Oh my god, where in the hell is Jennifer Anniston when I need her? Seriously! I thought I was in one of her movies when I whisked myself away to a nudist colony in upstate New York, which I thought was a yoga retreat (note to self, magazine reviews are not always accurate).
So let me back up, I am a 30- year old women living in NYC, working for Comedy Central and living the dream!
I live in the East Village, own cute clothes, men adore me and I am self sufficient. I thought all was perfect in my life until one day I looked around my small studio and said, “Really, my god I am NOT Sarah Jessica Parker, who am I kidding? Am I really happy?”
I needed some inspiration and to regroup. I felt so disconnected with myself. New York will do that to you. I mean it’s go- go- go all the time and you forget who you are as you are SO caught up as to who you should be.
OK, enough of the Wayne Dryer channeling…
So while hunched over my desk, bitching about my bunions squished into my one size too small Marc Jacob pumps, I opened up New York magazine’s June publication that was featuring all the hot spots and weekend getaways. Thumbing through the magazine I found and ad for a yoga retreat in upstate New York. The pictures looked amazing and the spa food looked delicious. It looked perfect!
The program was yoga in the morning, raw food for lunch and dinner and then meditating at night. I can handle that I thought to myself. Right? I mean, this is what I needed to get grounded and find some meaning in my life……and I will loose weight because I will only be eating lettuce and juice, so it’s a win win! I will come back centered and thinner!
When something sounds to good to be true, it is! A very basic truth we should all remember and live by.
Well, I should have read the fine print a little closer. My mother used to always say, “It’s all in the details.”
The weekend arrived and I had to rent a car (having an encounter with an Avis rental is not an “om” moment by any means), so I was already off to a terrible start. I HATE DRIVING, especially in New York. It is a nasty out of body experience in itself.
I popped in a self help CD and tried to find my “Zen” as I was darting in and out the paths of the kamikaze cab drivers. I keep pushing on and three hours later I arrived to Serenity Sun. And no it is not a rehab clinic!
As I pull up to the resort, I look around and then look back at the cut out of the ad from the magazine.
Hmm, it looks a little bit different. The resort is not a resort and there is not one yoga mat to be found in sight. There are two little houses or huts rather and one large main house. Hmm… this is weird? Where is everyone? I take out my suitcase from the car and start rolling it over the stones or boulders rather that line the walk way. They are not even leveled! My god I am roughing it!
At first, second and third glance, this retreat looked very overgrown with no caretaker in sight. Serenity Sun did not look like the photos in the magazine. The pool was dirty and there was not a hot yogi guy sitting by the pool mediating and drinking a fresh smoothie like I was promised when I signed away a whopping $3,500.
I open the door to the main house and walk in quietly. Three cats run by (shit, I hate cats) and I start to smell some sort of curry on the stove. Suddenly, “Rado” the spiritual guru walks over to me, rather floated it seemed. Perhaps he was levitating because he was wearing those dam Crocs shoes that nurses wear. Sorry, just don’t like them.
Rado seemed like a very nice cute little man when reading his bio on the website. Rado owns Serenity Sun.
In person, Rado is 6’6, from Germany, bald and had these incredible piercing blue eyes. Beyond his appearance, his choice in clothing was questionable. He had on a very tight tank top and some lion cloth thingy that went just above the knees. Great! This is going to be interesting. I kept trying not to stare at his you know what, but lion cloth, crocs…come on?
“Shit,” I kept mumbling, “Why did you not read the fine print? And where are all the cute girls running around in lulu-lemon shorts and drinking smoothies?”
“Sara, I welcome you to Serenity Sun. You are the only one here at the retreat. This is very exciting, it has never happened before.”
“WHAT! What do you mean I am the only one here?” I thought there were up to 8 women that were going to be retreating with me.”
“Well Sara, sometimes it works out this way. Perhaps you need solitude and me as your guide. Let’s walk out and begin our breathing exercises and tree work.”
Tree work, what the hell is tree work? Am I at some friggin co-op where I have to plant trees before I eat them?
Oh my god, what have I got myself into? I could still run out. I could still see my gas guzzling SUV parked up in between the trees of Serenity Sun. I thought back to the days that I used to watch Night Rider and wanted to call out to my car, “Kit come and save me!”
The booming sound of Rado’s voice abrubtly dissolved my getaway fantasy.
Before I knew it I was hugging trees to feel their life force and then Rado had me on my back, leaning over me and telling me we were going to be breathing the next 2 hours.
“Sure, that sounds great Rado!” Just want I want to do, is have you lean over me, a perfect stranger hitting bells, pulling on my forehead while touching my breasts and stomach. I could hear my mother saying, “It’s all in the fine print!”
So, being the good sport that I am, I took each breath in and out like he asked. It went on and on, but soon I felt like I was seeing visions, visions driving away and stopping at the casino 10 miles away!
After the two hours of power breathing, he laid on top of me to help encourage the gravity of the universe?
“Wow,” I said, “Rado, I can’t breath, can you hop off?
OK, I said to myself. Rado is a total pervert.
So here I am, three hours from NY, alone at a retreat with a 6’6 man laying on top of me. I had the damm Liberty Bell going off, saying get the hell out of there!
But, being the adventurer that I am, I stayed. I paid $3,500 for the 4 days, I wanted my to get my $$ worth.
The next day Rado whisked me off to a hot springs to bathe with the other free balling spirits of the world. I of course showed up in my hot little bathing suit totally shocked as Rado said the hot springs was clothing optional. I thought someone would be wearing a bathing suit. Nope. Everyone naked. Everyone was very hairy. Everyone was very very white and did I mention hairy?
All of the onlookers were staring at me and finally I took my suit off after 30 minutes. Rado mentioned that I would feel more comfortable if I was naked because our bodies are just vessels. Clothing is not important.
Now, I have Rado’s number!
So here is this guy who has a “yoga retreat” with no yoga, makes women run around hugging trees, laying on them to help them breath and then has them bathe at a nudist colony? Wow, smart guy.
At this moment, I tried to think what Jennifer Aniston would do in one of her quirky movies? How do I exit this situation with some humor and grace? And how do I do it naked? It is really hard to escape when you are naked.
Finally, Rado said it was time to leave and we headed back to the retreat. I went straight to my cabin and packed my bags. I grabbed a kale smoothie and told Rado it was time for me to go back to NYC.
He waved (and was still naked) and I just smiled and shook my head….”It’s all in the fine print.”
I arrived back to my small studio in NYC and put on my flannel pj’s (trying to cover all of my body) and grabbed some fattening food and pigged out. I popped in a movie with Jennifer Anniston and laughed myself to sleep.
Perhaps Jennifer’s next movie will be called, “Retreat gone wrong” and she would let me be and extra – a naked one of course!’
Naked yogi girl…2005
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