Monday, December 31, 2012


It's New Year's Eve today in Mysore. Five days since arriving, and I feel like I am finally landing. In many ways it's been a smooth re-entry back. My room and new home for the month, a beautiful space belonging to a dear friend, was super clean upon arrival. My roommates are friendly and accommodating, despite me coming so early in the morning. Shala registration went without a hitch. Practice started on the 27th, a 4:30 Friday led class. And I was lucky enough to have a 2-day break with moon day and saturday one after the other.

Phone activation went a little topsy turvy when a man wielding a blade whittled down a mirco-SIM card into supposed nano-size, suitable for my new iPhone, which resulted in his professional conclusion, "Sorry, Madam, it will not fit," as he handed me the butchered SIM card. Luckily, a short walk up the road, the local Airtel center was able to issue me a replacement SIM with the same number.

Made great use of my two-dy break. Had a wonderful home-cooked meal prepared by one friend, and joined another for one at 6th Main. I spent one day visiting the new local organic shops. Then the next day sleeping off a fierce fever.

I'd settled in, visited with some friends, gotten sick, and yet didn't entirely feel like I'd arrived properly. All was good. But something was missing. Some spark that I so identify as part of the magic of Mysore, that indescribable feeling of being here, subtle electric excitement. I was starting to think: is this what it's like the third time around? Does the thrill of simply being here wear off the more frequent you visit?

It would make sense, I reasoned with myself. The newness of the place wears off, the novelty goes eventually. That's the trade off when you start to really get to know a place. And I did feel this wonderful sense of homecoming, seeing so many familiar faces, feeling a strong sense of camaraderie. I do enjoy the ease of returning this time around, slipping back as if I was continuing seamlessly a journey that started two years and three months ago.

This morning, when I was in down dog (being a bad lady and thinking of something other than the posture at hand) and I was surveying the shala underneath my body. I was wondering how maybe the next phase of practice was this lack of feeling, that maybe this is a part of non-attachment, but then, what would keep me coming back here? -- I promise, it was a short reverie and not an overly-long downward-facing dog.

Without me knowing, things started to shift. There was no more thinking. I was just practicing. I was just breathing. I was just jumping forward or jumping back, folding forward or bending back. In no time, practice was done. Before I left the shala, I proceeded with what has become such an integral part of my personal practice here in Mysore, I stand at the door, facing the direction of Sharath and bow to him in gratitude and respect as I take my leave. And unless he's in the office or assisting a student in something really complicated, Sharath always takes part in this small exchange, which feels like the sum total of our teacher-student relationship.

And as I gestured in namaste I felt, so suddenly, all the magic that had been missing. I broke out into a huge smile, which Sharath also returned.

Landing now, I know that the magic is still here. It's everywhere and nowhere at once. Its essence exists in each moment of genuine connection, whether it is between a person and a place, between two or more people, or between a student and a teacher.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mysore Christmas

Last year, I definitely thought i'd hit my limit with two Christmases in a row in Mysore. I missed my family, missed holiday cheer.

And yet here I am on Christmas day at Manila's airport, awaiting the first leg of travel that will end on my friend's doorstep in Gokulam early tomorrow morning.

I guess I am eager to get back, to practice with Sharath, to dig deeper into my own process. I guess what I realize is that I miss Mysore as well, that the depth of practice, the sense of community calls me to another kind of home, where a different kind of family awaits.

So I have split this precious holiday, spending the Eve, a big all night to-do in the Philippines, and the morning of Christmas Day with the family I was born into (also chosen to some extent) while setting off by midday to meet with the family I have consciously chosen, a motley crew of serious but also light hearted yoga practitioners, a humorous and occasionally stern teacher (the father figure to us all), a sweetly smiling though tough loving mama, and all the wonderful characters that make up the magic of Mysore.