Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hotel Room Yoga

Greetings from Hong Kong!

We had a super late night last night... as these on-the-road shoots go, most of the prep takes place in our makeshift office in every hotel business centre (remember Barcelona?). It was no different this time around. By the time we were done and ready for dinner, it was midnight. Yup, dinner at midnight. Thank goodness this is Asia where places stay open till late. I would've much preferred retiring on my own with some room service but we had a client with us so I couldn't be a hermit.

Back in my room at 1.30am, I checked out the Ashtanga places here. I thought Pure Yoga would at least have Mysore classes - but the one nearest to me doesn't. The next best alternative? Going to the only authorized teacher here, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Yup... Pretty weird huh? An Ashtanga Yoga Shala in a hotel spa?! How positively luxurious! (And yes, he's the only authorized one in this town). I figured I had to try it even though it's ridiculously expensive. The next couple of days will be actual shoot days with no chance of any practice. And I'm also really crapping my pants about how unprepared I will be for Mysore come January. I have completely dropped off the practice wagon AGAIN!!

So when I woke up and was getting ready for my hotel-shala experience this morning, guess what happens? One of the guys on my team calls me - his wife's water just broke!!!

So I've spent the better part of this morning trying to get him back home to Amsterdam as quickly as possible. What with the European weather shutting down airports and the general chaos that throws travel bookings into, he's currently booked to arrive in Amsterdam 24 hours later. Not good enough. So I'm still trying. (Can you imagine missing the birth of your child because you're shooting a TV commercial?! It's ridiculous! ...Granted she wasn't due for another few more weeks, but still!!)

Since I was all dressed in my yoga gear and was ready to head out the door when I got his call, I figured I might as well attempt some hotel-room-yoga instead. Not quite a hotel-shala, but the next best thing.

I didn't bring my mat with me (trying to pack as lightly as possible coz I've had to pack for both Summer and Winter, remember!), so the hotel carpet had to suffice. Check out my practice space (yup, that stripey spot on the carpet was my "mat"):

Downward Dog on bare carpet is RIDICULOUS. In order not to slip and slide, I had to shorten my stance. I had to outwardly rotate the arms a lot more and use those more, rather than the shoulders. I'm not sure if this is "right" or "wrong" (or if there's such a thing), but it sure felt different. Oh - and it was hard to stay present and focussed. Who knew not practicing on a mat could be so distracting?

From noticing the difference in practicing on yoga mat versus hotel carpet, my mind wandered off to thoughts of "I'm hungry. Wonder what they've got for breakfast here?". Pratyahara FAIL.

This is the view out the window:

I only got up to Pada-Hastasana when I got another flurry of phone calls. DOUBLE FAIL! So then it was straight to headstands, just to hang upside down for a bit and some Pranayama to at least get some Ujjayi breathwork going too (I know I need to practice or at least get some intense Pranayama going when I start craving cigarettes. ICK!)

Life does know how to thwart one's best-laid yoga plans sometimes, doesn't it?



  1. Yes it sure does, but some practice is better than none though! :) Really sorry you had to do yoga on the carpet - I used my yoga towel to stand between me and the fluff, and continuously spray water for friction :) Good luck with the rest of your trip!

    Oh and btw, I've just learnt that 2 of my shalamates are going to be in Mysore the same time as you are! Have told them about your blog :)

  2. Hey Danielle! What an awesome idea! I brought my Manduka eQua towel with me (for protection against a grimey rental mat if and when I make it to a yoga studio). Will try that on the carpet with lots of water. :) And thanks for sending my link along... I'm seriously scared for Mysore. Haven't done ANY Intermediate practice at all, and barely keeping up with the Primary series. Sharath is so gonna stop me halfway. Oh well. It's just yoga. Gotta keep my ego in check! xxx

  3. No worries at all!! It would be so fun if you connected with them - bringing the Ashtanga world just a teeny bit smaller :)

    Totally understand your anxiety about Mysore - I went through something similar before going for KM's workshop too, and though a weekend of yoga doesn't compare with a few weeks in Mysore, I'm pretty sure you're going to be fine. So what if he stops you halfway, it just means more time for coconut juice and blogging! :p

  4. You're right! Maybe it's the Singaporean in me thinking "I've gotta get my money's worth and get as much as I can out of the experience!" Hahaha, I'm an idiot. Being there in itself is the experience right. I guess I'm just frustrated with my start-and-stop-and-start practice because of my work schedule.

  5. Hi Skippety, you did great to do any practice and I am sure having that little time to yourself will help you through your day. In everyones first month in Mysore they have to practice primary only regardless of how advanced they are. You probably know this already. So if you can do full primary you would get very little help. When I went I was stopped at supta k and then garba. This meant I got help with supta k every day. I was expected to wait for it if sharath was busy. So for me being stopped wasn't such a bad thing. As you say being in Mysore is more about being there. Not that I didn't feel the way you do before I left but the reality when I got there was different so I thought I would share. Hope that guy gets back for his baby soon!

  6. Hey Helen! Great advice, thanks! Because I've completely lost my supta k bind, I'm sure I'll get stopped there. Wait, let me check my Mari D bind next time I practice and let you know if I'll get stopped earlier! Haha! I could get him on an earlier flight but coz it routes via Germany which is shutting down flights frequently, he didn't wanna risk getting stuck there. So at this point... He's gonna reach back 24hrs after the wife's gone into labour. Bummer. :(

  7. there are TWO authorized teachers at the hotel in hong kong. a friend of mine practices there and loves them, and the assistants. hope you get to go another time.
    and if it makes you feel any better, january will be my second trip and i am almost more nervous than the first time :P

  8. We will be in half-primary solidarity together. I have the same work/practice issues that don't seem to be letting up no matter how hard I try!

    Did you buy your plane ticket yet? Email me!

  9. Tova - ooOOooo! Interesting... Looking at their schedule it looks like each week is kinda sorta different/ with different teachers. Would you believe ONE drop-in class works out to around US$33?!?!???? That's daylight robbery if you ask me. But since I can only now possibly make it for ONE class during the week, that works out OK for my wallet. I take what I can get with an experienced teacher.

    LI - just did! Can't wait to meet you in person! ;p x

  10. Dear Jaime
    Oh, Hortario, yes. He's Chilean. When I have been in HK I've gone to his room too. Ross told me the names of the other places to practice in HK, I have notes somewhere. There is an older, nice teacher in the terraces above the financial distrit. But I usually go to the LMO and usally can only afford one visit, as you point out. And by the way, I think that they lowered the price a bit since last year, maybe in a nod to people pointing out the high cost of drop-in. I love the soap in the showers in the locker rooms.

  11. i used to practice at the same shala in Portland OR with Amanda Houle, but i don't think she would know me if she tripped over me :)

  12. Hey Jaime,
    Hotel practice is TOUGH! SO like Helen says, any few moments you can grab will surely help you. But I read this while I was on my travels & have been thinking about this - I wonder why we always want to be "match fit" before a workshop, retreat or mysore trip. Surely the trip in itself is the perfect opportunity to go with a missing Mari D bind, or a non-existent daily practice? what better than to immerse yourself in an environment where all you need do is your practice while you get over the inevitable pains associated with getting back top practice? I know I'm as guilty as the next (wo)man of wanting everything to be perfect before going on a yoga trip, but maybe we're getting it all wrong?
    Hope your colleague made it back for the baby's arrival, I wonder how often statistically labour is under 24 hours? Most people I know were going for a few days at least ;) BUt you can just imagine the conversation before he left..."YOu're going WHERE? When the baby is due in TWO WEEKS???!" poor mumma!

  13. Hi Jaime,Hope you got the Hotel practice. I practised there a couple of years ago on the way back from Dena in Bali. It was mega expensive,though considering what I pay in train fares and drop-in costs in London its not that much more, but a lovely Shala with fantastic showers!


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