After the bus took us out of the city of Cuzco, steep mountains began cropping up on either side of the road. We had entered the Sacred Valley. After watching the rural (compared to city) lifestyle move by in the window for about half an hour, we came around a bend and the bus came to a stop. A river rushed along the right side of the road, along with the adobe building where we would practice yoga, on the left side of the road we saw a sign that read ëco yoga. We had arrived.
Chi-tanya greeted us and welcomed us to sradhavan (sanskrit name for the community). Several adobes were sprawled over a hill, they stopped with the beginning of a steep incline of a peak in the Andes mountain range. From the instant we arrived we felt the magic of the place, anticipation for a very relaxing and refreshing experience. On the day of arrival we had our first yoga class. As the week progressed we had an hour of meditation each morning followed by yoga and then breakfast at 9:30.
On the first full day we had a class on the yoga diet, and breathing techniques in yoga called Pranayama. In yoga there are three different types of food, satuic, rajasic, and tamasic. The satuic diet includes fresh organic vegetables and fruits. It also includes grains like corn, barley and wheat. Honey, maple syrup and molasses are the sugars of the satuic diet. For snacks nuts and seeds are suggested, and milk is on the list, as long as its from a healthy cow. To sum it up, this is a diet of natural and whole foods that are grown with care and prepared in meals with love. The Rajasic diet is partly made up of hot foods and spicey foods, they make the body soften with their intensity, therefore are only good in moderation. Other foods with strong flavors such as pungency (pickles and other canned foods), bitterness, sourness, dryness, saltyness, all promote productivity but can make the mind restless when eaten too much. When eaten excessivly the rajasic diet can cause us to become angry, lustful, greedy, violent or agitated. Refined sugar, coffee and tobacco are also considered rajasic. Too much food from the tamasic category causes us to feel heavy and slugish. Foods in this diet include meals cooked and eaten 6 or more hours later, foods with preservatives, too much salt, too much sugar, fried or reheated (in a microwave) foods, overcooked or overripe foods, meats, fish and alcohol. Eating too much, even if it´s healthy, can also cause tamasic energy. You will know you ate too much if you are extremely sleepy afterwards.
So, after going into the topic of our first class with extensive detail, I will keep the rest simple. On the second full day we learned how to make adobe bricks. The ingredients are mud, stones, water and straw. Our bricks will be used for the structure that is in progress right now at sradhavan. On our third full day we had classes on the seven Chakras. These are energetic disks located along the spine, and each one determines our outlooks and feelings on certain aspects of our lives. On our fourth (and final) full day we learned about Vedic Astrology. Many peoples signs in western astrology will move back one in Vedic astrology. For example, my birthday being May 1st, I am a Taurus in Western, but an Aries in Vedic astrology. This is because the dates for the signs are different, starting with November 15th to December 15th for Scorpio, and so on.
This final class with Chi-Tanya was a good way to use what we´d learned during our time with him, and leave with an even deeper -if not broader- understanding of self, and the role we all play in the world. All in all, the five days spent practicing yoga and meditation in the Sacred Valley were appreciated by all of us in the Inti group. After weeks of being on the move, it was wonderful to be able to completely commit to the present moment. Even though our stay was short, our experience was vast and one to be kept in our memories as we complete our ventures through Peru.