From Feeling Lost To Finding Myself  – Varun Singal

I was first introduced to yoga 5 years ago in a contemporary yoga studio in Melbourne, where we practiced a westernised style of power yoga. I took it up as a fitness routine and the fact that almost every successful person was doing it, may have also influenced my decision.

You see, I was living the Aussie dream! I was a young good-looking guy who had had an amazing job and a social life. I was living in an apartment which was a block away from Kylie Minogue’s childhood abode. I was the youngest national manager handling two teams in an executive agency with the attorney general of Australia. I was in a live-in relationship with an Australian-Canadian green eyed boy and we were fast approaching five years of monogamy. It was all perfect, and perhaps I was an epitome of success in all areas of life, be it career, relationships or even social life.

The Unhappiest I had Ever Been

My partner and I were out for a picnic on a glorious sunny afternoon. The idea of course was to relax, but I began to feel edgy. When you are anxious there are many other emotions lurking beneath. I asked my partner ‘What are the top three things in your life that you want to change? The things that make you unhappy?’ As I asked this question, I was prepared with answers in my head ‘job, home and him.’ But I simply could not get myself to tell him the truth.

A few months later, I took a year’s sabbatical to travel, had even planned to leave Australia for good and I was single again! These decisions are never easy. We even struggle with the easiest choices – like to go for a flat white or skinny soy latte with a muffin? Or a pretzel? 🙂

My colleagues admired the fact that I could arrive at a decision. They said that everyone talks about breaking free from the 9 to 5 pin striped prison but only a few have the courage to do it. They said they were proud of my decision. I realised that we all have choices to make but some of us just choose not to choose. When we decide, it is these choices that define who we are and what we become.

When Only Yoga Made Sense

I was on a traveling spree, country-hopping and city-hopping in UK and Europe. It all looked so familiar … vanity, drugs, bareback sex and this shadow of depression lurking at every corner. “If this is what I was really looking for then why did I leave Melbourne?” I thought to myself. Melbourne had it all and what did I really have in mind when I thought about traveling to Europe? Opulence? Art and fashion? Flower shops, smiles and PDAs?  Now, replace all this with bad economy, grumpy faces, homeless refugees, sightseeing spots overrun with tourists …and selfie mania of course.

I was unhappy from within and no matter which place I run to … I will continue to see things as I am, and not as they are.

I realised that it is I who had to change. I realised this in those 90 minutes long yoga classes, which made me feel more alive than dancing a whole night in my underwear. It was my escape from the mundane and it was my time to reflect on how I feel in the present moment, physically, mentally and emotionally. I took a decision to pursue the practice further and enrolled myself for a yoga teacher training course in an exotic location in the East. Twenty five days of abstinence and intense but rewarding training was working its magic on me. We were almost at the end of our course and nearing the certification date and just then, something terrible happened. The earthquake had struck Nepal and I was in the midst of it all in Pokhara.  

Why Was I There

We often ask ourselves ‘Why me? Why now? Why here?’ A month before reaching Nepal, I had lost my best friend in a plane crash. Like me, he too was on his way to try something new, in a new place, with dreams of finding a new purpose. He was flying down to Germany and was accompanied by his mother. I still remember waking up to the horrible news of his plane crash. I had lost a dear friend, a guide, an angel who had supported me and was always there for me.  He didn’t make it to 30. He died too young.

I did not find answers to all my questions but that is when I had made up my mind that I had to make a difference where it is truly needed. I had only one purpose in mind and that was to learn yoga in-depth.

When the earthquake had hit Nepal, it had caused much pain and damage to many. It is never easy for me to talk about the sudden loss of my dear friend and talking about the earthquake is equally tough. Similar questions were arising in my head again ‘Why Nepal? Why now when things had just begun to fall in place?’

We May Never Have All The Answers

…And this is what keeps us going. Today, as I stand in front of this 70 years old uniquely designed Portuguese-Goan villa with a cup of T2 creme brulee in my hand, I can’t help but think back three years ago. I actually quit a prestigious job, gave up my posh SATC kind of apartment in the heart of Melbourne city, and said goodbye to my group of beasties so I can go some place else to find answers… to be at peace and happy.

Certainty narrows your worldview and uncertainty broadens and deepens your scope.

I haven’t found answers to all my questions and I have made peace with the fact that one should never stop asking questions. One should continue to seek. Here in the quiet northern Goan hills, I have found paradise. It is my Bali from Eat Pray Love, a place where I have found solace. It is where I have learned to embrace the changes and not fight them. A sense of balance, love, generosity and happiness prevails within and in the surroundings.  The restoration of my new abode – this beautiful heritage villa, which was abandoned for over thirty years, is almost complete.

Welcome To My Inclusive World

Every person who walks in through the door should feel a sense of belonging, which is in line with the yogic principles. After all, that is why I am here, to give hope and to create a healing environment.

I have reached out to the NGOs and the  local LGBT communities to help find me people from their respective communities. I want to work with people who are passionate and are driven to make a difference in their lives and are also inspired to positively impact others and empower them.

In Melbourne I was introduced to the westernised style of power yoga. Though the flow gets its inspiration from the traditional yoga poses, I feel that it fails to capture what yoga is truly about. Having learned the art and science of yoga, I ensure that our classes emphasize on the practice and benefits of traditional yoga. The World Health Organization suggested that 80% of modern day diseases are psychosomatic or stress related. Do you think pills, drugs and more drugs are the solution? The answer, I believe, lies in the holistic practice of yoga which aims at eradicating the root cause of these diseases.

Our retreat is to not just let you be who you think you are, but to encourage you to inquire and get in touch with the gem of a person you could become

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that Simply Yoga retreat is now open for daily stay with an option to choose from 12 handcrafted minimalistic chic ensuites. We conduct two classes a day of introductory yoga and ashtanga yoga. Other facilities include, complimentary breakfast, rooftop infinity swimming pool, in-house bicycles, lounges, meditation hall, yoga spaces, and a communal garden and kitchen.

Varun Singal

Founder Simply Yoga, luxurious yoga retreat, Goa

Instagram @simplyyogaretreat

Facebook @SimplyYogaRetreat

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