Monday, September 19, 2011

My Teacher In Mysore

Hope you'll enjoy this video as much as I did. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Final Week - Sept 13

Onto my final week in Mysore. Good time to summarise my trips here. Coming here to learn at the very place where Guruji has taught and to learn from his daughter is really a blessing for me. I love the practice and I'm grateful for these opportunities. There is a simplicity and directness in the way it is taught that draws me to this place. Few words, and where u need help, it is always there. Even if u want to escape that help, the sharp eyes will notice and you'll be told to wait - for help will be coming. This is how generous Saraswathi is.

And regardless of how many students there are, there are very little conversation in the shala. Even hellos are said in hushed tones. You can't help but get wrapped up in reverence when you enter the shala. Once you are outside the shala, is an entirely different scenario. If you want to, it is easy to get into the social scene - the coconut corner, the various cafes, etc.

But the main draw is the yoga. You time your sleep around your practice time. You'll even time your meal times! The challenge for me will be to incorporate all this when I go back to Malaysia. I'll probably have to modify my schedule, sometimes fall off it; but, hey, that's yoga!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saraswathi's Birthday - Sept 11

Happy Birthday, Saraswathi! Thanks for taking care of my yoga practice!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Led Class And Early Birthday Cake For Saraswathi - Sept 10

Saraswathi turns 70 tomorrow. As there is no class tomorrow, some of the yogis decided to surprise her with a birthday cake after class. It was fantastic to see the love and respect her students have for her. Also nice was the sharing of the cake after we sang happy birthday and the blowing out of the candles. I would have loved to take some pictures, but I missed the opportunity.

So all this was after led class, which started at 6.30am. There's something nice about how disciplined all the students are, staying in the pose until she calls out the next vinyasa. Because the breaths are in unison, it is like the breaths are amplified. This time I managed to secured a place in the back row so I had a good view of the practices of the others when I reached my part of the series. Amazing flexibility and equally amazing focus. All very motivating!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Practice - Sept 8

Yay. Saraswathi got my fingers to touch on the 2nd side of Mari D. And as much as I was thrilled at this breakthrough, I was equally thrilled at Saraswathi's reaction when the fingers touched. It was a laugh of joy at her student's progress, an expression of delight that the work she has put in and the daily practice has brought about this result that 10 days ago would have seem impossible. Just experiencing this interaction with Saraswathi makes trips like this so worthwhile, so memorable.

All this really adds meaning to expressions such as "Guru Parampara" and "practice and all is coming".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sept 7

8 days of practice in. Feeling good. Not pushing too hard and focusing on keeping even breaths. Seems nice to keep it this way. I feel less tired and fresh (not sure if that's the right feeling - good may be more accurate). Part of the feel good factor also comes from Saraswathi getting me to touch my fingers on the 1st side of Mari D and expressing joy at the progress.

All is coming!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ayurvedic Massage

Oil, oil, oil. No, I'm not chanting support for a football game. It was the memorable feature of my Ayurvedic massage yesterday. Actually, perhaps the more memorable experience is the sense of your dignity being stripped away. First they tie a string around your waist; then they place a strip of cloth the width of a toilet roll and tuck it behind the string just below your navel. Then you are told to lose your underpants and when they tuck the other end of the cloth behind at the back of your waist, you'll feel pretty much like you're wearing a diaper or a thong. It's hard not to feel a bit self conscious and embarrassed.

But you soon forget about all that because you'll be wondering just how much oil they could be using for one massage. I was literally covered in oil; even the hair and face were not spared. Actually, once I move past the self conscious me and how oily it was, the massage was actually very good. They were two therapists and they were like doing synchronised massage for 1 hour 45 minutes. The self conscious part of me came back at the end when I had to get off the massage table. The massage table which is basically now a very oily wooden slab and me being so oily - I was having great difficulty getting off the table and had to helped off by not one but two of the therapists. After that, they put me in a steam bath, which is me sitting enclosed inside a box with just my head sticking out.

So, good massage. But it ended at 2pm, which by that time I was famished. And I'm not supposed to have a shower until 1 hour after massage. Just to clarify whether locals are used to the smell of someone who have just had an Ayurvedic massage, I asked the receptionist if people would mind if I went to lunch immediately. I was a bit worried when she gave a nervous giggle and said "no problems, sir". Maybe it was a snigger. But I was too hungry to care by then and headed off to Green Leaf food court. I did choose the outside area to sit and no one actually came to share a table with me. Except for those pesky flies. I like to think they are around for the food. But them buzzing around me made me gobble down my lunch and make a hasty exit and a much needed shower.

Holiday today. Can't wait to start practicing again tomorrow.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Led Class - Sept 4

Led class was 6.30am today. So, had a nice lie in till 5am. Feels strange to write that last sentence, but surprisingly, true. Tomorrow is day off - wonder what time I should get up. Anyway, back to led class. As expected, Saraswathi's count is so consistent. Really enjoyed her led class - everybody moving at the same time, all the breaths coming and going at the same time. Made the mistake of laying my mat at the front left corner. Wrong place to be to watch the other practices when one is done with his practice. Next time, I'll pick a spot in the middle of the back row.

As a treat to completing 6 days back to back practice, I've booked myself a 2 hour massage at the ayurvedic centre just round the corner from my hotel. I'm hoping it's not too oily and that the oil is easy to wash off. We'll see - fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mobile Number - Sept 2

One thing I noticed during my trips here is that roaming charges, be it voice or data, is really expensive between India and Malaysia. This time I decided to explore the possibility of a prepaid mobile plan. After lots of walking around, eventually I found a place that will get u a new prepaid number. It's at a shop right across Ganesh temple. There are 2 small roads opposite the temple - the shop is on the road on the left as u look from the temple. To get a new number, u'll need 75 rupees and at least 20 rupees recharge value - say 100 rupees in total. And also a copy of your passport.

Was quite tempted but I'm using an iPhone that is locked to a mobile provider in Malaysia. Somehow, I did not want to risk it as I'm already relying on my phone to access the Internet, plus I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know how to open my iPhone up to access the sim card inside. In any case, I'm using Viber, which allow Skypelike calls through wifi, and it worked great!!

Practice was great this morning, although I felt a bit tired because of the celebratory noises from Ganesh festival last night. I must have snored during Savasana because someone mentioned I was sleeping while resting. Am so relieved I didn't receive a "bad man, no sleeping in shala"!

Sept 1 - Third Practice

Getting the hang of the routine now. Am faster to get ready. First one in shala today. So far, the routine has been practice, then breakfast at 8am, then time on computer or walking around. Then lunch at around 1.30pm. And that's it with regards to food. I think I'm losing weight. I've started to buy snacks but I'm thinking maybe I should eat something like a smoothie at around 5pm. I basically start winding down after 6pm. So, that's my typical day in Mysore.

There is no led class tomorrow. Normal Mysore practice tomorrow and Saturday. Led class, though, on Sunday as Monday is a holiday. Was looking forward to led class. Part of the fun is that when my part ends, I get to watch the awe inspiring practices of my fellow shala aspirants. That will have to wait till Sunday.