Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hello yogis,
I thought some might like to read of the joys and challenges of a Mysore first timer.
Well.......mmm........psychologically challenging rising at 4.15 on a supposed holiday,
but wonderful to finish before 6.30am in the early morning Mysore balminess. I've been walking home from the shalla, a ball of sweat, as the doti-wearing elderly men exercise their dogs.
Their is significant injustice (or perhaps it's been some time coming ) in the fact that Karyn starts her practice 1.5 hours after me.
It's quite challenging the practice, rather more intense than at home, maybe because of the heat, maybe because there's not much else to think about. My teacher is a seventy year old woman named Saraswati who is the daughter of the bloke (Pattabhi Jois) that started the school, she looks and acts about 50 & struts around like a hybrid tank/bulldog, although a very nice one (bulldog that is). She's decided to load me up with about three extra poses, so the cruise-control state has been put under pressure a little.
I think that's more than enough from me, see you back in Melbourne.

Monday, September 27, 2010

a week teaching yoga in Vanuatu

I had a great week in Vanuatu - for me it really was a tropical island paradise! When I woke on the Sunday morning after arriving late on Saturday night I thought I had arrived in heaven. The sun streaming through the shutters, the sound of the waves, the calls of tropical birds (not sure what they are called but they looked like vibrant green pigeons!), the warm, humid air surrounding me - very different from the chilly Melbourne I'd left behind!

I had few expectations and knew little about Vanuatu when I was asked if I'd like to go over to teach a week long yoga workshop to a small group of dedicated students at Port Vila yoga school. I still don't know much, but I had such a lovely time that I hope to return sometime! A few things that helped me enjoy the week: the beautiful, friendly locals, the ideal snorkeling and warm water temperature, the tropical fresh organic fruits at the market, the divine french pastries(!), the daytime temp - 30 degrees, 20 degrees overnight, the very relaxed laid back atmosphere and of course the lovely group of yoga students!

I taught class every day from 5-7pm to fit in with the Vanuatu working day which begins at 7.30am. We did a mix of led and Mysore-style classes and had time for discussions/questions about the practice, philosophy, how to make the ashtanga practice sustainable and balance it with everyday life. Such a great group of students, keen to practice! At the beginning a few were a bit fearful of 6 day practice week, but by the end of the week they were still smiling and said they felt great, the practice had given them energy - always a good thing to hear.

Below are a few snaps I took during the week....

My perfect morning practice place, although rather challenging to maintain my drishti! There was great snorkeling just out the front of where we were staying. It was so amazing to see the amount of activity and beauty that was going on beneath the water's surface.

Morning coconut water, fresh from the market.

Cascade waterfalls, a magical place. Luminous fresh water, beautiful bathing pools.

Locals at the main market in Port Vila. People from surrounding islands bring in their fruit and veg to sell. Everything is organic.

Wild raspberries at the market. We spotted (and ate) these raspberries across the road on beautiful fresh pastries at the french patisserie. Yum!!

All kinds of things at the market.

Nuts strung together ready for eating. Tasted good, but unlike any nuts I've tasted before.

Beautiful, wild Tamanu Beach. Vast sky, vast ocean.

Locals playing boule in Port Vila. The French influence endures....there was great citron sorbet at the super marche.

So stay tuned... hopefully I will be returning to the island paradise next year.
Maybe you'd like to come along.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Things that make me smile in Mysore...

Chalk rangolli

Cows and beautiful calves.

Chai at the Joy House

Chamundi Hill

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mysore 2010

How delighted I am to be back in Mysore! Just over two weeks have past and every day I'm very grateful just to be here. This morning (Saturday) I've been for an early morning scooter ride about town with a friend visiting different temples, paying my respects to Kali, Shiva and Hanuman then finishing with a stop at my favorite dosa place. Such a lovely morning! Just being in the early morning activity - watching life being lived on the street, saying hello to the wandering cows and marvelling at India and how life happens here. Devotion to the sacred in the midst of the chaos which constitutes life. As with the traffic here, you have to just keep going with the flow!

Often when I return to India I have an overwhelming sense of her nature, her culture, her pervading India-ness. She just is what she is, if I like it or not, she is not going to change, I have to move in her current! It is interesting to observe what arises. But I think that is why I love being here, because it makes me feel (often challenged), makes me observe but also helps me to let go. So many lessons!

I'm really enjoying the yoga course so far. To be here with my peers, listening to Sharath's words, it has been thought provoking and inspiring.
Tomorrow it is my turn to be tested! With a few others I will be talking the group through led primary series. With the traditional sanskrit counting - I just hope my pronunciation is up to scratch! Then for the next couple of days I will be adjusting
in the room with Sharath. A great learning experience.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mysore 2008

Finally I'm making an entry!! Yes, I arrived in Mysore 3 weeks ago, I don't really know where time has gone, actually that is not true I have been resting, practicing, chanting, catching up with old friends and generally taking it easy.
It's 5 pm and I can hear a continual rumble of thunder in the distance, heavy dark clouds are rolling in and I'm sure that before too long big monsoonal raindrops will be falling. Everyday since I've arrived there has been an evening down pour....which has sometimes lasted until the morning. Humidity is high which makes for much sweating in the shala.
Of course the highlight of everyday is early morning practice with Sharath and Saraswati. Guruji has not been present in the mornings....he is still often at his desk in the afternoons offering his beautiful smile. The first week I was here my practice time was 7am, which was quite nice to overcome the jet lag. Last week it was 6am, now this week I'm up to 4.45am, which I'm quite pleased about. The energy is calm, the streets are quiet, there is just the soft sound of ujjayi breathing as students begin their practice. Although this obviously means an earlier bedtime!!
I'm enjoying so much just being a student, focusing on my practice and just being.
I've also been in to chant with Jayashree in the afternoons which brings such grounding. Since last year she has retired from her college position so is now offering more chanting/sanskrit classes to yoga students. It is so wonderful to be around her dedication.
Then there is India, simply being in India! Year after year I never tire of it, actually it becomes more normal. What I'm noticing this time is the amazing colors of the tropical flowers and the depth of the green foliage. there is so much care put into garden maintenance...especially in the street where I'm staying. I guess everything is so moist and green from the monsoon, so different to the lack of water at home. I love just wandering through the flower market admiring the simple beauty the workers are creating which to them is just ever so normal. For my first 3 weeks I refrained from hiring a scooter, I was walking and taking auto rickshaws everywhere, decided there was no need to get any where quickly! Just taking it all in. But yesterday I succumbed, and requested a scooter from Shiva (no not the god, but the man who deals with scooter hiring!). Nothing in India stands still, there is a new favourite coffee place, there are more cars on the road, multi storey apartment blocks seem to be sprouting everywhere and the apartment where I'm staying has an exhaust fan in the bathroom and a washing machine!! What luxury.

So that's news from me, here are a few pics from my first few weeks.

Cat, Amanda and me at the new fav coffee place. Taken just before Amanda left.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Hello Melbourne

Home is Melbourne. So lovely to be home, especially since spring is definitely here and the daffodils are flowering in my garden. No matter how many times I travel to India I always find it a cultural shock returning home. There is so much space here, it is so quiet and so clean! The diversity of our planet never ceases to amaze me and to be able to open your eyes to this diversity is a great thing. India gives so many challenges which you just have to live through.... When in India, if you fight and react not much comes from the experience.....but if you soften and are willing to be accepting of the highs and lows, maybe even learn to wiggle your head in South Indian fashion, the beauty and ease of this places becomes apparent. This world is a crazy place and all things exist within it, just as all those things exist within each of us. Yoga gives so many challenges and if you are willing, it takes you deeper within yourself to a place where everything is ok . Put yourself in a position to experience change, smile at the highs and lows, wiggle your head, pick yourself up, ask "why not?" and keep going.
In other words, practice yoga and live your life fully.

Me being blessed by Lakshmi, the temple elephant at Hampi, 2004

Mysore - style classes recommence at Studio Cirq on Monday 10th September, 6 - 9am
for more info go to www.bluelotusashtanga.com

See you on the mat!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Farewell Mysore

Well, it is nearly time to go. 2 months has passed so quickly, feel like I could stay for 1 more, but I know I will return.....soon.
The highlight of the week was definitely the 5am led primary series class this morning. Guruji counted the class through, he was so present, so strong in his voice, keeping everyone together, not allowing anyone to stray from his count. Focus and breath, enabling prana to circulate through the room emanating from him. A special memory for me to carry home.
So it has been a week of good byes, to old friends I always end up running into here, to new friends I just met on this trip.
Of course there have been the mixed emotions that are felt when saying good bye to my teachers......trusting i will see them again soon. I have such gratitude for their teachings and their devotion to teaching and yoga.
We are all so fortunate to be on this yoga path!
Bye Mysore! Thank you!!!




Jayashree and Narasimha