Friday, December 6, 2013

That bites

I arrived here on Wednesday and now it's Friday afternoon. A lot has happened already. I moved out of the hotel and into my apartment, which is small and simple but just fine. It has a private bathroom with a hot shower - I always wonder why we don't have those amazing hot water switches at home in Canada. It just makes more sense on every level. Mine works great here. Flip the switch and within a few minutes, piping hot water. I share a basic kitchen with one other girl who has an apartment right beside mine. It's in the back, in an open air area, where we hang our laundry as well.

Of course, getting in here was an ordeal. All of the arrangements were word or mouth, third party sort of thing. I showed up at the place yesterday, and asked for Mahesh (the owner). I was told, he's not here, he doesn't live here. I said where can I leave a note. The guy laughed and said it didn't work like that. He was nice enough to call him for me but there was no answer. I took down the phone number and tried a few times (major $$$ on my Toronto phone) but worth it I guess.  I left all of my luggage outside of the door, hoping for the best, as I went off shopping with Emily. It's a third floor rooftop apartment, not visible from the street so I took my chances. Finally in late afternoon he answered. I said I was here for the apartment and need a key, can he come now? He sighed and said he'd send his daughter. She came eventually, was very nice, gave me the keys and explained a few things, and said she liked my 'glass' (sunglasses). A maid happened to show up right then also and offered a full cleaning for 100 rupees ($2!) so I said ok. She cleaned out all of the debris and dog hair from the past tenants who fell in love with a street dog and ended up taking it home with them to Miami.

I went out to EasyDay after that, which is the Indian Walmart (actually owned by Walmart) and bought new pillows and blankets and few things to get me by for the month. Now I'm all set.

Emily and I registered at the shala and Sharath was clearly sick with a cold and not in a great mood. There were tons of registrants that day so I'm sure he was not too pleased! We were there early so only waited an hour in total. He hardly said anything to me. "First time here?" - No, second. He looked through my papers and said "28,600 rupees" I handed over the fees. He threw them into the money machine for counting. Then he looked at my passport photo which I had to bring and said "I recognize you in this photo". I guess it was because now I have bangs, and in the photo I don't, and I do look quite different with the new hairdo. He gave me my student pass with my start times: 930am for Mysore practice, 6am for Friday led primary and 430am for Sunday led primary. OK, big variance but works for me! (Not that I have a choice). I was sort of surprised at the lack of other questions, what pose am I on, etc... I left the office and Emily registered on her own - she was nervous before going in, not sure how it would go or what to say. After she came out she felt bad. Sharath asked her who her teacher is, and she doesn't really have one, she has learned just from workshops and classes here and there - BUT with reputable teachers. He told her she should have done beginners classes with Saraswati. But he still let her register with him. I told her not to worry, once she started practicing he would see she knew what she was doing and wouldn't be a burden, which maybe is what he was thinking. Her led times are later than mine, so we don't get to go to and from those ones together.

Later that day, a girl named Mafe came by, with my temporary India dog!!! She posted in a facebook Mysore Ashtanga group a while ago that she found a young street pup who couldn't survive on it's own and took it in. She was caring for it and taking it to the vet for shots, etc, but she couldn't take it with her home to Peru. I said I would care for it while I was here and then find it a permanent home or at least another temporary one when I left. Raaji is a sweet tiny, well behaved pup. So she gave me some medicine for his itchy skin condition and some special shampoo and instructions. He is going back to the vet next week to get a check up. It's super cheap here in comparison to back home. He is a lovely little beast and loves human company and going on walks. He is only 3 months old but very good. He always waits to go outside for peepee and poopoo. The only problem is when I have to leave him here alone to go to practice. I take him most places with me, but he can't go everywhere. As soon as the door shuts, he starts crying. Screaming, nearly. I feel awful - for him and for the neighbours!! I guess he just needs to learn that when I leave I will always come back. Is this separation anxiety? I have never owned a dog so I don't know. Also, in the middle of the night if there are street dogs close by, he joins in and starts barking too. With a strong "NO" and pressing him down to laying down position he stops. He grunts and puffs air a few times, then settles. But this happens multiple times in the night. Any suggestions for either issue??? He is a very good leash walker, and eater!!

This morning was my first practice. Led primary series. I hardly slept last night, I think because it was very loud (car horns, dogs barking, men shouting, movies playing next door... sigh) and also I am still all jet-lagged and upside down inside out. I decided to take it very easy in practice and I did that. I felt a little light headed and low energy, but not too bad. I secured a decent mat spot (no lumps!) and some extra space behind me. Sharath nearly skipped right from ardha baddha padma paschimattanasana to janu shirshasana - we all paused... Then he said "Oh, triang mukha ekapada paschimattanasana" followed by slight chuckles throughout the shala. It's good to know that the big guy sometimes makes mistakes! Brain fart!

In good news, I think I held ut plutih for the longest I ever have today. I was shaking like I had rabies or something. Sharath was standing right beside me and sheer willpower held me up so not to get yelled at. I thought I might die. Or cry. But luckily "10" came before either happened. It wasn't too hot in there for me today either, so I was just slightly clammy and sticky which made sliding my arms through for garbha pindasana impossible. I held up my arms for his squirt bottle assistance. He looked at me with disdain, like "you don't need it" - which he has actually said to me before! I wasn't sweaty and slippery enough! Bah. What else - in headstand I don't know if someone fell or wobbled, but he said "No chakrasana in this one" (backwards roll) which made me laugh out loud. Haha!

After practice I had breakfast at Anokhi cafe, with Raaji, who dug a giant hole in their garden and I said hello and good bye to an internet/twitter friend who I only just met here, named Chris. He was lovely in person. And flying out today so it was short and sweet. I had lemon cinnamon crepes and 2 chais!

At 1045am came chanting practice with Lakshmish back at the shala. I went up to the front and got my new chanting handouts. Some of the usuals which I know off by heart, but a few brand new ones to me. I listened carefully and tried to follow the melody, but it was pretty messy!! Hopefully after a few sessions I'll pick it up. I was also told there was a secret chanting after chanting, which he doesn't tell everyone about. I asked him about it and he said in a hushed voice "just go upstairs now!". I went up, and 15 minutes later about 15 of us got to chant the yoga sutras. YAY! I weaseled myself into an invite only chanting session 3 times a week :) I have just studied chanting the yoga sutras at AYCT in Toronto so this was a perfect follow up. The difference is that Ram (Toronto) speaks it, in monotone, and really focuses on the meter and pronunciation. Lakshmish adds a melody, which I really like.

Later today is Sanskrit class. I am heading into the level 3 class, which I did last time. Maybe I even did level 4, but a refresher will be good.

Tonight I am having dinner at Green Hotel with a few new friends. I didn't make it there last time I was here so that will be nice.

Tomorrow is Saturday so no practice. I think I'm heading to the pool for some R & R and a spot of colour. I feel very white compared to a lot of people here!!

I also feel a *little* bit ill as of this afternoon. I don't think I'm actually sick sick, just tired, jet lagged, and probably my tummy is overly sensitive to this new food. I don't feel like I have to run to the bathroom or anything, just a little queasy. Let's hope it clears soon. I'm being extra vigilant about handwashing and drinking tons of bottled water now.

I have one thought though - I am washing my hands often, with soap, BUT, isn't the water from the tap, the thing that has bacteria?! I'm not sure of the logic of that...

AND - damn mosquitoes. There aren't that many here right now. BUT in the shala, right at a balancing posture, the buggers show up. I know they were thinking - let's wait till she binds her hand to her foot and uses the other hand to balance while on one leg... So she can't swat... and then... CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP! Three bites in the span of five breaths. ARGH!

That bites. 

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