A Travellerspoint blog

India

Delhi revisited...

and fortune telling...

semi-overcast 20 °C

paharganj.jpg

I arrived in Delhi yesterday afternoon after nearly 2 solid days of travelling. My night in Bangalore was hellish. My hotel was above a bar that had a lot in common with a Yates wine lodge and they had a Bhutanese hip hop evening on downstairs... It sounds exactly like you would imagine and was so so so loud that the floor was actually shaking. I got about 20 minutes sleep after eating the greasiest Indian food I have ever eaten any where, including Aberdeen. The staff were nice though, and when I couldn't sleep and went to reception to bitch about it, they let me use their computer to surf the web. I had to get up at 2.30 a.m for an early flight. So I was exhausted. I had to wait in Mumbai for 5 hours and I started thinking the voice on the tannoy was addressing me directly, like the voice of God, as I was so tired and confused. I somehow managed to hold it together though, i drank plenty of Iced eskimos from Coffee Day, whose menu I now know pretty much off by heart, the paneer tikka sandwich on brown is very good and the brownies are to die for... I also read a good chunk of Lord of the Rings. And felt for the tired hobbits.

Delhi airport was much cleaner and quieter than I remember from last time and i got a prepaid taxi to my hotel, the Hotel Grand Park Inn in New Delhi- and I am never going to stay anywhere else when I come here- I got a really good deal on the expedia.com sale, and its lovely. I have a massive room with dark wood furniture- a clean clean soft spotless king sized bed, cable TV and a ginormous bath. A bath!!! I lay in my first long hot bath since September last year and then watched a really dreadful film called 'Fire and Ice' until I fell asleep for about 11 hours. I got woken up by the phone- the guy on reception telling me breakfast was nearly over and as I had paid for it I should eat something- I mumbled incoherently back at him and they sent me coffee to my room- Indian style, thick with sugar and condensed milk (it actually tastes gorgeus, like a dessert), so I had a really happy morning lying in bed with that and watching America's Funniest home videos... Bliss. I'm travelling all day tomorrow and have to be up at 1.30 am so one day being a couch potato was needed. And I have not been really comfortable in bed since I got to India, my bed in Mysore was like some kind of prison bed- not hard enough to feel healthy, nor soft enough to feel decadent, just crap really. I miss my six layer futon mattress.

This afternoon I decided I should do something- I had this lofty ambition to go to the Red Fort and take in an art gallery and Humayan's Tomb. But I wasn't that energetic. So I got an auto to Paharganj. I love Paharganj- its this feast of the senses and the best place for people watching. I haven't seen that many whacked out looking Westerners since I left Brighton. All kinds of freaks. And they have the best shoe shops selling the coolest, weirdest footwear. I got 5 pairs of solid leather, carved, sort of Persian looking strange shoes, they came to about 4 pounds a pair. Spotty ones, ones with psychedelic trees painted on them, Aladdin style pointy toed ones with pom poms on. Thats the thing about North Indian Rajasthani fashion- you can take it home and wear it and it looks good, sort of boho and arty if you take care to not over accessorize. Whereas you really want to avoid South Indian style unless you fully intend on looking like one of the Three Kings from the school nativity play (sans tea towel on the head) on your return home... The guy in the shoe shop told me that he supplied some shops in Brighton and suddenly I realized I had probably bought more from him in Brighton's Greenwich Village in the past. And its very Glastonbury-ish too, endless streets of hippy clothes and bags, the slight whiff of urine and incense in the air and everyone looking earnest and drinking chai. Loved it.

I was accosted by an old beardy guy- he grabbed my hand as I walked past a juice shop and sat with him for 10 minutes or so while he charmed me with Jedi-style mind tricks, for example giving me a piece of paper all screwed up and asking me to say a colour and then unfolding the paper and it matched. And a couple of variations on that. I think these are just tricks they can learn, rather than it being particularly spiritually significant- I mean- its very important to not get too blown away. But he was pretty spot on- he said all my problems are caused by thinking too much and hesitating to make commitments. And I should make commitments sometimes. He predicted my death aged 87- Indian palmists are unanimous on that- and I must have had at least 10 palm readings here. I don't know though- 87 seems awfully old and I can't bear to think on being physically dependent on other people. He also said that I dissipate my energy being friends with too many people whereas less friends would be better as less social stimulation would bring greater peace. We argued a bit about that one and I bought him another juice and went off in search of books.

I found a good stall full of second hand books so I picked up a Bill Bryson I hadn't read for a few rupees and got talking to the owner of the stall, 'Professor Kapoor' who's also an astrologer (with gorgeus hair incidentally) and I liked him instantly. So, on impulse I went to talk to him (yes Paharganj really is a lot like Glasters) and he looked at my dates and read my palms. The first thing he said to me was "You are always thinking too much. This is the problem". OK, so there was a pattern emerging. And he rightly said that life he been particularly hard since the 4th of September 2004. That was the very date of my fathers death as it happens. So I got a cold shiver down my spine at that moment. Since then my lifes just been quite mad- so many changes, so many moves, jobs, different studies, travel, heartache, happiness, unhappiness, its almost like I've had 10 years of activity packed into less than half the time. But he said the worst is over and I should just make decisions quickly and then stick with them. He also said that I have relationship problems because I am so against ever telling people what to do- as I hate being told what to do. And at the end of the day being told what to do makes men feel safe apparently. Like children. And I just trust them to already know how to behave without me having to lay down ground rules. And apparently (this is the best bit) in my last life I was a preacher in the area of Hampi and I had my own ashram. And I was married but I was secretly into some girl behind my wife's back. And in the end she got sick of it and married someone else ("Good for her" I exclaimed in a fit of rage against my past incarnation as a cad). And so the Diksha said that I've repaid the karma for that, getting burnt by someone elses marriage in this life (even though thats a long story and they separated before I came along). And so thats over and done with there can be peace now. And teaching and writing. And he said more too, but as Ajay would say "I have said enough" (with a 'mysterious' expression!!!)... Its funny though, I've often joked that in a past life I was a bit of an player... (albeit a spiritually minded one...) And I bet I also smoked too much, talked a lot of shite and entertained some tragic fantasy about being a 'musician'....! Ha! Explains so much of what I've suffered in this incarnation...

Its still 'winter' in Delhi- that is, only around 20 degrees- pleasant actually, T shirt weather for me and headscarves and fleeces for the locals. Just a nice fresh temperature, a lot cooler than Mysore. I will be going to Bangkok first thing tomorrow and so its a very early night for me- with another long hot bath , and more sleep in a very clean and comfortable bed... And when I return here in March I'll hit some culture then...

Off to go get street food...

Posted by victoria8 04:58 Archived in India Tagged women Comments (0)

My last day in Mysore

and feeling blessed...

sunny 30 °C

kali.jpg

I can hardly believe that today is my last day here... I would say the past four months have flown by but they really haven't... I sort of feel that I've been here for about a year- or maybe I've learnt what would otherwise take longer in a sort of super-condensed way without the annoying nusicance of having to work 10am till 8pm, or a man shouting oafishly for my attention. How lucky I am to get these windows from time to time- having space, and time in which to contemplate is so very precious. Last time I came to India I felt like I took some tools home with me, and this time I feel like I brought them back and went back to the drawing board so to speak.

I've had some amazing experiences- when you have the time to practice intensely, and rest afterwards you can start to feel like a radio, picking up signals from everywhere. One thing thats become clear to me is that the practice doesn't ever necesserily become easier. As soon as one thing yields, something else comes up. As I've noticed before- development is circular, not linear- and you can't practice with an agenda. I wanted the perfect Kurmasana by the end of these months- and its far from perfect but bizarrely enough Pincha Mayurasana feels easy and comfortable now. I don't know what that means. One day I'm going to compile a book of the sacred essence of each asana- the fiery seed of Garudhasana, the emotional rebalance of Pascimatanasana. Each asana is like a key, and where you are with it could be a type of divination. My practice has opened up so much these months.

I've also learned that detachment doesn't necesserily mean having perfect control over your character and emotional make up- or at least it doesn't have to, to start with. Detachment can mean throwing a tantrum and whilst you're offloading being aware that its only temporary. You can almost play with your moods, laugh at yourself, try and work out where its coming from if you so desire. Having a little mantra helps- like the non-dualistic "Not this, Not this" idea when trying to understand the divine- you can say to yourself "Not me, Not me" when you're having a bad reaction to something. It helps. You just have to keep at it. Don't be downcast because you aren't perfect. Aspiring to awareness is better- anyone who wants to be perfect probably has some bad stuff they're trying to hide anyway. Face your darkness. Read about Kali and learn that not all darkness is quite as it seems. Learn to really listen- to everything and everyone. Be open.

What else? I've learned sometimes you need to make yourself rest. And you don't have to be engaged in 'useful' work every waking hour, take time to digest. So thats probably enough for me to be going on with...

I said goodbye to Ajay this afternoon- I got my teacher training certificate, my t-shirt, my adjustment book (that is to be shown to no-one) my lucky coin, and I'll be collecting my little protection Yantra to wear tomorrow- I thought he might teach me some kind of 'secret handshake as well'.... but no... maybe next time ...:) I am so glad I studied with Ajay. He's a glowing example of a Yoga teacher, so much energy and intelligence. I'll really miss him in classes- I love the way he gets excited about what he does- and the way he goes off on crazy tangents sometimes when he's channelling something from who knows where... I know its intolerant, but boring Yoga teachers really get to me. Yoga is fascinating and romantic and to make something so incredible boring and passionless is just inexcusable. Or to reduce it to the same level as a keep fit class or trawl out some cheesy meditation or observation from a book rather than from the heart is just urgh. When I practice Yoga I like to think of the millions who've gone before me, struggling with the same stuff. To honour the dead and contemplate my own mortality... Hmmm... Now I'm having a tangent moment. I do believe though, that when you have a regular and dedicated practice inspiration starts to flow, and you maybe don't need books in the same way. Because you access other knowledge deep deep within. What the Druids refer to as 'Awen'. And if you teach Yoga your well will never run dry if you keep up your own practice, your own discovery. You can never rest on your laurels, you have to keep going, on the road with everyone else. Never really alone.

There was a Kirtan the other night which Ajay led- chanting and music. It was beautiful. I was talking to Sista Shree about it earlier today - she was a long term student of Pattabhi Jois. She came to the Kirtan too and said that it reminded her of what it used to be like to study Yoga here. That very special kind of energy that happens when you have a gathering of people for a special reason. It was amazing evening. As it was my last Friday evening I was thinking of going out for dinner and then Deepak at the Shala said that he would like to cook a buffet. And then it really took off and loads of people came and the food was gorgeus- beautiful Indian vegetarian food with raw salads and channa masala. And I spent time with some of my very favourite people and we looked at the nearly full moon in Leo and talked all night.

I have cleared out my little flat- I have packed a rucksack. I'm leaving with Brian for Bangalore tomorrow- after which I'll go to Delhi, then Delhi to Bangkok, Bangkok to Aucland, then early March back to Delhi- then maybe Rishikesh for 2 or 3 weeks and then it'll be getting hot and I'll leave India. And then? Not sure yet. I'm planning on seeking out some good Ashtanga in New Zealand- unfortunately theres no John Scott workshops while I'm there. Or maybe I'll just do a lot of self practice. I'm keeping my plans for late March open but very loosely thinking of the USA, starting North West. I think I'd like that. And so my travel plans are as circular as my Yoga practice. I've been doing some research into working abroad too and so am looking at all options (I am too much of a Capricorn to be a feckles drifter), even qualifying as a personal trainer and working on ships- we'll see...

So my very last entry in Mysore... for now... We're having a quiet meal tonight and chilling. I'll try and sleep tonight but I'm excited to travel. See some more of this world, eat street food in Delhi (NICE) and all that kind of thing. And I am ready to leave in a way I wasn't before. And I have more David Frawley to read. As well as 'Lord of the Rings' (should keep me going).

And if anyone I've met in Mysore is reading this I want to say thankyou, I love all you very much and we'll meet again...:)

Posted by victoria8 02:55 Archived in India Tagged women Comments (0)

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 Comments (0)

Christmas in Mysore...

and getting grounded in Bangalore...

sunny 27 °C

kapotasana.jpg

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 Comments (0)

Dissipating the black seeds...

and how home is where the heart of stillness is......

semi-overcast 24 °C

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This weeks been different. On Saturday I went to my Pranayama class with BNS Iyengar ("Yes Yes, come in come in, to where are you wandering, sit down sit down!!!") and that was amazing. This week we've been working on nadi sodhana variations and the exercise took about an hour. It was a simple exercise- 3 rounds of alternate nostril breathing with a 1-2 ratio, repeated 15 times. As can happen I was quite detached afterwards and lay down to rest for a while. Something happened. As I lay there it was as if I went somewhere else entirely. And there was this unearthly being- not unlike the creature in the Star card of Aleister Crowley's Thoth tarot deck communicating with me without words. This being that felt like a force of good but at the same time was completely dispassionate, like some kind of spiritual administrator. It became clear that there was something in me, something in the past that had been getting to me, making me angry and upset and the event was like some kind of micro chip or seed - something that had been planted in me to learn from. And this being, this creature, removed it for me. It was as if it dissipated it. And it told me that I had a choice. That if I chose to pursue the dark thoughts it would be entirely my decision from that moment onwards but there was no real, valid or even 'karmic' need for those thoughts anymore. And whats been so interesting is that I still have certain thoughts that I would prefer not to have, as changing patterns takes time, but it doesn't feel like a part of me anymore. I sort of watch them go by. Its like the thoughts are an empty box.

So after this I spent a long time floating in the swimming pool, looking up at the sky, at the circling eagles, at the trees moving with the breeze and felt stillness. Then that evening I went into Mysore with Su and we went out and sat on a rooftop, had a glass of wine and fish kebabs (nice) and talked for a while, had a great night. And in the rickshaw on the way home I felt like I was exactly where I need to be. And the thought of leaving was just abhorrent. And I realized that I don't have to go anywhere, that my plans can change. So I changed them to stay for another month. Its so weird. I haven't left Mysore since I've been here and I'm generally someone that moves from place to place a lot. I don't like not escaping at least once a fortnight to go somewhere new, even if its only the next town. And i was so looking forward to going to the ashram. They were great though, they told me not to worry, they have someone on the waiting list and I can do the next course if I want. I just feel that I'm changing, my practice is changing, and even though my existence is quiet its exactly what I need right now. And maybe if I'm starting to understand about stillness after quite a few years of trying I'll get more out of going to the ashram at a later date and next time it won't feel so much like an ordeal, but like somewhere I am really growing rather than the Betty Ford clinic (my last trip to India was a bit of a journey to 'dry out' it has to be said!)...

The asana practice is flowing too. I did the second series today which felt good. Ajay has an extreme Supta Virasana adjustment- he stands on you- skilfully though. Backbending is really coming on also- it feels like my spine is beginning to be 'unstuck'- though I had a really great massage on Thursday which helped. Handstand I can maybe mange for two more seconds than last week...I also ran my first Mysore style class on Friday which went ok I think. Practicing with Nagaraj has helped quite a bit. I had about six people so it was manageable. And theres a guy who doesn't speak much English- and my Telegu is limited- who just loved being adjusted and kept requiring adjustment by going "Push me down..."! And thats another challenge with adjustments, if you are not very tall, adjusting big men who are perhaps not that flexible- you have to get creative and use the wall to balance and that kind of thing...

Another really great thing that happened was that my friend Simone who I met last year in Mysore turned up! She was on her way to Vipassana with her partner but I got to spend a couple of evenings with her which was great. And hopefully she's coming back here to do some practice in January too.

As for today I've been quiet, I had a dizzy attack this morning (due to all the practice and impending Ladies Holiday) so I've been lying in bed all day reading 'Bitten by the Black Snake' again. Its so beautiful. So here is the fourth sutra...

'Stillness.

All things arise, suffer, change and pass away.

This is their nature.

When you know this nothing perturbs you, nothing hurts you, you become still.

It is easy.

Sooner or later fortune or misfortune may befall you.

When you know this, you desire nothing, you grieve for nothing.

Subduing the senses you are happy; whatever you do brings joy or sorrow, life or death.

When you know this, you may act freely, without attachment.

What is there to accomplish?

All sorrow comes from fear, from nothing else.

When you know this, you become free of it, and desire melts away.

You become happy and still, the world with all its wonders is nothing.

When you know this desire melts away, for you are awareness itself.

When you know in your heart that there is nothing, you are still.'

Something to meditate on...

Posted by victoria8 03:25 Archived in India Tagged women Comments (0)

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