Hello Week 3! It was nice to have had a wee break yesterday along with the castor oil bath. Back into the practice groove this morning and slammed with 4.30am led Primary practice (which is 4.15am in regular people's time, which means waking up in the middle of the night to get to the shala). Body's feeling stronger, bendier and stamina's starting to come back to a familiar pace. I'm nowhere near as "physically fit" as I was "in my prime", but I'm just enjoying the practice and being here. Getting back into my body, getting out of my head (sometimes), and just moving with the breath. Things feel like they're getting into a familiar routine now.
Conference this afternoon was really enjoyable. After speaking a bit on the 6 different types of kriyas, Sharath then told us some personal stories about growing up with Guruji.
[UPDATE: To read more on his talk on kriyas, check out David Garrigues' blog about it here.]
It was so lovely to see the human side of him; that householder side of him. I really get the sense from Sharath that he is focused on Parampara, continuing the lineage that started from Krishnamacharya through his grandfather. I feel like there is no ego when he speaks. No "I", "Me", "I can do this", "I can do that". Rather, it is always about "Guruji this" and "Guruji that" or "Krishnamacharya this" and "Krishnamachyra that". And always talking about the importance of the lineage of this tradition. His heart is definitely in the right place.
Whatever the naysayers may say about this new "changing of the guard", I feel like Ashtanga Yoga as developed by Pattabhi Jois is in pretty good hands with Sharath. His intentions feel genuine and sincere... And c'mon! Give the poor guy a break! He has such HUGE SHOES to fill!! He is probably still figuring this all out as he's going along, but I think he'll be more than OK, especially with the support of the greater Ashtanga community. I can't speak for anyone else but he totally has my 100% support!!
At the end of conference, Sharath says since Wednesday's a Moon Day, he wants to get to know us outside the practice room and has invited us to have lunch at a restaurant "But I'm not paying your bill. You pay your own bill!" (HAHAHA!) See what I mean by how "human" he is? I like that he is making an effort (but I can't imagine the crush of some 200+ plus yogis at lunch).
Since it's my first time here, I have no idea what being in the practice room was like before... But apparently having the 2 - 3 Western assistants helping out during the self-practice Mysore classes is a new thing this year. We have either authorized or certified teachers who are assisting Sharath and Saraswati now. Apparently it used to be just Sharath and Saraswati moving around the room giving adjustments before. As you can imagine, waiting for assisted dropbacks before must have been quite a long wait! And MAN! Saraswati must be in her 60s or 70s now... I can't imagine any other Grandmother working a Mysore room like she does! Respect.
It is GREAT having more teachers in the room - coz this means you never have to wait very long before the next eagle-eyed teacher comes around to bring you deeper into a pose, or to help you with a pose you're struggling with. And c'mon... a Mysore room with up to 5 authorized and/ or certified teachers watching over you?! WHAT A LUXURY!! I'm totally loving it. :)
Apparently another update this year is also the timings and who practices in which led class on Fridays and Sundays. There is definitely a bit of structure with a notice on the board telling us that if you start Mysore practice between what time to what time, then you're in the first led class, if you start Mysore practice from a later time onwards, then you're in the second led class, etc. On Fridays, there are now THREE led Primary classes. Apparently it wasn't as organized in previous years, and this time around, people are feeling like this is definitely an improvement.
I'm not sure where I was going with this post. I had every intention of uploading more cow shots and look where I've ended up! HAHAHA!
I guess this is just some very on-the-surface observations of being here, at the source. Things are all still bubbling and sinking in. This practice is so multi-layered with so many different facets to it. I am just grateful for the opportunity to be able to take the timeout to do my practice with Sharath, Saraswati and all their assistants... And also to think a little bit more about this thing we call Yoga.
Oh... And I can't resist finishing this post with more food shots. Today, I felt like having noodles coz I was getting a bit fed of eating pancakes (I mean c'mon, prathas, dosas, chepatis, rotis... they're all variations of pancakes essentially). So I went and ordered something called "Shanghai Noodles". Look what this is! It looks like spicy Indian Mee Goreng where I come from in Singapore! HAHAHA! It's Shanghai Noodles-Indian style (yes, that's a huge-ass dried chilli in front).
5-day practice week! YES!! Go Ashtangis, Go!