“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving”
I’ve spent the past month in Paleochora, Crete, Greece doing an intensive 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Swaha Yoga and it’s been beyond amazing. I’ve learned so much about myself and about how I interact with other people and the world around me. I’ve observed my strengths and much light has been shed on the areas that I want to work on, primarily patience and communicating clearly from my heart. Over the last month our schedule has been intensely planned out for us, there was rarely a question of what we would be doing at any specific time, but as the training came to a close, I spent the last week experience intermittent panic about my next move.
Most of the other 22 yogis in the training had a plan of where they would go next, I did not. I booked a one-way ticket to Greece and although I have a few ideas of where I’d like to go, I’m flying by the seat of my pants at this point leaving all routes at the discretion of the flow of the universe. I seem to be going back and forth between experiencing waves of confidence and trust in the freedom and possibilities of adventure this allows for AND the fear of not having a plan (which I guess breaks down to getting stranded somewhere and not having a place to stay, the possibility of going hungry, will I be able to find a cafe with wifi so I can get work done and make some money etc., in essence, the basic survival needs).
It’s been four days since I graduated the training and left the scheduled life behind in Paleochora– and guess what, it’s been electric. I’ve experienced so many more adventures over the last few days than I could have ever planned for myself using my own will. A few of the yogis were heading to a music festival about five hours away in a small town called Houdetsi about 30 minutes away from Heraklion.
My friend Jui and I piled into our friend Gerasimos’ car with his dog Valerie (the cutest little basset hound you’ve ever seen) sitting between my legs, and headed through the winding canyon to Chania where we stopped at a beautiful cafe in the public garden where we had a snack and I was able to use the internet to get some work done. A nice man came and picked Valerie up to take her to the dog hotel where she would stay until we returned from the festival in a few days; and then we were off again on the road to Houdetsi.
The drive along the coast and up through the mountain forests was breathtaking and as we watched the setting sun replaced by the magic of the starry night everything felt as though it could not be any more perfect. We arrived outside the town of Houdetsi, packed a small bag and jumped on the shuttle bus to the festival. Despite the rather large crowd, we found our yogi commrades at a table outside a taverna at the entrance of the festival within minutes, had a bite to eat, cheersed some Raki and then entered into the blissful sounds of Ross Daly accompanied by Kelly Thoma,Taxiarchis Georgoulis, Μiriam Encinas Laffitte, and Pavlos Spyropoulos.
The Cretan music they played was full of so much emotion, the lyra and violin backed by a steady drumbeat took my heart at first listen bringing to mind thoughts of ancient culture wrapped up in folk. Sitting indian style on the floor in front of the stage I couldn’t help but cirlce my torso back and forth around my hips, eyes closed, completely guided yet lost in the music. MAGIC I tell you, pure magic.
Then I roamed the crowded street lanes for a while, trying incredible Greek foods such as stuffed zuccini flowers and grape leaves, gyros, and the most delicious cakes. There were lines of booths with people sellling their creations which included everything from handmade jewelry and tapestries to musical instruments. Soon I rejoined the group and we found ourselves shaking our bodies wildly to the sounds of an African drum session. Tired, sweaty and altogether fulfilled, we made our way to the river where found a place to lay out our yoga mats on the soft leaves of the riverbank and sleep for the night, all cuddled up content like little piggies in a blanket.
I woke up a couple hours before everyone else and discovered that we had set up our space just below a monastary. Listening to their morning chant as I began my yoga practice just across the way really set the tone for the delightfully calm day that awaited, although it did feel a bit awkward at times watching little families pass by on their way to church as I practiced yoga with my matted hair and yes, I was still wearing my “pajamas”! But who cares anyway, this is the easy life!
Many more adventures have happened since, but I’m tired and there’s another river waiting for me in the small town of Asomatos where I’m staying now, so I will continue this story tomorrow!