We have been in Mysore for 10 days, and I have gone through 7 practices so far. I am so happy with my experience at the shala, it has been beyond wonderful. As many have felt after a few practices in Mysore, I have noticed big improvements. I feel more connected with myself and with the practice. I have an even deeper appreciation for the primary series. More importantly, I find so much joy in getting one step closer to mastering an asana (like Marichyasana D) on a day-to-day basis.
I have not been given the green light to practice full primary yet, and I’m more than ok with that. As a matter of fact, it has done wonders to my hamstrings! I have been suffering for 6 months now, experiencing excruciating pain in my hamstrings, and nothing I did (or didn’t do) made the pain go away. My half primary sequence consists of 5 surya namaskara A and 5 surya namaskara B and all of the standing asanas. Then, I continue to practice seated asanas up until Navasana. I recently was given Bhuja pidasana, and that’s where I get cut off and skip to Urdhva Dhanurasana and continue with closing sequence. My progress in chronological order:
Thursday March 1 – Mysore class: cut off at Marichi D and continued practice with Urdhva Dhanurasana and closing sequence.
Friday March 2 – Led class: permitted to practice Navasana. Sharath assisted me in Marichi D on both sides.
Saturday March 3: day off!
Sunday March 4 – Led class: still needed Sharath’s adjustment for Marichi D.. so, stopped at Navasana and watched as others continued to practice until it was time to join in on Urdhva Dhanurasana.
Monday March 5 – Mysore class: Sharath adjusted me in Marichi D. It’s becoming easier to balance and not lose grip of my fingers in the bind.
Tuesday March 6 – Mysore class: Sharath teaches me a trick to make it easier to bind in Marichi D. Lean back, so far back, to lengthen the spine and deepen the twist. Keep balancing on the seated bone of the leg that is in half lotus. Don’t worry about bringing the other seated bone onto the floor. Light bulb appears on top of head! Sharath then gave me Bhuja Pidasana after Navasana (joy!).
Wednesday March 7 – Mysore class (got bumped to 8:30am): I balance! I twist! I bind! I twist even deeper! No adjustments needed this time, so I decide to seek a little attention and hold Marichi D for more than 5 breaths, waiting for Sharath to see me an approve. He asks “catching?”. I say “yeaaaah” with the biggest smile. I get thumbs up and a smile, and I continue up to Bhuja Pidasana and skip to Urdhva Dhanurasana.
Thursday March 8 – full moon: day off! Met up with a yogi to take part in her photography project. She’s putting together a poster of the primary series in photos she captures of different yogis. While attempting Upavistha Konasana A, I had a bad feeling I’d hurt myself because I wasn’t warmed up and hadn’t practiced the asana in over 2 weeks. I started to feel pain in my left hamstring, so I stopped.
Friday March 9 – Led class: left hamstring was in a bad condition. Practice wasn’t all that great, but at least binding and balancing in Marichi D was still available without the need of any adjustments (right side only). Found out Sunday led class timing has been changed from 6am to 4:30am shala time. Oh, boy..
I have 3 more weeks left in Mysore! Yousef left back to Dubai today. Tomorrow morning, I am going to a very important event, Yoga Stops Traffick. It is an event that takes place once a year all over the world to take a stand against human trafficking. Thousands of people participate in this event to raise awareness. Participants practice 108 sun salutations, raising funds for victims of human trafficking in India. Tomorrow’s event will take place near the Mysore palace. I am so proud to know that the Dubai yoga community is partaking in this charitable cause. I cannot wait to hear all about it!
10 days in Mysore, and I believe it’s time to honor the days passed with a list – a list of a bunch of things:
1) Mysore is colorful, loud, peaceful, and slow-paced.
2) The best meal for dinner, if you are practicing the next morning, is a home-made banana smoothie at Anu’s bamboo hut. It’s also a meeting point, and you will have the best time socializing with beautiful people.
3) Kirtans are a great way to break free.. completely giving to in the music and the energy of it all, chanting with others ever so beautifully and in peaceful harmony, getting lost in words that are not familiar to you, and feeling so powerful when singing the words that are familiar.
4) Little Indian girls love to wave at you, and collect your “country coin”. If you pass by a school at around 2-3pm, be prepared to receive the warmest and loudest greetings from the school girls as they stick their hands out and wave with so much excitement and yell “HIIIII!”. There’s your 15 minutes of fame (or 15 seconds).
5) Waking up before the sun rises for practice is painful, but only for the first 10 minutes from the moment you open your eyes. Once you’re in shala, you’re pumped with energy that gives you the strength to flow so beautifully and blissfully.
6) It is VERY important to time your meals. Most places (restaurants and buffets in people’s homes) serve between 1-3pm.
7) The best tip I got about shopping for clothes is: don’t buy anything ready-made. Buy a saree, could cost about RPS. 150 (or less). Visit a local tailor, share the design or idea with him/her. This can cost you RPS. 250. The clothing item will be custom-made; it will fit perfectly on you and no one else will have the same pants, skirt, or shirt! While that is a great idea, I still enjoyed shopping at The Museum Store (it’s opposite Mysore Zoo if you’re taking a riskshaw).
8) You don’t have to pretend to like coconut water just to fit in with the rest of the Ashtangis. Confession #1: I did not enjoy it. But, I love watching how the cut open a coconut!
9) Marichyasana D has become my favorite asana, all thanks to Sharath. Asana (posture) practice is a process that should not be rushed. Take time to master one asana at a time before moving on to other things (like the next asana or series). While learning the technicality of an asana and how to safely hold it for 5 breaths, be patient. Love is patience. Learning marichi D took a lot of patience (still does on the left side). I love the challenge of this asana.
10) There is so much to do here, like taking a number of naps during the day. Ok ok.. there are Sanskrit classes, yoga anatomy workshops, yoga sutras classes, cooking classes, chanting classes, acro yoga, relaxation sessions (massages, acupuncture, etc…). But if your life back home is generally fast-paced, busy, hectic, long working hours, and your weekend is over in a matter of hours, then by all means sleep as much as you can and want while in Mysore! Also, catch up on some reading. If you’re interested in reading up on history, philosophy, yoga and are looking for books that are not easy to find, visit a local bookstore (like sapna) and splurge (because it’s cheap!). Bought myself a copy of the Bhagavad-gita for around RPS 350.
Signing off with so much love and happiness in my heart xx