The power of a hug

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Our morning Vinyasa class has become so intense. For the past 2.5 weeks we have all sweated like we have sweated before. When we enter the Shala at 5.00am it’s already sticky in the room. It’s as though there is no air, (and often there isn’t as the windows are kept shut). As I’m usually the first in the Shala each morning, I open all the windows to let some fresh air in - temporarily. As class starts, one by one we hear the windows being closed. It’s like an impending doom each time you hear another close. The heat is so intense, it’s like doing yoga in a sauna. There is, however, a very specific reason for this, which is all to do with the pranic body. Also the more advance you become in your practice the more sensitive you become to the elements, so it’s best to always practice indoors. But prana or no prana - it’s certainly a challenge on all parts of the body to get through the morning classes. Physically you’re exhausted and slipping off your own skin whilst mentally you just need to keep it together and not give in to the heat. Remain focused on every movement, every breath and just surrender completely the practice.

People are so hot you can hear them slipping off their mats - sometimes quite hard too depending on the asana they’re working on. Some have even bought cotton mats to put on top of the rubber mats to give some grip. I’m considering doing the same. When you’re hands and feet are in puddles of water, it gets difficult to hold the position.

By the end of each class, not only is my hair and clothes soaked, but I always have prune fingers. It’s honestly like no other ‘workout’ I have ever done before and yet I’m training in a 1.5 metre x .5 metre space. I have jogged, I have done weights training, every gym class under the sun - and never have I worked as hard as I do here, using my own body weight. Fascinating. I’m so excited to share this experience with other people when I get home. They’re going to love it!

On that note - today was one of those ‘emotional’ days for me. I seem to be having more and more of them the closer I come to leaving. I found myself in class crying on my mat this morning, just thinking about different responsibilities I will return to back in Australia. Bharath was concerned, as he’s never seen me upset before, and came to speak with me. I was quite distracted during class initially but once I regained my focus, I ended up doing one of my strongest Sirsasana’s and Chakrasana’s ever. By this point i was telling myself not to allow these external issues/worries hold me back. To control my thoughts and change my perspective. Turns out that’s quite a powerful message to repeat to yourself. Try it!

After class I chatted with Bharath in the Shala on his mat, especially about my sadness to leave. He reminded me that nothing is permanent, not even this Earth and therefore I should not become attached. He also reminded me that I can come back each year to do the advanced refresher course with him, and that he will always be not too far away. He’s right. He then did something unexpected. As we stood up, Bharath put his left arm around my shoulders and pulled me close to console me, and rested his head against mine. Let’s call it a side hug. It was a really special moment for me. I truly felt like he cared. Not that I ever doubted that he does, but he would usually only give a pat on the back or knee etc. But to give me a hug, as he could see I was quite upset, was a really lovely thing to do. I’m not sure how I’m going to say goodbye to someone who has played such a fundamental role in my life - and in such a short time. How lucky I am to have met this man.

Anyway - enough about that. I’ve got it more together now! Just one of those days I guess.

So, I’m now fasting in preparation for tomorrows Kiryas: Jala Neti, Sutra Neti and Vamana Dhouti. I will be sure to give an update re what it’s like to induce power vomiting on the side of the road for all to see!

And with that thought, I shall say goodnight.

Namaste xx


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My meal for the day - probably didn’t need the ‘double’ size…

Safety first!

Reality is beginning to set in

As of Wednesday this week, it will be 2 weeks until I leave Mysore and begin my travels in India. It’s quite a surreal feeling to be honest. I came here knowing it would be such a long time until I went home, and now the end is suddenly creeping up on me. In one month and two days I will be back in Australia. Wow - time is flying.

This place has become home. I’ve developed a routine living here and I can’t imagine not having the routine anymore. The 4.00am alarm clock, my muesli for breakfast, back to class, my vegan thali at lunch, back to class… I also can’t imagine not being in the Shala anymore. That place really has become like a home for me. The surroundings are so comforting every time I’m in the room. And then of course there is Bharath. I’m not sure how I will say goodbye to this wonderful teacher, this wonderful man. He has been such an inspiration for me that it’s going to be a sad moment when we part ways. I have loved hearing his stories, being challenged by him, and just being in his presence. He is so calm, so focused and so committed to yoga and his students that one can’t help but be inspired by such a person.

I actually chatted with Bharath about this last week. He told me to begin preparing myself for the lead up to when I have to go as this will make it easier. I’m not really sure how to prepare myself to be honest. I just know it’s coming! I guess one way of not feeling so upset about leaving, is the knowledge that I will then go forth and pass on what I have learned. It’s my time to now share this gift I have received from Bharath with others in the world. I am so very excited about that. Bharath has also agreed to come to Australia when I open my own Shala one day! That will be a wonderful reunion indeed.

Yes, class is intense, and yes everything hurts - but I wouldn’t change one bit of what I have been, and am still going through. This has been the most eye opening journey I have ever taken in my life and I will forever be a stronger, more aware and confident person for it. That is priceless.

So rather than be sad about the upcoming goodbye, I will work hard at focusing on all of those positives I’ve just mentioned. Yes my teacher may not be with me physically, but he will always be with me in spirit. Plus, he’s only a Facebook post away! Get a grip Jessica :)

Namaste xx


Beauty really is everywhere here

Side walk steps

Because it’s normal to burn your garbage, This is just outside my apartment.

That bike is going nowhere!

Life in Mysore