Saturday, September 6, 2014

Xinalani Retreat - the arrival

I flew yesterday from Toronto to Houston to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - where I was greeted by a friendly car service who took me to the marina and then on a boat to my final destination. I know it's rainy season, so I was surprised that it was partly sunny and a beautiful day. Two lovely guys loaded my bags on to the boat, threw an oldschool ugly orange pfd around my neck and off we went! It was super wavy and bouncy and I was pretty sure my bags were going to be on the bottom of the ocean but luckily they stayed out.

We passed a pirate ship and plenty of pelicans (yay wildlife!) and even some butterflies fluttered by as we weren't too far off shore. The destination? Xinalani (she-nah-lah-knee) eco yoga retreat. We plonked across the bay and there was one rain cloud on the other side, with rain shooting out of it. We *seemed* to be heading straight for this one rain cloud. Closer... closer... He asked me how to say rain in english - he played charades and held his fingers in the air and did jazz hand fingers in a downwards motion. "Rain" I said. They both repeated it. Then he pointed to the raincloud... "RAIN!" He said. I asked if we were going there, he said "Si".

It started to rain as we approached the cloud (obviously) so one guy covered my bags with a padded seat thing. Gracias - I thought it my head! At this point, I was wishing I had studied up a bit on Spanish. Oops.

We start approaching the resort, there are HUGE waves crashing in to the shore. Surfing waves - I'm thinking! Give me a board and I'll just ride to shore! Alas, no board on board. He changes his mind, we can go to the shore. We go around a rocky protrusion to the next beachy area and there are two more xinalani guys waiting... The boat rides a big wave to shore and I'm pretty sure did a nose dive into the sand, one guy tosses one of my suitcases off the boat into the other guys hands and nearly kills him in doing so... They run up the beach and disappear. The boat backs up and the guys seem apprehensive. We keep going... I see we are headed to a dock.

I get off the dock, one guy carries my other suitcase (smaller, but heavier - it's full of books - poor guy!) I say 'sorry' - I don't know how to apolgize in Spanish. I carry my small bag. We walk in the pouring rain across the beach, down a cobblestone street, past street dogs (HELLO PUPS!) I may have patted a few while he was clearly thinking 'come on loco lady!', we went past make shift restaurants, crumbling houses, one guy in a house with no roof, just a tarp, sitting inside on a bucket - watching TV! Anyways... Across a river. YES a river... ankle depth.... knee depth... WHOA! CROTCH depth! Hahaha, I'm laughing and he's laughing at me. Up a bunch of stairs, hair dripping, bags drenched, mascara running, giddy out of breath giggling... We made it.

They hand me a big fluffy orange towel that smells nice and a freshly squeezed lemonade. "HOLA!"

I check in and go over some details for my Yoga Teacher Training retreat that I am running at their resort over the next three weeks. My guests/students arrive the next day so I take my time unpacking, settling in, checking out the grounds, meeting the few guests who are already there, eating some scrumptious food and so on.

It's really humid so my hair stayed soaking wet right to the point where I went to bed. With earplugs. And I could still hear the crashing waves (awesome) and squeaking, chirping, buzzing, lunatic bugs (not as awesome!) I managed to sleep ok but woke up pretty early.

This morning I took my flashlight at 6am and walked up many stairs via many different winding paths, through MANY creepy spider webs, and past quickly out of the way scooting crabs, and scared myself half to death with the shadows my flashlight was making with the bushes!!

Then I remembered my mom's parting the words to me on the phone. "Don't walk through the jungle alone." Uh... I'm totally doing that! Well I did't get attacked my rabid monkeys or abducted by hidden pirates. Luckily. I meditated overlooking the ocean as the sun came up.

They blew the "meal time" conch and I came down for tea and fruit.

Then I went all the way back up and beyond, to the jungle studio, where most of my teaching and classes will be happening... Practiced, shot a video for my youtube channel (!!) then took a COLD refreshing shower (while looking at and listening to the crashing ocean - it's all open concept!) which I highly recommend.

I had lunch with the lovely Rosa (new friend) who taught me some Spanish and then I sprawled on the beach for an hour, browsing through Sharath's new book for inspiration to start this journey. I walked down the beach and tried to feed an apple to a horse, but he rejected my moist delicious treat which I thought was weird?! I patted his nose instead which he accepted.

Now I'm waiting for my first students to arrive. It's sunny and the ocean is green. It's hot but they will adjust as I did - and take many cold showers over the next three weeks! This afternoon we begin. They will look deep inside of themselves and deeply into the tradition and practices of yoga. We will all leave this course more in tune with nature and ourselves - our TRUE selves, which is what yoga is all about. I can't wait!

Adios amigos!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The universe always keeps us humble

I have never cut dog nails before. I'm totally petrified because Raaji's claws are thick and black and you can't see where the 'quick' is (the super sensitive pulp of the nail with all of the nerves). I have made mistakes a few times with my cats and ferrets, cutting into the quick, and they jump and squeal and bleed like crazy. And every time I feel so bad. And sometimes cry and repeatedly tell them I'm sorry. While they sulk in the corner giving me the stink eye.

Up to this point Raaji has been going to the vet nearly every month for puppy shots, check ups, neutering, etc, so I keep asking them to trim his nails each time. But now that we aren't going to the vet as often I considered taking him to a groomer to do it. I'm sure it's only $20 or so, maybe once every 3-4 weeks.

This morning though, I got ballsy. I was in the pet store and there were the dog nail clippers. I thought, I can totally do this! I'll give it a try. The clippers were $10 so what is there to lose, that was cheaper probably than one grooming appointment.

I got home, ready to rock it. I rubbed Raaji's belly, gave him some kisses, massaged his feet and paws (he doesn't mind having his toes fondled) and grabbed the clippers and boom-boom-boom-boom, nail after nail I conquered his two front paws! 10 claws! Done! Yes! I only did tiny little clips to stay safe, but success! No bleeding or screaming or running away! I moved to the rear paws. He started to get wiggly. Hmm... I need to distract him. I got his favourite chewy toy and got him to go "down" (laying on the floor) and he started to nom the chewy and ignore me. Boom-boom-boom-boom (that's my successful clipping sound effect), all done! Every toenail clipped in one sitting, and the pup was calm as can be, despite my nerves being frayed! HURRAY! I can do this! No need to go to a groomer. YAY ME :) I'm awesome, I am the best dog owner ever! LOL

Then I thought, gee, I should totally conquer something else I don't think I can do today.

I've had a beautiful china mug sitting for months in 3 pieces waiting to get fixed. I CAN DO THIS! TODAY! I grabbed the krazy glue, put the pin in the tip to open it, checked how all of the pieces go together and then drop-drop-drop I loaded up one surface with glue and squeezed the other surface against it and wait.... And wait... It's not adhering, the pieces still come apart. Argh. I keep holding one piece in my left hand, I put down the other piece and put more glue on the piece I'm holding. I SOAK it. Then I press the other piece to it again and wait... wait... wait... longer... waiting... And they still come apart.

ARGH - OK, so not everything is easy and I'm clearly not rocking this. I sigh and put down the pieces. And then I realize that all of my left fingers are... Yes you are right... TOTALLY glued together! KRAZY glued together! Shut tight. Dry. Adhered. I have one human mitten hand. No spaces. Oh crap! It was funny but also worrisome. If I pull them apart will the skin rip off? I slowly slowly carefully pulled, waiting for the pain... But luckily eventually I peeled my fingers back to their original singular condition. Phew. But now I have that gross, dry, crinkly, thick glue coating on my fingers.

I think the universe put that annoying glue there to remind me that I'm not the queen of everything and that you win some and you lose some.

My head remains the size it should be today. Thanks to krazy glue.


Monday, June 2, 2014


I have posted a lot of photos, stories and thoughts about where I go to practice yoga in India and who my teacher is. But a video is much more descriptive and moving, I think. This was just released - it was filmed just after I left for the season, but a lot of my friends/peers who I practiced with in Mysore are in the film. I am re-inspired after watching it (twice this morning already). I miss the heat, the energy and the magic of practicing yoga there. In less than one month I will be applying for my third trip to study with Sharath. Now I really can't wait!!!

Enjoy xoxo

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Feeling cold and judgmental... and grateful.

My trip here in Mysore India is already coming to an end. How is this possible? How does one month go by so quickly? Wow. I am trying hard to soak up all of the sights and sounds and smells and feelings so that they can linger with me after I return home, at least for a while.

This morning I was out walking the dog and I was FREEZING COLD! It was 7:30am and maybe 18 degrees C. I laughed at myself, because my mom emailed me this morning and told me back home in Toronto today it is -23C, feels like -36C with the wind chill. Minus! HAHA! I better toughen up, and QUICK! I'm such a weather wimp. I think I will probably be in total temperature shock for a few days then I'll get used to it. Poor little Raaji, that is another story! Note to self: Shop for cute knitted doggie sweater asap.

Today is Friday so I was SUPPOSED to have led primary 6-7:30am. I woke up on time. Pressed snooze once. Sat up and felt so much pain in my back. Right in the deep down depths on my right side QL. Achy achy can barely move pain. My low back was totally seized up. On top of that, I still have major stomach cramps every morning and of course, diarrhea. Wow, what a pity party over here! I doodled around a bit, seeing if some moving around or drinking water would help either situation, but nothing was resolving. I hung out in bed for a while trying to decide what to do. I HATE skipping any asana practices since I only have so many here and I really want to take advantage of each opportunity and enjoy them. But I just thought it was the wrong choice for my misbehaving body. What a bummer! I thought that maybe by the 730am class I would be feeling more limber and intestinal-pain free. But then again, I don't want to go to the wrong class time and get in trouble from Sharath. Sigh. No asana for me today. I also considered doing just the sun salutations and standing poses on my own, out on my rooftop deck, moving slowly, but then I realized how "freezing" it was outside!

I still have chanting class at 1030am and Sanskrit class at 5pm, and Yoga Sutras chanting class at 6pm, SO technically I am still practicing yoga today, just not asana. RIGHT!? :) :) :)

I hope that by resting today and tomorrow (Saturday is off anyways) that I will feel at least OK on Sunday for my last practice of the season at KPJAYI.

Yesterday was my last Mysore style practice and I really tried to relish every moment and take my time. I got moved up to 830am, which is funny, since it's my last practice at that time but I was still happy to have to chance to get into the shala a little earlier. When I left there were still people sitting in the foyer waiting to practice.

My practice felt pretty good physically and mentally and I was trying to feel whether or not my back was going to allow kapotasana. I was also trying not to think ahead and just stay in the moment! I guess that is sort of my pinnacle pose right now, since it's where Sharath has stopped me, and over a few years now it has given me trouble and pain on and off. I had two really wonderful kapotasanas this season but I KNEW at some point my body wouldn't be so forgiving... Yesterday was the day! It wasn't a train wreck or anything, but my body definitely set a limit. The limit was just short of the full proper pose. I felt some back strain right as I began. My fingers touched down pretty close to my toes where they always do, and I walked, walked, paused, breathed, pushed into my legs, walked... Thought I felt my ankle bones sort of a little, plopped my hands over my feet and darnit, just barely touched my heels, definitely didn't grab them! 1-2-3-4-5... straight arms (ish) 1-2-3-4-5 and UP. Ugh. I was praying Sharath didn't ask if I caught or to see me do it again. That was enough for the day. I was sort of hoping for one more pose this trip, so next time I don't have to start by ending on kapotasana, but it's a good challenge for next time. And a great ego crusher!! I will be in NO RUSH next year to get past my first week of primary series!

On to backbending.

Last year when I came here I had MAJOR low back pain and sacrum issues, and by taking it easy and being very mindful that mostly healed while I was here and now only from time to time I feel a little twinge in that area. I think it was all about slowing down, being more patient, not pushing so hard, building up more core strength and using bandhas more.

This year I have some mid back stuff (at least it's moving and changing right?!) that started about a month before I got here but I have still been able to do all of my backbends and drop backs without fear or pain. Like last year I have been able to walk in and touch my heels in assisted urdhva danurasana, but this year for the first time in my life, I've been able to actually catch (hold on to) my ankles/legs. I really didn't think this was in my cards, so it's pretty neat to be able to do something I never really even considered doing. There are some poses you look at and think - gee, I really hope I will be strong enough and flexible enough to do that one day. This wasn't one of those for me. Anyways, as my previous blogs detailed, the first time an assistant connected my hands to my legs, it was SO painful and I didn't want to do it again! The next guy who tried to get me to do that was met with total resistance from my body. Then the next few practices after that I just walked in. Then Sharath connected me and it felt easy and natural. Then a girl connected me and it felt good too. Cool, my body was opening and my mind was accepting.

Then, yesterday, I think my back muscles were starting to lock up and also my legs were SO tired and shaky, and when Sharath tried to connect my right arm, I just couldn't support myself and my elbow dropped to the ground to the point where I was resting on my forearm. He just brought me up after that, not even trying for my left arm. I laughed (as I do) but I was slightly disappointed. He seemed disappointed too, if that's possible! I think this also explains the pain today, in my right side only QL.

This demonstrates, I think, how non-linear asana practice is. It's never up-up-up OR down-down-down, it's a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and turns and flips and you never really know what you're gonna get from one day to the next, or one year to the next. In general though, with hard work and dedication over time, the general trend is upward. I am stronger, more controlled, more aware and more flexible than last time I was here about 18 months ago, even though I am not in perfect condition by any means. I wonder what my next trip will be like, and what my new challenges will be. We all hope it's a step up, but maybe it won't be. And if that's the case then that is where the real work comes in. The work of learning and accepting and making every experience positive despite what the universe throws at us.

Speaking of the universe throwing stuff at us, my last two Mysore style practices were beside the most distracting disgusting guy ever. I blogged about him LAST year too! What are the chances he is back here at the same time as me again! His clothing and yoga towel smell so bad, like he sweated in them, and they were wet, and then he put it in a sealed plastic bag for one year and then took them out to wear them again. EW! Mouldy putrid rancid old water smell. GROSS! He has stinky B.O. on top of that, but I can sort of handle that. AND he leaves his mat around 8 times during a practice to go to the bathroom. AND he grunts and pants like a dog. And he horks and sniffles boogers and coughs. Must I go on? It really is atrocious. I was in a row behind him at led class last week and smelled him. Then the universe decided to place me directly beside him for Mysore practice, not once, but twice in a row. I feel like I am supposed to get over it and stop being so judgmental. But come on! For a practice that is based on the breath, it's really hard to breathe deeply when you are inhaling Mr. Garbage Pants. I really wish Sharath would tell him he's gross and to clean up. Dear universe - you are going to have to try another method, because I am not learning the lesson. Sorry. *gag*

Sharath definitely has no qualms about telling people what they need to improve...

"Your practice is too long." - to me and anyone else who practiced past 11am

"Too much around your waist. No more chapatis for you." - to a guy who can't bind in mari C

"No chakrasana." - to someone who fell out of headstand

"No upavistha konasana in this pose." - to a girl doing drop backs with her feet and legs spread too wide apart.

"What are you doing? All wrong? Very lazy! Bad teacher teach you this. Very bad habit." - to a girl who was hanging out in a standing forward bend after her drop backs.

etc etc!

PS - despite my crabby silly blogging, I am still ecstatic about my whole time here in Mysore and what the journey has meant for me. I have learned more about myself, my practice, my body, the practice of yoga and ashtanga yoga in general, improved and practiced my Sanskrit and chanting... My heart and my brain are a little more full thanks to my time here. I have connected a little more with my teachers (Sharath and Lakshmish) and I have gotten more of a feeling for the people and customs of India. Mysore is starting to feel like a home away from home. I have met new friends who are really dear people. I have found a sweet dog who will be my best friend for many years to come. I have even tried a small piece of papaya this trip which I think I liked. I am very grateful. Truly I am.

Parivritta Pasrvakonasana - rotated side angle.
Of course I asked this sweet lady if it was ok if I climbed up on her bench before doing so!

Bharadvajasana - I didn't get to this pose yet on this trip, it's 3 after kapotasana, but I really like it! :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Living the bland life

I have decided. For the rest of my trip there will be no spice, nothing fried and nothing dairy. Which is practically impossible and strange in India. BUT my belly is just so unhappy and I don't know exactly what is causing it, so everything has got to go. I'm living on fruit, plain oatmeal, biscuits, juice, water and rice. Ah well. I'm only here for 5 more days so it's no big deal. I ate everything I wanted to eat over the past few weeks: chai, chili paneer, dal makhani, dosa, samosa, chats... etc. YUM! I need to do something to my stomach before I come here next time, to turn it into steel!! Last trip I had no troubles at all. *sigh*

Sunday night I went to the palace with some friends. It's a must-do in Mysore and I missed out last time. I went once in the day just to look, but the magic is on Sunday evening when they light it up with thousands of lights, for 45 minutes, and a band plays music. We arrived by rickshaw and it was crazy! People everywhere! Things for sale! Kazoo noises! Light up balls being thrown into the air! Metallic balloon guitars! (What?!) We weaved through the colourful congestion and got to the entry gate. There was a metal detector we all had to walk through to gain access to the palace grounds. It had a digital display at the top that said STOP - GO - STOP - GO, etc, but no one was paying attention and tons of people were squeezing through. It was beeping like mad. The security guard was sitting on a chair on the other side of it facing away, not caring at all. Ha!

I could not believe how many people were on the palace lawn. Thousands I think. All crowded around the gates that were set up for crowd control. We got as close as possible and took a few photos before the lights came on. It was :10 to 7, and I planned on turning on my video option on my camera at 6:59 to capture the moment when the lights come on. It was so cool, you could see IN to the palace, into the halls, the stairs, the chandeliers, the murals, it was beautiful. The front was all open.

Before the lights came on...

Then at 6:55 POP! A trillion lights came on. Damn, they went early! Haha... The noise was fantastic of all the bulbs popping on. And the crowd oooohed and ahhhhhhed. We took photos. Then I turned around and realized the entire perimeter was alight. All of the walls, fences, gates, surrounding temples were lit up. It was sort of like Christmas lights, in my mind. I used to drive around the streets of my neighbourhood on Christmas eve looking at all of the lit up houses. This would do this year!

Mysore Palace, all lit up (for Christmas, in my mind!)

Some of the perimeter and all of the people who came to watch
We had dinner before the Palace and stopped by my favourite little store called Fab India on the way home, so it was quite a night. And this was after my 430 am practice. I was wiped! It's also a new moon approaching so a lot of us were commenting on how tired we felt the past few days. I slept well.

Monday morning was another Mysore practice at the shala. I went early so I got in with plenty of time. I started off with a nice slow mindful practice but somehow things sped up. I realized I was rushing my practice a bit so kept reminding myself to slow down. I started in the very back on the tile under the window, but it was still hotter and more humid in the shala than the past few weeks. I liked it! Sharath moved me up on to the carpet at supta padangustasana because he saw my heel hitting the wall in my cramped up space when I took my leg out to the side.

My last pose, kapotasana, felt really good and relaxed and "easy" (as easy as it can feel) and it only took me a few breaths and a few finger walks to catch my heels. I was surprised. I thought my back would have been angry from the last kapotasana I did, and would resists. However, I had two led primary series' and a day of rest, so I think that helped. TODAY will be the real test!! My back does feel stiff as I sit here writing this. I hung out in the shower already this morning letting the hot water beat down on my back muscles. I leave for practice in 30 minutes or so.

Sharath helped me with pasasana, using his leg to support my back so I wouldn't fall over, while he lifted my head, pushed down my heels, and opened my chest by twisting me more. My body went along with it all and it felt great, but as soon as he stepped away I tipped over. He set me up again and I tried my hardest to hold on and stay put, but again I tipped over. I am not sure why! If my heels are up a little I can balance no problem, but when my heels are down I fall backwards. Argh! I laughed. He didn't.

He also helped me with my backbends. He does this funny thing, when you first stand up from your 3 x urdvha danurasana, he just stands there on your mat. And almost always says "finished?". Haha, obviously I am not finished dropping back and standing up three times, I just stood up for the first time and you saw me! And then he doesn't move to give you room. I actually considered how I would do my drop backs without smacking him in the head with my arm. I stretched my hands straight up in the air. My drop backs (thank god) were strong and controlled this time. I think I am getting stronger in my legs and core. He stepped in closer for assisted drop backs. I started and he whispered "slowwww dowwwwn" as if trying to talk directly to my nervous system. I didn't think I was rushing that much! It was nice though, and sounded calming, so I slowed down. I walked in on my last one and touched my heels. He grabbed one wrist at a time and connected my hands to my ankles. This was the first time he did this with me. It was quite gentle actually and my body didn't freak out like it did last time someone tried to make me "catch". I concentrated on pushing my heels down. My right heel only, lifted a little. I feel like it was a millimeter off the ground but it was probably more like and inch. He said "mmmm". I think it was a disapproval noise, but who knows. I thought I did pretty damn good! Haha. He said "come up". I came up SLOWLY! *phew*

Yesterday I did not much of anything. I hung out with the pooch. I am starting to get very nervous for his long plane ride. I know it will be hard for him. I put his dinner in his crate last night so he had to go in to get it. He was not impressed! I will start getting him in there more and more before he has to live in it for 30 hours. Poor baby! Maybe I can get in it with him for the flight?? It's pretty big...

Today after practice I have a 90 minute massage scheduled (YAY!) then I'm off to Somnathpur temple one more time. Tomorrow is a new moon (rest day) and also just happens to be New Years Day! Yesterday in conference Sharath wished us all a Happy New Year and also warned "Don't do parties"... LOL, trust me, I won't! I will be taking it easy and setting some intentions for the year head. A new moon is a great time to plant some seeds and watch them grow. What seeds are you going to plant??

Friday, December 27, 2013

3rd trip to PFA

It's Friday. I had led primary series this morning at 6am and I felt pretty tired and weak and sluggish. I did my best. Maybe it's the new medication I prescribed for myself?! Thanks by the way to those of you who have given me more deets about the drugs I stupidly started taking on the advice of the internet LOL. However, I will share this little piece of TMI. I have now taken 4 pills, and have had my first semi-solid bowel movement in a few weeks. YAY ME! :)

I was supposed to have a 90 minute massage today which I was so looking forward to and was so in need of. But, the therapist is sick and cancelled. *tear* My poor back will have to wait. Hopefully we can reschedule for Monday. I have never had such chronic tightness and pain in my erector spinae, mid back. Very new sensation. Very yucky.

I made some cinnamon pomegranate pancakes for breakfast (why not! they were good!) then went to chanting class, which I just can't get enough of. Afterwards I walked to the tailor and put in my last order (I wish there was one of these at home... at these prices of course!). I am having a few dog leashes made out of the left over silk from the bottom of saris.

Then I hitched a rickshaw to the pet supply store and loaded up on dog food, puppy food, cat food, and more treats this time, to take to the animals at the PFA shelter. The owner threw in two extra boxes of dog treats since I have become somewhat of a regular now at his shop.

We got to the shelter and now I know the drill. We took the food right into the office and I signed it in in the register. Then I walked around for about an hour visiting all of the animals. I think they remember me now! I checked on the caged animals and hurt animals and everyone seemed to be coming along nicely. The dog from last week who had a leg removed and had a cone on his head, was roaming free, learning how to operate on three legs. Not bad! It took him a while to get to his treats, but he managed. I can't believe how fast I went through all of the treats. I should bring even MORE next time!!

I scattered the entire bag of cat treats through the grate into their big cat room/cage. They were all over them! Nom nom nom. Happy cats. No longer needing to eat each other :) *beam*

New addition to the shelter. A big cage full of beautiful white rats! Fluffy and happy, eating their rat food. There seemed to be more guinea pigs, or maybe they were just hiding last time. There also seemed to be more white bunnies. But we all know about bunnies... What else - OH, a monkey tried to pee on me! Haha.. I saw it coming though and jumped back. I guess I should bring them bananas next week.

Here are some pics from my visit today.

Mama and her teeny pups, she's all teeth and barks until the treats show up, then she's sweet as molasses ;)

Tomorrow is a day off from yoga practice. Phew. 6 days in a row was awesome, but my poor back could use a rest. I probably will end up at the pool... :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Mysore Christmas

December 24th... Christmas Eve

Mysore practice in the morning. I arrive and it seems busier than ever. More students must have signed up at the shala. The waiting foyer is PACKED. I wait. And wait. And wait. My butt gets sore from sitting on my rolled up mat. After an hour it was my turn to go in to the room. I looked up at the giant clock. 10am. Great, I knew I would have to rush, since technically practice is supposed to be over at 11am, and I had to do the full primary series plus a bunch of postures from intermediate too. Rats. The room was emptying out. People were finishing and leaving. There were a few scattered mats of misfits practicing, including me. It's pretty weird to practice in a near empty shala since it's usually brimming over. I rush through my postures and stand up for backbending. Sharath walks over to me and in a pissed off voice and with a pissed off face he says to me "Your practice is too long", meaning he wants to get the hell outta here, not help me with drop backs at 11:15am.

At that moment a million things nearly blurted out of my face, like "My practice isn't too long, my start time is too late" or "All the new people went ahead of me" or "May I have an earlier start time please?" or "YOU gave me all these damn postures! Of course my practice is long!" or "sob...sob...." or... I think "FU" actually crossed my mind for a moment along with all of the other thoughts. It was not my finest moment. I was upset and angry because I am here to practice, I have paid good money, I am going too fast as it is, and I don't really want to be made to feel like shit for no real reason. I ended up saying absolutely nothing, which was the right choice. I angrily dropped back and walked in to touch my heels. I sat down for my back squish and nearly cried into my shins. But I didn't. I got up and marched into the changeroom. I did my closing postures like a flash of light, still angry and feeling insulted. I left the shala and my poor friends were sitting drinking coconuts and I just let 'er rip. I was a complainy-puss. Another girl heard it and came over and said she got the same line and was also very angry about it. I'm glad I wasn't the only one having un-yogic thoughts. We had a laugh. CHRISTMAS EVE... I had to turn this around!

I chilled out at home for a while and took Raaji for a big long walk, including a stop at a popular yogi breakfast place. Raaji was pleased to be able to say hi to everyone. I went to the tailor and did a few other errands with dog in tow.

Two friends were heading to a movie so I tagged along. We get there and it's sold out. So are all of the later ones. Boo. We buy a ticket for the next day. Then we shop instead.

Line budding/butting is super common here. As if there is no such thing as a queue or fairness. One person went in front of me, who only had one thing. No biggie. Then another lady comes out of nowhere and puts her stuff in front of mine. I put my arm out to block her and say NO. The cashier says "only 3 things ma'am" I roll my eyes in disapproval and she gets that I am in a bad mood and not cool with it so she actually served me first, which surprised me. Of course my friend is also at the check out watching me be an impatient bitch. Also not my finest moment.

We head outside to get a rickshaw and say where we want to go. We say "Gokulum, 50 rupees" (technically, it should be 40, or even less if we used the meter, but we came for 50 so we offered 50. "60" they say. We head to one rickshaw and the other two pile in and I say "For 50 right?" He says, "60". I say "Why? We came for 50 and it's more than fair". "60" Again I roll my eyes at the blatant taking advantage of foreigners (by the way, 10 rupee difference is NOTHING, like maybe .18 cents, but it's the principle and the attitude and I feel like sometimes we need to fight back a little bit before this treatment gets out of hand). In the rickshaw as we are taking off, I say to him "You know, the sign IN YOUR CAR says if you demand more money than the meter, we should contact the police." He mocks me and says "Oh yes, ma'am, please do." What a joke. What a day. I want to hit someone!

Merry Christmas eve to me. I email home to Toronto then I go to sleep.

December 25th ... Christmas Day

Mysore practice in the morning. I no longer care that my start time is 930am. I go to the shala at 830am. I don't want to be rushed and I don't want to get in trouble. I shimmy up and get in to the room by 920am. I set up my mat and feel like a bit of a naughty cheater. I also am happy to enjoy my practice. I go slowly. I get to my first balance and Sharath stands in front of me and says "Your start time 930?" Uh oh, I think I am about to get in trouble for starting to early. He says "OK, 930. The meter is running." and taps his wrist where a watch would go and laughs. Oh, he's making a joke out of yesterday. Of course I fell out of my balance. He laughed and said sorry. I guess that lightened things up. Like yesterday we had a fight and today we made up. The rest of my practice was nice and relaxed and my hating was over. My drop back assistant again tried to pull my hand to grab my leg, but something funny happened. My leg moved away from my hand in resistance. Like some weird muscle memory, my body was saying NO to catching! Like a puppet. I came up and he said "Your body doesn't want". I KNOW! Sharath asked me what my last pose was, I said laghu vajrasana. He said to show him (meaning, if I can do it, I will get the next pose). I said 'tomorrow'. He nodded and said 'tomorrow you show me'. Phew. I did NOT want kapotasana for Christmas! I finished all of my closing poses and rested. I cleaned up in the changeroom and left the shala. I looked up at the clock on my way out and it was 10:50am. SAFE! I turned around and pressed my palms together in thanks to Sharath. He looked over to acknowledge. Then I also pointed up at the clock and gave him the thumbs up, and he laughed out loud. All better.

We had chanting class and I gave Lakshmish a card and a bottle of Canadian maple syrup. He had no idea what it was, but hopefully he figures it out and enjoys it!

I headed off to lunch at the Royal Orchid Metropole Hotel with a bunch of friends. I apologized to the two I was with on xmas eve, for being such a shit head. It was a new day. We all exchanged a few little cute thoughtful gifts which were really special. We all put sparkly blingy bindis on our foreheads. The buffet was fantastic, worth every rupee. We ate slowly and had course after course after course. I had THREE servings of plum pudding and half a bottle of wine. IT'S THE HOLIDAYS!

We were there for 3 hours then we all went in our own directions. I decided to walk downtown to shop a little. I was looking for some gold jewellery and also wanted to visit the cauvery which is an arts and crafts emporium. I only ended up going into one jewellery shop and didn't love anything. I saw a gross motorboke accident involving two girls and one guy. About 50 people crowded into the street in total chaos. I check on the two girls who had cuts and scrapes and bumps only. They were ok. I asked if they called the ambulance. They said "We have to call an ambulance?" "YES! Right away!" They did. I saw the guy being carried off the street buy a bunch of men. He looked either unconscious or semi-conscious, which was obviously not good. They carried him inside to a store and about 20 people followed. Normally I would be all over this, ready to help, splint, immobilize, CPR, whatever was needed. But, it didn't seem right in this instance. I didn't speak their language, I DID consider the health risks if I had to do anything major, and I had also had half a bottle of wine. I walked away feeling shaken up and guilty for not helping, but it just wasn't my place. FIRST thing I never would have let them move him off the street. This wasn't my rodeo. I just hoped that the ambulance would arrive ASAP and handle the situation. I wondered how often this happened here. Must be ALL the time. No helmets. No rules. Dangerous. Yuck. I walked for a bit in a daze. 

I was crossing a busy street a little while later and was looking up and around for flying traffic, and slipped in a big pile of cow shit. I finished crossing the street and looked down. It wasn't good. Up the back of my leg. All over my flip flops. Between my toes. Gross. A guy came over and said "GOOD LUCK!" Uh, I don't really think this is too lucky. I sit down on a step and used tissue in my bag to clean it and I had a wet wipe (THANK GOD!) to do a little poo maintenance. Not bad, mostly clean. The shoes can stay pooey. I went into the cauvery and wondered if I smelled like cowpoo. I bought a few wood OM carvings.

I left and wandered up and around a few streets aimlessly, sort of knowing where I was. I happened upon the dog supply store. They had the crate I needed. I bought it. They had locking food bowls (the other store couldn't get) and I just happened to see absorbant puppy training pads on the shelf, which I was told you couldn't get in India. Head smack. I got everything I needed and hitched a rickshaw back to Gokulum. He said name my price. I did and off we went. Easy peasy. Must be Christmas!

Oh yeah, all day long the locals were saying to me "HAPPY CHRISTMAS" and shaking my hand LOL. 

I got home to a watermelon in a bag, hanging on my door. Santa brought me a watermelon!! Actually! 

I went to the movie later, with my friends. It was pretty good. It was called "DHOOM 3" featuring a popular Hindi actor. It was 25% english and 75% Hindi, no subtitles, but we could figure out what was going on. There were babies in the theater, kids, cell phones, talking, laughing... Haha, that would never fly back home! The movie was a little long (3 hours) but all in all it was fun. I went home, emailed with my mom and hit the hay around 1030pm, a late night for me here! I saw and heard that there was lots of fluffy white snow back home which I haven't seen on Christmas day in YEARS. Of course it happened the year I go away!!! 

Dec 26... Boxing Day

Mysore practice in the morning. I went around 845am and got in at an ok time. I wouldn't have to rush too much. I had a regular practice, starting on the stage and moving to the floor mid-sitting postures. I get to laghu vajrasana and the boss was sitting in his chair. I make eye contact with him and he nods. I do the pose. I am at about breath 4 and he says "Come up". I do. He says "kapotasana". Ok... He goes to help someone bind in another pose but I think he was watching me at the same time. I freaking HOPE so because I did the pose amazingly! Haha... So bad to say so, but it doesn't happen too often, for me. I think because my body has had a break from this pose for about three weeks, the muscle memory is gone, my back is loose(ish) and my body wasn't afraid. I lean back. I look at my toes. I breathe and push hard into the tops of my feet to engage my legs. My fingers reach towards my toes. I stay and breathe letting my chest open and my shoulders stretch. I engage my bandhas. My fingers touch down close to my feet. I start to walk my hands closer, on the outsides of my feet. I feel like I reach my max. I straighten my arms and push my hips forward. I breathe. I walk in more. I feel my ankles. I walked my hands onto my feet and voila, there are my heels. Hallelujah. It's a Boxing Day miracle. I take 5 slow breaths. I straighthen my arms and take 5 slightly faster breaths. I come up. I don't puke. I finished my practice with a little glow and a little bit of a tight back, but not too bad.

I went home and made banana pomegranate pancakes with maple syrup then I headed to the pool with Emily for a day lounging in the sun. It was very relaxing. 

I also diagnosed myself today, via google (haha) with giardia. I have had diarrhea every morning, from mild to medium (except for that one magical explosive morning, see past blog!). I am always fine after that, nothing midday or evening, no sickness or cramps. SO, the internet tells me I most likely have giardia, a pretty common parasite here. My ferrets had it when I first got them LOL. So, I researched on the internet for the best drug and appropriate dose (really safe, right?!)  and I went to the pharmacy and got my drugs. It's that easy. And it was 8 rupees (.14 cents). Total for 21 pills. I have taken one already... Let's see how I feel in a few days! "Flagyl" 200mg, 3 x day, 7 days. If anyone thinks this is a really BAD idea please speak up ;) I'll let you know how it goes!