Well, I am here and still cannot believe it. I have lots to fill you guys in on and I am waiting for the water to heat up for my shower (yes you have to flip a switch 15 min before) so now is a good time.
My departure went very smoothly, got a little choked up saying goodbye to my parents but other than that nothing negative. Actually my whole flying experience was very pleasant…almost too easy. I got in Bangalore and as promised a man with my name on a sign was waiting outside for me at 5 am. The taxi ride was just hysterical…at first. Driving in India is like nothing I have experienced…pure chaos with no rules. You get to a point where you just have to trust your driver knows what he is doing and just look outside your window not the windshield. The city of Bangalore was sensory overload…poverty and wealth and everything in between. Stray dogs everywhere, like here in Mysore. Trash, right colors, foul smells, beautiful temples, mountains, tropical forests. The cab ride was going smoothly (it actually felt like a wooden roller coaster) until we are about one hour out of Mysore. We get stopped because people are on strike about something in the city of Mysore so they do not want to let people through right away. So we wait for about 30 minutes then my cab driver turns around to go another way, we get stopped once again but this time I got extremely uncomfortable. One because it was more of a back road rather than a highway, two because the second we pulled up to the tree trunk they put in the road, these young men surround the taxi. I was terrified. They were peacefully but were not gonna let us pass. I was freaking out because I am clearly the only female around, I’m white, and they are talking so fast in Hindi, so who knows what they were saying. We wait for about 45 minutes until I make my driver turn around. We get to the highway again and it looks like the strike is gone so I think we are in the clear, but no we get stopped AGAIN. this time for only 25 minutes then the police came. At this point I was in tears, tired, smelly, and just so out of my comfort zone.
I get to my little bed and breakfast and I immediately feel better. The sweet French owner greeted me, showed me my room and let me settle. This place is called Anokhi Garden Cafe…they also serve breakfast/brunch to the public so you meet lots of people. I shower and meet up with Jessie, a gal I connected with over Facebook who I will be living with starting next week, and we walked around, got real deal Indian food, saw out apartment, and just explored. 1:30 pm rolls around and I’m exhausted so I take a quick nap and then walk down to the shala to register. This is my first encounter with Sharath. He’s quite but super sweet, he asked me my level in ashtanga, who I have practiced with and so on. I got my times, paid and came back a passed out again.
This morning was my first practice. I was so nervous that I got to the shala like 30 minutes early. My time was 7 am SHALA time, this means be there 15 minutes before the actual time. So you wait in the foyer, and when a space become available Sharath yells out “one more!” And you wait until its your turn to go in find a spot for your mat, drop your things in the locker room, then start practice. So my practice went well…felt light, strong, breathing was good, and I was dripping sweat. As the room starts to clear, Sharath tells me to move my mat to the front and I keep going. At certain points I look up and he’s sitting on the front stage in his chair reading the paper lol. But he’s also very active walking around giving assists. I get to supta kurmasana…sleeping turtle, and one of the assistants come to help me. I’ve never gotten in this posture, I can get my feet behind my head but i have never bound my hands behind my back. This assist was the craziest, deepest one i have ever gotten. My fingers touched but I couldn’t hold on. So Sharath stops me
and I go to finishing. My surprisingly competitive ego was okay with this. I’m excited to see if I cn get passed it.
After practice I went back to Anokhi, at breakfast and meet so many cool new friends. Two girls in the room next to me are from Norfolk Virginia….small freaking world right!? Food was amazing and so was the company. Pure bliss. Then Jessie and I went down town to the market, I bought some pants, scarf, two tops,lotus oil perfume, a watermelon, two apples, and toe rings. All of this was MAYBE 25 bucks. The market was amazing with clothes, food, oil, incense, dyes and the colors were amazing. This was also my first ricksaw ride too! Now I’m back in my room and pretty tired…jet lag still lingering. Tomorrow is led practice with Sharath…so I’m super nervous about how long his counts are but I’m also excited.
Sorry for such a long post but I had lots to fill you in on:) India is a pretty magical place. Love you all!