Home > Beach, Hindu, India, Meditation, Travel, Yoga > Rums, Mums, Mopeds… and the Kundalini life-force

Rums, Mums, Mopeds… and the Kundalini life-force

Goa started like an episode of a bad ITV programme ‘When holidays go wrong’. My mum wasn’t able to fly out for Christmas and the guest house we’d chosen was run by an awful American lady who insisted we pay fully for my mum’s unused room. But things were soon to pick up. My mum rebooked her flights to arrive in time for New Year and we managed to move to a nicer beach up the coast.

On Christmas day Carl and I bought a £2 bottle of rum and set off early to Anjuna beach wellbefore the crowds. Sun, sea, sand and a few rum and cokes set up an excellent Christmas day of just simply enjoying. The only downside was that the bar we chose to purchase our cokes from had decided to put their Christmas CD on loop.

A few days later we decided to rent a scooter and scoop out the surrounding beaches for accommodation for mum arriving. ‘Have you driven a scooter before?’ asked the man. ‘Yes’ Carl replied remembering his 16 year old self having a quick go on a friends. ‘And you have a driving license?’ So as not to technically tell a lie Carl produced his provisional to which the man nodded. Off we chugged, slowly smiley to a quiet spot where we could both get some practise in.

Carl got the hang of it pretty easily, and I was doing ok before I had to stop to turn around. We’d come to the end of the road and were surrounded by derelict buildings, garages and palm trees. Carl got off the bike and I attempted to move the bike round. Upon noticing that the bike would not make the turn I decided to reverse it by pulling backwards on the handle, forgetting completely that that was actually the scooters go button cleverly disguised as a handle. Straight forward I went, smack into a garage door. All I heard was Carl shouting ‘let go, let go’. I let go of the bike, dropped it on the floor and stood back to admire a perfect Hazell and scooter shaped dent in the rusty door. Luckily the door was so weak and tarnished that both the bike and I were fine, apart from a few scratches and a bit of a fat lip. With no one around Carl picked up the bike and reversed it the way it should be done – with no engine. I jumped on and off we sped… slowly.

This all happened within an hour of getting the bike and within five minutes of my driving turn. It was therefore unanimously decided that Carl would be the sole driver of the bike. When he’d gained a bit of confidence we drove through a beautiful stretch of road to Arambol beach. We revelled in the freedom of having our own wheels singing ‘Born to be wild’ over and over again as we glided through the surrounding palm trees, past various beaches along the coast, finally arriving at Arambol.

The beach at Arambol wasn’t much, I’d seen nicer ones down the Gower in West Wales, but its traveller atmosphere, friendly vibes and plethora of yoga on offer made us choose it as our next spot. We found a guest house with two rooms almost next to the beach and awaited my mums arrival. This was delayed further by cancellations courtesy of Kuwait airways, but two days and five flights later she finally arrived minus her suitcase which would show up a few days prior to her homeward journey. She got straight into the Goa vibe by purchasing a purple tie dye number and after a few beers, expressing an interest in getting dreadlocks, something I adamantly discouraged while Carl did quite the opposite.

It was lovely to see a familiar face and have some family for the Christmas period. Both Carl and I really appreciated the effort she made to come half way across the globe to see us, although as she admitted, the sun and cheap booze were the main draw. We once again hired scooters and drove freely around the spectacular Goan countryside. Most mornings Carl and I would get up for yoga, meet mum for a leisurely breakfast and spend the day swimming and sunning ourselves before a few beverages and some good (and not so good) food. Mum came twice to yoga only to discover that her memories of the 1970’s flexibility she once claimed to possess had waned ever so slightly.

Both Carl and I had expected to find Goa an almost unbearable beach resort full of Russian tourists in g-strings, (and some beaches are exactly that), but we grew to love the rugged Indian coastal state, particularly Arambol. The beaches are by no means perfect; you are constantly harassed to buy bracelets, sarongs, fruit and more, the sand is not as golden or clean as it once was, the sea is pretty rough at times, and floating faeces are not uncommon – one particular lump of human origin kept us out of the sea for at least half a day. We were sure that by the next day it’d move on. So what is it about Goa or Arambol in particular that attracts a loyal crowd. All we can say is that it’s the vibes; the chilled out parties hung over from the 60’s, the price of board, booze and other necessities, and the courses on offer.

After mum’s departure we decided to stay another week to take part in a Chakra Healing course taught by the Kundalini Yoga teacher that we had grown to admire. Kundalini yoga (in the tradition of Yogi Bhajan, a Sikh Yogi) works with the subtle awareness of the energy in the body; at an advanced level the goal is to cultivate and harness the unlimited creative and spiritual potential that exists within every human being. Our course was more of an introduction, a ‘tuning in’ as our teacher would say to the subtle energy flow often overlooked by Western thought. Within Indian tradition this energy is known as Prana, and in Chinese classical medicine as Qi. To begin to develop subtle awareness of energy flow is like gradually tuning a radio to a specific frequency; it may not be apparent at first due to lack of mental refinement, and to work with it, the energy must be felt rather than conceptualised.

The chakras are wheels of energy found at points along the spinal cord. There are seven chakras (eight including the aura) which relate to different areas of the body, emotions, physical disorders and our changing needs. When there is an energy imbalance in one or more of the chakras a person may experience a certain kind of suffering and vice versa if someone experiences a distressing event it can cause the chakras to become unbalanced. Kundalini yoga, meditations and healing techniques can be used to re-balance the chakras but a holistic approach to pain must be taken. You cannot work healthily with your energy without working with your own mind and body. This is a fundamental principle in both Indian and Chinese classical medicine; one must deal holistically with causes rather than symptoms.

I find it quite hard to describe the experience and our teacher was very aware that ‘preaching’ about an unknown-to-us form of energy in our body was going to fall short. So we were to investigate it ourselves using chakra awareness yoga and various other methods which focused on developing subtle awareness, and by the end of the course we were all very much able to feel our own energy circulating and that of others emulating from their chakra points.

Two specific examples stand out for me and may be a little too ‘hippy’ for some readers (Dad). The first was an Osho meditation where our small group of 6 had to move our bodies and chant sex-like ‘huh’ noises, adjusting the tone as we focused on the different chakras using our hands and minds. After half an hour of jiggling we could all feel the energy flowing through us; I was unable to stand still as I had to swirl with the energy. Osho’s meditations are designed specifically for Westerners; he recognised that the classic analytical meditations are not practical for those who have a lot of baggage to let go of first! His meditations are designed to release and expel all the inhibitions, stories and self consciousness that eat away at many of those working in the modern world. For the rest of the day our minds felt extremely calm and all course participants were able to focus more readily. Carl had previously experiences similar sensations of energy flow in an acupuncture session in London.

The other incident that caused our healthy level of cynicism to diminish was the use of dowsing crystals to decipher whether a chakra is balanced or unbalanced. If it is balanced and energy is flowing freely, the crystal (preferably clear quartz) will swing in a circle and if it is unbalanced then it will swing back and forth like a pendulum. We all discussed having areas of tension in certain parts of the body and the crystal agreed with our newly developed awareness. It was an eye opening experience as we watched the crystal meet and mingle with the energy fields. Carl tried holding the crystal over other points of the body, other objects, palm trees etc but nothing happened.

We then went on to learn a chakra healing / balancing routine in which we would act as a channel for universal healing energy to enter the other persons body via the chakras. We practised this routine a number of times with different partners, each time different experiences were had by all. We’d learnt the theory and read the books before, but this was the course that really opened our eyes (all three of them – bad chakra joke) and our bodies to a force largely neglected in our own society.



  1. mumtwo
    July 22, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Yeh, was cool – but wish I’d got the dreads….

    • cockmans
      July 23, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Oh so do I Jan, so do I.

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