India: To Kovalam, Yoga Teacher Training

So far so great. I recently traveled south from the rock climbing/bouldering-heaven of Hampi, India, to Kovalam for my yoga teacher training program. We’re on day 3 of 28, and my body is already feeling new things. This is going to be a wild experience.

My trip down to the beach went pretty smoothly, although it took over two full days. I hopped on an auto rickshaw from Hampi to Hospet where I grabbed an overnight bus (booked ahead of time) down to Bangalore. From there, I’d take an overnight train the following night, getting me pretty close to my final destination. Before I left Hampi, I happened to sit next to another traveler at dinner, Daan from the Netherlands, who was heading the same direction, and who happened to be booked for the bunk next to mine on the train ride the following night.


About 300 stairs leading up to the Monkey Temple in Hampi


A typical sunset view in India – there are temples everywhere

We decided to meet up in Bangalore to explore for the day – a long day in a foreign city is quite a lot easier with a companion. Bangalore turned out to be wonderful. It seems to be a lot more organized than Mumbai, or at least not as big and crowded. There streets are very clean by the standards I’ve become accustomed to, and the parks are wonderful. We had a full day of wandering and checking out the gardens, coffee houses, and local art galleries.


A big government building in Bangalore. The city was pretty chill and made a lot more sense than Mumbai

From Bangalore, we boarded our train south. Daan’s ride was about 12 hours – down to Cochin – and I stayed on another four until Trivandrum. I hadn’t been able to check email for a few days, so I wasn’t really sure how I was going to get to the yoga training, but I was pretty sure it was supposed to start the night I was arriving. I got to Trivandrum pretty tired and dehydrated, but got some water and started looking for the bus stop. The rickshaw drivers are really aggressive here, but there give you really bad prices compared to locals. One offered me a ride for 250 Rupees (about $5, also just barely less than I paid for the 16 hour train ride), but I decided it was time I tried the city bus, which costs 30 Rupees. It took about 45 minutes of wandering and constantly asking directions to find, but it was a great ride, and cheap. I got off the bus in Kovalam and asked around for the hotel that was listed on the website for my yoga teacher training. Eventually I found this:


The Yoga Shala for my teacher training in Kovalam

Except it was full of people, and they were starting the opening ceremony for the program. After over 48 hours of travel and without knowing my exact destination, I arrived exactly five minutes late to my program. Wild. This seems to be how things happen in India. As long as you’re relaxed, it’ll work out perfectly.


The beach outside the yoga shala. This is my view everyday for the next month

And now that I’m here, it’s pretty easy to be relaxed. The yoga training is hard, but I love it so far. My body is sore, my mind is engaged and my spirit is full. It’s definitely going to get harder, too. It’s only been three days, but already I love the teaching aspect of the class. I think this is something I might really enjoy when I’m back in the states – teaching and honing my communication style. I already have all sorts of thoughts about this, but it will have to wait for another post. I’ve got 15 minutes until our afternoon session and still need to purify some water. Until next time,

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

3 replies
  1. Triple says:

    Hi Max! I just had a moment and somehow found my way to your blog and read the last few posts (I hadn’t been on it in a while). Pretty incredible stuff! I loved reading about your silent meditation retreat — which may seem far away to you now, I wonder… have you carried any of that with you to India?
    Oh yes, and then there’s India! I love the photographs, and reading your reactions to all these new things. You seem to be taking great pleasure in exploring. I’m pretty jealous!!
    Much love,

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