I used to love reading One Thousand And One Nights when I was little…..
In fact, I still do though it does not happen nearly as often as it used to.Tales of kings and queens in far away places, of forbidden love and endless passion, of magic lamps, flying carpets and mystic sadhus walking on fire…The never ending adventures of Aladdin, Sinbad the Sailor and Ali Baba got me completely spellbound, and I had no problem picturing myself in their exotic world of spices, crowded markets, beautiful palaces and colorful garments.
During this past week at Purple Valley, I was brought back to this exotic world again.With its amazing rooms, terraces and beautiful gardens, the resort could be the palace of king Sharyar and his queen Schereazade, or maybe princess Jasmine. It is indeed a lil’ taste of the world of Aladdin, though slightly safer and without the stressful markets and sadhus walking on fire (ok, so a fire was lit when this week’s teacher R. Alexander Medin did a fire puja, or an “oma”, on the terrace, but that involved walking around a fire rather than on top or through one).
The day would start off with half an hour of “jappa”, followed by Mysore practice. The stroll down to the shala, snuggly situated all the way at the bottom of the garden, was a meditation in itself and set the mind in just the right mood for what was to come. After a well-guided practice by Alexander and his lovely assistant Kaiza, breakfast would be served on the main terrace, a buffet of exotic fruits, nuts, toast, home-made musli, juices and hot drinks. On some days, there would be delicious banana muffins fresh from the oven, or if lucky, the chef’s chocolate-avocado-strawberry porridge, a dish that made me have seconds and thirds when I thought I was full.
Between breakfast and lunch, one could take one of the many scooters to the beach, or read a book by the pool in the garden.The latter became a choice of preference, as one wouldn’t want to miss lunch…The meals at this place are a culinary heaven and beat those of One Thousand And One Nights by far. A variety of fresh salads, chutneys, dips, pesto hummus and normal hummus, vegetable soups, various rice dishes, vegan tiramisu, fruit salads..Every day would offer new, healthy surprises on the table, always a combination of Western and Indian vegetarian dishes. If you’re on a diet, this is not the place to go as you would miss out on an essential aspect of the Purple Valley experience.
At 16 p.m., the day’s second yoga session would begin. Led by Alexander’s melodious voice, class started off with chanting in sanskrit, followed by a lecture in Yoga philosophy. Alexander’s knowledge in the classic works of Yoga is beyond what I have ever encountered and it is always just as captivating to hear him speak of the Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita with such enthusiasm. The class would end with a little bit of “soft” yoga asanas, just in time for a quick shower before the gong called for dinner.
When on a yoga holiday, one heads to bed at a reasonable hour. However, for those wishing to postpone the journey to bed with an hour or so, they could settle comfortably among purple cushions on the terrace as a movie was on the repertoire every other night. In my case, I preferred sneaking up to my balcony for a lil’ hour of reading or dreaming under the stars. If I had brought One thousand And One Nights, this would be the perfect time to get absorbed in its magic. But since I didn’t, I had to do with my own, dreamy mind. And that seemed to work just as well.
Katinka Sætersdal Remøe is an adventure-seeking, wine-loving yogini with a passion for the unknown. Her curiosity has led her into many peculiar situations, from having tea with Sudanese ministers and road tripping through India’s heartland searching for guerrilla soldiers to crossing the Alps on skis. She loves contrasts, which is why you find a mix of high heels, climbing shoes, cowboy hats and yogamats in her closet, and strongly believes it enriches her life. Katinka made a visit to Purple Valley Yoga Center in Goa. where she joind the Alexander Medin retreat, now she is back musing on her mat in Mysore but will be back in Romsdalen, Norway, in a couple of months to continue teaching at Romsdal Yoga, bake apple cake at Sødahl-huset, and daydream on mountaintops. Check out her website and blog or connect with her on Facebook.
Below you can see one of interviews we made with Alexander Medin, while he was in Purple Valley in Goa…
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