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Christmas in Mysore...

and getting grounded in Bangalore...

sunny 27 °C


Its been a chilled out festive season here. This is the first warm Christmas I've ever had in my life, the first Christmas away from home. My mum sent me a Christmas parcel which was mainly full of iron supplements (there's only one kind I can take without feeling urgh) and sexy pants (just in case, thank you Mother) and chocolate coins. Its weird, Christmas is so not a big deal here, I guess its part of a minority group tradition. Nilghiri's sold special plum cake and there was a Santa grotto in the More store and a few stalls selling decorations. I bought some pink tinsel and big stars and decorated the rooftop with Adolfo. It looks like like a very gay Brighton style Christmas vibe...

Ajay checked that we would be turning up for class Christmas morning, saying that in the past people hadn't turned up on Christmas so he needed to know- so everyone raised their hands and I got up at 5.30 am and started Christmas Day with the second series! This is the Ashtanga sequence that's after the standing postures and centred around back bending and hip opening. Its starting to feel really good, especially after nearly 3 months of the Primary series. All the backbending classes seem to have made a difference too- my spine feels like its waking up- very Vanda Scaravelli- not that I've ever had a really stiff back, its just that the more advanced backbends require this hyper awareness of the totality of the back, if that makes sense. That is, feeling every vertebrae, every muscle working from the feet, through the knees and thighs, butt, lower back, middle back, upper back and neck. Being aware of each individual organ playing its part in the wave, the arc of the backbend. If you don't use everything that you have and just go back its like you're putting a big nasty crease in a piece of paper that you could just bend and curve so it returned to its former state with no signs of stress after. You can't put stress on one area of the spine, you have to spread the movement around a bit, dissipate it. Its very easy to bugger up your neck too, speaking from painful experience- you have to create support for the neck through correct and natural posture. Anyway Christmas Day practice was especially exciting for me as I got into Kapotasana comfortably and safely, head cradled in the feet. Like in the photo above. Ajay helped me a lot and it felt AMAZING. And as I came out of it I felt this surge of lightness and euphoria coursing through me, like I was a grid that was lit up with this flow of electricity. Ajay only spoiled the moment slightly by saying "You see, if you only listen to me and do exactly as I say" as he walked off and I sat there grinning like a village idiot with Nok giving me the thumbs up from across the room...

Christmas afternoon I found I needed a ladies holiday so just lay in bed reading and eating chocolate coins and then took the 4.30pm class. I only had two students- a really lovely couple from the UK who looked vaguely familiar- then it turned out that I'd met them at a Michael Gannon workshop in Sheffield in May this year! Quite funny if you think about it- they travel all the way to India to get Ashtanga adjustments from a Yorkshire girl who's from the next town from theirs. I hope my eyeliner at least provided a slightly exotic and mysterious touch... I had another practice session with Nagaraj this week and I am starting to get a bit more confident with it and remembering the movements better. I am soooooo glad I decided to stay the extra month, its really good for me to get this opportunity to practice. I'll be taking two of the afternoon classes a week for the next month.

Christmas evening I went to a party at Stans house- I got there with Nok at about 7pm and it had been going on since 11am with many people having to be on the water after Christmas daytime drinking- very naughty behaviour for Mysore! I brought 2 bottles of wine with me which I shared as much as possible but still managed to get quite plastered! Julian, who runs the Santosha Cafe in Gokulam kindly gave me a lift home and took me, at my brattish drunken request for a bit of a spin, really really fast (how I love riding round on motorbikes), he's so very nice. Then we went back to my flat and talked a bit and looked at Chamundi Hill from the roof. It was a really good Christmas. And I actually don't feel ill today. Maybe the banana cake for breakfast was a good idea.

I also went to Bangalore this week. I was feeling a little India-ed out and needed a taste of home. So I got a hellish 4 hour long bus journey into Bangalore and went and hung around in characterless malls. AAAaaaahhh, I felt right at home. There was air conditioning! There was a cookie stand in the manner of Millies Cookies! There was a bookshop that actually smelled like Borders Books and had staff in matching T-shirts and Happy to Help name tags. A music shop that sold CDs that were not religious. And no-one hassling you to buy anything. I tried on perfume, and got a tiny bottle of Gaultier '2' perfume for my birthday- its so beautiful, it has to be one of my favourite smells. And the guy who sold it me slipped me his phone number. And apart from that I just got a black t shirt to replace the one with holes in, and a Capricorn 2010 book, so I was pretty restrained. I saw some amazing clothes- by the Indian designer Ritu Kumar- unbelievably expensive, even by Western standards. And I have enough pretty dresses. I tried to get a taxi to another mall and got into a bit of a detour- this guy wanted to take me to this Indian clothes emporium- a lot of drivers here get commission if they do this. And I was like "NO- I absolutely do not want to buy a sari- take me to the Golden mall!!!" and he was like "Madam, if I take you to this shop I get a free t-shirt. Worth 200 Rupees. I am a poor man you have to think of this" as he drove exactly to where he wanted. So I took a deep breath, showed a polite interest in the shop, bought 2 metres of cotton I liked. He got his t-shirt. The man in the shop was going "Ah this man! we call him 'Tinker' Madam!!!" as they all smiled at me. And then Tinker didn't charge me for the taxi fare! Maybe he felt bad for semi-kidnapping me... After 5 hours of malls and iced coffee I was ready for home so got a bus back. And bumped into Robbie at the bus station so I had a travel companion on the way home. And this time I got the air con bus, not the riff-raff one which stops EVERYWHERE..... It was a good day out. I'm going to go back in a couple of weeks, look at some temples rather than malls...

So now I'm having a restful Boxing Day Saturday, reading about backbending in 'Light on Yoga' and drinking a lot of water. And I should really clean my flat so its nice for my Birthday tomorrow....

Posted by victoria8 22:26 Archived in India Tagged women

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