Monday, August 31, 2009

First Practice - 31 August

The big plus about starting at 5 in the morning is doing the opening chant together with the rest. And it's nice to start the practice with most; though, I'm puzzled to find still more people coming in at 5.45am or later.

Practice was great, but my mind was all over the place. In downward dog, I was noticing the mosquitoes around me. Do I swat at them? What if Saraswathi notice me? I think I'll have to risk dengue, concentrate on the dristhis! When I reached the first balancing pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana), I noticed Saraswathi coming over to help. Please don't dance (wobble), just concentrate on dristhis and breathe deeply.

Other than my wandering thoughts, practice was really enjoyable. Got help with Marichyasana D - I was a bit stiff but Saraswathi managed to bind me on BOTH sides! Yay! And I've got Navasana. On my first day!

Went back to hotel after practice. But not before a coconut outside the shala. That's when you get to say hellos to other practitioners. Anyway, cleaned up when I got back and still have time to kill before breakfast begins at 8.30am. The early morning start and the adrenaline of being back at the shala must have taken its toll. I dozed off while waiting for breakfast and almost missed the breakfast window.

Felt great to have started. But have started to miss my family - so big shout out to Aggie, Ching Li and Ching Yan. Haha. You can now google your names on the internet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

5am Start Time

I thought I was seeing wrong or needed reading glasses. After extending the card further away, the start time still read 5am. Last year, my start time was 8.45am. Just when I got over my shock, I was then told to follow the time as displayed by the clock in the shala; which upon closer examination is 15 minutes fast! So, effectively, start time is 4.45am! Which means bedtime is latest at 8pm. So, sorry, can't stay up and chat. Got to get myself in sleep mode soon.

First Day - 30 August

Got into Bangalore Airport last night around 11pm. Felt relieved when I saw my bag at the pick up carousel - I had a really tight transit at Singapore Airport - had to literally run to catch the flight to Bangalore. Also relieved when I saw my name amongst the numerous name placards held up outside the departure hall. Thanks, Murthy!

It was 21 °C - such a nice change from hot and humid Malaysia. The ride to Mysore was eventful. Getting out of Bangalore, my taxi had to make a hard swerve to avoid this motorcyclist, who was flung from the oncoming side of the highway to literally just 20m in front of us. Then I saw 2 incidents of road rage, which I did not even see a hint of during my trip to India last year. It's Saturday, explained my taxi driver during a chai break in the journey. A lot of drink driving on Fridays and Saturdays. I was completely wired till we reached Mysore at half two in the morning.

I'm staying at a new hotel called Urban Oasis Compact, which is ten minutes walk to the shala. The size of the room and bathroom is half that of the room at Green hotel, where I stayed last year. Whilst the Green hotel has a lot of character and charm of an established colonial hotel, Urban Oasis is one of those new no-frills hotel, but has Samsung flat screen TVs in each room and comes with free wifi and breakfast at rooftop of the building. Speaking of rooftops, most houses in Gokulam have flat roofs and many use the rooftop for their own recreational use.

Found out the time to register is slightly after 4pm. I wonder whether there will be conference in the shala today. Usually on Sundays, there is a conference / Q and A at the shala. Great to finally be here!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Final Thoughts Before Heading Off

I'm finally leaving for Mysore tomorrow! It will be exactly a year to when I first left for Mysore. I thought I would not be nervous, but as the days grew nearer, some panic and doubts are starting to creep in. What am I doing again? The first time I went was to see the source of this magical practice, to feel the place where it began and to meet the people who started teaching this. Well, I've done that. Yet, the longing to go back has been building up over the year - so much so when the opportunity arises, I grabbed it.

What do I hope to achieve this time? I'm only going for two weeks. Well, in some ways, this time makes more sense. I've been there, studied there for the same duration. If the longing is there, it can't be a look into the unknown, be a tourist and take in the sights. I find myself looking forward to seeing and learning from Saraswathi again, looking forward to a regular practice, maybe even a vegetarian diet - although I'm slightly apprehensive as to whether I have made sufficient progress in this one year. Though I know it makes more sense to go for a longer period, I simply can't afford the time. These two weeks are already a luxury, and this I can't thank my better half enough. I'll come back a more patient man!

Well, time to pack and gather myself together. Next time, I'll be reporting from Mysore!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Update On Ashtanga Scene In Kuala Lumpur

Great news for Ashtangis looking for Mysore style classes. Received above flyer in my mailbox this morning. Incidentally, she also has Mysore classes on Saturdays at Yoga2Health, 3pm.