India

April 12, 2011 § 12 Comments

Has been on my mind a lot lately. Thoughts like:

  • What would it be like to practice, at 4am, at AYRI?
  • Can I deal with leaving my husband for a month (or more?) to do this?
  • Will I go crazy with the assault on my senses, at all levels?
  • Do I have to be a vegetarian the whole time I am there? Will it matter?

And finally:

Am I just stressed right now?

When about half (or more?) of the Ashtangi bloggers I read regularly went to Mysore earlier this year, I found myself intrigued by the prospect, eagerly following their updates, insights, struggles and joys. India is a fascinating world to me, one I’m quite content to appreciate from the comfort of my wooden desk and computer screen. As someone who appreciates her modern comforts, the stories and pictures I’ve seen of the continent remind me that it might be a place better savored through words and images, rather than experienced for oneself.

The strange thing though, is that this interest in India – Mysore specifically – has not gone away since the 2010-2011 winter season. I find myself wondering about it, what it would be like to practice with someone as experienced as Sharath or Saraswati. A curiosity about chanting has started to take hold as well, and now that plans to practice with Sharath in Encinitas have fallen through, the prospect of travelling to Mysore is more appealing than ever.

Quite frankly, I’m surprised by this inclination. Up until February 2011, I viewed the ‘Mysore pilgrimage’ as something that would be nice to experience, but not absolutely necessary to the practice. I’m still trying to figure out the change in perspective. It could be stress – life has been good but crazy busy the past month – which would turn India into an escapist dream, or the state of my relationship with the current teacher. I don’t know. Time will tell.

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§ 12 Responses to India

  • Claudia says:

    Hmmm, good thoughts! I don’t know what it would be like to practice at 4 AM, and kind of do not really want to find out… but I have seen that this only happens to the students who either get there really early -as in November- or that stay for over 2 months…. as per the leaving the husband… that was very hard for me, and it was only for two weeks (he came for two weeks in the middle of my stay)… but I suppose it is doable… Ihope your dreams come true!

    • D says:

      Hahaha, I don’t really want to find out what a 4am practice is like either, although with Sharath streaming in NYC, I guess I could give it a shot….NOT!

  • YYogini says:

    I tried out a led class with Sharath last Friday (via online video). I realize Mysore style class is not the same as a led class, but after the video class I feel that I’m perfectly happy with my current teacher for learning the Primary Series. Things might be different for the Intermediate Series, who knows. Maybe you’re at a stage where you crave fresh instructions / adjustments / perspectives?

    • D says:

      How do you always manage to hit the nail on your head with your comments? 🙂 It’s true that I’m missing a ‘teacher figure’ in my yoga life and perhaps this desire for India is a manifestation of that. I’m so curious about doing a led class via the Internet, that’s such a cool idea!

  • laura says:

    Mysore is calling me. I am seriously considering quitting my job and going for a month (or 2?) maybe mid-Oct when Sharath gets back from his world travels. I have the same worry of leaving my husband for so long. I also worry that my practice isnt good enough to go to India and I wont know anyone. Its a long way to travel alone!

    • D says:

      It’s easy for me to say, but if your circumstances allow it, then listen to that calling. Leaving the husbad will never be easy, now or later, and as for the practice – it is what it is 🙂

  • arturo says:

    if your husband could not accompany you, not even for say, 2 weeks duration during your longer stay, then from what i have sensed in the experience of others, it might be a stressor. maybe once it will be okay, but if it’s a yearly pilgrimage, you would have to have a very comprehending spouse.

    you don’t have to be vegetarian while over there. people eat all kinds of things while over there. there is a push and recomendation for being vegetarian when you practice yoga, but many dedicated practitioners are not vegetarian.

    getting accustomed to practicing really early comes about because you start going to bed really early.

    i doubt that you would be overwhelmed by the sensory experience of being in an exotic place. you would be charmed, but your mind would remain sane.

    • D says:

      Hi Arturo, thank you for your detailed comment. He doesn’t get a lot of vacation time, and with both our families living in opposite parts of the world, taking time off for a trip like this would be ambitious at best. I am fully prepared to go on my own, but yes, I see how it can turn into a stressor pretty easily. Good to know about the diet! I’m not averse to vegetarianism, but I do like my animal protein as part of an overall diet 😉

  • globie says:

    I never thought I would want to go to Mysore (I have been to India a few times), but the longer I have practised the more the seed has taken hold. It feels like squaring the circle, going to the source. I asked a certified teacher what I would get from going to Mysore that I wouldn’t get from spending a couple of months with her, she said “other, people seem to come back with a spirituality and a different perspective”. I don’t want to go just to tick the box, but having spoken to that teacher, she said I would be right to go. So I think if you can go you should.

    • D says:

      Thanks for sharing Globie! My current teacher has been once and didn’t like it all that much, interestingly enough, but she did say that it’s an experience that is good to have. I’m with you about not going just to tick the box, it has to be motivated by a desire, not just routine.

  • Globie says:

    I think going to Mysore would be special, well for me at least. A time to fully focus on practice, with the time for the extras like Pranayama, meditation and Sanskrit classes, that are never viable back here in the real world, where once we step off the mat there is some other call on our time and we rush back to whatever is calling us.

    I have spoken to quite a few people who have been, none have regretted making the decision to go and of those who went for just a month, that you need to stay longer, you are just getting into the rhythm of life after a month. I am still hoping to go this year.

  • Flo says:

    I struggle with this as well. Being a married career woman very dependant upon my income to survive. It doesn’t seem doable right now. But I have dreamed of going since 2007 when I came to Ashtanga. So if it is calling you, and you can go…then go! For those of us who can’t.

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