Saturday, September 6, 2014

Xinalani Retreat - the arrival

I flew yesterday from Toronto to Houston to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - where I was greeted by a friendly car service who took me to the marina and then on a boat to my final destination. I know it's rainy season, so I was surprised that it was partly sunny and a beautiful day. Two lovely guys loaded my bags on to the boat, threw an oldschool ugly orange pfd around my neck and off we went! It was super wavy and bouncy and I was pretty sure my bags were going to be on the bottom of the ocean but luckily they stayed out.

We passed a pirate ship and plenty of pelicans (yay wildlife!) and even some butterflies fluttered by as we weren't too far off shore. The destination? Xinalani (she-nah-lah-knee) eco yoga retreat. We plonked across the bay and there was one rain cloud on the other side, with rain shooting out of it. We *seemed* to be heading straight for this one rain cloud. Closer... closer... He asked me how to say rain in english - he played charades and held his fingers in the air and did jazz hand fingers in a downwards motion. "Rain" I said. They both repeated it. Then he pointed to the raincloud... "RAIN!" He said. I asked if we were going there, he said "Si".

It started to rain as we approached the cloud (obviously) so one guy covered my bags with a padded seat thing. Gracias - I thought it my head! At this point, I was wishing I had studied up a bit on Spanish. Oops.

We start approaching the resort, there are HUGE waves crashing in to the shore. Surfing waves - I'm thinking! Give me a board and I'll just ride to shore! Alas, no board on board. He changes his mind, we can go to the shore. We go around a rocky protrusion to the next beachy area and there are two more xinalani guys waiting... The boat rides a big wave to shore and I'm pretty sure did a nose dive into the sand, one guy tosses one of my suitcases off the boat into the other guys hands and nearly kills him in doing so... They run up the beach and disappear. The boat backs up and the guys seem apprehensive. We keep going... I see we are headed to a dock.

I get off the dock, one guy carries my other suitcase (smaller, but heavier - it's full of books - poor guy!) I say 'sorry' - I don't know how to apolgize in Spanish. I carry my small bag. We walk in the pouring rain across the beach, down a cobblestone street, past street dogs (HELLO PUPS!) I may have patted a few while he was clearly thinking 'come on loco lady!', we went past make shift restaurants, crumbling houses, one guy in a house with no roof, just a tarp, sitting inside on a bucket - watching TV! Anyways... Across a river. YES a river... ankle depth.... knee depth... WHOA! CROTCH depth! Hahaha, I'm laughing and he's laughing at me. Up a bunch of stairs, hair dripping, bags drenched, mascara running, giddy out of breath giggling... We made it.

They hand me a big fluffy orange towel that smells nice and a freshly squeezed lemonade. "HOLA!"

I check in and go over some details for my Yoga Teacher Training retreat that I am running at their resort over the next three weeks. My guests/students arrive the next day so I take my time unpacking, settling in, checking out the grounds, meeting the few guests who are already there, eating some scrumptious food and so on.

It's really humid so my hair stayed soaking wet right to the point where I went to bed. With earplugs. And I could still hear the crashing waves (awesome) and squeaking, chirping, buzzing, lunatic bugs (not as awesome!) I managed to sleep ok but woke up pretty early.

This morning I took my flashlight at 6am and walked up many stairs via many different winding paths, through MANY creepy spider webs, and past quickly out of the way scooting crabs, and scared myself half to death with the shadows my flashlight was making with the bushes!!

Then I remembered my mom's parting the words to me on the phone. "Don't walk through the jungle alone." Uh... I'm totally doing that! Well I did't get attacked my rabid monkeys or abducted by hidden pirates. Luckily. I meditated overlooking the ocean as the sun came up.

They blew the "meal time" conch and I came down for tea and fruit.

Then I went all the way back up and beyond, to the jungle studio, where most of my teaching and classes will be happening... Practiced, shot a video for my youtube channel (!!) then took a COLD refreshing shower (while looking at and listening to the crashing ocean - it's all open concept!) which I highly recommend.

I had lunch with the lovely Rosa (new friend) who taught me some Spanish and then I sprawled on the beach for an hour, browsing through Sharath's new book for inspiration to start this journey. I walked down the beach and tried to feed an apple to a horse, but he rejected my moist delicious treat which I thought was weird?! I patted his nose instead which he accepted.

Now I'm waiting for my first students to arrive. It's sunny and the ocean is green. It's hot but they will adjust as I did - and take many cold showers over the next three weeks! This afternoon we begin. They will look deep inside of themselves and deeply into the tradition and practices of yoga. We will all leave this course more in tune with nature and ourselves - our TRUE selves, which is what yoga is all about. I can't wait!

Adios amigos!