Monday, November 9, 2009

The other coast

In case you’ve been wondering how much I stood on my head last weekend, the answer is not very much. Why would I have stood on my head at all? My friend Lis and I went up to Mt Madonna for a yoga retreat. Mt Madonna is south of Santa Cruz and beautiful. It is home to towering redwoods and flying monkeys. The redwoods are very real, the monkeys (Hanuman) are representations but very endearing.
I am told that redwoods grow in circles.

Mt Madonna was founded by (or for) Baba Hari Dass (known to his followers as Baba-ji) who took a vow of silence in 1952. Oddly enough, that was the year of my birth. I am not implying there is any connection. Three times a week he comes up to Mt Madonna and sits on a raised chair at the center of a huge room adjacent to the dining hall, and people sit in his presence. He is dressed in white and has a long beard, not that those characteristics would help you find him in a room filled with Indian gurus. Sometimes the people ask him questions and he responds on his chalkboard. I could not think of a single question that seemed worthy, though I considered several that were definitely unworthy. But who knows what is worthy?

I love the people I meet on yoga retreats. (This may be a leap of sorts, given I have only been on 2. But so far, so good.)
In Tulum there was a Tennessee politician who sat on the Mexican beach listening to a CD of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. This was to psyche herself up for a coming election. (I am sad to say she lost.) There was also a brilliant bio-informatician who lay naked on the beach with her laptop and did not seem at all worried about getting sand on her keyboard.
In Mt Madonna there was a charming couple from Woodside, with whom I discussed poison oak, enneagrams, memoirs & memory. I plan to mention to CSB the benefit of doing yoga with one’s spouse in one’s 70’s: you can pose together- each in tree pose- and it will make for a great Christmas card. (Better than my bee costume? Than naked grandchild draped in Xmas lights? Ask again in a couple of decades.)

In 2 days I went to 5 yoga classes, which is a lifetime record for me. As previously mentioned, I grew very fond of the flying monkeys adorning the balustrade leading up to the temple. Hanuman is the 11th incarnation or avatar of Shiva, and is the most intelligent of the Hindu gods. He led the monkey army against the demon king. I also remember a bridge of monkeys across the water to Sri Lanka. (Don’t take my word for any of this.)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that certain diets (heavy on legumes, short on protein) give rise to flatulence; such was the much-extolled diet of Mt. Madonna.

In other news, a local son won the COLDWATER CLASSIC in Santa Cruz. So-called because the water is very cold. I watched the heats on Friday before we went to calmer pursuits at Mt Madonna, and it was impressive. Then the waves got much bigger over the weekend.


pond said...

I love this posting about the people you meet on these retreats. But the monkeys? Flying monkeys have always given me the willies. I suspect it was seeing the Wizard of Oz too many times.

Mickey and Flea said...

Oh and what about the lion! We so loved him.

Diggitt said...

Now that I am in Chicago, I am pretty sure the "other" coast is the NORTH coast.