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Welcoming in 2010 in Mysore...

and still learning to read the signs, and making only one resolution for the year...

sunny 28 °C

santosha.jpg
Its been an illuminating couple of weeks... After all the joy that was Christmas, there was my birthday and that was sweet... I had a little party on the rooftop of my house and we had a really nice evening, and, I think, my first alcohol free birthday in about 15 years... Tea and cake and really good company. Prakash came round with a birthday cake with my name on and I had flowers, and I felt very spoilt, very happy, very good. I also went to Ajays backbending class on my birthday and a talk about dreams by Priya at the Mysore Mandala. Different levels of dreams. What you should pay attention to and what is actually garbage... I've been having some quite far-out dreams it has to be said- especially since I've taken the pranayama to a deeper level.

I was sad to finish the Pranayama course with BNS Iyengar. I was going to learn mudras with him too. but decided against it as I think I'll do better to just continue to practice what he taught me alone. Pranayama gets more exciting. I remember the last time I was in India, one day as I was washing up in the ashram I thought how we are like blackened pans, or ancient woks- with these dried out old crusty bits of blackened food clinging to us, and we are so used to the blackened crap in a sense, that we think this stuff clinging to us is part of us. But its not. Underneath it all we are still clean and shiny like a brand new pan thats never been used. Pranayama helps dislodge whats clinging to us- what dulls us. And like physical cleaning, it takes some work too. Sometimes after Pranayama I'm dripping with sweat... And after a session there's a sense of relief; like basking on a quiet beach after the tide has gone out. There is space and there is silence to just be... And this kind of relates to my New Years resolution.... I decided what my resolution was on the 10th of January- it took a few days. Because I'm generally anti New Years resolutions- they tend to be all about denial and feeling bad- just what you don't need in January, which is so often such a dull month in any case...

New Year was a blast- there was this amazing party at Shoab's house in Gokulam, Robbie and Brian and others played music, there was cake, there was vodka, dancing, singing. There was a bit of a French vibe going on and the singing got quite raucous in parts, it started to feel a little Celtic, and the flickering candle light added to it. There was a beautiful girl dancing with fire and after my third or so vodka it was like this glowing corner of the universe, a beautiful place, full of beautiful people...

Its been a long time since I've felt this good, this light, thinking about all that is here now, all that is still to come, rather than what is gone, what could have been, and what never will be again. And there's no point getting into value judgments but its just another Yoga lesson isn't it? You have no control whatsoever over what happens to you, it is how you handle things, how you choose to see the world that defines you as a person. You can choose to be rich or poor, happy or sad, weak or strong. I think being here has been such a learning curve. And there's so many amazing people to learn from. Like Adolfo, and how he really properly practices contentment. And the practice of contentment is not easy. It should be, but its not. You have to drop all your conceptions about how things will ideally be when you've done whatever, reached a certain point, bought a certain house, lost a stone, whatever your thing is, you have to learn to let go and say "Fuck it. This is what is right here, right now. Its great. Nothing else I need". In fact there's a new book out that's about something called "Fuck It" therapy- there's a lot to be said for cutting to the chase...

And so my New Years resolution is to properly practice the niyama of Santosha- contentment. Inspired by Adolfo, inspired by Shoeb and others. Being in the here and now. You could be cynical and say its a damn sight easier to practice contentment here than at work in a bank in Sheffield in shitty weather but that would be missing the point. True Santosha is so much about sacrifice and attaining contentment in every situation. Being on an even keel, not bitching when things are not so great, not feeling like you're God when they are. Being 'same same'. As Iyengar says in the 'Light on Yoga' "There is contentment and tranquility when the flame of the spirit does not waver in the wind of desire". And another phrase that keeps coming to me is 'Let Go. Let God'. And I have a horrible feeling that thats a well-known AA favourite quote but hey ho. It seems to make sense now.

What makes Mysore, the whole culture here, is the people you meet. People who are willing to put their lives on hold and come here to practice, practice, practice. There's reverence and there's joy. Adolfo said the other day its like we're forming a whole new caste here, in India , the land of many cultures. The place, that like Wonderland, is so often the antithesis of what you expect, and so you see yourself against this backdrop unlike any other, in what is often uncomfortably sharp relief. Its a privilege to get to spend a few months here.

The weathers just starting to get a little little warmer again. And the mornings are lighter. The insects are also out in force. My flat is now super clean. Any kind of crumbs are just so attractive to ants and beetles. And oh my Lord I saw the biggest baddest nastiest spider the other day. I leaned down for a better look and I swear the little beast had these big fangs and was actually gnashing its teeth at me threateningly... It was a case of "OK. Right then. I'll be off out now, and I erm, expect you to be gone by the time I come back...". I also smell attractively of citronella Odomos at all times... I have learned to love cockroaches too. I even feel slightly protective of them now. They're like these cute little wind up toys that don't do you any harm at all- in fact they eat mosquitoes off the wall so they are our friends.

People have been leaving too. Priya left last week, and then Robbie left two days ago, but Brians still here for as long as I am. I adore Brian and Robbie- they are both blonde, very attractive, more than averagely intelligent, kind and funny. What saves them from boring bland perfection is that they're both ever so slightly neurotic. In this really cute way -Robbie told me he thought he might have leprosy a couple of weeks back- he had some dry skin panicked and got a mite paranoid with googling info about related illnesses....... Actually, talking of leprosy, I saw my first leper in Bangalore last week. No nose and stumps for arms, being wheeled along, begging. I got quite interested and went out and bought the 'Tell Me Why' guide to diseases. Theres a LOT of diseases you can potentially get in Asia beyond the well-known ones. Mysore's a pretty risk-free place though. Apart from the occasional stomach thing.

And hundreds of new people have arrived in Gokulam as Sharath is back to teach for the season. And so the sacred mandala of Mysore Yoga students continues to change form... I was tempted for a tiny second to go do a month there, but to be honest, I'm so happy where I am. And its 25 percent of the price. And this morning I was doing free standing drop backs and coming up with no fear and no help. Ajay just said "You don't need me now, just get on with it" and walked off as I felt like a virgin driver on my first adventure out alone on the roads... My whole body feels like its opening up. Sun salutations have never felt so soft and Kurmasana is developing. Physically its good- I had to take 3 days off practice last week after injuring my right shoulder adjusting people in Down Dog, but its better now. Yesterday I taught a class of one (!) and today after class Ajay came up to me and said "I heard good things about the class yesterday! That you pushed him and aligned him! I am very happy!". The teaching is coming! I have been practicing with Nagaraj and slowly getting over the fear that I'm going to hurt someone. When you are up close to someone adjusting them, you can feel how their body is, where they can go, and when you should back off. This experience is invaluable. I've never adjusted that much at home but I will be able to in the future.

Last Saturday there was an Acro Yoga workshop in Gokulam run by Paul Millage. That was fabulous- so much fun- a good photo oppurtunity. It also really inspired me. Some purists might not consider it Yoga but I think the contact with the other person is actually very Yogic- a way of moving beyond your own sense of 'self' and the feeling of separation we can suffer from. A way to break down some boundaries maybe. I want to do more partner work, go to some more workshops. Paul's a really good teacher. He's calm, with this beautiful energy about him.

And now I am in my final three weeks of Mysore- my plans are to travel more next month, but this new 2 month rule they're implementing, where if you leave India and get a new visa, has kind of thrown a spanner in the works as far as my plans go. So I'm considering my options- stay longer in New Zealand and return to India to go to Rishikesh as planned- or go home and work for a few months- OR- considering I have no pressing need to go home, think about working elsewhere- I've been doing some research and have some possible irons in the fire... I feel a calling to see some more of the world, especially the USA for some reason. I want to see some mountains, go walkabout... I've also been emailing people and requesting information from cruise ship companies. Apparently working on private yachts can be a good move too... Hmmm...

So I'm thinking about all these possibilities... And treasuring these last few weeks in Mysore.

Posted by victoria8 02:30 Archived in India Tagged women

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