Monday, October 25, 2010

Made It To MWF Shala

I had a crap night's sleep. The alarm rang at 6am, screaming out "TIME TO GO TO THE MONDAY-WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY SHALAAAAAAA!!!" (From henceforth known as the MWF shala).

I had absolutely ZERO/ NULL AND VOID/ ZILCH intention of going.

Y'know those mind games you play with yourself...
"I haven't had enough sleep."
"It's eff-ing FREEZING."
"I don't have a rain coat let alone rain-suit yet. What if it pisses down?"
"I'll re-set the alarm an hour later and practice in the living room."
"There won't be anyone there anyway, I'm better off practicing at home." (knowing full well that when the alarm goes an hour later, there'll be MORE excuses.)

Dudes. I used to wake up at 4.45am in Sydney to take the train and then the bus to go to practice. And I can't even do a leisurely 6am wake-up call in comparison?

I turned off the alarm.

BUT. I was wide-eyed and awake (I hadn't been sleeping properly before the alarm rang anyways). And this is when having a blog and being accountable comes in handy to kick your arse out of bed. I'd written yesterday that I *might* head there today. So I lay there bug-eyed, thinking: Fuck it. If all else fails, at least I'll have something to report.

I know. What a sad way of getting myself to practice, right?

FUCK IT! Sometimes it's a new pair of Lululemon pants, sometimes it's a rain-suit, but today my motivation was... er... Having a story to tell. *face palm*

I got all wrapped up in layers, thinking "It's gonna be eff-ing freezing, especially on the bike ride there, so just deal with it." (It was HAILING intermittently yesterday. So I wasn't being dramatic about the cold.) And you know what? Because I was expecting to freeze my ass off, the 10-minute bike ride there actually wasn't THAT bad. It's all about setting the expectation.

I got there at 6.45am (Mysore starts at 6.30am) and guess what?

*Sound of crickets*

Yes, quite literally the sound of crickets. The door was unlocked, the lights were on, but there was NO ONE around. I tiptoed inside and the teacher was there, behind a curtain, watering the orchids.

Which meant: Yes. I was practicing on my own. Of course at this point one part of my brain said "I KNEW IT! TOLD YOU SO!! SHOULDA STAYED IN BED!" ...the other part said "YO! It's a private one-on-one so QUIT BITCHING."

It's all about perspective, y'all.

By the time I got up to Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, someone else walked in! FINALLY! And more people came in later. By the end of it, there were exactly 4 of us in the room. A nice size. :)

So how did it go today?


I got some nice assists - some on only one side. Usually this really irritates me coz I feel lopsided afterwards (this is yoga-teacher-training 101 stuff, people!) BUT. After KM (pretty famous teacher... go on, think harder) adjusted me only on one side as well at that last Mysore workshop, I kinda got thinking "OK, maybe not everyone's as highly skilled as my beloved E in Sydney." ;p (E in Sydney can be assisting you on one side, move onto someone else a few mats away while you're in vinyasa and then remember to come back to you just as you're moving into the next side; Adjusting you right as you're exhaling into the first count, not messing up your timing. That's pretty mad teaching skills.)

But after practicing in my living room for about a month now, today I felt EXTREMELY self-conscious. I guess I was the ONLY person for a while, so my breathing seemed pretty LOUD. I had to be very conscious of keeping the inhales and exhales consistent, so that's not a bad thing.

And then halfway into it, I thought: "Why the hell did I put half an onion in last night's curry? I STINK!!" ...Yeah, seriously. I could smell ONION coming... OUT OF MY PORES! I promise you it wasn't my breath, it was pouring out of my sweat.


Even more grounds for feeling self-conscious.

In Supta Kurmasana, she bound my legs first before binding my arms... I was immediately all like "WOAHHHHHHH! I'm gonna call the Ashtanga Police!! It's the wrong way around!!"

Then I calmed down and thought "OK, so it's not the traditional way of binding but so what? I'M BOUND IN THE POSE, RIGHT?" And I even got a nice lift up to Dwi Pada on my own, bum-lift and everything before exiting through a sloppy Tittibhasana.

To be honest, I've been quite an Ashtanga-Snob. As in... Viewing any teacher who isn't authorized or certified from the source with a bit of suspicion. WAIT! HEAR ME OUT! ...Basically - you don't know where this teacher has trained, who has trained him or her, whether or not he or she has a daily practice and follows the traditional route as taught by P.Jois. Basically - I'm talking about LINEAGE.

That damn L word.

BUT... In the same breath, let me just say that I would definitely go to teachers who are not authorized or certified if I KNOW that they follow the Ashtanga method as taught by Jois, keep a regular practice or if they've been taught by teachers who have been authorized or certified, precisely because I know they'll be teaching from this lineage (just like Susan and Helen and my very first teacher in Singapore - I'd definitely go to their classes coz I know they're DOWNRIGHT LEGIT!) ...And seriously, I can tell you with conviction having been an Ashtanga tourist in various countries now - you can tell the difference in adjustments between teachers who come through this lineage of teaching (doesn't matter whether or not they themselves are authorized) and those who don't come through this lineage.

So I guess I took a while to kinda come to terms with this new place (no, the teachers aren't authorized nor certified)... I'd gone to ONE class there in the summer but it was a substitute teacher and I guess I didn't really click with her. Today, the regular teacher was back. But I still had no idea what I was getting myself into. Y'know?

BUT... After today, I'm eating humble pie. The adjustments I got were fabulous. And sure, I got yanked into Supta K the "wrong" way around first, but screw it... it's been a while since I've had a nice bind in that asana anyway. And who's to say what's "right" and "wrong" anyway? It worked. Period.

I'm definitely going back there again, even if they're only running MWF classes. I asked if they'll have Tuesday and Thursday mornings too and she said "Maybe, but not yet." Good enough for me. :)

Oh... And I think it was also a cosmic joke on me today. This morning when I left the house, everything outside was SOAKING WET, like it had just rained. But my cycle to the shala was dry as a bone. Upon leaving the shala, my snow-white bike was also soaking wet (Oh! Her very first rained-upon!)... But again, my cycle back home was bone dry. So much for *needing* that rain-suit to get to a shala practice. At least not for today.

PS. Sorry for the ultra-long post. Guess I'm excited about this new place!
PPS. Yes, she's also part of the International Laghuvajrasana Conspiracy, making me do encores of it. Won't bore you with the details since you know all about me + Laghu. Boy, I must *REALLY* suck at it.



  1. Delightful post! I'm glad you used the *sound of crickets* cause I wasn't sure if anyone would get that when I used it in one of my posts ... so now I know, you will! I almost had to be alone with my teacher and I think I would have wilted with self-consciousness! Glad others showed up, even if you stank like onions:)

  2. Thanks Loo! ...Been reading more on Ayurveda recently and know I should be staying away from onions and garlic BUT... how can you resist? Having them come outta my pores might just be the kicker.

    Haven't had time to comment on your posts - will be getting to your survey too, hope I don't miss it!! ;)

  3. PS. Globie aka Kevin tried to comment but somehow it didn't work. So with his permission, I'm posting his email to me here:
    Hi Jaime,

    Not been able to comment on your blog for some reason, but loved that you got outta bed and managed to get to the MWF Shala. It sounds like the dutch are not good at getting out of bed though if you are the only student. Is the teacher dutch as well?

    Agree about the lineage, when teachers like Susan,Helen and Denise have thier own practice and study with authorised and Certified teachers. Susan is actually teaching us this coming Sunday, I think she has a list of things she has noticed that she thinks I need to have corrected LOL

    I followed your link to the new Mysore website and had a look at the teachers list, quite a few new people been authorised including Tania and Michael at AYL and the lovely Bella Galt who used to teach at AYL before she moved to Oxford.

    Yoga Show this weekend, more stuff I don't need, but that will maybe help get me out of bed and on to my mat!

    Its raining here if its any consolation!

    have a good day


  4. Got an email that my visa is 'in the mail', as they say. Thank God, they kept my freaking passport!

  5. Wow, we need to spread the word in Amsterdam so more people join... maybe a Twitter campaign! or something...

    Good for you on going,and lucky you to get so much attention! thanks for sharing about it!

    Hope you find a rain and winter coat very soon

  6. I was thinking about this again today, as I had one of my rare opportunities to work with a teacher. The shala I travel to has 3 teachers, 1 authorized and 2 not. I find either of the two non-authorized teachers to be more helpful, encouraging, insightful and revelatory in their adjustments. Neither has been to Mysore, but both have studied and practiced extensively with "old guard" teachers. It's many elements that make a great teacher, but authorization clearly isn't an essential one.

  7. Is KM in your post Kino MacGregor?

    Hmm.. So there's an international laghu conspiracy. interesting...

  8. Duuuuuuude. There's a reason why I use acronyms and not use a person's name in full: so it doesn't show up in searches. So... keep guessing! Just.Don't.Write.It.Out here!

    And yes for me, there's an international laghu conspiracy with all the teachers I've had. I guess it's obvious, this disdain I have for the asana!


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