My Retreat with Firooza Ali Razvi by Honi Loudon
I was so very lucky to go on an Iyengar Yoga retreat with Firooza Ali Razvi in India in 2018. That experience gave me so much more than I could possibly have anticipated that I signed up the day I left for the next retreat!
This was to have been in the autumn of 2020 but, of course, the COVID pandemic struck and all of our lives changed and the 2020 retreat indefinitely postponed. So, it was extremely exciting to find the retreat rescheduled for this year, March 2023. Almost all the people who had been on the 2018 retreat, were signed up to come again.
It was a bit daunting, especially after all the lock-downs and crises people had suffered during the pandemic, to set off on such a journey to Dehradun. Also, I had a bit of a worry in the back of my mind that it could never live up to the transformative experience of the first retreat.
As it turned out, it was even better and Firooza herself, a most modest person, said that she felt she had taught her best retreat yet this spring.
The retreat is held at the lovely Tarab Ling Institute, a Tibetan Buddhist Centre, near Dehradun in India. It is described as "a serene, green, peaceful place of contemplation and study in the foothills of the Himalayas", which is absolutely true.
Tarab Ling sits on a hillside looking down over a wide river valley where subsistence farming is still the mainstay of life. The woods below are filled with birdsong all day long and goats wander beneath the trees foraging, while family groups of monkeys swing through the trees on the look out for something to eat! Outside my bedroom were three lime trees all in blossom attracting a stunning collection of butterflies with their sweet scent.