Arriving at Yogaville
This was my first ashram visit and it was filled with surprises. At first, I felt very conspicuous. We were “weekenders,” identified as such with orange wristbands (which we later found out are recycled, so others had already worn the wristbands we were wearing – yuck!). Unlike many of the residents, we were in street clothes, while other roamed the grounds in orange outfits (swamis) or all white (ashram workers, like yoga instructors). I suppose the purpose is to make them easy to find, but it just made me feel like an outsider.
Our First Night at Yogaville
Having arrived moments before dinner, we quickly made our way to the dining hall for some very yummy and healthy vegan fare. We ate to our hearts’ content and then made our way out into the “quad.” Or at least we thought. We ended up being “strongly encouraged” to attend a presentation given by a visiting swarmi. As we entered the hall (late, of course), we were immediately engulfed in lovely chanting. After the chanting stopped, the visiting swarmi addressed the group of about 40 people. It was a bit much to take all at once, and I feared that I had made a mistake by coming. But the rest of the weekend was much more relaxing and peaceful, without any feelings of unease.
You can read a detailed account of what we experienced on The Bindu blog including a description of the LOTUS shrine pictured above. Sari weaves an interesting tale of our weekend encounters and lessons.