While staying at a yoga hostel in Khajuraho, the birthplace of Kama Sutra, I met a fellow American who was taking a four day yoga detox course. She spoke very highly of the course and how great she was feeling. The course consisted of ayurvedic detox, ayurvedic meal plan, massage, colonic cleanse, meditation and yoga, it sounded perfect (I was a little nervous about the colonic) so I said “sign me up!” I mean, isn’t that like what you are supposed to do when you’re in India?
Apparently, I was the only person in the hostel who wanted to get my detox on because there was no one else taking the course. I began my classes at 5 a.m. with my yogi, Naveen, for those of you who know me well you will know how much of a struggle this was for me. The day began on the rooftop with sunrise meditation, a beautiful and, surprisingly, energizing way to start the day. After the sun made its grand appearance we enjoyed hot lemon ginger honey water before moving on to our Hatha Yoga lesson.
I found yoga to be embarrassingly difficult the first lesson. Naveen would ask me to bend forward and touch my toes…and hold them for 30 seconds. Touching my toes I can do, but for 30 seconds? The rest of the lesson continued in this fashion, Naveen asking me to strike a pose and hold for 30 seconds and me thinking “what the f*** was I thinking?” as I will the next 30 seconds to pass.
After yoga I asked the manager, Satish, when I would start the detox part of my course. He told me that there was no detox, that I was taking a Hatha and Tantric yoga course. I explained that I had asked to be signed up for the same course that Stephenie, the other American girl, had taken. And, in typical Indian fashion, it was explained that the price of that course was 19,200 rupees ($300) and not the 6,400 rupees ($100) Stephenie had paid to take the exact same course just days before. So, after a moment of frustration, I decided to continue with the Hatha/Tantra course for $100.
The evening continued with a theory class, just me and my yogi, where it took everything I had in me to keep my eyes open and pretend to be interested as I tried to make sense of what he said in his broken English and Indian accent. This is how the next two hours went, except every 10 minutes or so my eyes would pop open in surprise when I would hear Naveen, very clearly, say “orgasm” or “sex”. What the hell, why does he keep saying “orgasm”? Once the theory lecture finally ended we had our last class of the day, Tantra Yoga, which didn’t seem to be much different than Hatha Yoga except for the occasional “orgasm”…the word you dirty pervert. And so it continued in this fashion.
Halfway through the second day mom text me to ask how the retreat was going, I told her it was really strange and not what I was expecting, but that I was getting ready to go to class and would call after. This was when I had that moment of clarity when everything finally started to make sense. Naveen and I are sitting on the floor, Indian style, when he asks me if I brought a partner with me. A little confused as to why he is asking me this I reply “no”, he then says “Then I will be your acting partner, but I want you to understand we aren’t going to actually have sex, we are just going to pretend. We will be like actors.” WHAT THE F***! I can only imagine what my face looked like, it always gives me away. So here I am, trying (and miserably failing) to play it cool, like, yeah I knew I was in a sex class, alone, by myself, in a foreign country. He says that we will start tonight during our Tantra Yoga class if I am comfortable.
I nearly ran out the door and to my room to call Mom (and Dad as we always talk on speaker) when lecture finished. “Oh my god, I am in a sex class!” I believe were the first words out of my mouth when they answered. Mom says “WHAT?” and I explained the past few days and how it all makes sense now why he would randomly say “orgasm” or “sex”. Mom asked me why I didn’t google “Tantra Yoga” before I started the course and I said because I didn’t think I needed to google yoga, I thought it was like stretching and shit. She says “Amanda, you always google everything!” They (by “they” I mean mom, dad was a little uncomfortable with the subject with me being his daughter and all) asked me if I was going to continue with the retreat and mom says she thinks I should. I told them that I had already paid for it so I guess I will stick it out, I mean, why not? When in India, right? We end the conversation after quite a few laughs and strict instructions to give them updates.
“Definitely orgasmic, but not sexual” is the first thing to pop up when you google Tantra Yoga…just in case you were wondering. Tantric Yoga, or so I learned from Naveen, is all about experiencing maximum sexual pleasure without actually ever having an orgasm. When tantra is practiced properly you should be able to have the pleasure of an orgasm for up to 2 hours but you should stop just before orgasm because it releases unnecessary energy from your body. Who Knew? Apparently it’s “a complete science”, these were Naveen’s favorite words, after “orgasm”, that is.
Without going into too much detail, I will say, I definitely tested my boundaries and my comfort zone, it’s just too bad my Yogi wasn’t cuter (just kidding…kinda, not really). During the theory class, on my last day, Naveen let me know that he and his (ex)girlfriend had broken up a few months back, he then continued to tell me that it is okay for a Yogi to have sex with his student so long as both are on the same page. Aaannnddd that was the end of my Tantric Yoga retreat. I don’t like to be a quitter, but exceptions can always be made, like when your yogi propositions you for sex.
Maybe the fact that I was in Khajuraho, the birthplace of Kama Sutra, should have been my first clue…