Happy Chinese New Year!

Well I’ve made it to the end of week 3 successfully. Not gracefully I might add - I’m bruised, have scuffed elbows, I’m sleep deprived, I can barely cross my legs, and I’m sick with a cold… but I’m still here which is testament to me!!

Although my practice was a little slow this morning, and I was a little over emotional, the rest of the day has ended quite nicely. For starters, we were given the afternoon off to study and relax. Woo hoo! I think the entire class was thrilled with the bonus free time. But before I get into that, I have to give an update on my favourite 22 year old, Brittaney, from class…

Well, today a lovely Spanish woman, Rosa, presented. Although she struggled with her English, her knowledge was excellent and she was clearly well prepared. I was the reporter for her performance today and I made sure to highlight what a wonderful job she did, from technique to understanding the benefits etc of each posture. Long story short, I wondered if Brittany would be an absolute cow toward me after yesterday or actually behave like a mature adult and take on the feedback I gave. Well - if ever I have seen a back flip in attitudes and behaviour, it was today. Her feedback for Rosa was really positive, and more importantly the criticism was constructive. Also, apparently I am the new best friend, where I couldn’t help but get the feeling she was trying to impress me. To blow me away even further, she who is too cool for taking notes or reading our manual, sat next to me at the front of the class taking notes during the technique class which followed. What the! I was so pleased. Her response to my feedback is not what I expected at all, and I feel bad for not having more belief in her potential to improve her behavour/attitude. Turns out I was wrong - and I’m glad I was. I don’t know how she will be next week, but for now her actions today are what count. Brittany wasn’t a problem at all in the end. It was two others in my group, David and Francis, who had a dummy spit at one another over a technical question. This turned into a big and inappropriate argument whilst trying to give feedback to poor Rosa. Francis ended up storming out of the shala. (I giggled internally when Brittany looked at me with a look which said, “…what childish behaviour”). What was going on with people today? I don’t know. Good thing Bharath was nowhere near..

I spent this afternoon relaxing as we were told. There is the stress case side of me which wants to spend every waking moment studying however, as my sister Alex reminded me, don’t miss the other precious moments I wont get back, like actually taking time out to enjoy the place. So I did that! After not one, but two strawberry, banana and coconut smoothies I wandered home and relaxed for the afternoon.

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As it’s Chinese New Year, some residents had planned to hold a small party up in the common dining room, and as I had the afternoon off from class, I could go!

Up on the fourth floor of the building I walked in to see a number of people sitting around a table making dumplings from scratch (the pastry also), a lovely Chinese man was in the kitchen boiling and frying them, some lovely Chinese ladies were preparing various salads, chips and soups. It was really lovely what they pulled together. As I am vegan, and one other girl, they even went to the effort of making vegan dumplings - both fried and boiled. Although stuffed with coriander (my most despised herb - it tastes like poison to me) when food is being cooked for you and this means not having to leave to get dinner, you eat it. Doused in soy sauce to try and mask the flavour, they weren’t too bad!

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The group all moved from the kitchen/dining area to the rooftop of the building where we sat and watched the sunset. It was really magic. The sun is a tangerine colour here (behind the haze of smog), and the lower the sun gets to the horizon the more vibrant the orange becomes. As soon as the sun was gone, there was an incredible back light over the city, and a glittering quarter moon appeared with a single star below it.

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I met some lovely people this evening. In particular, I met a lovely young Indian woman, Jagriti, who is from Delhi. Jagriti, myself and a couple of Chinese people climbed to the very top of the building where we got the most magnificent view of the sun setting over Mysore. And as it was beautifully warm evening, it was so lovely sitting up there chatting.

Jagriti and her husband live in Kuwait, as her husband is an engineer for an oil company, but she will be here in Mysore training in Ashtanga for around two months. A petite woman, Jagriti and I chatted for hours about yoga, her life in India and her new life in Kuwait. It’s not often I connect with people, but I really felt she and I connected. I was excited to hear about her life and she was excited to tell me about it. I learned of her arranged marriage, what it’s like living in an Arabic country, the challenges for being an educated person in India as there is so much competition for work - mostly for men, the things I should be careful of when traveling to Delhi (this place does not sound safe at all for foreign solo women). Jagriti has also offered to take me to Lakshmi (somewhere….) where i can go shopping for some traditional clothes, bed linens etc. Maybe next week when I finish part one of my training.

Interesting fact about Kuwait - they pay people the equivalent of about $500AUD for completing each level of study (the higher the level you complete, the more money you get paid). The course is also free! Jagriti is studying Arabic and when she completed Level One, they paid her! It doesn’t happen like this in Australia. Good old Abbott has done quite the opposite! Apparently they have money to burn in Kuwait. The frustrating part is people there apparently know how to spend money but have no idea how to earn it. Interesting.

It started getting late (after 7.00pm) so we decided to call it a night. (Us yogis try to be in bed as early as possible). Although I’m not feeling 100% still, it was really nice to stop and just be for a while. I’m feeling quite relaxed after such a nice evening. It’s also nice to actually have the time to meet other people. I haven’t really had a chance to do this yet, so this has been a real bonus.

So thank you Chinese New Year. I had a lovely time celebrating with you.

Namaste xx