Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yoga and Sun Snooze


Yoga Experience
At Coconut Lagoon and Marari Beach, yoga classes are offered in the mornings and evenings.

The yoga centre at Coconut Lagoon was hidden in an obscure secluded place. Finding it in the misty darkness (and dimly lit gardens) was a challenge. My bad sense of direction did not help. Both times, I had to ask several people enroute and had to be almost escorted there.

The first time, a huge lizard suddenly landed on my chest as I hurried to class, making me jump and gasp. In class, other creepy crawlies landed on me as I lay on the mat and tried to keep still. ‘’Be still,’’ droned the yoga guru. ‘’Increase your will-power, keep still,’’ he repeated.

I tried with all my might and will, despite the itch and tickle. ‘’Keep your facial expression still, relax’’ he said, as if he had read my mind (or face?).

The next evening, before class started, two American women were practising on the mat. ‘’Holy cow!’’ they screamed and laughed and panted heavily each time they did a tough routine or difficult jumping pose.

When class started, the guru asked them:

Guru: What type of yoga was that you were doing?
Woman One: Ashtanga yoga
Guru: What’s that?
Woman Two: Ashtanga; it’s from Mysore.
Guru: Oh? It must be so tough and difficult to do yoga – I see you huffing and puffing and struggling…
Woman One: It’s just our breathing… our breathing is not very good

It turned out that this guru strongly believes that yoga is not a physical exercise; it’s a form of meditation and relaxation. There is no competition or struggle.

The evening yoga at Marari Beach was also focused on meditation and relaxation. But the morning one was full of challenging asanas.

It was held at the open field near the beach. The session began with interesting breathing exercises and stretches but progressed to tougher poses. But the guru did them all effortlessly, weightlessly, while some of us struggled, stopped breathing, gave up and some men turned beetroot red in the face.

He got us to practise a certain kind of breathing and controlling of the abs muscles. It was amazing, the way he moved his abs muscles using his breath alone – he called it ‘’massaging internal organs with your breath’’! ‘’Practise every day and if you are lucky, you will get it… not everyone will,’’ he said.

Some of us didn’t want to try the headstand on the hard cement platform and hard mat (the mats were not the luxurious soft ones back home!). ‘’If you practise for 10 days here with us, you will achieve it,’’ he claimed. Alas, we were not there for 10 days!

At breakfast, one of the waitresses came to make small talk: ‘’M’am, you do yoga? I saw you this morning.’’ Oops, she must have seen me in my bright green T-shirt struggling with some poses. ‘’Yes, I am not very good though,’’ I told her. Are you flexible, she asked. No, I replied. ‘’You must practise everyday, you will get it, ‘’ she assured. According to her, she practises every day and is at the last stage, where she still can’t do the headstand.

Well, if I stayed at the Marari Beach and practise yoga every morning and evening, and go for regular massages and read by the beach, I will not only be very flexible, I will be very, very happy indeed.

Sun Snooze
The sun is wickedly seductive… it makes you do crazy things. It makes you want to lie under its warmth, slather sun block cream all over your face and body, and scorch yourself half naked. And if you are not careful, you wake up burnt, peeling, and painful.

In Kerala I succumbed to the sun’s seduction… and fell into sweet slumber. First it was at Coconut Lagoon’s pool: I put the book aside, and just closed my eyes….

I was woken up by the jabbering of a noisy French whale of a woman. She was the only loud shrew at the pool. A huge, hen-pecking one too. She sent her husband, one third her size, away to enquire about something, including the cooking demo in the evening.

He came back with the info but she still was not satisfied. ‘’What type of cuisine, how long is the demo, etc etc, ‘’ she demanded. The poor chap went away again and returned, ‘’it’s Kerala cuisine, and it lasts 45 minutes,’’ he told her.

Of course it’s Kerala cuisine they will demo in Kerala. What do you expect - a demo on fois gras preparation?

The second time I was awoken from my blissful slumber in the sun was at the Marari Beach. I had been lying at the beach, under a forest of coconut trees, lulled to sleep by the crashing waves. The mobile phone rang. My voice, though usually soft, sounded extra loud in the tranquillity. There seems to be a secret pact among all guests not to use mobiles in these two resorts!

It was my colleague telling me he will be leaving by Q1 next year. I was still dazed from the nap, not to mention the surprise. He is a veteran and ‘’founder’’ of the company in Singapore. It felt like a coconut had dropped on my head.

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