resounding response. We arrived, via taxi, to the Ananda Resident Yoga facility at 3:00pm. It was pretty desserted, quiet, and a little rough around the edges. Not quite what we had pictures. We "sign" in, fill out names and yoga experience (me: once and a while a few years ago; paul=0) and are told to help ourselves to tea and water and are shown our room/cell. 2 beds in a room, we've seen this before. Then the tour; a larg yoga room, the roof (which would have views of the Himalayas if it weren't so cloudy), kitchen, a squatter, 2 western style toilets with showers. Cold, cold, cold mountain water showers. Needless to say, we're a bit apprehensive at first.
4:30 rolls around, post milk tea (LOVE chai), and we have our first yoga session with Rajindra (King of Kings). He's this 30 year old, fit, cute, Nepali man who leads our 1 1/2+ hour first lesson. I'm nervous Paul's going to hate this and dread every moment of the next 2 days, and nervous as well because I haven't practiced yoga since my running days in DC. The class is awesome! We're rolling around, stretching, doing the moon salutations and the whole time Rajindra is really focusing on Paul and I because we're new and he knows we have limited experience. The other people in our class/residence include; a Californian, a Dutch woman, a French woman, a Spanish woman and Nepali dude who's been there a month (apparently detoxing or something). After the class Paul and I chat....he LOVES yoga. Yey!! And I have a renewed love of yoga, too! It was wonderful, until we went to try to take our first shower. Again, cold mountain water. I think I managed to wash my face.
Then it's dinner time. Yummy veg dinner in which we all sit around on the floor together sharing our travel, yoga, life experiences. There's definitely a yoga bond going on. 7:30 and it's chanting time. We all go up to the yoga room with our intructor and his family (it's a family run joint- there's like 20 of them), and the leader (forget his name now- Raj's dad) starts chanting, while someone plays the drums, and some others chime. Ganga, Raj's wife, has an amazing voice and we all sit trying to repeate the Nepali words of Hindi chants. "Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna, Hari, Hari, Krishna, Krishna." No joke most of the songs include 2-5 words and are repeated at different intervals for ~10 minute period. It's like hippies chanting...sans campfire and in Nepali. 9:00 rolls around and we're left to our own devices/time for bed. We stay up with the Californian and finally manage to get SOME sleep by 12.
5 am wake up for more chanting!! Followed by tea and a morning yoga session. Ganga approaches, "You're lucky you're here on Saturday. It's abdominal cleanse day." Sounds nice, I could use a good cleanse. Oh no, that's right, all of Nepal has been a "cleanse!" The cleanse includes:
Chug 2 glasses warm salt water
do 5 yoga poses 8x each
repeate 2 more times
At the end, well, you can probably guess, the bathrooms were full and your abdomen is empty. ha- can I have the opposite rememdy!? Then they bust out the neti pots where you pour water into one nostril (think tea pot for your nose) and it comes out the other. It's pretty cool and apparently all of these things are essential for a healthy life.
Breakfast- the food is awesome and all veg! Karma yoga (sweeping the common area), lots of free time to walk (or in our case nap), yogindra (lay on the floor, listen to a man telling you to relax your entire body and try not to sleep), lunch, meditation, more yoga, dinner, chanting...PS yoga with Ganga was WAY more strenuous than with her husband!! Ouchy- we're sore. Oh, speaking of Ganga, there were definitely pot plants all around the compound and apparently they will reach maturity in the next 2 months. haha Yoga potheads.
We had so much fun and I would have loved to stay longer had there been hot showers. But 3 days sans shower is a bit much for me, and the rest of camp was bailing on Sunday anyway. Paul and I definitely walked out of here, perhaps not with a new understading of life and peace, but certainly with a new shared hobby. We've even been practicing in our hotel in Kathmandu!!
Yesterday was Paul's 26th birthday. Happy Birthday, Paul! We toured Durbar Square, which is a beautiful area with tons of old temples (my camera battery died!!!!!), lazed around Thamel, then went out to another awesome Korean dinner. While at the Korean restaurant, the Californian from our yoga retreat came in at our suggestion. We finished dinner with him and, gasp, stayed out until 10:30 pm. We hadn't done this here yet and apparenty everything is closed and locked, including our hotel. After a few minutes of banging, someone finally let us in. We learned our lesson; 9pm is totally an appropriate end time. Only 5 more days in Nepal, and not going to lie, I am really, really, really, looking forward to some first world action. The dirt is getting to me.