So hopefully this post goes through….this will be my third time trying.
Since I have gotten here, and I try to blog, I find myself not having the words to describe my experience here so far. Maybe because its all still settling in and I still don’t know how to process it.
Before I left the states, I promised myself to let go of any expectations I had for my own practice, to walk out smiling no matter where I was to be stopped. I am so glad I did this. I have practiced only five times since I have gotten here, and I already feel like I have made improvements. Like I got into full supta kurmasana on Sunday…just after two days of practice. (For those of you who have no idea what that is..google images it) I did have help from an assistant who helped me get my kegs over my head and my hands to bind, like pretzel dough haha. But it still counted in Sharath’s book because I got to move on to the next posture…then through the rest of the primary series. I have a later time slot during the week, 7 am, which really means 6:30 in shala time. It’s really awesome because by the time I’m to supta kurmasana the shala room is pretty empty, so we get a lot of one on one assistance from Sharath, not just the two assistants. Today I got my first hands on assist from him, I was already in kurmasana and he comes to me and says “don’t move legs, I do” meaning I was to let him bend my legs. First he squeezed my knees as far on top of my shoulders as they could go, then he pushed my elbows so I was able to bind. THEN he placed my left foot behind my head, then the right, then proceeded to squash me down closer to the floor. This may seem like a form of torture, but it was incredible. I could feel my body opening. So he let my breathe five times, them rocked me up so I could balance to jump back. As he walks away he says “you are very sweaty!” Awesome. So today was another good day of practice.
On Sunday we had conference with Sharath, we have this every Sunday, where all the students come into the big shala room, sit in front of him, and listen. He picks a topic of discussion and then we have an opportunity for open discussion. He talked about “What is Ashtanga yoga?” and he answers himself with a huge grin, “very difficult”. But then he goes on saying why the practice is much more than just the asanas (postures) but also why they are so important. He talked about the 8 limbs of yoga and the yamas and neyamas. How we must practice, non-violence, non-stealing, control, Ect. The physical practice allows us to be aware of these things and allows this inner transformation. He says we worry so much about perfecting the postures, jump backs, and floating up to handstand. In fact we obsess. Then we end up losing respect for the entire practice. He said he was even once like this. That comment made me realize that he was once like all of us, and we all have the opportunity to do what he can, practice, practice, practice. After we had our deep talk, he demonstrated some crazy posture and then we could ask questions.
Today after practice and breakfast, me and Jessie headed to the yoga sutra class that started today. It’s just a 4 week break down of the sutras, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Our teacher, Lakshmiish (I’m sure I TOTALLY butchered his name, is a soul of gold. Seriously one of the greatest people I have had the privilege to meet. I’m also taking Sanskrit Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, and I am really enjoying it! I’m pretty good at it too, translating and writing that it. Speaking is a whoooole other story.
So, all is wonderful here in Mysore. I’m already planning on when I can make my next trip. I feel so lucky to be here, I wake up everyday a fresh sponge ready to absorb more. I also find that I’m constantly smiling, even when I practice ill realize I have this big, goofy grin on my face. I think it’s because I’m so happy to be here. I think Sharath likes people who smile a lot, because every time I realize I’m smiling I look around and always find him looking at me with the same grin. In a practice for disciplined and challenging, you have to be light hearted, and I think he likes to see that. Btw,his smile could melt the sun, and it’s contagious!! Anyway, just wanted to update you all. Lots of love from India 🙂