Here is the path to the shala we practice in...
And the shala itself...
We has a really awesome, challenging 2 hour & 15 minute practice yesterday morning, which was the closest any teacher has ever come to my home practice. It was wonderful. Because of all of the mountains that surround us, Joan said that this space is very high in the earth element. As a force, the earth element is very grounding and stabilizing. I believe it because my balance - something that normally challenges me - was rock-solid straight through practice. Oh, and I was able to grab and hold my foot - with both hands - for the first time ever in Lord of the Dance pose / Natarajasana! (Usually I just barely catch my big toe and then it slips out in a matter of a second or two.) It felt really cool to achieve that milestone here.
After practice and a bite to eat, we took a bus to the nearby salt flats...
Warm, salty water comes up from a natural spring in the ground.
(Can you see the lamb on the left?)
The water is then channeled into these flat pools
where it is allowed to evaporate,
at which point, the salt can be harvested.
Notice the guy carrying the bag of harvested salt in the lower right of the picture. That gives you some idea of the perspective of this place. It was huge!
Our illustrious group...
We hiked past the salt flats and down the mountain,
back into the town of Urubamba.
In the middle of nowhere at the base of the mountain,
we arrived at this really incredible restaurant...
Seriously, this kind of luxury is NOT the norm for this part of Peru. Most structures are half-finished (or half-crumbling) tiny adobe shacks like the one a few photos up. I'll try to take more shots of the local life for a future post.
The group enjoyed a drink together and then we headed home.
After a quick 15 minutes to gather ourselves, Joan held a really interesting talk on Ayurveda in the shala. I learned a lot and want to possibly seek out an Ayurvedic doctor when I return. In case you're interested, I'm vata-dominant with a secondary dosha of pitta. Steve is kapha-dominant, which is why we work so well together. Opposites cure. Pranayama followed.
We had a late dinner and then another body scan & meditation session at 9 pm. Steve and I opted out of the latter because we really just needed some time to regroup. We leave for Aguascalientes at the base of Machu Picchu this morning.
I'll leave you with a few candid shots from the day...
Our fearless leader, Joan.