Feel it don't force it

Physically, today has probably been my most challenging day. From the moment i sat on my mat at 5am this morning and felt pain in my backside, I knew I was in for a rough day. Emotionally too - when I woke and looked at a picture of my Owen at home, I felt quite sad and lonely. So I think the combination of heightened emotions plus physical and mental exhaustion has made today a more difficult day than normal. Our teacher is always reminding us that we will experience fluctuations in emotions, health, strength etc whilst training, so no doubt this also has something to do with it also - but mostly I just miss him.

I have just come from a really trying practice (what’s new). Some time ago I gave myself a goal to successfully move into and hold Kakasana. Well - I’m still not there and I keep beating myself up about it. I’m aware I shouldn’t do this, but sometimes you cant help but feel like a failure when you try and try and still can’t find the strength and focus the posture requires. What I have learned since being here, is that these postures often have nothing to do with strength. Any fit, strong person can possibly move into it postures like Kakasana. But it’s when you move into the posture with a conscious awareness of all the parts of the body which are activated and working in duality to get you up that you have successfully achieved it. I’m clearly not at that point yet!

My teacher is very encouraging but that only makes me feel worse as i can’t help but feel I am disappointing him. I know this is untrue and need to get a hold on these unhelpful thoughts. (Again, aware its an overly emotional, and therefore irrational day for me). I guess that’s just what’s real for me at the moment is all.

My entire body hasn’t stopped shaking today. A combination of squatting against a wall with knees bent and hands overhead for 5 or more minutes, legs raises, single leg balancing asanas and sitting for hours, has left my legs weak. Basic balancing postures like Garudasana (eagle) and Vrksasana (tree) have been extremely difficult for me. Normally these are fine however upon reflection I am aware I have never pushed myself the way i have been pushed here - hence my legs have had reserve strength for when I move into these asanas. Tonight I could feel the sweat dripping down my back as I did by best to keep my body uplifted and strong. Never before has my body been worked so hard. No gym class, PT class, jogging or weights session has ever come close to the level of work and effort you put into holding your own weight. it’s phenominal what can be achieved.

Tonight, when class ended, our teacher spoke to the group in a way which left me feeling truly inspired. Firstly, he  said “if your entire body is in pain, then the training is working”. That made me feel a little better! He told us that a mountain looks beautiful from afar, but it can be difficult to climb, however once at the top, the view is magnificent. This is what we are going through now. We are climbing that mountain - Everest!

Our teacher is very gentle in how he speaks. He assures we are not to force ourselves into a posture, but to feel it. I love this and will be sure to remember this when teaching others. Our teacher also made it very clear that he is there for us. Should we have any questions or concerns, he is available. He told us that through making mistakes and asking questions we can learn. If we know everything, then he cannot teach us as there is nothing to teach - so it is expected that we come with many questions. I have a book full ready to go! I may need to block out an hour or so ;)

Finally, our teacher talked about why we need to study so intensely everyday - to know the asanas inside and out. The Sanskrit name, the limitations and benefits, technique, common mistakes and variations. He explained that we are no longer beginners, We are training to become teachers and in doing so it is our responsibility to educate others, to share our knowledge. So we must know these things. I find it really exciting when he refers to us as teachers. Not only am I thrilled my own practice is deepening so much, but i am thrilled that I will be able to share this experience with many others to come.

Well - i need to fall into a state of unconsciousness now before my heart stopping alarm goes off at 4am in the morning again. Then i can repeat this all again!

Namaste xx

Mysore, India - crazy or not crazy? You be the judge!

Well - words fail me when it comes to describing the chaos of Mysore. I met someone yesterday who told me its easy to get caught in the Mysore bubble and never want to leave. I think she may have meant the Gokulam bubble (my suburb) as the city of Mysore is out of this world. But before I explain why.. some background about my day and how I ended up amongst the chaos.

Me being me, I had to visit one of the main attractions in Mysore - the Mysore Palace. This is for two reasons - one being that I genuinely want to see the palace and the other being that it will force me out of my comfort zone and throw me into the thick of the city. Well - that it certainly did.

After negotiating with a number of rickshaw drivers, all who try to scam the unsuspecting westerner (i do my research and know I should not pay more than 70 rupees for a ride to the city) I eventually found a driver who settled at 80 rupees. Considering I was getting frustrated by this point, I didn’t want to quabble over another 20 cents AUD. This trip alone was enough to shock all the senses yet again - speeding along the falling apart roads, weaving in and out of other trucks, cars, scooters and rickshaws, this experience alone is not for the faint hearted. As we began to near the city the traffic quadrupled in size. Within centimeters of my rickshaw are other rickshaws or trucks - people with claustrophobia may need to think twice when traveling the streets of Mysore. Even if I wanted to get out and walk, I would have needed to wedge myself between other vehicles in order to get through. Amazing.

I was dropped at the palace entrance which is swarming with locals trying to sell everything from incense and jewelry to handbags and thongs. Considering I have gone from ‘quiet’ (in comparison) Gokulam to people getting right up in your face to push for a sale, it can certainly be a little confronting initially. I just learned very quickly to 1) not look at the sellers in the eye (or not for long) 2) be firm with my 'no’ and 3) keep walking (this is absolutely necessary - certainly nowhere to rest here!)

As I am a foreigner I had to pay 200 rupees to enter the palace, compared with the 40 rupees locals pay. After walking through a rather serious looking metal detector which made some god-awful noise once I walked through, I was looking at a beautiful lemon and white coloured palace with stunningly beautiful red domes (not sure of the correct word) on the roof. I followed the crowds and found myself at a entry point to the palace where my shoes were to be left before entry. (As there are no records kept of whose shoes are whose, I was hopeful I would get mine back at the end of the visit - thank fully this was the outcome).

Prior to actually entering into the palace myself and other visitors were harassed to take an alternate route which meant passing through the tourist sales shop. Of course.

The palace was stunningly beautiful. With so many vibrant colours - golds, lime greens, reds.. - surrounding me, one can see why this is considered one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. And the intricate detail in every dark teak wood carving on the wall or door is fascinating. There were flowers, stars, Gods.. It would be impossible to identify all the different carvings throughout the palace.

Gold is a prominent feature of the palace - huge pillars from floor to high ceilings flaunt golden features. The entire front face of the palace is open to the elements, and upon walking into the grand room which looked out to the world, one couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by such magnificence. The natural light beaming into the palace and bouncing off the golden and green pillars made this a room feel like royalty if ever there was a way of showing it. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures in the palace (I got whistled at and told off), so this will remain in my memory only, however it is certainly a place to visit if ever in Mysore - even if its just to see this room.

The palace lights show is every Sunday night at 7.00pm so I will be sure to get myself back there next week to see this. It’s meant to be quite a magical experience. (Aladdin anyone?)

I caught another rickshaw to one of the biggest markets in Mysore - Devaraja Market. Lonely Planet recommended this one. The driver warned me of pickpockets and advised I don’t fall for any child who tries to speak with me as chances are there is a man behind stealing from me. I was glad to have the heads up.

After somehow making it across the main road alive, I walked through a dark entrance into a bustling markets. The first thing you notice are the vibrant dies which are beautifully displayed in bowls at the front of market stalls. The next are the number of people who instantly swarm to you, looking at you like starving dogs ready to attack their prey. I was hounded non-stop walking through this market - it’s incredibly intimidating at first and then it just becomes draining - having to constantly ignore or fend people off. One man in particular followed me around for much of the market trying to sell me anklets, but i just wasn’t interested. I also wasn’t keen on opening my purse in a place like this. Everyone is so jammed up against one another, it wouldn’t take much to steal from you if given a split second opportunity.
I also noticed there was a yellow cow in the market wandering around - yes that’s correct - yellow. Random.

I was a little full up with Mysore by the end of this ordeal and decided to head back to Gokulam where I finally ate something before heading to a local supermarket. Here I managed to get a couple of necessary cleaning products -hand soap and baby wipes for cleaning my feet each night. Thank goodness for them.

Feeling completely overwhelmed with sounds, sights and smells, I’ve decided to spend the late afternoon and evening in my room. After chatting with Owen via Skype for an hour or so I have been writing all the Sanskrit names of the foundation yoga postures. Considering I start training tomorrow at 11.00am, I thought now was an opportune time for brushing up on my Sanskrit.

Hopefully now it makes a little more sense why I think the girl I met yesterday was probably referring more to the Gokulam bubble rather than the Mysore bubble.. Craziness.

Making friends in India!

Chatting with a girlfriend yesterday, Lisa, she recommended I get in touch with my Shala and ask they distribute my email address to all the other students. This is so people can get in touch with me before class starts so we can try and organise our accommodation. I thought it was a fabulous idea so I did exactly that!

I emailed Indea Yoga last night and already one lovely woman, Brittany, has emailed to touch base. I’m thrilled! I can’t help but feel terribly nervous and lonely about the trip which lies ahead. I will miss Owen and my little pug Tyrone terribly. But knowing someone who will be there also makes it a little easier - or at least, a little less stressful.

Since Owen and I have moved into his parents house in the hills, I have felt so calm. I have my own room dedicated to yoga which is really special. I practice in there each morning with the sound of birds chirping outside. How magic! I feel I have been practicing more wholly, in a more focused way since being here. I am also committed to learning the Patanjali Yoga Sutra - but it’s tough.

Owen is in Melbourne working at the moment. I miss him so much, and this is only going to get worse once i officially leave. But at least we will both be learning / experiencing new things over the coming months. Owen will be in Melbourne and setting up our life there whilst Im hanging out in Mysore. Hopefully this will help with the homesick feelings. Being busy and learning new things will make time fly - for us both. This isn’t what I want to happen for us, but I certainly want to work out a way of easing the pain of being apart for so long… Hmm, Im not sure anything can.

Well, another big day complete. Only 8 more days of work left!!!!

Crazy weekend - crazy week ahead

Well it’s been a huge weekend. 9 months of planning for my partners surprise 30th birthday has finally paid off. I got all the boys here from around the country (and world) and they had an absolute blast. And I know my Owen was so thrilled to see them all as they were to see him. As one could imagine, this planning has taken over my life a little but now I can get focused again on my yoga practice and prep for India.

I’ve spent some time talking with Craig Mallett who is a PT and natural movement instructor. He runs workshops and retreats throughout the year, which is exactly what I want to do but in the world of yoga. Craig has some great contacts in Melbourne who he wants to hook me up with which is wonderful. It’s really exciting talking with people about my new plans, my new life, and hearing how supportive people are of this decision. I would love to partner with Craig at some stage and run a retreat. His training coupled with my yoga training could work beautifully together. Anything is possible!

This morning I went through the names of all the postures I have been learning so far. I’m getting a little quicker with the names which is a good sign. Only a few hundred more to learn!

Getting over the hurdle of Christmas will be good. My training regime is all over the place right now!

Tomorrow I will finally notify my employer of my resignation. I am so excited about this because of what this will mean on an emotional and symbolic level. This is it. This is the beginning of something new, exciting, terrifying… It’s happening! I would have notified my boss on the 24th but he will be on leave then. Therefore - tomorrow is it! 

Just keep training

I love Christmas. It’s such a wonderful time of year. There is a fabulous energy about the world at this time.

Today I spent lunch trying to collect last minute Christmas gifts. It;s suddenly happening too soon.

I haven’t done alot today in the world of yoga. This morning I went through the asanas I have learnt thus far, but I’m not doing very well. There are so many names for postures which all look very similar. I know I can learn them over time - but in 6 weeks? Well - anything is possible right!