Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Impending Departure Is Looming... +Food Porn (AGAIN)

I can't believe I'm leaving Mysore in like... TWO DAYS!?! Five weeks sure passed quickly. I leave here late on Friday night. While I'll be happy to be back in Amsterdam, I'm really sad I'll be leaving the shala and all the lovely new friends I've met. The practice at KPJAYI is really vibrating on a whole other level. Tomorrow will be my last self-practice, and Friday morning will be my last led Primary class. ACK!!!

I suppose we all have to leave the Mysore-bubble at some point. Just go on and rip the plaster off quickly. Or something like that.

I've been thinking a lot about this practice (I mean... Hello?! Who here in Mysore isn't, I suppose?) And I guess I've been trying to figure out "What next after this?" Y'know... How do I get back to life as it was before, while infusing it with the Mysore experience I've had?

Sharath has always said something along the lines of "2 gurus, dead student". Meaning... The student gets confused if he has more than 1 teacher. And it seems like most people here have at least 2 teachers: Sharath in Mysore, and their teacher back home in wherever it is that they live. And it also seems like people seem to have 2 different practices: the one Sharath has them practising up to in Mysore, and the one their teachers back home have them practicing up to. Most of the time, people here are waaaaaaaay further in the series back home than they are given in Mysore (eg. someone could have been given the full Intermediate series back home, but Sharath only has them practising up until Kapotasana in Mysore).

So... How does one reconcile this? Just accept that this is the way it is and go home and continue practising all those additional poses your "home teacher" has given you? And return here every year to do your "Mysore redux" practice with Sharath?

In my case, it gets a little complicated. HAHAHA! Since I've pretty much spent half my time away from Amsterdam in the last year because of work, my practice has pretty much been on-the-road or done in my living room. When I've had longer spurts back in the Dam, I've continued practising the Intermediate series up until where my last teacher in Sydney had me practising till (I won't mention that pose I hate so much). So... Now what?! Go back and practice the way I was taught by my Sydney teacher? Or just practice the full Primary as I've been doing here in Mysore (and just NAIL them damn backbends again and again) until my next trip back here again?

I feel like this is where a regular "home teacher's" guidance will come in handy for me. Someone else who has been following this same tradition, who has gone through the same drill of going to Mysore then returning back to "regular life"... Someone who can offer some kind of advice or share in his or her similar kind of experiences of "what now from here"?

Two of my friends I've met on this trip were recently authorized in the last 2 weeks. YAY FOR THEM!!! And I draw such inspiration from them coz both of them have maintained a self-practice at home, without a "home teacher", for an extended period of time (for something crazy like 5 years). I was having such an issue with maintaining a home practice over the past year, let alone going at it for FIVE WHOLE YEARS?!?!??? (although one did say something along the lines of "Coming to Mysore every year is my reward for slogging it out in my living room for the year".)

My breakfast buddy, Jill, newly authourized teacher. :)

I suppose I'm trying to figure out what the hell I'm gonna do with my practice from now on. I know my work situation will involve lots more travel in the coming year. But... I'm not satisfied with how that affected my practice last year. It took a hit. I mean... Hello? I've been stuck on the same pose for a year coz of the numerous practice starts and stops I've had (I guess also coz I haven't had a regular teacher the past year). I know it's not about attaining the next pose, and I certainly have learned lots from struggling through the starts and stops, and coming to learn "old" poses all over again when I've "lost" them along the way because crazy work schedules led to zero time for practice.

So... Now what.

Baby steps.

I am grateful for the time I have to practice. Like now.

And also... While I've got time in the first month back at work in the Dam, I'm gonna take every available opportunity to practice (it's like a feast or famine situation with my yoga practice! HA!) Umm... I've already sniffed out a Mysore workshop being given by P+R (teachers from Crete who are oldskool students of Guruji) who will be in Amsterdam that first week I'm back from Mysore.


Well... That would be a nice transition back to "regular life", right? Daily Mysore for a week with some great experienced teachers. And then after that, I'm gonna check out the Monday-Wednesday-Friday shala in the Dam again and give that a whizz. I am secretly hoping they'll also start introducing Tuesday and Thursday morning classes, so I'll at least be able to get a proper routine going. I found it really difficult to maintain a shala and home practice on alternative days initially, but maybe while I'm on a Mysore-high, this might give me more motivation. :)

This whole plan might just blow up in my face, but we'll see. Not everyone is blessed enough to have daily morning Mysore classes in a shala with an experienced teacher AND a local Ashtanga community to share in the sangha. So I consider myself lucky that even though Ashtanga's not quite as widespread and common in Amsterdam as it is in... Oh say... Helsinki (have you seen the list of authourized teachers from there?!) ...At least there is the beginnings of some kind of Ashtanga scene here. I just need to get more involved.

Food Porn for today: Home-cooked meals! Here's a sample of what Anu has at her home-restaurant.

And then Maney invited us to his house for lunch yesterday. Him and his wife cooked a FEAST for us!

The day before, Tova organized a Masala Spice Cake Party. I finally got a shot of the elusive miss.

And this is her Masala Spice Cake. DEEEEEEEE-LISH! (we are lucky that baking keeps her happy!)

Today for lunch, I had my SECOND non-Indian meal of my entire 5-week trip. Pasta from Pascucci. :)



  1. I will so miss the food porn. I hope your Mysore experience fuels your year.

  2. Thanks SF! I hope so too! I think I might miss having Indian food everyday too...

  3. that's a lot to have on one's plate ... and I'm not talking about the food! Hey, who's that lying on the floor? cute!

  4. Hey Loo! That's Juanita, resident dog at Anokhi. She has a good life. :)

  5. Your questions really resonate with me. And yeah, (whine) you have lots more options/support than I do (whine whine). After 4 years of home practice with occasional workshops and shala visits, I am feeling adrift. This past weekend's workshop with one new-to-me teacher and one I'd worked with only once the year before, kind of put me over the edge. I went because it's the only local Ashtanga, all year, but taking directions from yet two more teachers kind of made my brain and my body a little haywire. It was confusing enough that for the very first time I began to doubt whether I could continue with this practice, without a consistent teacher. I don't have the kind of life where I can take off for a month to go to Mysore. I went just for a couple of weeks last time, but I guess that's not possible any longer. I'm not sure how to proceed. Not a crisis of faith: I still want to continue this practice for the rest of my life. I just don't know how.
    That said, I'm going to shovel, again, and then get on my mat.

  6. Hmm, that's quite a big question mark you have there huh? It sounds like you've got a decent strategy to keep your practice on track, whether or not you succeed 100% of the time, it doesn't matter, as long as you try, right? Your cyber shala mates will be rooting for you ;)

    I'm going to miss those food porn shots too!

  7. Wow...that's a LOT of food. Looks yummy! It's pretty tough to go back to "regular life" eh? I feel that way every time I go traveling.
    Helsinki probably needs yoga more than Amsterdam (colder/gloomier winters :P)

    I like how the doggie keeps its legs all neat and together. I'd be all sprawled out with 4 legs like a fan if I were a dog :P

    Just practice what you can when you have the time. The commitment is an accomplishment in itself I think.

  8. Fran - You CAN come here for less than a month! Usually this means you'll practice with Saraswati - but it's in the same room as Sharath, and there's usually overlap anyway... He's in the room assisting too. Also, I don't actually have the life where I can take off for a month too. This was a year of planning in the making, along with a false start (was supposed to have been here for 2 months in September last year, but that didn't work out). So... I think if you commit to it, you just have to work your life around the trip. I am already scheming how the hell I'm gonna make it back again next year. (I can't see how this is possible, but I'm scheming anyway).

    Danielle - Thanks! I heart the cybershala coz you guys keep me in check, hold me accountable... And also... give the support and encouragement needed to continue with this practice. :)

    Yyogini - It's interesting how Helsinki is COLDER than Amsterdam and yet Ashtanga is more popular. There's no excuse why Amsterdammers don't kick themselves outta bed to get to practice! (Maybe coz we cycle everywhere instead of drive. So cycling in the cold is a wee bit more of a mission?)


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