So I find myself now in a nice quiet home, on a comfy bed, clean, hydrated, satiated, and ready for bed. I did end up spending yesterday exploring the city and while it was exhausting and really a job that merited multiple days as opposed to just one, I was able to find myself a new place to stay and a few yoga schools to try out. I’m no longer in the cottage rather I’m renting a room from a sweet old couple who live in an upscale residential neighborhood in the part of the city for yuppy yogis. I’m learning that this neighborhood is full of little sweet secrets but they won’t be found unless you spend time just walking the streets, visiting the shops, and speaking with others in the area. For that reason I’m wishing I had more time here. It appears as though yogis with one week to practice are better off in Hampi while yogis with at least 2 weeks, if not several months, are best off in Mysore.
After a day of adjustment and orientation I woke up this morning with my plan to attend my first yoga class at Yoga Darshanam, located just 10 minutes by foot from my room. So at 8 AM I made my way over to Gokul Chats for a dosa breakfast, and I spent some time just simply sitting and letting my food settle. Several insights came to mind that I wrote down as I let myself just simply relax. I recorded my stream of consciousness as follows:
- I’ve felt a pressure not to share with other yogis (and particularly instructors) that a significant motivating factor to practice yoga is to improve my physical body in terms of both health and appearance. I’ve found that often times there’s a judgment about Western people with that motivating factor—that they don’t understand yoga is a practice about mind and body (and spirit), not just the body itself. However, I no longer see this factor as something shameful for my truth is that I’m also as interested in learning how to exercise my mind –how to work/join with it rather than let it define my identity.
- We don’t change things by resisting what they are, rather, they are changed once we learn to accept them. Accepting something is different from resigning to it.
- Maybe this is my work… rather than resigning to my body I need to foster an acceptance of it.
- I’m intimidated to start a new class. My judgmental mind and competitive mind is highly active… Will I fit in? Will I be advanced relative to others and thus feel a sense of confidence? Will I be a beginner relative to others and thus intimidated? Why is my sense of confidence powered by others’ performance? Hm…
- It’s so nice right now to feel so full (not just from the dosa) but full inside. I’m not lonely. I feel all here. And, I feel capable of anything.
- I read earlier a passage in The Joy of Living that really spoke to me. It says, “The yearning most of us feel for a lasting happiness is the ‘small still voice’ of the natural mind, reminding us of what we’re really capable of experiencing. The Buddha illustrated this longing through the example of a mother bird that has left her nest. No matter how beautiful the place she has flown to, no matter how many new and interesting things she sees there, something keeps pulling her to return to her nest. In the same way, no matter how absorbing daily life might be—no matter how great it may temporarily feel to fall in love, receive praise,. Or get the ‘perfect’ job—the yearning for a state of complete, uninterrupted happiness pulls at us. In a sense, we’re homesick for our true nature.”
After recording this flow of thoughts, I walked on up the road and made it to my first yoga class. It was taught in Mysore style, which I’d heard of but not understood until today. Each student in the room works at an independent pace while the instructor works his way around the room providing individualized attention and making adjustments for students as needed. While I appreciated the individualized attention, I found that I really missed the sense of community and the energy felt with group classes. I didn’t particularly enjoy his instruction or the fact that we only did standing asanas, but, I did enjoy moving and trying something new. Additionally, I met two sweet women in my class who are visiting Mysore for just a few days and ended up renting the other room in the home where I’m staying. It worked out well for them and for me because if I feel like being social now it’s nice to know I’ve got great company right across the hall J
Later in the afternoon I visited Mysore Mandala Yoga Shala to grab a bite to eat at their amazing and super healthy café (yay!! Major score on that find!) and collect information. I discovered there that they were offering a back bending course at 2:30 so I figured I’d eat lightly and give it a shot. Best move of the day!! I ended up being the only student in class so it was tailored entirely to my needs. The teacher was wonderful—she knew exactly how to challenge me and also recognize my limitations so as not to push me too far. Early on in the class just as we were finishing our warm-up, I asked her what the health benefits are to back bending asanas. Her response was, “It exercises the mind.” Oh gosh I thought… that’s totally code for ‘None that I know of. I’m just good at them so I teach them.’ Well, once I tried the first asana and found that the only thing stopping me from doing the full form was my own mind, I was convinced she knew exactly what she was talking about. My body was totally capable but it was my mind that got in the way. This is why I love yoga! How many scenarios can you think of where that same situation occurred—having the capability of accomplishing a particular task or goal but struggling to do so because of mental blocks.
Tomorrow morning I’m attending a 6 AM yoga course to start my day. It’s located at the Patanjala Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Shala which was is run by Shishadri who happens to be the ‘guru’ or ‘master,’ if you will, of my very favorite yoga instructor back in Nashville! Wahoo!! I can’t wait to take his course and see what all the hype is about. So, given that it’s now the late hour of 9:48 PM I’m thinkin it’s about my bed time.
|Inside the cottage|
|The cottage... it actually looks kinda cute in the daylight :)|
|A temple outside the Mysore Palace|
|Swadesh and Kouchel's home in Gokulam where I rented a room for the week|