We went to yoga camp in August. That’s the first thing you need to know. We booked a cat sitter, packed up supermum’s beloved army surplus bell tent, a mountain of rugs and sleeping bags, four or five yoga mats, a nine year old and a five year old and headed off to the wilds of Shepton Mallet to pitch a tent in a field for nine days and nights of all-you-can-eat yoga.
The second thing you need to know is that I’m probably going to vaguely anonymise* this. There were lots of things we liked, a few things we struggled with and at least one thing each of us hated. And I want to be frank and not hurt anyone’s feelings, by accident or design.
The third thing you need to know is that this wasn’t a posh camping, Pineapple Dance, Om Yoga Show sort of yoga camp. Oh no. This was hard core. This was lights out at 10:30 (hooray!), bahkti devotional chant every night (more on that later), squatting composting toilets and vegan mass catering all week. No alcohol or drugs on site. Kundalini practice from 5:00am (we never did manage to catch that) and yoga classes of every variety you could imagine and one or two you probably couldn’t.
The final thing you need to know before I go into any kind of detail (future posts) was that the camp was launched a decade ago for the love of it and is still fueled by volunteers and ‘karma yoga’ – doing your bit in the kitchen tent or tending to the toilets or any of the hundred and one other things that a zero-environmental impact camp (they came pretty close) of two hundred and counting women, men and children needs to keep running smoothly. Somehow, it all worked without any real bad temper and minimum grumpiness, even from the people trying to deliver servings of vegetarian curry to two hundred people at a sitting.
We learned a great deal about ourselves, our yoga practice and our respective comfort zones. I’m still digesting it all. I may or may not get around to writing about:
- the zen of composting toilet karma yoga
- the story of the Italian who introduced fishing to that African lake
- little elf’s holiday
- feral tween twilight time
- Grandfather circles and the dangers of inviting Loki to the same party as Woden
- Bhakti, bloody bhakti
- Appropriation of Native American culture and when it is suddenly and illogically ok
- hugging and the dangers of pokey intimacy
- coffee addiction
- Tarot reading for chocolate
- outdoor showers and nudity
- the middle classes versus the off-the-grid
- the joy of morning meetings
- wasps, wasps, wasps
- wind and moonlight
That was a longer list than I anticipated. Does any of it intrigue?
*Shepton Mallet. Yoga camp. Google isn’t that much of an assault course, people!