Yesterday I moved to my new home!  It’s much more beautiful than I remembered when viewing it.  It has these ridiculously high ceilings, great big windows that let the light, and cool air in, and a balcony overlooking the village, where I sit at night-time reading and writing my new book.  There’s no construction here, but my god is nature noisy!  Between the monkeys of the forest, the chickens in their wicker cages outside my window, and the frogs that are a leaping in this very room, as suggested by the scattering of frog poo on the floor, it’s hardly surprising that my body clock is still a bit of a mess.I wake up at 2 every morning, feeling like I’ve had a very satisfying siesta, and then while away the hours with a steady stream of consciousness in diary form.  When my alarm went off this morning, it took every ounce of my strength to roll out of bed, and reach for my yoga mat.

First day at the yoga centre, and I have to admit to being a little bit nervous at first, as you tend to before starting something new, but that soon abated.  A collection of people from all over the world congregated in the garden, with their yoga mats in tow.  It’s impossible to tell who the more advanced yogis are until you actually start the session.  I made my assumptions, judged purely by leanness of limbs and degree of hippy clothing, only to discover I was completely wrong.

I was placed in the back, with a lovely young couple who had started on the same day as me.  To my right were the people who’d been there for a week or so, and the two rows in front were the more seasoned ashtangis who knew all the chants by heart and moved seamlessly into the opening sequence without so much as a bead of sweat.

I’m not a complete newbie.  Have practiced Ashtanga on and off for a couple of years now, mostly by led classes, but I think with Ashtanga – you come into your own when you dedicate yourself to a daily self-practice.  I’ve seemed to neither had the time, nor the discipline to ever get past the standing sequence on my own, so was perfectly happy to go back to basics under the guidance of Radha and Prem.  I really didn’t have anything to worry about.  Despite a few months of yoga abstinence I hadn’t lost the control of my body completely.  In fact, I was really pleased with my presence of mind and core strength.  It’s a bit like running.  You may take a short while to get back into it again, but if you’ve done enough your legs just remember.  Having said that – it wasn’t easy  – not at all.  I did 45 minutes of sun salutations (Suryanamaskara A and B) and by the end of it my wrists were burning, legs and arms shaking, sweat pouring off me.  What I’m looking forward to most is getting to the twists and binding, and a whole bunch of poses I’ve never even tried before.  Finishing up early, I had a chance to quietly watch the more advanced students, and there were a couple of people doing poses that aren’t on my Primary Series cheat sheet.  It was with mixed admiration and horror that I watched.  How?  How can anyone get their feet around the back of their head like that, whilst sitting upright? It defies all physio-logic.

Tomorrow is a moon day, which means I’ve got a whole day of recovery ahead of me.  I can tell by the way my organs are starting to ache, that it’s needed.  On Tuesday, we start again, and in the afternoon we have a two-hour intensive for the beginners, so we can practice breath and the fundamentals of our practice.

I’m so ridiculously happy to be here, and getting the opportunity to do this.  When I first looked into yoga breaks, I was completely gob-smacked by how expensive it can be.  Over a grand for ten days in most cases, 600 if you’re looking more locally.  It doesn’t need to be that expensive.  I’m spending  less than £1000 for accommodation and yoga for two months – without any compromises on quality of teaching.  I think it depends on what you want to get out of it.  I don’t want it to be a holiday, I want it to become a part of me.  Not a quick-fix, but a long-term solution.  Wherever I end up, knowing that at the end of it I’ll have the primary series, or whatever alternative sequence my body allows, under my belt, is amazing!   Absolutely amazing.

The rest of my day has been less inspiring.  Hand-washing my sweaty clothes in the sink, and trekking across town to the big supermarket to buy a kettle and some basic, very cheap supplies.  I pretty much ate a whole watermelon on my way home.  It cost 30p.  Right now, I’m perfectly happy just wandering around, getting lost down side-streets and trialling cheap cafes and places to eat.  Tomorrow, if I’m not in too much pain I’m going to put my trekking clothes on and venture out into the countryside.  I’ve mapped out a 5 hour walk which will take me up into the villages, with some incredible views.

Despite all the positives – every now and again I do get pangs of loneliness.  It’s usually towards the end of the day, when I’m feeling tired and run-down, thinking about everyone back home and what they’re up to.  Or when one of the monkeys of the forest lunges at me and steals my bag, and I have no-one to share it with.  Now I skulk down the path, with whatever I’m carrying clutched closely to my chest – feeling a bit like the school geek being bullied for lunch money!  I think I’m just an impatient person, wanting it to feel like home right now, and I have to remind myself every now and again – that’s what travelling is all about.  Taking yourself out of your comfort zone and learning to be with just you for extended periods.  Integrating takes time, and the fact that those low moments are already so few and far between makes me think that all-in-all I’m settling in just fine : )