Four Days and Four Nights in the Land of Ashtanga Yoga

Tuesday February 28, 2012

It was a regular Tuesday night in Dubai.. I taught the 8:30pm class at Core Studio, just like I have been every Tuesday night for the last year and 3 months. 16 beautiful people powered through half of the Ashtanga Primary Series. After class, some people gathered around to ask questions about the sequence, about Mysore and to say good bye. On the drive back, i suddenly started crying.. and I had no idea why! Well.. maybe I did. I was scared and nervous. I had been nervous for a few days, even had 2nd thoughts about the trip. Later that night, at the gate waiting to board our plane, I look at Yousef and say (I could have sworn I was thinking to myself, but it somehow got out!): “holy shit I’m really doing this.” 4 hours later, we were in Bangalore. The rest was history :).

Wednesday February 29, 2012 – 1st day in Mysore

We arranged for a car to pick us up from BLR airport to Mysore. Everyone who makes the trip to study at the Jois shala knows to contact Krishna Murthy and he’ll hook you up with small, medium or large car! A driver was waiting for us at the airport, holding up a sign with my name on it. His name is Ravi, and he was so nice to us and friendly. The drive to Mysore was 4 hours long. There are some things that you’re just not prepared for when driving to Mysore, no matter how many blogs you read, or how many questions you ask friends who have visited Mysore. First of all, they drive on the right – steering wheel is on the right side of the car and the lanes are also different. For a Dubai resident like myself, this is strange. Streets are CROWDED with people, cars, bikes, animals, carts, everything! There are no pavements, so people walk on the streets. There are no lanes (well, kind of.. but somehow no one notices them). Honking is encouraged by other drivers. You’ll see “please horn” written on the back of vehicles. But after 4 hours of driving in the heat through traffic and a lot of noise, we reach Mysore and park at the entrance of the Green hotel. It’s a charming palace that was built for princesses, and is now a hotel that hosts travelers from all over the world. The Green hotel is about a 30-minute walk away from the Jois shala in Gokulam, or less than a 10-minute rickshaw drive. The hotel is divided into 2 sections: the main building and the garden section. In the main building, there is a small library where you can borrow books, a bakery run by two lovely Indian ladies, a Crafts shop and a computer room (Internet cafe). There are rooms in the main building, and rooms in the garden section. Meals are served in the garden, which is BEAUTIFUL at night. Breakfast is complimentary from 7am-10am, and their best dishes are the vegetable pulao (rice with vegetables) and the Dal Makhami (yellow lentils with butter curry sauce). The butter naan is to die for, and I enjoy a refreshing glass of bloody mary at night.

My first visit to KPJAYI

We checked in to the room, got my papers together and rushed out to stop a rickshaw and head to the shala. It was weird.. so weird, I was still nervous and questioning the present moment. I stood outside the shala, in front of the famous sign at the entrance, for a few minutes before I finally walked in. I registered – filled in a form that a lady gave to me, then i waited outside the practice room looking at pictures of Guruji. Sharath pops out and asks me to follow him to his office. At this point I was thinking to myself “be cool, smile and don’t say anything stupid. Best to just speak when spoken to!”. He was all smiles, like he could see right through me and how freaked out I was. He asked me if I am a beginner, and I said no. I haven’t exactly perfected primary series, but I’m not a beginner to the practice. So to keep it short, I said no. He asked who I studied with, and again to keep it short, I said Mark Darby. At that point, his smile got even wider and my nervousness slowly began to fade away. He gave me my student pass and decided my name from now on is Jamana. He told me what Jamana meant in Hindi, but I forgot. That’s when the nervousness came back. I was scheduled for 9am Mysore classes 4x a week, and 6am Led classed twice a week (Fridays and Sundays).

For the next few days, we walked around looking for a place to stay for the next month. Every broker we approached did not have anything available. The people in Mysore to get in touch with (in case any one plans on visiting Mysore soon) are Shiva, Murthy, Ravi and Ganesh. Ask for them, you’ll easily find them. But when you do, you might not easily find a place. 4 days of searching, and I finally found 2 places to stay! See, I visited Anokhi Garden, a guesthouse/breakfast place owned by Flora and Marie, and I fell in love. I met Marie, and she helped so much. She did not have any rooms available until March 12, but told us to check Urban Oasis. Urban Oasis is a new building on the same road as Anokhi Garden, and it’s so beautiful and clean. Since I had my heart set on Anokhi Garden, I booked at Urban Oasis for a few nights, and called Marie back and asked her if I could stay at her guesthouse from the 12th till I had to leave. Done and done! Relieeeeeeef! And delicious crepes for breakfast mmm mmm mmm!

Friday morning after an early led class and a nice nap, we went to Chamundi hills and walked up 1200 steps to get to the temple on the top of the hill. Serious case of the ouchies, but highly recommended. Those steps will make you come up with funny things, like a dance move that makes it easier to walk up 1200 steps.

We also came across Anu’s, where we were told the best banana smoothies in town were made. It’s basically a hut on the top of Anu and Ganesh’s house (Ganesh the man to help with accommodation), and yogis go there for banana smoothies with (or without curd) and any extras you want, like chocolate, nuts, honey… We met two ladies, Victoria from Hawaii and Elise from Toronto. Elise knows Jamie, the yoga teacher from Sattva Yoga Shala!! They were so friendly and funny, explaining to Yousef the connection between body and mind.. and he listened patiently and with an open mind. We got a lot of advice on where to eat, what to do, what to watch out for..

Saturday, today, is a day off so no practice. But tomorrow, I go to my second led class. Hopefully this time, I won’t be stopped at Marichi D (more on that later, have to sleep!).

Love xx

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3 thoughts on “Four Days and Four Nights in the Land of Ashtanga Yoga

  1. Ur great!!!! I’m so happy for u. U have time for yourself and for your blog. That’s ur passion and keep on doing this… I love u and miss u much.. I’m proud of u. Your FaRaH:)

  2. HAHAHA!!! I was stopped at Mariciana D at the beginning too but thankfully he let me practice until Bujapidasana by the end of the month! oh my god, I miss Mysore so much! Please say hi to Ravi Kumar the broker and also Marie, Flora and Zee of Anokhi’s! Also, give a big kiss to Judi Farrell in case you meet her!! enjoy magic mysore and keep blogging please! mwah!!!

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