Upon starting we were asked what yoga actually was. Me and Dom (my best mate since 8 years old) now the other half of Mantality, looked at each other thinking whether we should try an answer and try preserve our ego or just give in, and fully understand what we were to be told. We went halfway and gave an answer that could be praised for having a go and would need more adding to it. Our yoga teacher Shir Shamesh replied back saying:

“It is the physical practice which brings together the souls of the individual and the soul of the universe.”

Yoga is something quite different to what I’m used to. I have no objective viewpoint or conviction that there will or will not be a joining together of souls, but the practice certainly does mean something to me. It’s something which I can turn up to and feel into. I have lived a lot of my life competing with myself to be better and competing with other people. I used yoga, in the surroundings of Devarya Wellness centre, to release any goals or objectives of imperative self improvement.

Our yoga teacher mentioned the phrase of “surrendering to the Now”. Which is almost a choice from going to start yoga. But this is brought on and on through the practice, by concentrating on your breath and sweating like a maniac to stay in the different positions and balances.

Surrendering to the Now is allowing yourself to not to be tied up with what you need to do in one hours time, without planning in your head what you are going to have for dinner, or what you’re going to say to a friend of yours that is pissing you off. The balance to find in there is observing these without reaction, and just getting on with your yoga. Or that’s my balance at least… I find an underlying enjoyment doing yoga. I’m not going to become a yoga champion, just as I wasn’t going to be England crickets opening batsman after playing on the field every day in the school summer holidays as a young whipper snapper. It’s a sense of play. And an action to do, just for the act of doing it. There may be benefits to me as a rugby player by being more supple and more able in different positions, however I find the enjoyment in being able to just enjoy the practice, with the mindset being quite an exploratory one that is willing and accepting. I know that I can’t bend my torso all the way to the floor with my legs out straight in front, but I also know that this isn’t a massive problem, and being ok with that is a big tick in the box for me. That’s something a lot of competitive people have to train, or more accurately, allow to happen.

In these types of spiritual practices there’s a lot of talk about ego. With the goal of relinquishing it. Whether you do yoga to get better at it or you feel that you’re not good enough during yoga, that is both sides of the same coin. A big thing in the practices of yoga at Devarya, was being aware of this. After all, the ego has helped us navigate through life thus far, but being aware and more control of it through yoga and meditation can only be a good thing?

The setting of Devarya was perched behind the warm Indian Ocean. Along with partaking in yoga, there’s something about being around the wellness retreat. There were bed and breakfast guests ready to soak up the sun in the relaxed atmosphere of Morjim beach, but also a group of yogis. Experienced teachers who had come to learn more, were here along with people ready to dive in to a yoga retreat. We were on the holiday package which included:

  • Accommodation
  • Two classes of yoga every day
  • Two buffet meals, brunch and dinner every day
  • Filtered drinking water, hot drinks including lemon ginger and chai (full day)
  • A variety of activities throughout your stay including Indian music, chanting and meditation
  • Flexibility to create your own schedule
  • Full use of resort amenities

Devarya Wellness is by no means isolated or out of the way. There are many shops should you ever need anything and plenty of bars that ticked over with guests in the area of Morjim Beach through the week. Our personal favourite was The Burger Factory where I could grab a killer banana, peanut butter shake for the calories and Dom could still get a good feed as a vegetarian.

There’s a hippy and laid back vibe to the area. That runs through Devarya Wellness itself, with quite a friendly and family kind of vibe that you can muster up should you stay long enough.

We were at Devarya during a growth process for the retreat. They were on with building beach cottages and also a cafe to act as a hub for guests, so unfortunately we didn’t get to see the place in full flow or at it’s full potential. Work will be completed soon and I imagine it will continue to grow as a centre to spread the magic of yoga, offering something to another level compared to the yoga we can get around the corner normally in the West. There’s definitely something more advanced and more thought out about partaking in yoga at these retreats. We enjoyed our stay and was great to revitalise after our Contiki tour through India. Let’s hope it has some big effects for my upcoming season with the Rhinos.


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