Don’t forget the little things. They may bring more joy than you thought.

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Each night when I sit on my bed with my laptop, ready to write about something which has either happened during the day or inspired me, I often find myself a little stuck. Unsure where to start. At night, when I reflect upon the day just gone, I always, and without fail, find so many things to smile about. To be grateful for which I want to share. And I feel yoga has given me this amazing gift where I actually notice so much. So how to capture all of this?

Trapped in an office at home, my sky was quite a bit duller. I missed so many things because I wasn’t being true to myself. But with more clarity now, I realise it’s not that the sky was dull, it was my light that what dimming. It was stifled. Now - the unaware person may accept this as life. But someone who knows there has to be more, has tasted it and is then placed back in a cage which offers no fulfillment, will never last. I would never have lasted. I had to make the break - and fast. And the risk has been all worth it. I see colour now. A simple flower in a pot brings me so much joy. Walking home with my shopping, in the heat of the day with all arms full and heavy, and my shopping suddenly falling through the bottom of the bag, gives me something to laugh about. With apples and tomatoes rolling down the hill, what else can you do but laugh! Before, I would not have seen the funny side. A light heartedness, which is who I truly am, has returned. For that, I will always be grateful.

So, back to the experiences or moments which have inspired me, encouraged me to reflect or challenged me deeply - today there were many. I think this requires subtitles…

Philosophy:

I’ve never attended philosophy classes before now. My only exposure to anything philosophical has been through chatting with Owen. I love our discussions. My curiosity about deeper ideas in the world means some interesting, and often challenging discussions follow.

My teacher here is a great philosopher in Mysore and his ability to explain some of the most complex ideas through metaphors and storytelling is a true gift. He has an entire class sitting before him on the floor just listening intently to his every word, smiling back at the man who is constantly smiling at us.

But something I came to ask myself in a quiet moment was; “what’s the point? We go to so much trouble to be more aware people, to better grasp these - what seem like - riddles of life, and for what? For it to all end one day. So what’s the point?” A very negative question to ask, but an honest thought. I’m watching this man sit before me, bestow such incredible knowledge and insight about the world upon us, but soon he will be gone and so will his lifes work. What a tragedy. Or is it? As Owen pointed out to me today, his teachings will go on, through us and we too may inspire others to dig a little deeper. To start asking questions. I guess this also goes back to Jungs quote; “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It’s very true. I will always ask questions in life. You see life differently when you start to ‘notice’ things. It’s not necessarily an easier life, as reality can be cruel in its many forms, but it’s truth. I guess this is why I love philosophy. It challenges my beliefs and it encourages me to look at the world in a different way. To be more conscious of what is happening out there; physically, emotionally, spiritually. This is where understanding lies - I think??? I have a long way to go!

Today we were talking about hypocrites. People who think, say and do differently. But the point of this discussion was to highlight that it doesn’t matter what costume you wear, whether it be a policeman’s uniform or dress as a surgeon, if you are not trained to complete that job and do not possess the right attitude then you shall never be able to attain it. For the person who has taken a vow of silence but uses his hands to gesture - he has missed the point of this vow. Or for the person who fasts but eats a huge meal before doing so, he too has missed the point. If one claims they are a Sadhu but in their mind they have awful thoughts of people, then he shall never be a Sadhu. Just as a person who dresses up in Lulu Lemon yoga clothes with matching mat might think they are a yogi and achieving something higher, without the awareness, they will never be a yogi. This is only a costume. And they are merely some movements.

One final thing here. The word Ajana in Sanskrit essentially means we know less than everything we know. We think we know so much, but really we know nothing. Take a moment to think about this. I found this to be a very powerful statement, one which I think many people have never thought about. I’ve not thought about. Yet it’s so very true.

Just smile:

I love how Bharath teaches. Chatting with another student, we are very confident he will be a Guru one day. A young Guru. His insight into the practice, the world, people, is phenomenal. Something which I love about his style of teaching is the fun he has with the class. For example, sometimes he may come and do an asana with us, joke with us when we are all collapsing on the floor trying to move into some form of ‘body-mousetrap’ move, and my favourite - he always reminds us to smile when he knows our minds are running wild with thoughts of; “Hurry the f**k up! Breathe, breathe, is it a minute yet, breath, i’m slipping, breathe…” He is very aware of what we are going through - physically and mentally. So his ability to try and lighten the mood (if you like) while we are intently focused on making it out of the asana alive, is amazing. I don’t know about everyone else, but I always find myself smiling when he reminds us to, and although I’m on the verg of passing out, the asana somehow becomes that tiny bit easier. Such a simple thing he does which makes every class so memorable.

Noticing:

This mornings Vinyasa class was another challenging class (and we found out tonight he’s about to step it up as of tomorrow), but I noticed toward the end of class I was beginning to crave Powerade. Often our bodies will tell us what it needs if we just listen, and I knew mine was lacking salts. Luckily I have Hydrolyte tablets which I took when I got home. It’s a lovely feeling to be so intune with your body that you can notice such subtle but hugely important signs.

Tonight as I was trying to maintain balance in a particular asana, I was watching the tendons, muscles, nerves etc all working together to keep my foot firm on the floor. I would notice the slightest movement in my little toe. Even if a toe had ever so slightly lifted from the mat, I could feel it. Bringing it back just a millimeter could make all the difference to my balance. It’s incredible. This is the beauty of yoga. You are literally playing with your body. Working it out, Feeling how it moves, where is comfortable, where is tight. And anyone can do this. That is such a gift.

In closing, take time to notice and appreciate. Whether it be a flower, a smile, an awkward experience - whatever it is, notice it and be grateful for it. These are the things in life which bring meaning.

Namaste xx


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Loving my bathroom decor!

Just 1008 steps....

Today I planned to climb Chamundi Hill followed by a visit to the Mysore Zoo. Pretty casual outing I thought. Turns out, not so.

My lovely driver, Somu, from the other day, was waiting at my apartment for me at 7.20am as promised (for my scheduled 7.30am pick up). Bright eyed and a huge smile on his face, I was so pleased I had committed to traveling with him again. Today, I was headed for Chamundi Hill. 1008 steps up to the temple!

The drive to the summit took about 30 minutes from my apartment. Along the way we stopped for gas, but this only took about 15 seconds to fill the rickshaw with 100 rupees of gas. Mysore was so peaceful at this time of the morning. Although there were still a few beeps around the place (you’re never truly free of noise here), the streets were silent compared to how they normally are. What I thought was interesting was how thick the smog is at this time of day. It’s like travelling in a haze, constantly. Although there are minimal vehicles on the road, the pollution in the air is still so apparent that traveling with my shawl covering my nose and mouth is still necessary. Incredible.

My driver was kindly beginning to drive me up the mountain, assuming I wouldn’t want to walk up, however upon clarifying my intentions, we took a turn and headed round the base of the mountain. Driving through little alleys surrounded by unused scrub, turned rubbish tip, we finally arrived at the base of the stairs. My driver was committed to waiting for me to return, expecting I would take around one and a half hours. (I always feel terrible knowing someone is waiting for such a long time, but I guess they are use to it).

The beginning of the climb didn’t seem too dreadful - for the first 50 steps or so. Quite quickly the walk became steep. Very steep. And the stairs are extraordinarily dangerous. All different sizes (height and width) coupled with being quite slippery due to so much wear, I needed to keep focused on my footing. As I was taking many pictures with my little camera, I was extra careful, holding it close to my chest. (I think I would have broken my arm first before allowing anything to happen to my camera).

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The stairs had remnants of coloured dyes, stained from yesterdays Happy Holi Festival no doubt, and rubbish lined the perimeter of the stairs. The stairs themselves, however, seemed to be free it. Quite clean. In terms of people walking up, and down for that matter, there were very few. It appears most people tend to be driven up and down the hill, rather that complete the pilgrimage up. I now understand why!

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The steps felt never ending and my thighs were just getting a relentless bashing from the trek. (I know I’m going to feel this tomorrow). I couldn’t help but think about how much more challenging this was compared with a common walk people do back home in the Mount Lofty Ranges. I think I could sprint up Mount Lofty now after having done this. Talk about a work out!

With sweat dripping down my face and back, I eventually reached Nandi the Bull - about two thirds the way up. I recalled reading in my Lonely Planet book that the rest of the climb is more forgiving than the first part, which gave me hope, however they were lying. Yes there were some slightly easier steps, but it is still hike up. Let’s just clarify that right here!

As I was there nice and early, about 8.30am, it was relatively quiet here with only a minimal number of people around. This gave me a chance to actually stop and appreciate Nandi without being pushed aside or have to listen to people yelling at each other in conversation. I found it really relaxing just being there. A lovely man, who I later bought a mini Chamundi brass statue from, offered to take my picture with the statue. I was thrilled. And considering it’s just me in the picture, without having to battle through people to get a view of Nandi, I was quite excited.

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After eventually making it to the top of the hill, (another million more steps up it felt like), I was greeted with many market stalls selling the typical touristy items as well as flowers and coconut offerings to take into Chamundi’s temple. Bees were absolutely everywhere because  of all the flowers people were selling. It certainly didn’t appear safe having that many bees surrounding you all day??

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Leaving my shoes in a monitored shoe stand outside, I tip toed over the cow poo on the floor and headed for the temple. As it was still early in the morning, about 9.00am by this point, I didn’t have to wait in a massive queue to enter, which I understand happens as the day goes on. Walking through the temple, I noticed people were praying at all different areas within it. Some were touching and kissing red dye, which was all over the floor at the entrance to the main section where Chamundi was. Others standing by smaller shrines against the walls and within reach, covered in flowers and money offerings. When it came to seeing Chamundi, about six or so Indian men wearing white robes stood behind a counter which prevented the public from getting any closer to the goddess. About 10 metres further back was the shrine to Chamundi, covered in orange and yellow flowers, with incense and oils burnings around her. People were being rushed along to give their offering and say their prayer before being near pushed out of the temple. I stood to the side of the queue to try and get a longer look (having poor eyesight didn’t help me) but eventually the pressure of people shouldering and pushing past forced me out. I walked through the rest of the temple however there wasn’t a lot to see and within moments I was back out amongst the crowd.

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Walking back down the hill, I came across my rickshaw driver! He had decided to start climbing also. (Clearly I was taking too long). He was exhausted by the time I got to him (about half way - we found a carving which said 500 steps not too far from there). I sat with him on the stairs for about 5 minutes while he caught his breath before completing the descent. He is such a lovely man. With two young boys at home, 11 and 13, he offered to take me to his home one day and introduce me to his family and make me chai tea. It’s incredibly sweet. At the bottom of the hill I bought Somu some water before moving on to the next part of the trip. The Mysore Zoo!

Somu predicted I would take about 45 minutes to an hour to look through the zoo. I’m not sure how long it’s been since he went there, but I was at least two hours. It is massive! Three kilometres of animals to look through. This takes a long time. What was funny, and a little annoying in the end, was I seemed to be the main attraction. So many people wanted their picture taken with me! Clearly it’s a novelty seeing a white person walking around.

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The zoo was lovely. Very old and in parts run down, but generally speaking the animals seemed well looked after. It’s always sad to see animals in cages, especially those native to Australia (as I know what their habitats look like), but on the whole it was a lovely experience. I was glad to leave by the end of it though. It felt like a never ending maze in there. At 2.8 kilometres to go, I had a break. Taking time to eat my apple, I thought I had been walking for miles by this point. I nearly died with about 45 minutes later I saw there was still 2.3 kilometres to go. The heat, combined with pushy people and constant attention for photos made this a more challenging than normal experience.

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I felt terrible when I eventually made it out and saw Somu still waiting for me (as I knew he would be). Considering he thought I would only take an hour or so, I definately felt a little guilty. But of course, Somu was still kind enough to show me another shop I would like, selling all sorts of Indian trinkets, knowing he would need to wait longer. Out of courtesy I had a quick look, but after a scan inside I decided it was time for home. By this point it was about 1.20pm and my feet were tired. I was tired.

Considering Somu committed so much time to me today, I was sure to pay him well for taking care of me. He is such a lovely man who wouldn’t try to rip me off in any way, and is happy to accept what I give him. For that, I am happy to pay him more. Somu is now scheduled to pick me up tomorrow morning at 5.50am to take me to a little town called Bogadi where I will be meeting the “Mother of the World” - Amma. She hugs people, and apparently her energy is like nothing you have ever felt before. So tomorrow I am off to be hugged! As there is such a huge following, I need to get there early to get a token and get in line. It’s going to be a long day.

My afternoon has been spent reading about Raja Yoga, which Hatha is an extension of. Essentially it looks to the science in any religion and talks of the fundamental principles a yoga practitioner must possess / do in order to become a Yogi. I’ve really enjoyed reading this book and it’s been quite enlightening - however something to chat about another time. The learnings are endless.

Off to bed for me now. I have a date with Amma to prepare for!

Namaste xx

Mysore Style, pampered and beaten - all in a day!

Today I began Mysore Style classes at the Shala. As I am here to train, I figure it’s important I keep up my practice during my holidays. This mornings class was led by a woman whose name I couldn’t remember if my life depended on it. Starting with “P” and followed by lots more letters, is as far as i know. (Terrible… I know). I needed to be really conscious of being open to a different style of teaching. Although she is trained by Bharath, of course each person will bring their own flavour to a class. So with this in mind, I needed to be open to learning from a new teacher rather than dismiss her (in my mind) based on nothing else other than the fact that she is not Bharath. As I have had so many bad yoga teachers over the years, it’s hard to accept someone new after working with someone as incredible as Bharath. But, I needed to let that go.

I worked through the Foundation Series (as Bharath had recommended), more slowly than usual to be honest. I think a combination of being watched by another teacher and feeling a little out of sorts with my body at the moment (I think that time of month is on its way), I felt I needed to pay a lot more attention to my technique. As predicted, the new teacher had some differing ideas about a couple of the asanas (even something as simple as how many breaths in between) but I surprisingly found her instruction very clear, supportive and encouraging. I ended up really appreciating having a woman guide me into and out of particular asanas. Just something about a womans touch I guess. I can’t quite describe it, and not what I expected. Note to self: Be open to new experiences and don’t be too quick to judge. There could be wonderful learnings to be gained.

As class was done by 10.00am, I had a new found freedom! I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my spare time. Considering I live in Gokulam and have seen very little of it thus far, I decided to go for a wander through the backstreets to try and find some of the little yoga stores and a silver jewelery shop I have been told about. Although I found none of these places, as the shops are usually within people’s homes with nothing outside for advertising, I did come across a little sign for a beauty salon. When I saw ‘pedicures’ on the list of things they do, I was intrigued. My toe nails have remnants of red nail polish which has been chipped away day by day. Not a classy look! Such a simple thing, but having feral toe nails has been a little embarrassing.

Walking into, again, someone’s home, I was greeted by a young boy and four other Indian women, the eldest being the owner. With a price of 350 Indian rupees to have my toenails done, I was in! They saw me right away as no one else was booked. It seemed like they must get quite bored in there, just waiting for people to walk in the door.

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After a short wait, I was led into the back room where two black leather salon chairs sat. One with arm rests and holes in the arm rests (why, I wasn’t sure - my whole leg could have fit through it) and the other was just a normal chair for cutting hair. A young girl with dark hair tightly pulled back with a frizzy ponytail rushed me through and sat me down in the chair, making sure I was careful not to put my feet in the bucket of water below me. Sitting on a small stall in front of me, the young girl placed a white towel over my thighs and one over her own.

The pedicure began with removing the remainder of my nail polish followed by filing my toe nails. She then applied cuticle cream on each toenail and asked me to dunk my feet into the relatively hot water below. As she worked, all other staff sat around watching. I felt as though I was a zoo animal where people come to stare as I look different. But with all my travels over the years, you learn to just go with it!

After a few moments, the young girl asked me to lift my feet out of the hot water, where I noticed the cuticle cream had hardened - like candle wax. Wasn’t expecting that! She then took care to scratch it off with all sorts of mini utensils. Next, she dipped her hands into some honey coloured liquid and rubbed it all over my feet. It was divine. By this point, I realised I was getting a little more done than the original intention, which was to just have my toenails painted. This golden syrup bubbled up and with a fingernail scrubbing brush she then started to scrub my feet - everywhere. The toes, the tops of my feet up to my ankles, my heels, under my toes. No part of my foot was left unscrubbed. One would have thought a brush as hard as this would have hurt, but although it was rough, it was actually a really lovely sensation. With a rinse, next came the huge foot files - two different kinds. I would have been happy with one, but clearly the job wouldn’t have been done right if the second wasn’t used also. I think it may have been a buffer. One of the other girls who sat by the wall watching, a meter or so away, kept bringing more and more creams, and liquids, and brushes over. I honestly thought this pedicure was going to go on for the rest of the day. I wasn’t complaining!

Some peach smelling violet coloured body scrub was then massaged into my feet and all the way up to my knees! At this point I was getting a full leg and foot massage also. I was amazed this tiny girl had such strong hands. With more scrubbing, then washing, my feet were then painted with an avocado green paste! The whole foot to my ankles. By this point, I couldn’t help but giggle to myself about the experience I was having - all this effort just to get my toenails painted. With green feet, I was left on my own for about 5-10 minutes whilst the girls cleaned up behind me. What this cream was, I have no idea. But again, I just went with it!

While waiting, I was watching the young male give a haircut to a man who walked in during my pampering session. Right when I thought the haircut was done, the young male hairdresser brought a spray bottle over and sprayed the customers head, followed by one of the funniest head massages I have ever seen. I watched on in amazement as this customer was slapped and thumped and just attacked overall by the hairdresser. Clearly this is a normal thing as I noticed the customer actually readjust himself in preparation for the beating which was about to come. Had this been me, I think I would have walked out of the beauty parlor with a concussion. The thud sounds were so loud it was as though he was literally being bashed. I had to turn away a few times to hide the hysterical laughter I was trying not to show. I had the tears welling in my eyes and it took every ounce of energy not to completely lose it. By the time I turned back, I notice the hairdresser is back with the spray bottle, but this time spraying the mans face - drowning him by the looks of it. To top things off , the man’s entire face was slathered with shaving cream. I’m not joking. Forehead and nose included. All that was left were some blinking eyes. Seriously, one of the funniest things I’ve seen for a while. Very entertaining. This hairdresser then shaved this man with a cut throat razor. That was very impressive to see. He was scarily quick too. I’m not so sure I would feel so comfortable with a knife that sharp, moving that quickly, next to my jugular! Ahhh, the experiences of another country.

With green feet now washed, I walked out of the beauty salon with lovely maroon painted toenails with pretty silver dots on top. My feet felt amazing. I felt amazing. And I was so proud of my new toe nails. It’s incredible how something so simple can make you feel so lovely - and clean!

After a lazy afternoon, I attended my back bending Mysore Style class this evening with Ragu. I really like him. We have gotten to know Ragu over the past month and he seems like such a lovely young man. I think he is only 22 years old. This is my first class with Ragu and to be honest, his teaching style is not what I expected. He is wonderfully involved in the class, but my goodness he is much rougher than Bharath. Whilst doing my best to hold a position, he would quite forcefully pull my hips back or tuck my chest in. Not what I expected from him at all. It wasn’t bad, but they way the realignment was done makes it a little harder to embed in the memory. I think it’s important to be realigned more gradually so you have time to notice/feel the adjustment. Instead I’ve gone from A to Z without really knowing how I got there. I think this is where the work of a master, like Bharath, shines through. He must know that students need the opportunity to feel how the body is being realigned so we can recall it for next time, rather than force it. A small point but I think it’s an important one. It is certainly something I will keep in the forefront of my mind when teaching my own students one day.

This evening I have spent relaxing at home. I got to speak with my Owen for a short while. Unfortunately the power outages seem to be happening more frequently the more it heats up in Mysore which often stops us from chatting. It can be quite frustrating when the power goes out, again, but what can you do! I use these little experiences to help improve my acceptance and patience in life. If I didn’t then these silly things would get me down. I won’t let that happen. Back home, we have no tolerance for power outages, but at the end of the day - it’s life. In saying that, however, thank goodness it’s not something we have to deal with daily (back home). We really are very lucky. Here - it can happen multiple times a day, anywhere from a few moments to hours. Life.

So my lessons for today are; always be open to new experiences and always look for the learnings and positives within them; live in the moment and appreciate the little things. This is what creates ‘meanings’ in life.

Namaste xx


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Yes, I might be a little crazy…

As I have mentioned before, it’s the little things you miss when you’re away from home. For some it could be their own bed, for others it could be not having to use bottled water to wash everything! Although these too are important to me, today I was missing to the two loves of my life - my Owen and my little, slightly round, pug pooch. The simple dream is to be held by one (I’m talking Owen here… just in case) and to pat the other.

Letting you in on a little secret of mine - each night when I walk home from class, I walk with my head leaning on my backpack looking up at the stars. Owen loves space, and by staring up at the moon and the few stars you can see here (smog is an issue), I feel a little closer to him. For pooch (Tyrone is his name) - I often find myself talking to the stray dogs in the voice I talk to him in. It’s a silly, playful voice, and the dogs here couldn’t care less about the attention I am giving them, from a distance of course, but it makes me feel a little better. A little closer to him also. No doubt there are Indian men on the side of the road thinking I am some crazy white girl talking to myself - but that’s ok.

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Not quite the same as my pooch - but near enough

Although these are the little things in life (to be held only for a moment, or to feel the fur of my pooch), really - this is life. So not being able to have either of these special moments, I am trying to hold onto them in through star gazing or looking like a crazy person. It keeps me going.

Tonight I need to finalise my study in preparation for tomorrow’s exam. I’m terribly nervous - as well all are. There is a lot which I still haven’t learned, and I don’t think I will have time to learn. Yoga philosophy is complex!!! I will just do my best with what I have done so far, and hopefully that is enough.

I shall therefore leave you with that and I look forward to blogging about how I go tomorrow. Thank goodness it will be over soon (until part II of my training starts. Eek!).

Namaste xx


My boys

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Notice the little things. They will stay with you forever.

Today I want to focus on the highlights of my day. Yes, my back is in terrible condition at the moment (I have these ‘flare-ups’ every now and then), and yes it seems like an eternity since my alarm went off at 4.00am this morning, but overall, there were so many positives in the day. Here is where i want to place my energy.

To begin; during the midday teaching session (where we teach other students) our teacher today, Rosa, brought me to tears in a lovely way. During her class I could barely move the pain in my lower back was so dreadful. When we came to do group practice of Vriksasana (tree) I was unable to get my leg up without feeling as though someone was behind me stabbing a million knives into my spine. When Rosa noticed I was having trouble, she gently smiled and nodded to say “it’s ok - don’t worry”. This subtle and simple gesture meant more than she realised. When I gave my feedback to Rosa after the class, I became quite emotional and teary telling her this. Firstly, when you’re in class among other intermediate to advanced practitioners, you can’t help but feel a little silly when you can’t do a basic asana - the mentality which stops beginners from trying yoga in the first place (I’m very aware of that). But Rosa made it OK that I couldn’t lift my leg today. And not only did she make it OK, she didn’t make a big deal out if it either. As a teacher, this is an important skill, more like quality, to have; and as a student, it is important to have a teacher like this. She unknowingly made me feel so much better - emotionally anyway.

When I arrived home after class, the lovely Indian boy I was chatting with yesterday had an unusually large grin on his face. He followed me to my room, which he would never normally do, and prior to me opening the door, he told me they did not get to clean my room today (or get me pillows) like I asked. I had this moment of disappointment, realising I must have forgotten to leave my door unlocked again, and felt sick at the thought of having another night without extra pillows for support. As I opened the door, (the young boy within a couple of metres of me), I noticed my room had been beautifully made up, with extra pillows sitting waiting on the bed. Brand new sheets, bathroom and floors sparkling. They had actually gone to more effort than normal today, which was so lovely. Behind me, the young Indian boy was laughing as he knew he had tricked me. I giggled and said. “you got me!!” and he laughed even harder, repeating, “yes, I got you, I got you!” It was such a beautiful moment seeing how much joy this silly trick made him. 

As I mentioned yesterday, often people don’t even greet these young boys at reception as they enter the apartment. I however, always take the time to speak with them and ask how their day has been. I think in doing so, they have worked out I am no one to be threatened by. I will be sure to get a picture of the three boys prior to leaving Mysore. Their smiles will stay with me forever.

In keeping with the back pain theme, my practice tonight began very slowly. Vinyasa flow was not ‘flowing’ so well for me at first. But given time, listening to my body and being gentle with myself, I actually relieved a lot of tension in my back and ended up in postures I never thought were possible for me - especially in this condition. Well - first achievement was Eka Pada Rajakapotasana - only on my left side though (and not looking as graceful as in the picture, I assure you). 

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I couldn’t believe it when I felt my way into this asana. I think I was one of two in the class who did it! I’m also now learning to walk in Chakrasana, up and down our mats. I can’t help but think of the Exorcist when I see people doing it - clearly some childhood scares there!

Lunch today at Anu’s (one of the best restaurants in Gokulam) was free, as by the time I arrived there wasn’t a lot of variety left. I still ate more food than probably two grown men would eat! But, Anu insisted I not pay this time and just pay the full fee next time I come for lunch. How sweet - an unnecessary!

And finally, I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who is supporting me during this time. I have received such beautiful emails from family and friends daily and have been told beautiful stories of my journey inspiring others also. There is nothing more special and inspiring (for me) to hear that. So, again, thank you for believing in me. You will all never truly know what this means.

On that note, I shall leave you as I have a big exam coming up and I need to keep preparing. Almost there!

Namaste xxx