Stormy monsoon weather is an exciting way to start the master yoga class for men with Manoj Deepal, a dashing young well built and well toned samurai warrior of the water. First he assessed my fitness skills and then we waded through the water to the central point of the pool. Though young and shorter than me he is clearly very strong both mentally and physically and, after a short introduction, takes me through my paces. Although, not a veteran of yoga, I immediately felt that yoga in the water was much more my suit, as I was surrounded by natural beauty on all sides from within the aptly named infinity pool that assisted support of the lower body. That’s not to say the other dawn yoga class in the Pavilion would have been any the less rewarding. The pool at Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions is surrounded by a wonderful array of green patterns and shapes making up the surrounding foliage with wonderful trees with great names, Indian Laburnums and Temple trees, the latter of which are testament to this temple of holistic health.
Manoj compliments this natural beauty with grace and dignity and an ability to turn his own body into a striking art form, accentuating the various purposes of the body’s many parts. With such a good master, I find it relatively easy to follow his lead and much less cumbersome than my last effort when 18 years old, under my longsuffering great aunt twice removed, Baroness Von Someruga of the Bay of Islands in New Zealand still supple from her life long air bending exercises, which left us looking like old men reduced to uncontrolled giggling, as bones cracked and muscle stretching gave way to involuntary groans. Each move requires a part of the body or collection of muscles, to be stretched, sometimes with opposing forces to maintain poise and equilibrium, and held occasionally to breaking point, followed by that wonderful release and rush of natural endorphins that reward the mind for its discipline and acknowledgement of the diverse nature of the body and its needs.
“These exercises are best taken in the cool of the early morning, they are the perfect way to start the day,” Manoj tells me before striking his next warrior-like position, which encapsulates his being in all its powerful potential. I try very hard to emulate this and just about manage to keep up until he, perhaps wanting to test me and show who’s boss, gives me a much tougher move that requires straining both my back and my legs in a position of high tension for what seems like minutes. “You are good. You have done this many times before?” he asks, not betraying even a hint of generosity as his training empowers him to, and watching me keel over, narrowly avoiding a dunking, as my balance finally fails.
As my inspiring and very rewarding 40-minute session draws to a close, the heavens open and we are surrounded by a million bursting water bubbles that transform the pool into a misty mystery of contrast to the quiet and peaceful former morning glory. Manoj very warmly shakes my hand and speaks many more encouraging words referring back to his training in the martial arts and I thank him for enlightening me with his dedication and professionalism, before we go our separate ways and emerge from our watery retreat to return to the wider world, renewed and refreshed and most importantly having fully exercised the mind and body in unison.