For their first honeymoon, my parents went to Coorg. From their stories of young love and adventure, I often pictured the hill station like a fairytale. Rolling green hills, crystalline waterfalls with sweet water, the air filled with the smell of coffee from the many coffee plantations and the mist that hung in the air like a congregation of devas.
I had also heard the city of Coorg got its name from an ancient clan of ethnic warriors called Kodava. I pictured the men and women of this town to be muscular and stocky with deep inset eyes and a smile that held great mystique.
When I finally decided to make my way to Coorg for a yoga retreat, I was not disappointed at all. My daydreams felt quite accurate both in landscape and its people
We had hired a Zoom Car in Mysuru and three short hours later, we were in Madikeri – one of the busiest towns in Coorg. As we drove, an expanse of green greeted me on both sides – but that was not the most exciting part. On the drive there, we stopped at a tender coconut shop and they were by far the biggest and most delicious tender coconuts I have ever had. Forget the coffee. When in Coorg, drink coconut water!
We stayed (me and 25 students) in an old heritage building in Madikeri. It was situated on a beautiful cliff edge and was surrounded by a vast coffee estate. With no cell phone reception and no internet – it was easy to immerse our minds in nature and take a break from the hustle and bustle of our city lives.
We started our retreat with some ice breakers. My students were put into teams and a host of challenges were given to each team to complete. Within a span of two hours, the valley was filled with riotous laughter and a spirit of enthusiasm. This was so starkly different from the serious corporate avatars I had seen my students in.
Once the ice was broken, we finished the evening with a long and powerful yoga class. As we rolled out our mats and practiced, the sky was a million shades of red, blue and pink. The birds chirped and the crickets croaked – it was the most peaceful and calming yoga class. How does one gauge this? At the end of the class a lot of people effortlessly sat in meditation. The mind was quiet, the body was still, and the state of yoga was there to be experienced.
We watched the sunset and only then realised the grumble in our bellies. With smiles on our faces, we made our way to the dinning hall to have the yummiest meal – small balls of rice flour that were steamed with a simple spiced vegetable curry made with so much LOVE, you could taste it. It was the perfect ending to a phenomenal day – one where we started off as strangers lost in our minds but ended as family!