Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nov. 7 2013
Settling in

New routine (old routine):

I have finally moved in to my apartment where I will stay the rest of my time here and it is starting to feel like home. I think we will have gas for the stove tonight and maybe internet soon. I have two room-mates who are in the same class with me - Beth from NY and Chris from the UK.


There are a lot of yoga students here. Probably a few hundred but that is a guess and could be off by a lot. We are all staying more or less in the Mysore neighborhood where the yoga school is so there is an entire mini-industry around catering to the needs of confused foreign yoga students.

There are restaurants where only yoga students go but also many delicious restaurants that both students and Mysore residents go to but that are popular among students. There are maybe a dozen rickshaw drivers who hang around the shala and know all the places students want to go to and there is a coconut stand whose entire business (at least in the a.m.) is quenching the thirst of sweaty students as they emerge from morning practice. Post practice coconut is sublime. There is sort of a word of mouth map of good places to eat and buy things which has started to become very familiar.
View from down an ally near 1st main and Contour Road in Gokulam. Ahead on the left is a temple I haven't been in. The little three wheled cars on the left are ricksahws. 

The routine here is basically morning practice (usually done by 9) followed by leisurely large breakfast and lunch plus socializing, shopping and errand running. Dinner is light and people go to bed early. This is basically my routine at home with work subbed in for socializing and wandering around town. The differences are mostly that here the early to bed schedule is normal and I am unusual for wanting to work rather than the other way around.
Now that I have fewer errands I hope to get a bit more work done and do more exploring. It is a good change from constant yoga talk plus I have projects I find motivating.

Out and about:
The little yoga safety bubble in Gokulam is nice. The residents aren't surprised to see us and lots of businesses cater to our needs. But I would really like to get out a bit. Mysore University is down the road and I would like to go see it. There is a lake there too which is only open in the morning and afternoon. I hope to get to the main market which is maybe 5km. There is also a bird sanctuary north of Mysore that I really want to see but those plans are a bit more ambitious. I am thinking of trying for it on a moon day (nb: no yoga on full and new moons hence 'moon day'. The next one is Sunday Nov. 17 which Saraswathi takes off anyway so its not a real day off).

Yoga (skip if you don't care):
The quick background to the yoga I practice and why am I even here is that Sri K Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) is the originator the yoga style called Ashtanga. He learned from his teacher Krishnamacharya who also taught BKS Iyengar and Desikachar among other well known yoga teachers and the lineage keeps going back past any really good recorded memory.
Guruji died in 2009 (for more about him look here ) His class at the main shala was taken over by his grandson Sharath and there is also a class down the road taught by his daughter Saraswhathi who is my teacher here.
I have now practiced in Saraswathi's shala three times now. For the first week everyone practices primary series which is the first sequence of postures you learn. She tells me that on Monday I will start doing the postures in intermediate series (I do about half of intermediate back in Seattle). She also says I will grab my ankles in back bending on Monday.

A picture I found here of ankle grabbing. I'm not gonna look like that but you get the idea.

I am happy for the week of primary as I adjust to the new environment. I also know that as I add postures from intermediate the practice will start to get long (and hard) since you keep all of primary as you add in new postures for quite a while.
I think I am almost looking forward to the ankle grabbing. It feels like something that is ready to happen and today I walked my hands in to touch my heels. Saraswathi inspires a lot of trust in me. Backbending is definitely the hardest part psychologically. There is a lot of fear to overcome. The natural reaction (for me and others too I think) in deep backbending is panic. Having a teacher I trust completely is what makes it possible for me. I feel that I can essentially surrender all of my fear to the teacher and just focus on breathing. This is how I feel about my teacher in Seattle. I was worried I wouldn't be as comfortable with Saraswathi since I have just met her but something about her is really incredible. She is both forceful and very caring. She makes me feel that if she asks me to do something then I can do it and trying becomes easier.

Small update at the time of posting: We got gas for the stove and had breakfast and coffee at home for the first time (yay!!!!) . Also I made it to the market (maybe) and have been exploring more. More details coming.

1 comment:

  1. Your psychological description of the yoga was amazing :) I really hope you get to go to the bird sanctuary! (I'll be mad with jealousy, of course)