Dear everyone I miss talking to right now, (initially this email was intended for just my parents but my phone's being funky and I have limited internet access so I figured I'd just forward it on to all of you I miss talking to right now)
So here I am safe and sound in Mysore. I'll keep this brief (which means it's likely to still be long-winded) because my computer doesn't get wireless so I'm in an internet cafe and want to be able to walk home before it gets dark out.
This has been quite a challenging experience thus far... thank goodness for the calm and peace I feel during yoga classes. I just find myself vacilating a whole lot between having tons of fun and then also wondering why in the world I chose to travel alone this week to a new city. It's taken me 2-3 days now to get adjusted but I think I'm on more of a routine now so the next few days should be smoother sailing. What I've learned the hard way is not to make assumptions... before coming here I assumed that a) Many yogis travel to Mysore so it should be a city that caters to tourists. Well, while a lot of yogis travel to Mysore, Mysore doesn't have a lot of yogis... the vast majority of people are all natives (making it harder for me to navigate and more frequently getting ripped off) and it's not at all the kind of city (like Hampi was) I was wanting to spend my week in. b of all) I assumed that since I'm in the "Ashtanga capital," if you will, then I must be getting the best Ashtanga instruction. Also false. It's totally romanticized because it's India . I think so many of us tend to live with these notions that everything that happens overseas is just so romantic and incredible simply because it's overseas... Well, truth be told I happen to LOVE my instructors in Nashville and I find their mix between Eastern and Western styles to suit me far better than the traditional Eastern style I'm coming across out here. In terms of yoga instruction I say boo India yay Nashville.
So... accomodations, the first night I arrived I stayed in a little cottage because it was the first thing I could find and it was inexpensive. I moved the next day to another area of the city called Gokulam and found a sweet, old couple who rent a room of their house to yogis. They typically do it for monthly rentals but they were willing to accommodate me for just the week. The room is clean, nice, and quiet, and 2 friends I made today in my morning yoga class decided to rent the other room that they've got available so now it feels as if I've got roommates. One of the girls is American but now living in Paris and the other girl is Italian but also living in France. They're sweet and easy company so it's nice to know they're just outside my door if I feel like being social. The only downside is that I don't have a shower... while I love finding an excuse to be dirty and not have to shower, after living in this pollution and taking 2 yoga classes a day it's probably a health issue more than anything :) So the challenge is not having a shower but the opportunity is getting to learn how to bathe like an Indian.. wahoo.. cold water and bucket it is! I will never again complain about a cold shower... at least it's a shower.
Traveling alone so far has been rather eye-opening. I'm discovering that I'm far more independent and capable than maybe I'd perceived myself to be before. I think I'm also coming to see that while I happen to love being in just my own company I think sometimes it can be nicer to share these kinds of experiences with other people too. I tend to want to do everything myself all the time just to prove that I can but I think I'm losing steam on trying to assert that, I'm also kind of not really seeing the necessity to prove that to anyone else or myself anymore. Deeper thoughts continuing to unfold...
Okay and so lastly... yoga! Thank goodness for yoga! I love it! At some point I absolutely need to go through a teacher certification program... it's so me and I love how at home I feel on my yoga mat regardless of where I am in the world or who's in the room with me. I attended one class this morning... whomp whomp... it's Mysore style (I didn't know what that was before I came otherwise I probably wouldn't have come to this city...) so the class is structured in a way where each person individually works through the asanas (poses) of the series they're working on (for me it's primary) and the instructor comes around to make adjustments and provide more specified instruction as necessary. Okay, so it's nice to have some one-on-one instruction, but I miss the community feel and energy of group classes. I'll write that one off as having been a good experience purely for being something new and secondly because I met these 2 girls. This afternoon I traveled back to Laxmipurum (where the cottage was) and went to another yoga studio for a drop-in class on back bending. That was AWESOME. My goal before the class was just to learn something new. Well, not only was I the only student in the class so it was super personalized, but, I also learned that my back is crazy flexible. She said I was the only student who went through all the asanas on their first class. Wahoo! Yay me! I'm going back to her class on Friday and maybe also tomorrow depending upon my exhaustion level after the 6 AM class I'm attending. So... all in all I'll call today a successful yogic day. I'm starting to feel my body becoming more alive and ridding myself of the nasty toxins I've been feeding it with my Hyderabadi diet - ew.
So, shocker, this wasn't at all a brief email. If you've read this far than I'm glad you could bare with me :) I'd love so much to hear from each of you when you get the chance - I'll come back on the internet again before the week is up and perhaps send another update. Especially those of you traveling now I'm definitely pumped to hear about what you're up to.
Much love and big hugs to you guys! I miss you all...