Today was the last Mysore-style practice before I leave for Goa on Sunday. Tomorrow is led primary, which means just ONE more day of waking up at 2:30am to go bundle up with yogis at the gate. Today’s practice was the same as most, no “last day breakthroughs” or epiphanies. Earlier this week, I had some serious vertigo issues develop during practice that forced me to get up and leave the room for the remainder of practice. The second time I left, Sharath motioned for me to come up to the stage where I was able to explain to him my dizziness. I am pretty sure he let me “take it easy” the rest of the week, which is not too much in Sharath terms. He still expects me to catch at least my ankles in my drop backs, but no new poses, which was fine with me. As I walked out of the changing room, I was thankful that Sharath was not assisting anyone and I was able to give him a quick bow of the head and a “Thank You” before leaving the shala.
After being in Mysore for over a month, you really get the hang of the life here. You have a good idea of where to explore, where to eat, where NOT to eat, and where all the damn creases are from the awkwardly placed rugs on the shala floor. With all the free time you have after practice, it’s hard not to notice subtleness in your daily life, something you don’t have the luxury to do as much back at home. You also become super aware of everyone around you. Ashtangis already have a bad-rap for being A-type anal perfectionists, so you can only imagine what it’s like when some of the most dedicated and talented Ashtangis in the world are thrown into the same neighborhood for months at a time. I’m actually making it sound a lot worse than it is, because in reality, it’s not that bad. I’ve met some of the nicest people here, to the point where I’ve asked myself why I can’t radiate the same utter happiness in my every waking moment.
I’m approaching the end of my first month studying at KPJAYI in Mysore, India and I have to say, it has slightly exceeded my very few expectations. I’ve learned that you can’t have expectations when you come to India, or else you will be terribly, terribly disappointed. First world minds in a third world country are doomed, but to be honest, I really don’t mind cleaning my clothes in a bucket or sleeping on a rock hard mattress. “Welcome to India!” they like to say. :)
I’ve been in Mysore for a couple of weeks now and I’m settling in quite nicely. We wake up before the crack of dawn, we practice, we eat, we rest, repeat. Two hours of our day are spent practicing, and the other 22 hours are spent preparing our minds and bodies for the next day’s practice. Life is simple here, and the toughest decision of the day is where to go for the usual after-practice breakfast for fruit salads and bottomless chai.
Today I finished my second practice at the Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, located in a quaint, but well-off neighborhood in the city of Mysore, India. The classes this week are all led-primary and start promptly at 4:30am (4:15 shala time). Thank goodness I was told that Sharath sets the clock 15 minutes fast, or I would have been one of the few trickling in late as everyone is on Sun Salutation B. Led-Primary classes are difficult, but exactly what I need to acclimate to the energy of the room. However, if you dare go into upward dog before Sharath says “pancha inhale” then everyone in the room must wait in Chaturanga until you make your way back down, and then he asks why you are in such a hurry.