104. I can ooom with that.


I’m off somewhere in the world, to get better at yoga, to get better at me.

The flight airlifted me out of my life at midnight, and I’m still in the sky. Whoever said time flies wasn’t in a long haul plane at the time.

I said no to a cocktail on takeoff, and made one of my own instead – one lorazepam, two melatonin. If I did that every night after work I’d lead an extraordinarily relaxed life, but it possibly wouldn’t have much in it.

My first thought when I came out of my coma was one of great clarity. I didn’t pack any yoga clothes.

You would think this would have been a high priority for me, heading off as I was on a yoga holiday. You’ll be pleased to hear I did pack my own mat, and some underwear and a few assorted other things that are probably completely wrong for where I’m going.

I’m going to have to be chipper about this, and let the locals bum fuck me with Lululemon pride. Or they might talk me into something made from hemp, some wildly patterned tights for my wildly abundant thighs.

On the bright side, I do have a new season Prada dress sitting obediently at my feet. It’s fresh off the runway in Europe, fresh out of Queen Street Prada, fresh out of the Collection Point confessional at the airport, fresh out of my credit card and not yet out of it’s tissue.

The combination of these two events means I won’t have much rupiah to splash about for the next two weeks but as it’s inner wealth I’m seeking, I can ooom with that.

64. Note to self: breathe

We caught a supershuttle to the retreat. Trevor knew a lot about the area he’d lived in all his life. As well as all the Nelson hotspots and historical highlights, he also handily gave us directions to the cop shop should we go clubbing and get in a spot of bother. Nelson can kick up a right ruckus after dark Trevor said. We also now know where his brother lives.

As the shuttle snaked its way into the Maitai valley – “We’re losing civilization now folks” – talk turned to Pujji’s, the retreat we were headed for.

“Bloody cheap to run I reckon. They buy up a couple of tins of raro and feed you that for a week”.

I hoped he was joking.

Arvind and Rachel greeted us at the door. “Come in and have absolutely nothing” they didn’t say. The retreat is like an Aunty’s house. Domestic, cosy, furniture you have to walk around to get anywhere else. Perched on the river bank as it is, the sound of the running water quickly replaced the white noise in my head.

And so we got down to the serious business of fasting.

There are still three meals a day. They consist of sitting at the table, with an ironic place setting for us all, and enjoying a glass of psyllium husks, water and a concoction of herbs to cleanse the bowel. Like drinking aniseed flavoured glue. I have no idea why I actually enjoyed it. After twenty of them I may change my tune. Then we get the juice. Then we get nothing.

Each day you’re on the bench with Avvind for an hour’s bodywork. I’m not going to lie to you; I need very little encouragement to lie on a table with my head in a hole and hand my body over to a complete stranger. Giddy up cowboy.

Turns out I don’t breathe properly. My lower diaphragm is a stranger to the oxygen I inhale. So I’ll be fixing that right away.  By breathing. Properly.  Next time you see me I’ll be breathing so deeply, I’ll probably be able to smell what you had for breakfast.

The bodywork was followed by a detoxifying sauna and cold shower routine. You’re suppose to lie down but I was terrified I was going to fall asleep after an hour in Avvind’s hands, so there I sat bolt upright, practicing deep breathing. The clock said six when I got in. The clock said six when I got out half an hour later. Either time goes really fucking slowly here, or the clock’s broken.  Both are very real options.