Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yoga, Savita, Geckos

Thursday morning practice. I woke at 4 am and left for the shala around 4:30. I need to get up a bit earlier next time. As I walked into the "compound" folks were already going through the door. I ended up practicing in the entrance way with about 6 other people. It wasn't too bad as Sharath was either standing near us or across the way and keeping an eye out in our direction. Guruji counted the class this morning and it was very fast to begin with and then very slow towards the end. The windows in the entryway were open as well so the fast count meant that my body didn't get warmed up properly. This messed with my ability to get into the asana towards the end when he slowed the count down. My body just wasn't warm enough to go full on into the asana without a bit of pain coming up and I've been really trying to keep the pain out of my practice, particularly when it comes to my right knee. Of course, I've been slipping and sliding all over the place on my black mat. Yesterday, I finally bought a cotton rug to prevent this and today I sweat very little so it wasn't needed, figures. I'm sure it will come in handy on Sunday when I'm in the shala proper and Sharath is counting.

Speaking of Sunday, Sharath announced that there would be a full primary at 5am and a half primary at 6:30. So that means that I'll be waking around 3:45 on Sunday morning. I don't want to end up in the entryway again. Due to this I've found out that many of the people that I've been hanging with aren't doing full primary. I'm pretty surprised to say the least, and that's not a judgment of anyone. I'm just still so shocked to be doing the full primary. I know, I know, my surprise is a twisted manifestation of ambition and though it is on the surface a negation of attachment it comes 'round and bites it's own tail. The last time I checked I was still primarily human. Regardless, I was talking with the Australians last night at dinner and they proposed that, for the most part, being able to do the whole primary here was dependent on your ability to bind in Marichyasana D, bind in Supta Kurmasana and get forehead to floor in Baddha Konasana. Based on my experience that seems to be the case. I've got all those up my sleeve, but I'm so damn weak with the rest of it! Coming here with no expectations for my practice was certainly the way to go. I've been given the chance to really "have at" a handful of new asana in Mysore. What an opportunity!

Other shala news: I met a guy yesterday who was told by Sharath that the shala was full and that he couldn't register. As an alternative he is now practicing with Sharath in the afternoons, which is pretty cool in itself. But that is the first time I've every heard of someone being turned away. Everywhere you look in Gokulam there is a westerner, this place is slammed. Damian said that he counted 75 people practicing in the shala with him yesterday! It's wall to wall yogis from 5 am until 9 am and then Saraswati begins teaching her students. Her classes seem pretty full as well. Then Sharath has his afternoon class at his shala. Oh and that reminds me, I was in the shala yesterday during the afternoon Indian class. That was quite interesting. There were about 5 men and 2 women. Both Sharath and Saraswati were teaching. Sharath with the men and Saraswathi with the women. I didn't want to stand there and just observe (I broke down and was buying an AYRI mat bag) but I did note that the women were practicing in full Indian clothing! I noticed this as one of them did chuturanga and the clothing floated around with her as she flipped. The men were fully dressed as well. What a different practice it would be with clothing! Just for reference, in Ashtanga most women wear tight spandex type pants or shorts and a top and most men wear tight spandex shorts without a shirt. Personally I've noticed that my movement feels really restricted by even a tight t-shirt. I can't imagine wearing trousers as these Indian men were!

So that's yoga, what else? My, ahem, "servant" hasn't been here in three days as she's been sick. I hope she is feeling better. She is a very sweet girl named Savita. I think we determined that she is 15 years old. She doesn't speak English so it's hard to figure these things out. I did some of my own laundry yesterday as I only brought three pairs of practice shorts. I did some towels and shirts as well. I tried to do it exactly the way Savita does it and, I tell you, it was hard work! I hung them on the line on the roof to dry. I'm still amazed that service here is so inexpensive! I'm glad I did my own wash as I now appreciate Savita even more. I'm going to get her a little present before I leave, maybe a scarf or a few bangles. I think that'll be better than money as I've been advised about throwing off the balance here.

Speaking of Savita, she just came in. It looks like she's feeling better, though I'm not sure what she said when I asked her how she was. She is very quick about everything. She first sweeps up the floor with a broom made of long grass. She then gets a bucket and washes the floor with a wash rag. The laundry is then done using two buckets, one for soap and the other to rinse. She scrubs in the detergent and "beats" the clothes on the floor of the bathroom before rinsing the clothes. She then takes the clothes up to the roof to hang them. Finally, she washes the bathroom floor. This all takes her about 45 minutes. Incredible!

Oh yes, last night I had my first encounter with geckos. I've seen them around but last night I think a few of them were in the flat. They were hanging out above the bathroom and making quite the racket! They actually sound like birds chirping. For such small things, (about 3 inches long) they're quite loud! They woke me a few times and then when my alarm went off they started talking back to the alarm. They're kinda cute for the moment but if they continue to carry on and keep me awake they could be bothersome.

What else? This afternoon I'm going downtown with Christine to do some shopping for J9! I figured a bit of help with picking out dresses would be good. Plus, it's more fun to shop with someone else. I'm going to get some more pants made and a few other presents as well. Afterwards, we've got a small group together to go see a Hindi film at the Lido. Tomorrow morning I need to catch a bus at 7 to go out to the coffee estate in Coorg. Though I'm taking to computer I doubt that I'll have an internet connection. It'll be a few days without posting but I'll fill you all in when I return.

I think that, even though the shala's closed I'm going to practice before I catch the bus. The moon day isn't until Saturday and though I can understand why the family closes the shala I don't think that means I shouldn't practice. Of course, as I type this I'm feeling the way my body feels and maybe that extra day would do me good. A little break to let the practice assimilate may be the way to go. I've been working with more intensity and more focus than ever before here. Another case of when in Rome possibly? I guess my feelings when the alarm goes off will be the determining factor.

Everyone have a great weekend! Enjoy your Friday the 13th! ~G


Anonymous said...

Westerners have already "thrown the balance" way, way, way, way off.
Give her the $$$. She deserves it.

serenity NOW said...

Agreed! $$$ I'll chip in!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are having an amazing experience. Have fun this weekend!
Chris and Court

Brother Infinity said...

missed you at the meeting. was much fun.

Anonymous said...

You were missed at the meeting, John and I have taken to lighting a candle every other day for you, had 3 lit for the DPS meeting, going the extra mile seemed necessary!
- Love from Detroit.
Mira & John.