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!

Monday, December 23, 2013

A world of pain

Yesterday was another 430am led primary series for me. I tried to go to sleep at 7pm the night before, but ended up turning of the computer at more like 8pm. Still not bad. I couldn't fall alseep though. I was hot. I was cold. I had to pee. I was hungry. Confession: at 1030pm I actually got up and ate something. My tummy was so empty I was miserable. I shouldn't say what I ate but I will. It's all I had in the apartment that didn't require making. I had a small halloween sized bag of chips. Masala flavour. Spicy as hell. Raaji woke up and wanted one too. I shared. Then I thought that was too spicy for sleeping so I washed it down with 2 or three butter cookies. HAHA. I fell asleep magically. Don't hate on my choices. I woke up at 315am and naturally felt a little bit gross. I pressed snooze once then got up and got ready. I took a hot shower (I think I am the only one here who does this. Everyone else has dry hair in the morning, and some people are stinky), but it helps me wake up and feel a little bit limber. And I smell freshy fresh. Practice went surprisingly well considering my sleeping and eating woes. I had a spot right beside Ivana, from AYCT, so we had a Toronto corner happening in the shala!

I practically did nothing all day long afterwards and it was great. I hung out with Raaji on the rooftop. At 4pm was the conference. I took notes, and I will share them soon. Maybe tomorrow. It was a long conference, but not as much info, I don't feel like, as last time. A funny story though, part way though, Sharath's son wanders in, hops up on stage, whispers something to his dad. Sharath pulls out his wallet and gives him some money. He hops away. He tells us he wanted to buy some strawberries from the cart outside. LOL. He brought them back in and shoved one in his dad's mouth. 7th series: family.

This morning was Mysore practice again. I am stoked for this week since I am no longer sick and there are no moon days. A full week of practice. I feel good about it! I took my time and focused on my breath. I started on the stage, then got moved beside the door. RIGHT beside the open door. Nearly smashed my head rocking around in garbha pindasana. But didn't. I had someone new assist me today, Arvind. Holy god he gives crazy strong adjustments. I really like his supta kurmasana assist, he locked me in there like he didn't care if my legs ripped off. I was relaxed so it worked and felt ok. He lifted my up afterwards and then tipped me too far back and I nearly flipped over like a beetle and turned into yoga nidrasana LOL. We both laughed. (For my non-ashtanga-yoga friends reading this, I know you are thinking, WTF?!) Sorry! Google it!

I did my three backbends and stood up and did three drop backs. I was standing there waiting for some drop back assistance, and THEN Sharath says from across the room "What you did?" I tell him parsva danurasana. He says "ustrasana and laghu vajrasana, two more" and holds up two fingers (sort of also saying 'peace' without knowing it. I nearly laughed out loud. I know I made a weird smiley face. I was sort of happy to have more poses, but was like, what the hell dude, I just did all my backbends and this means I have to do them all again! Argh! I think I may have shaken my head. Good thing I had lots of energy. I did my vinyasa back down to the ground, threw down some camel and lightning bolt action, then did ALL my backbends again. I was really feeling my legs to decide if I would still have enough energy to stand up 4 more times. I guess I did.

Arvind came by for my next backbends. I walked in. I KNEW he was going to make me 'catch'. He was on a mission and I guess I was curious anyways to see if I could do it, or how it felt, so I let him and didn't resist or cry 'no'. He grabbed my right wrist and picked my hand up off the floor and I grabbed my ankle/leg. He said to hold tight. He picked up my left wrist and I grabbed my left ankle/leg. Whoa... my hands were slipping! I was more like grabbing my ankle nubs/heel after a breath or two. And, my heels popped up off the floor. He said to push them down. I tried. I couldn't. Come on body, obey! Fail. I stood up. I asked him how to get my heels down, do I push with my quads? He said just push your heels down. Gee, that's helpful! I guess I need stronger legs, longer achilles, looser hip flexors, more flexible shoulders and back... is just my guess. Maybe heels down next year!

I sat down for my back press and holy shit my back hurt so much. Just that little change from touching heels to grabbing ankles did something funky to my back. To my sacrum. Or my SI joint. Or my QL. I couldn't tell exactly, it was just sort of a world of pain down there. Oy. I slogged through the rest of my practice wondering if I did something wrong, or wasn't ready for that depth. I thought I might even talk to Sharath about it later for advice.

When I was all done I went into the changeroom, laid out my mat again and lied down. I rocked around on my back hugging my knees. I put my fists under my butt cheeks, then my sacrum, then my low back, then my middle back, and rocked around on them for a little self massage. I did a reclining twist to release some tension. It all helped a little. I thought at the time I would have to limp out of the shala, but the pain somewhat subsided. Phew. My life wasn't over like I thought it was, for a moment. We had chanting class immediately after that then I walked home for my second hot shower of the day. There was a big ass monkey sitting in the stairwell to greet me. I was startled! It was too! But being cool as a cucumber, it stared me in the eyes for a minute, then walked away and jumped onto the neighbour's roof.

The monkey, walking away

I have been taking it easy all day again. I took a rickshaw to the dog supply store to investigate getting a crate to fly Raaji to Canada in. They are not ideal. They don't understand the idea of a locking food bowl. Absorbent pads 'don't exist in India'. Ugh. So much trouble always!! I am going back in a few days to see what I can scrounge up.

Raaji's first rickshaw ride (I'm holding him for dear life!)

I also found another teeny 2 month or so old puppy wandering around all alone in the street. I fed it and now my neighbours are keeping it for a while but we are trying to find it a home. Interested?!

Raaji watches as the new puppy chows down on kibble

Friday, December 20, 2013

People For Animals (PFA) second visit

Before I left Toronto to come to India I was inspired to get involved with an organization here in India, with one chapter in Mysore, called PFA (People for Animals). I was introduced to it through Tracy Cox, who worked with them before I got here. They are basically the PETA of India, although India also has PETA. I rallied my friends and family and yoga students to raise some awareness and some funds to bring here and help out. I raised $415 Canadian. That was so amazing to me, to see that others also felt the need to help these sweet animals, and the wonderful people here in India who are devoted to them.

First, I would like to thank everyone involved. If I missed you on this list PLEASE contact me asap and I will add you. I lost my little paper list that I was using to keep track of names. In no particular order:

Debi Woodford
Laura Waters
Cheryl White
Nicole Alexander & Stephen Shaw
John Shin
Doris Baughan
Maria Dennis
Tim Bermingham
Tim Strah
Michael Harris
Yonat Arie
Leorah Marcu & Andy Lucacescu
Eugenia Branchi
Julia Cabral
Dana Lafarga
Elizabeth Allain
Haley Overland

I went last week to check it out and ask personally what they needed the most. I blogged about my first visit. Considering that I saw a cat eating another cat, a good guess was that they needed cat food? They also seemed to have a trillion dogs so I knew they needed dog food. It is puppy season here in India (the native dog only breeds once a year) so I also decided to bring puppy food.

I took a rickshaw yesterday on my own to the pet store that was recommended by PFA on my last visit. We did about 3 circles around the city trying to find the place, even though, of course, the rickshaw driver looked at the name and address of the place before we embarked and assured me he knew where it was. LOL

We got there and they had everything! What a great place! I bought a giant 20kg bag of puppy food. A 15kg bag of adult dog food, and a 12kg bag of cat food as well as four little bags of dog treats. It came to around 9000 rupees (I am including the rickshaw ride), which is approximately $160. I plan to do this same purchase over the next two weeks and visit PFA two more times.

Off we went to PFA. We arrived and all of the doggies came running to the entrance gate with wagging tails. The friendly faces of the workers greeted me as well. A few men came out to carry in the big bags of food. We brought it into the office and they asked me to sign in with my info and what I brought.

Then I took a long slow walk around the premises and visited all of the animals. I saw a dog with a newly amputated leg and a big cone on his head. He seemed surprisingly comfortable. There were other chained up and caged animals, recovering, or being protected for some reason, but the rest just roam around. The pelican who I saw last week with a broken wing was in a bigger area and looking much better. I saw two big pigs this time who I don't think were there last week. The one little guinea pig was still hangin' out in his hay loft. Here are a bunch of pics to warm your heart. Even though there is some suffering there, I was not sad at all while I visited. I knew all of the animals were in the best possible situation. There is so much love and compassion there. PFA is a wonderful place.

The pet food store

Rickshaw full of animal food

Silly grin as we begin to unload the rickshaw at PFA

Impossible to get a photo of this lover, he would not get down! "Love me Love me Love me" He kept saying!

All the doggies were in the shade because it was a HOT day at PFA

Lost his arm, but better than his life. 

Those puppy dog eyes!!

This muffin looks pretty ratty. She was scared of me at first, but after a few treats she let me scratch her head and really liked it. 


Bird sanctuary

Little puppy following it's mommy


Big long trough they are building around the property for water lines and electricity

Vampire cannibal kitty. Even SHE deserves some love and food!! "MEEEOOOOOWLLL!"

Mama and her 3 little pups. ADORABLE!

A gentle sweety pie just looking for a head rub

Friendly faces at the gate

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mula Bandha... Down the Drain. *graphic*

It's Friday morning. I am home and showered after led primary. I can't believe I survived to blog about it. What a shit show today. Literally...

Last night I found the famous samosa man. He moved around the corner from where he was last year. Things are always changing here. There are no 'givens' and no consistency. Anyhow, I love his samosas and I didn't know where his new post was until yesterday evening when I was walking Raaji. So, of course, I had two. They are piping hot and extremely spicy. It's like a fire in your hands and mouth but you just can't slow down or wait because it's so fresh and good. He makes them on the spots and fries them up in front of you. Raaji enjoyed bits of the crust while I inhaled the rest! 

Well I don't know if there was some funky bad water that crept into the making of them, or if it was the spices, or the copious amounts of unhealthy oil, but when I woke up at 445am and headed into the bathroom for my morning teeth brush, hot shower and doodoo before practice... Well, doodoo was more like squirtsquirt. If you didn't know me well before, well now you do. It wasn't an emergency or anything, but my body was definitely not impressed with what had gone in it, and it wanted to get it out rather quickly so it seemed. There were a few episodes. I made sure it was over and that I would be able to practice. It seemed so. Seemed. I drank some water and ate a mini banana for some energy.

I am also still battling this chesty cough. I geared up and walked to the shala. I was about middle of the pack to arrive, I'd say. We waited for 10 minutes or so and as soon as we heard the closing chant from the 430am group we stood up and jammed our bodies as close together and as close to the door as imaginable. Shuffle shuffle shuffle. 

I barely got a spot. I sort of had to shimmy someone's mat a little to the side to fit my mat into 2/3 of a spot. The peeps on either side were probably pissed off because they almost got a nice roomy spot. Sorry. I'm small?!

I felt good, more or less, and was ready to have a medium intensity practice. Likely it would be better than yesterday, post cold, but probably next week I will be much more energized and back to normal. I was ready to give er and see how it goes. 

Ekam inhale... as we started to breathe and move together as group, I realized that my throat was worse that I thought. If I breathed with too much intensity or sound, I would surely break out in a mad coughing fit. I felt that tickle. You know the one? You try to suppress it but it's not going away. I clear my throat. Again. And again. And again a little louder and longer. Oh lord. The girl beside me was coughing too. She left her mat during surya B to go to the bathroom and have a major cough. That made me feel better. There was definite coughing and throat clearing coming from all over the room, and some nose blowing too. Damn, we are a mess here in Mysore. I managed not to have a coughing attack by keeping my breathing light. 

Then, I started to feel and hear gurgles and rumbles and funny little noises and sensations coming from my gut. It's ok, slightly uncomfortable but I can get through it. Then I start to wonder. Ardha baddha padmottanasana - standing half lotus. My heel pressed deeply into my abdomen as I folded forward and this created some sort of sacred internal poo release mechanism. Uh oh. I finished both sides of the posture and calmly walked off my mat and out of the room. Luckily I was near the back and near the changeroom so it wasn't too disruptive. 

Again like earlier in the morning, it wasn't an immediate emergency but I knew what was lurking. I went to my mat bag which was on the shelf, zipped open the little pouch and grabbed a few tissues that thank god were stashed there in case of runny nose. Little did I know what I would really need them for. I walked to the bathroom. 

There were four or five people practicing in the changeroom. I hoped they couldn't hear the goodtimes going on in my stall. Oh yes, it was full on diarrhea. It started calmly but then became amazingly explosive. Mula bandha surrendered and everything that was not a part of me, came out of me. Montezuma's revenge! At that moment, I wondered why I bothered taking Dukoral. That gross stuff that promises to eliminate traveler's diarrhea. However, I didn't feel sick or in any pain, so maybe it made the symptoms less awful? Who knows. About 4 or 5 flushes later I was at least 5 pounds lighter. I made sure the volcano was done erupting. It was. 

I considered staying in the changeroom and just sitting and waiting until the end of the practice. But I actually felt ok. I took the walk of shame back to my mat and joined into to ardha baddha padma paschimattanasana (ironically the same pose as when I left, just sitting down). I took the first few jump backs really carefully. Then started to feel ok. I saw Sharath watching me, probably wondering WTF took so long. Or maybe he understood. I seemed to pick up steam and get back into the practice as I went a long. A little weak, yes for sure, but not bad considering what just happened!

I saw a guy leave his mat and disappear into the changeroom for a few minutes, likely for the same reason. The worst part is, I could hear the bathroom door and the flush. Damn, that means everyone heard my flush after flush after flush. *blush*

Shit happens. This must be where that saying originated. 

Backbending. Sharath is nearby and I hear him saying 'walk inside' (move your hands closer to your feet). Who the hell knows who he is talking to. I'm sure it's not me. He knows what kind of morning I'm having. He says it a few more times. Second back bend. He steps on my foot and says "walk inside". Oh man! I walk a little. It's all I got. He says it again. Sorry homey, I'm all outta walking. He gets off my foot. 


He is counting slowly. His young son (I forget his age, 8??) comes into the room and we can hear him talking to his dad. Most likely just trying to get attention and giggles from the yoga students. He seems to like that. Sharath says "fiiiiiivvvvve..." then his son (I forget his name too!) says "6-7-8" really quickly. We all laugh. A few people fall out of their headstand. There is a big pause. After I have taken a few more breaths, Sharath says "siiiiiiixxxxx...". People moan. Hahaha! I felt like my head and arms were set up ok so I didn't mind. I was stable. Sometimes if I am set up and things feel a little off, then too long of a headstand feels like an excruciating eternity, and you don't want to come down to adjust a little because you will get yelled at! But, today I was just fine. I stayed. I smiled at the girl behind me who tumbles out of her headstand. She smiled back. It was just that kind of day. 

By ut plutih I was totally out of steam. Pooped. Shaky. Dehydrated. Delirious. I came down a few times. Whatevs. He gave us a final chant and rest. Literally 2 breaths rest. Then "Go home". We laughed. And went home. 

Somnathpur Temple

Quick blog... As I need to go to sleep to wake up at 445am for led primary.

This morning I woke up less sick than the past two days. All I have left really is a dry hacking cough. I practiced. I felt useless. But I practiced. I rushed too. I knew my energy reserves were very limited so I needed to geterdone before I reached 'empty'! It's funny how I can't help but feel like a bad person when I have a bad practice. I know that's super silly, so I don't let it get to me. It always passes. Hopefully one day I stop equating the quality of my practice with my self worth! Nonsense. I know better.

This afternoon I hired a car to take me to Somnathpur temple. I went last year and I LOVE this place. I forget all of the details but it was built somewhere around 1300AC? BC? LOL I don't know. It's ancient. And sacred. And beautiful. I filmed a short youtube yoga video which I will post upon my return home. I love the drive to and from the temple as well. It's around an hour and we pass through little villages, rice fields, farms, sugar cane plantations, you name it. Natural and stunning. Colourful and lively. Smelly and fascinating. Me and my driver at one point began having a competition about who could make the best animal noises. I had a good monkey noise. He was great at donkey sounds. We both failed at elephant noises.

Here are a few photos I also snapped before leaving. It's sort of not kosher to wear yoga clothing at a temple (although it's not a 'working' temple, it's just a historical site now) but my mini photoshoot sure drew a lot of onlookers!!!

The outside walk way around Somnathpur Temple

The one on the right is the conspirator "Take our photo!"

Chatturanga Dandasana
Somnathpura Temple Proper 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Guilt, Self-Pity and Drugs

I did not practice today. I felt really sick with a cold yesterday, but luckily it was a moon day so I got to rest. I assumed I was a super healer and would feel better today. I barely slept because I had a scratchy coughy throat and couldn't fall asleep. I kept reaching for the lifesavers, which I had brought to hand out to little kids in villages. Well, sorry kids, my throat was sore. I guess I eventually fell asleep though.

I woke up to my alarm at 6am and as I rolled over to turn it off all I felt was pain. Achy back, stiff neck, sore throat, broken sinuses... OY. I felt my neck and it was full of lumpy painful glands. Shit! I am not better!! No surprise really. Am I a little better? I tried to decipher. Doubtful. It seems like the runny nose had stopped, but then as soon as I sat up it started again. Another 100 tissue day ahead. Sigh. I wanted to practice. I decided to get up, take a hot shower to try to clear out my stuffy head, make some peppermint green tea and just see how it went.

I did all of that and felt a little better after moving around. I dressed in my yoga clothes and took the dog for a walk. After coming up the stairs back to the apartment I felt EXHAUSTED and  my ear holes hurt. Damn. I was still undecided and sent out a tweet asking for advice (haha). I wanted to practice because I am only here for a month and didn't want to waste one day. But I didn't want to practice because what if I physically couldn't? Or it felt really miserable? Or if I made other people at the shala sick? Or if I used all of my getting-better energy on an asana practice? Ok Ok, I listened to reason, over my heart, and stayed home. So frustrating! But for sure it was the right thing to do. I feel like Guruji though, back in the day, would have told me to practice. Well he's not here now, and no one from twitter wrote to me in time to convince me to go.

I went to chanting class at 11am and sat in the back corner. Lakshmish looked at me and laughed. He knew how I felt. My usual place is right up at the front. My voice sounded funny and nasal, so I didn't sing along to all of the chanting, just listened. I went up to the yoga sutras chanting class and also skulked away to the back corner. I chanted. I thought maybe the vibrations would be healing or at least create positive energy.

On my way home I went by the pharmacy and asked for something to decongest me in the day, and something to take away my dry scratchy cough at night so I could sleep. I was handed the mystery drugs, and practically had to just trust the pharmacist. It was 80 rupees. (About $1.50CAD). I think I remember asking for the same thing last year, and taking one of the day time pills and being high as a kite. I didn't care. I had a lunch date at Sandhya's (a local lady who opens her home to yoga students and creates home cooked healthy authentic Mysore meals) and I wanted to breathe, so I could taste her lovely home cooked food.

I downed a pill and lo and behold, 30 minutes later I was feeling great, buzzed, and clear nosed. Lunch was very nice! I came home afterwards and fell asleep. I woke up an hour or so later to a missing Raaji. The damn dog squeezed through the window bars and was playing with the neighbours! Haha... It was also too late to go to Sanskrit class at that point. Ugh. I hung out on the roof for an hour with some peeps with the dog while the sun started to descend and now I'm back in my room feeling guilty for missing a practice (still! why?!) and feeling sorry for myself and now my sniffles return. I guess I was so much of a wet rag today that the dog needed to escape to have some fun. Pretty sad!!

Meeting at the coconut stand before heading to Sandhya's for lunch (can you tell I'm on medication?!)

Some of the food from Sandhya's (there were other dishes, plus lots of chapatis!)

TOMORROW is a new day. I will take those new night time sleepy no cough cough pills and hope that I wake up a slightly recovered person. Enough to at least make it through a Mysore practice. I am 95% sure I will go no matter what anyways, unless somehow I wake up WORSE than today. Send me healing vibes please!!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Moon Day

It's Tuesday around 1030am and so far I have only left my place to walk the dog. It's a full moon so there is no mysore practice today.
The full moon last night on my street as I was walking home

Some beautiful artwork outside of someone's house, seen on my morning dog walk

Little Raaji and his BIG shadow

Thank god it's a MOON DAY! I was actually disappointed a few days ago that I was going to miss a Mysore practice today, but the way I feel right now, I don't even know if I would have made it through a practice. Apparently neti pots and vitamin C don't cure all ills like I thought! Yesterday I had a little bit of a stuffy nose but this morning I woke up feeling like death. LOL. Fully stuffed up, and must have slept with my mouth open to breathe because when I woke up my throat was dry and sore. I woke up at 3am mind you, because someone called my phone! ARGH! I had trouble falling back asleep but managed to stay in bed until about 7am. I took a hot shower and made some peppermint green tea to help clear me up. I feel ok, not really sick or feverish, but I can't go more than a few minutes without a tissue. Blech. I guess when someone in the shala is sick, everyone gets sick! Sharath was and then a bunch of students, and now me. Ah well, I'm making use of my rest day and hoping to feel mostly better by tomorrow. I'm taking a few medicinal grade essential oils given to me by my essential oil "dealer" friend Theresa. One for breathing better and one called "on guard" to boost up my immunity. I'll let you know how it goes! They smell and taste great so I don't mind!

Yesterday was the first Mysore practice where I was allowed to do second series. So after I completed the primary series I did the first three postures that Sharath gave me last year. (Oh yeah, I had to start on the STAGE... oy. I got to go to the carpet around janu shirshasana, thank goodness. I can't help but feel on show up there) Then when I finished I went to my regular three backbends, and stood up to start my drop backs. Then Sharath yelled over to me from the other side of the room "Which ones you did?" I said up to shalabhasana. He said "Do bhekasana, danurasana and parsva danurasana, 3 more." I said "Right now?!" probably sounding like an idiot, but sometimes he tells you to do new poses starting next practice. He said "Yes." Ok so I took a vinyasa to get back down to the ground and did those three additional poses. I was kind of surprised. I guess it means he thinks I am ready for them, which is good, or maybe he was just feeling some full moon madness and giving out poses like candy?! LOL This sort of ruins my plan, of getting a new pose or two a week, and going home right before he gives me kapotasana. I really dislike that pose because of how painful my back feels afterwards. For a long time. I know I know, more bandhas, more leg strength, more chest and shoulders and less low back. But, that's easier to say than to do. I think my main problem is butt clenching. I start to go back and mentally coach myself, "strong legs! bandhas! soft glutes! don't squeeze! relax! good! breathe!" and then always as I get close to catching *BUTT SQUEEZE*! I can't not do it. Yet. Anyways, maybe I'll get to work on that here. Or maybe not. Maybe those three poses were my quota for the next 3 weeks. You never know what you're gonna get.

My neighbour Olivier and I were talking about that and he said Sharath won't give you kapotasana if you can't come up from laghu vajrasana so I immediately got the evil idea of just flopping around on the floor pretending I can't come up from that pose. LOL Don't worry, I won't actually do that!

Then of course I had to repeat my three backbends again. The girl assistant helped me with my assisted dropbacks again. Walking in to touch my heels doesn't feel like a big deal any more. I'm not quite sure what the next step is though. I think I'll ask her next time. A friend here, Susan, and I were talking about how good the assistants are right now. We really lucked in. We like them a lot.

I finished my closing postures at the back of the room and had a few minutes to lie down before chanting class began. I felt really teary eyed while I rested. At first I thought I was being happy and egotistical about getting three new poses, which would be stupid, but that wasn't it. Was my back sore? No not really. I think I just got cracked myself open a little bit by doing urdhva danurasana twice (6 times total) plus the three additional 2nd series backbends and all of the drop backs. Ah, the things that come up when the body opens up. I guess it was just tension or stuffed away emotions that needed releasing. A few little tears wiggled out. No biggie. It felt good actually. But it does make me feel self conscious a little bit, not that anyone else noticed. After a few minutes I got up and crawled to the changeroom, physically and emotionally spent, cleaned myself up, drank some water, ate a snack and came out ready for chanting class.

Later I also had Sanskrit class. While I was there Raaji decided to go into my luggage for the first time and eat some of my clothes. Not the t-shirts or pjs, but a silk scarf, a new dress and the sleeve of my only sweatshirt. DANGIT! I took the scarf and the dress to the tailor to see what they could do. Sigh. Doglife. I guess I will have to zip the suitcase from now on. Every day he learns something new!! We walked to the vet at 630pm to get his first round of shots, and it was a zoo there! A big queue of dogs and owners! It was only 5 or 10 minutes until I could see the Dr, who gave Raaji two shots, an immunization passport, and he asked a few questions about his health and habits. I asked if it was too soon to (and then I made a scissor snipping motion with my hand and a little double whistle 'woo woo'). He said "trim his nails?" and I laughed and said "No, neuter him" We both laughed. He said yes we could do it. I am undecided yet. He needs to have it done and I assume it is cheaper here than at home. Yes that's right, I am probably bringing Raaji home to Canada. I am looking into the details to see if it's feasible (shots, crate, flights, etc). Then I will make my final decision. He is a really really good dog and I don't want to see him get poor care or have to keep changing owners. If it is too difficult to bring him, then I will do my best to find him a happy permanent home here. The poor little muffin has two big lumps today where get got his shots yesterday. It doesn't seem to be bothering him though.

That's it for now. Tomorrow it's back to mysore style practice and hopefully my head and sinuses are a little more cleared up than today. Staying on the DL today. Soup and rest for me.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Poo in the air

This morning I had my second 430am led primary. It was awful! Last week I guess I was still jet lagged so didn't mind getting up at all. Today was so difficult! I pressed snooze once and even considered not going. But that is silly, I'm here for the yoga so I am going to yoga! I had a bad sleep. Raaji decided to chew his grody stinky bone loudly in my ear, until I woke up and hid it in the drawer. Then he decided to chew his ball loudly. I put it in the drawer. Poor boy, no toys. Sleep dammit! Then I woke up with itchy feet from all of the mosquito bites I've accumulated. It was around 1130pm and I decided to pop an antihistamine which would relieve the itching and also make me drowsy and hopefully keep me asleep.  It did, but I think this was a mistake, because I'm sure while I was practicing this morning, I was still drowsy from the antihistamines. I was totally only half there in class today. Literally I was trying to keep the proper drishti but my eyes would droop and fall lower than my drishti. Haha, that has definitely never happened to me before. In paschimattanasana, as I snuggled my face into my shins, I actually had the thought, "I wonder if anyone has ever fallen asleep before in led class?" I thought I might be the first. I made it through, though. Sharath gave us no rest at the end again, just "Go home" at 5:50am so I did. I lied down on top of my bed in my sweaty yoga clothes and bulky warm over clothes and fell asleep for an hour. LOL! Super savasana! I woke up to a sunny room around 715am. Poor Raaji was nearly dying for a pee by the time I finally got up. He was last outside at 5pm. He held it in though until I was ready, like a good boy. I swear he peed for 2 minutes when we got outside. Oh yeah, by the way dog owners, he doesn't lift his leg to pee, he just takes a funny stance like a forward lunge and goes. Is this normal? Bad? OK?? What's up with this? People laugh when they see him going.

After I showered for the second time (needed a quick hot shower at 330am to wake up) and got dressed I took the Raj for a looooong walk. We ended up at Santosha cafe, where I had a chai with Emily and a few other people. The chat was about the differences between Sharath and Guruji, and how your experience of your relationship with Sharath is not pre-determined, but rather it is what you make it and will be the way you decide to think of it as. People seemed to have very personal and intimate relationships with Guruji, and not as much so with Sharath, but maybe you CAN have that relationship with him, if you want to. For sure there are more students now, but many are just passing through. If you want Sharath to become your Guru, you need to start building a relationship.

Then we went by Silver Nest to see Meena and I picked up a few nice silver pendants and earrings, some OMs and whatnot. She told us a story of a stray dog who used to visit her, named whiny, but one day it dove out of her window and impaled itself on her fence, and it's insides came outside. And she didn't know what to do. And was very sad. Obvi. Hmm... The people here love to tell stories! I was not sure how to respond to that one!? I also noticed a photo of me and her on her famous table of photos!

Then we walked up the road and I checked out Emily's new place. It's a nice big space, BUT, there are GIANT cockroaches who like to visit her house. There was a dustpan of like 10 of them half dead near the doorway. She is looking for a new place. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

Then we headed off to Silent Shores for the afternoon, to spend some time at the pool. She is feeling sick and has a cough and a stuffy nose, just like I did when I came here last time. There is SO MUCH dust in the air, and car exhaust, and POO, that nearly everyone gets some kind of respiratory thing. There is so much shit everywhere here, cow poo, dog poo, cat poo, pony poo, goat poo, even... human... poo... And then it gets so hot and dry outside, and cars run over it, and it all turns to dust... and then, we breathe it. Am I turning you on to coming to India yet?! LOL I just make sure to use my neti pot every day to clean out my nose and sinuses and I blow my nose all the time, to get to poo particles out. No one likes poo in their nose, right?

A big poo maker walking down the street
Anyways... The pool was lovely, 350 rupees to use it for the day, which is around $6, actually kind of expensive for India, but well worth it obviously! This includes towel service, lawn chairs, lockers, changerooms and showers, a bathroom etc. It was a huge place with a few yogis lounging and a few other people too. It was pretty far out of town and a huge property set back from the road, which is what made it "silent" I guess, but the long rickshaw ride there was quite interesting actually. Getting away from the constant chaotic noise of the city was kind of amazing! We ordered some food and smoothies by the pool. I decided to go for a samosa, and maybe pizza, but that seemed like a weird combo, so I just ordered 2 samosas. The waiter confirmed, 2 orders of samosa? I said yes. Later he arrives with two PLATES of samosas, 5 on each plate. Haha... not little appetizer samosas, big first size samosas! Oopsie. Luckily Emily was up for eating one plate and I ate the other. They were really good, stuffed with potatoes and peas and carrots and just the right amount of spice. We finished them all off after about an hour.We will definitely be going back there! They also have a spa so I might tack on a massage next time too. It's a tough life. The afternoon made up for my crappy morning and even Emily started to feel better after some sun and rest and food.

Hibiscus by the pool

Silent Shores Hotel/Resort/Pool, in Mysore, India


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Old soul

I've just finished my second Friday led primary series. I'll admit, I felt a little lazy today. I "only" slept for 8 hours last night, haha, and Raaji decided to bark ferociously in the middle of the night, scaring the shiznit out of me. He also decided he didn't want to sleep in his own bed, like he has done every night up to now, but rather, he wanted to share my TWIN bed. It was very cozy! He pressed up against me all night, which was cute, but it pinned me down, so I couldn't do my flip - flop - right side - left side - pillow change maneuvers that I usually do. He's also a farter. I guess this is sort of like having a husband?! P.U.

I woke up a few times before my alarm and checked my phone for the time, as I do, paranoid I will miss class (happened to a friend last week). When my alarm went off at 445am, I hit SNOOZE. Only once. But I still didn't really want to get up. I guess I have been waking up this early all week, but didn't really HAVE to get out of bed the other days. I slowly got up and got ready. Today I had to get out of the house in 45 minutes (luxurious at home, feels rushed here!). I took my hot shower, brushed my teeth, ate one of those small weird bananas (my tummy was growling, sue me) and had some water. I got dressed and put my hair into two braids. I checked my emails. I had to leave in 5 minutes (530am real time, 545am shala time, 5 minutes walk, I would get to the shala 10 minutes before class, which is actually pushing it), just enough time to take Raaji out for a peepee.

I got my mat bag ready with a yoga towel and my kpjayi pass and went to grab my keys. Hmmm... Not on the night table. I maybe didn't put them there because Raaji likes the Ganesha ornament on my keychain and already ate one of his elephant ears off. Where did I put it? In the drawer? No. In the mat bag in preparation? No. In the door? No. In the cupboard? No. In the FRIDGE!? (I actually looked there). No. In my pants pockets from last night? No. In my hoodie? WHAT THE HELL! Where are they! I re-looked in all of those places more carefully. I felt the bed covers to see if it was under the covers. I looked under the bed. Oh dear oh dear. I now HAVE to go to class or I'll be late. I consider what will happen if I can't find them. I could go to the 730 class, but likely get in trouble from Sharath. I could email my landlord, but likely won't get a response for a long time. I could leave the door open, but no I can't because it's not just my stuff I'm worried about, the dog will get out. I could lock him in the bathroom? That's awful. I emptied both of my suitcases and opened pockets and rooted through everything. Sigh.

I thought, if I was Raaji, where would I put them?! (LOL) Last ditch I lifted up my pillows. Boom. Keys buried under the pillows. I definitely did not put them there. The darn dog realized that every time I grab the keys, it means I am leaving him. So he hid them. So damn smart! Maybe more devious than my weasels at home!!! Argh. I grabbed them. Gave him a pat on the head and told him to hold his pee cuz I had to RUN! I locked the door and heard a few whimpers but not too much.

Off I went to class, in a frizzle. Whatever that is. I got to the shala and there were so many people there already, full up the stairs and driveway, and spilling out of the gates. I went up to the gate to assess how far back I was. I think I was last to arrive. I decided to sneak across everyone to the other side, not really budding in, just getting a place to put my shoes and sit for a minute. I'm sure a few people were not impressed with my strategy. We heard the final chant from the 430am class, and then he told them to lie down (which means YAY we get to rest today!). 60 seconds later we heard, thank you go home. Ok, a short rest, but a rest nonetheless.

We all stood up and wiggled up the stairs like rabid sheep. Baabaa... Baabaa... I was way ahead of where I should be, but, that's the way it goes peeps! I didn't get an elbow in the ribs or anything, so I guess no one really minded. I found a spot in the front row, second from the wall on the right. Not bad. The window right in front of my spot was open and blowing lots of cool air in. I also spotted the little water bottle nearby which made me happy. I didn't have to produce enough sweat for garbha pindasana, I could just grab the bottle! I try not to notice, but the guy beside me was really bouncy and floaty. Every time we jumped back, he nearly didn't land. I think he had helium for breakfast. My practice was a little sluggish and maybe sort of lazy, but I practiced. I barely broke a sweat, maybe just along my hairline. We finished and had a micro-rest.

I got home to pup, and he didn't yowl and bark like he sometimes does when I get home. I leashed him and we went out for our walk. He found a patch of grass and did his bizniss. Good boy. He's only 3 months old how is he trained so well? Nothing was chewed or eaten or broken either. I did find a floor mat and his shampoo bottle in his bed though. He was collecting. I think he must be an old soul.

Rewind...yesterday... A new person assisted me in practice. A girl. She helped my in supta kurmasana and only got me in a little bit, and then she assisted me in drop backs. Sharath was right beside us dropping someone else back and I saw him watching me, I assume to make sure I walked in just as far with her as I did with him. I did. I was pretty happy not to have to do that today! My back needs a rest. After practice, the girl came up to me in the change room and asked me if I usually cross my ankles all the way behind my head. I said yes. She said ok, next time she'll remember me and get me in all the way. She wasn't sure. I thought that was pretty awesome that she followed up and asked me about it. I told her it's hard work for her to do it, she needs to lift up my right heel which gets caught on my left foot, but once it's over I can squeeze my legs and lock my ankles then I'm good to go. That is the first time here anyone has actually asked me about a pose or an assist. Very nice.

Sharath announced that on Sunday there is an event, "Run for Unity" in front of the palace starting at 7am. Therefore there will only be 2 led primary classes (430am and 6am) then he's going to the run and he wants us all to participate (I nearly HA'd out loud) and then led intermediate class will be at 330pm. There will be no conference this week. I will certainly NOT be running. Gross. Do people run here?! I might go and watch though. So, tomorrow is a rest day and I guess I will sadly have no conference notes to report until next week. Are people actually going to run a marathon then do a led intermediate at the hottest time of the day!? Good god! Jai Hanuman!

I'm off to chanting class now. 

'...vakratunda mahakaya koti surya samapraba avignam kuru me deva... '

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sleeping like a happy baby

In reference to the conference that Sharath gave on Sunday, regarding how much a yogi should sleep. He said 6.5-7 hours for people in 20s, 30s, 40s... More sleep for younger and less sleep for older.

I don't know about this theory.

Here, I have been sleeping 9-10 hours a night and I feel GREAT! He said if you sleep too much you will feel very dull.

At home I sleep between 6-8 hours depending on my work schedule, teaching and practicing yoga (ok, and sometimes depending on if it's the finale of the Bachelor or Hell's Kitchen LOL!). I can happily survive on 8 hours. But if I get 6 or 7, I feel like total crap. I have trouble getting out of bed, I feel tired all day long, I need to take a nap, by bedtime I am nearly dying.

Here, I am waking up before my alarm, bouncing around all day, walking everywhere, practicing yoga, and I don't feel tired at all or any need to nap. And I'm pretty sure I'm not 'dull'. I know there are other factors too, like lots of sunshine and warmth. For sure this affects me (and most people) because of the vitamin D which enhances our mood and the warmth just makes me feel good. But still, I am sleeping around 10 hours and I feel fantastic. I think the extra sleep really energizes me.

So, am I the exception to the rule? Is there something wrong with me? Maybe I just need more than other people? Is Sharath wrong to generalize? I don't know. But I know that if I only slept 6.5-7 hours here in Mysore on my trip, it would not be as good an experience for me.

One cute note about me not being dull... Lakshmish, who is the chanting/sanskrit/yoga sutras/philosophy teacher said to me yesterday, in front of the class (15-20 students), "Shareen, can I ask you a personal question?" I was thinking, Oh my god, what is he going to ask!??! I said ok and he said I must answer truthfully... Then he said "I have been observing you last year and this year, before asana practice, during your yoga practice, and after. Most people look tired, or want to go home and eat or have water or shower or nap, but you, you always just look happy. You always have a natural happy smile. What is your secret?!" Haha, I was relieved and also surprised, because I was unaware that I was often smiling or looking happy. That's awesome! Uh... the first thing (actually) that came to my mind was potato chips. I just had a bag on my way to class and that made me pretty damn happy! (Bad lady!) But what I said, genuinely, was that I was just really happy to be here, and to be able to learn and practice at KPJAYI. I feel like, isn't everyone here feeling that way!? Maybe mine just shines through my face a little more. I am not sure why he noticed this about me and not other people!

In retrospect now, though, I'm thinking maybe it's because I sleep a lot more than everyone else?! Who knows!!

My alarm settings during my stay here in Mysore

Well, that's it for now. Happy sleeping! Comments/knowledge about this sleeping theory are welcomed and encouraged...

*PS - my puppy sleeps silently beside me all night too. 10 hours straight without stirring. I also find this strange. Is that normal?!