Encinitas 2013

April 23, 2013 § 4 Comments

My Mysore story began with the Sharath and Saraswati tour a year ago, so it’s nice to come back and reflect on how things have changed. Back then there was a lot of buzz, from within and without. A big group of us from the home studio made the trip south to practice with S+S for the first time. The Vanity Fair article on Sonia Jones and the Jois Yoga enterprise was still a hot topic of conversation, and the Jois yoga studio was replete in its high-end retail glory. There were photographers and videographers, as well as the “who’s who” of Ashtanga practicing alongside the rest of us. I was terribly anxious about practicing led for five consecutive days, seeing as how a six-day practice week was still the exception rather than the rule at that time. And then to do the first class and be completely swept away, absorbed, into the collective experience of the breath, which sealed the deal on my decision to head to Mysore. It was a heady, endorphin-filled time that kept me going for many weeks afterwards.

This year, things are much more low-key. First of all, they’ve cleared the shop floor and turned it into a huge waiting/changing area between classes. The “shop” is now about a fifth of its original size hidden behind screens. A lone photographer stopped by for just one class (per session – there are two sessions each day). And there’s just a smidge more space around each mat, compared to a year ago. Waking up at 5 to walk the half-block to the shala is sweetly reminiscent of those dark Mysore mornings, and seeing familiar faces from my recent trip is both surreal and sweet. The practice itself is sweeter than ever, and, dare I say it, easier compared to a year ago. There is more steadiness, fewer fluctuations, stronger and louder breaths. There is surrender to the count and all of its Sharath embellishments.

I have to confess that I wasn’t all that excited about making this trip – the 3rd in a span of a month – given the demands of real life on my time and energy. I just wanted to be home for more than just a few days at a time, I wanted my life to go back to being “normal”. Well, the first ekam on Friday took care of all doubts. Whatever detractors may say, there’s no denying the fact that Sharath’s able to pull together a critical mass of people and orchestrate an experience that’s quite unlike any other. A led class with him is more than just about perfecting each asana or lasting his count for Uthpluthi. It is a return to the basics, a stripping away of the faffing and mental chatter that sucks away at our energy and places us firmly on the mat to do just one thing: breathe. It is an experience that is both sublime and quotidian, filled with joy and love from both teachers and students. While I won’t be able to make it to Mysore every year, I can’t say the same for Encinitas. Looking forward to the 2014 edition of this tour.

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§ 4 Responses to Encinitas 2013

  • mariavlong says:

    Sweet, D. Funny, the retail element at Jois Greenwich was sent to the basement/changing room area to make a separate practice space for Saraswati’s classes. Do you stay in a hotel or some where else in Encinitas? I’m curious because you planted a seed. A week of led is cheaper than AYC.

    • D says:

      I’ve stayed in Airbnb apartments both trips and roomed with fellow yogis from home, so it was definitely cheaper than a hotel. There’s a Days Inn just down the road from the studio (walking distance) though I heard that they raised their prices this year. If our schedules coincide I’m happy to share an apartment!! 😀

  • mariavlong says:

    Airbnb!! Awesome. Walking distance? Deifinetly would share if timing works out.

    • D says:

      So far, the apartments have been walking distance, yes. Last year was a very comfortable 5-8 min walk. This year, I was just a block away, though I wouldn’t return to this apartment because it’s right by the train tracks. A little too loud for my taste 😉

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