29 Nov 2010

Friday’s Supper Club, Saturday’s Handcraft Market, Sunday’s Practice Nro 39 and Conference

Time is just flying here! My third month starts soon… On Friday we had a small Supper Club. Me, Brian, Malissa, Maria and Aimee spent a hilarious night in Aimee’s place. For some reason, we all went totally wild and ended up shooting crazy pictures, creating porn names and laughing our brains out. Food was delicious as always and I had one of my favorit dishes, which is Maria’s lemon rice. Fresh coriander, coconut milk, roasted peanuts, fresh lime or citron are some ingredients of the secret recipe…

Day off on Saturday went so quickly. We had a lovely breakfast in Anouki’s (I ate vegan crepes and house’s famous fruit salad, of course chai on the side) and after that we headed to Handcraft Market, which was mostly organized by Sonja and Ashley. They sold handcrafts to collect money against human trafficking. I bought some cards and we spent the whole day hanging out on terrace. The weather was perfect for the market and I think that we all just enjoyed the day.

This morning I headed to the Shala after quite good sleep. I practiced on my favorit spot, next to people, who I didn’t know and Helena behind me. Sharath was assisting me four times! First with Uthita Hasta Padangustasana, then with Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana. He came over me also during Marichyasana D, which was very sticky today, but finally I closed it by myself. Then he helped me to close properly Urhva Mukha Paschimattanasana and told me: ”Don’t fall!”, when he rushed to help someone else. I know, I am really spoilt here…

After my practice, I watched the second group practicing. I was happy to see that there was a girl, who had exactly the same body type as mine practicing among the other stars. Huh. That gave me hope, because this curvy body of mine isn’t really the most ideal one for ashtanga. In the beginning of the second group’s practice Sharath told one girl not to practice with that group. You can practice with second group only, if Sharath invites you to practice with them. Sharath gave his best today, when he showed to the second group, how Mayurasana should be balanced. Not head up, not legs up, but equally balanced. Hah. It’s easy, when you can, and Sharath can show asana like that without any preparations!

After my practice I went for a breakfast to Santosha and chatted with Ann and American Maggie. After that I had chanting class and then Aimee gave me the most relaxing massage. It was so fantastic just to lay still during one hour and enjoy the music plus Aimee’s perfect treatment. We hanged out in her place until it was time to go to this week’s conference. The conference was very entertaining today. Sharath’s daughter wanted to sing to us and it was so cute. Sharath talked about bindu and the importance of Sirsasana as well as other finishing poses. Once again he repeated to us, how we should behave here, because one student of our school had caused here problems for him and at the same time to our school. It’s unbelievable, how difficult it is for some people to understand, that this isn’t Europe or the States. Local people are all the time watching us and everything goes to Sharath’s ears, if we misbehave. Lovely conference however and I really appreciated, how Sharath handled this problem very openly.

I have very good feeling to start this week. I am a bit nervous about the drop backs, but hopefully this week goes smoothly and maybe I can practice next to my Mysore magic Lock tomorrow… Can’t wait!

26 Nov 2010

My Practices 37 and 38 + Thanksgiving Lunch

This week has gone extremely fast. Time is really flying here and a couple of my best friends are leaving now. Quite many people are traveling back home for the Christmas or they are going to Goa to practice with Rolf and Marcy. Many people here respect Rolf highly and have told that he is really amazing. I am happy to be here with Sharath. Goa is a cool place to go, but I feel that for me it’s better to stay here the whole time in India. In any case Sharath is the reason, why I am here.

Yesterday I practiced next to Malissa. I got the last spot in the Shala and I was on the last row, really in the corner. However, I liked the spot and we had much fun with Malissa, when she was transfering from Bjudapidasana to Bakasana and I was practicing Supta Kurma. She literally put her foot over my head and went all the way down to my lower back. We just giggled there like little kids. It was so funny, maybe the most relaxed Supta Kurma ever!

I had a very focused practice anyway, even that I was a bit nervous, because Sharath told me yesterday to start my backbendings now. I went to talk with him yesterday and told him about my back problems as well as long the break. He was as nice as he always is for me. I told him too that I haven’t really learned to do the backbendings and he said, that he will teach me. He told me to take it easy and do three backbendings during this week and next week we start to do more. So I did my normal Urdva Dhanurasana three times and then watched him, but he showed me that no more today. I was quite releaved, because now I have a couple of more days to practice mentally and build up my courage.

After the practice I went home and had a little nap. After that I rushed to Aimee’s and we started the preparations for Thanksgiving lunch. Me and Malissa made Polish pies with potato and onion filling. It was so much fun, because Malissa hadn’t done those ever before and the dough was so sticky. Hah. Finally be managed to do some pretty ones. Aimee made pumpkin pie and we went to Santosha to cook it (that’s the only place where is the oven here). Ann and Magnus weren’t in, so we just walked in and started to figure out, how to light the oven. That was really an adventure and we called a cook and finally went online and found the instructions, how to turn the Indian oven on… And the funniest thing was, when we arrived and the cleaning lady told us to close the door, because ”Problem. Monkey coming!”. Yes, here we have to close the door, so that the monkeys are not coming in and stealing the food.

Brian’s Thanksgiving was an enormous success. We had over 50 yogis packed in to his place. And the food!!! I so wished that all the meat eaters would have been there. I mean there was all sorts of delicious dishes on the table from various countries. American pumpkin pie, Turkish rice, Polish potato pies, Indian rice, various different salads, coconut-cashew energy balls, hummus and corn bread, icecream and cakes just to start… Here I have had so many good dishes, that I am all the time telling that in India the food is always good, you never know, what it is exactly, but it’s always good.

On Friday morning I woke up and felt that little flu was coming. I was very exhausted last night, because my sleeping problems have continued during the whole week. I woke up again at 1 a.m. and couldn’t get a sleep after that. I went to the Shala anyway, because my body didn’t feel too sore. The led class went actually quite well. It’s good to notice, that my practice goes ok, even when I am not in the best shape. Sharath again entertaining us, when he said: ”Why hurrying?” ”Chinese!!!”, when some people went too fast. The energy in the Shala is extremely good. Sharath is always very relaxed with our group and students are pushing, but not in a bad way. We have had many good laughts together and you can feel the joy of the practice around you. Ashtanga is perfect, when it is not too serious.

My Practices Nro 35 & 36

H-E-A-V-Y, that’s the word to describe my past practices. I have been lucky to practice next to Lock, my magic, but still I have felt the practice very intense and demanding. The energy yesterday in the Shala was so heavy. Both me and Lock felt completely beated up during and after the practice. I even saw him walking between some asanas and he is the guy, who can do all the liftings nicely directly to the poses. Somebody has eaten all my energy and I want it back!

Of course the practice is very demanding now, because I got the whole Primary together. I love to practice the whole serie. The practice feels good and I love the final poses. It’s so nice to roll around and really test your balance. Today, we had so funny moment, when one Japanese guy, Jumpe, did a very Japanese sound in the middle of the practice and Sharath said: ”No Samurai!”. Hah. We just cracked up totally and I couldn’t watch Lock next to me during the coming asanas, because I would have started to laugh so much. It was so hilarious, the whole Shala was laughing and we had so much difficulties to keep our faces straight.

The Shala is full now. Yesterday, when I arrived, there were only two empty spots and today both waiting room as well as changing room were full of people doing finishing poses. I am so pleased to start almoust in the first group, so I don’t have to wait before my practice. Now we have to be really awake, when doing for example Garbha Pindasana, so that we don’t roll over each others’ mats. But you can just imagine, how intense the practice is, when there is almoust hundered persons practicing next to each other. Energy is so strong!

Ahu will be leaving on Friday as well as Malissa. We have had such a nice group here and many people have said, that this has been their best time in Mysore. I am so gonna miss the girls, but before goodbyes, we are going to have a Thanksgiving lunch together. Hey. Brian’s house will be full, because over 50 persons have been invited. Can’t wait that party!!!

22 Nov 2010

Two Days Off Behind and Practice Nro 34

I don’t like days off. I mean one day off per week is okay, but moon days and all the festivals on top of that is too much. My body comes stiff and I start to feel restless. Actually this time I had nice two days off.

On Friday we went out to a place called Road. It was fun, because the place was so awesome. Like directly from Twin Peaks with elks on the wall. Hah. Almoust only foreigners and some weird Indians. Gotta tell you that it was first time, when I went out and I was at home before midnight. Yoga people aren’t really party animals, but nice people anyway. The best part of that night was, when we drived around the city. I love India by night and by bike. The most beautiful view must be the main road here, because all the trees are growing along the street and those form ”a roof” over the street. So you are literally under the trees, when passing by. It’s so beautiful during night with all the lights and empty street.

On Saturday I spent the day by the pool. Here is a hotel called Southern Star and the pool area was full of yogis relaxing and enjoying the sun. This was first time for me on the pool and I enjoyed so much, because sun and pool are like my best friends. Would be nice to get some tan before Thailand, but I think that I won’t go there that often.

On Sunday I met with Finnish Heidi and we went to down town by her scooter. I bought some wool again and went to Rashinkar, too. This time it was nicer than the first time, because people stayed quite far away from us. Maybe because Heidi is a tall girl with dreadlocks, so I can easily just walk behind her back and avoid the people coming too near. The rest of the day I layed on Aimee’s sofa and watched, when she was piercing Sonja’s ears. Cool stuff…

This morning I woke up exhausted. I couldn’t get sleep last night and the night before. Moon is stealing my dream and I have only been dreaming really weird dreams. Between Saturday and Sunday I stayed awake from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m. Gosh. It was so annoying.

Today’s practice was ok. It’s a bit scary combination, when you haven’t had that much sleep, but you are stronger than usually because of the two days off. You can easily over-strecht or do something other stupid, when you don’t concentrate properly. I totally forgot to do Supta Padangusthasana and was waiting in wrong position until I realized that I was doing a wrong asana… Nobody was assisting me today and I was next to a really tall guy, who was already before the class sorry about his size. Everything went quite okay anyway keeping in mind the circumstances. After my practice I slept 1,5 hours and woke up with mixed mind. Time to have some food and clear my head!

21 Nov 2010

Practice 32 & 33

So Thursday was very sticky. I actually knew it in beforehand, because often after very good practice comes the tired one. When you have tested your limits during the day before, you will feel it in your body day after. Yesterday I had also chanting and philosophy and during the late afternoon, we had extra program, when Arne and Heidi wanted to do some fire crackers in front of the Shala. The festival season is over now, yesterday we celebrated Tulsi and maybe now the nights will be calmer.

This morning I woke up full of energy and was happy to go to the Shala. I always love the practice before day off, because then you can work as hard as you can and relax after that. You don’t have to be so careful to not overstrech or make yourself exhausted, because you will have time to recover.

I practiced again next to Lock and he seems to be my macig man. I love his calm, balanced practice and today I was even so comfortable next to him, that I put my leg over his chest in Supta Padangustasana. Hahaa, to be honest Sharath allowed me to practice first time until the end in Primary today and that’s why I was running late in Supta Padangustasana and my leg was coming over Lock.

I am so happy that I can now practice the whole serie! I can start to build up my strength properly and the last asanas (except Setu Bandha) are my favorits, so I can enjoy even more about my practice, if possible. Sharath really suprised me today, because usually he has given me only one pose more, but today he showed me to do until the end and assisted me with Setu Bandha, too. Setu Bandha is a killer. I am getting awful headache because of that asana, so I have to ask tips from my friends, how to do it. I have to put all my focus on Urdva Dhanurasana, because Sharath was again today asking me to take it up. I just whispered quickly, that I have back problems and after that he said that spred your legs, so that the asana will be easier. I think that I have to visit him soon and tell him about my back condition. Today my adrenaline level was so high that I didn’t feel any pain during the practice. Now I have some muscle pain, but the back is suprisingly okey.

Sunday will be a moon day, so two days off now. This is great, because we all need rest. Many people have had a really rough week and tonight we are going to take it easy and have a Mexican fiesta. Holaa chicas!!!

17 Nov 2010

Claudia’s B-day, Singing Kirtans and Practice Nro 31

Last night I went to celebrate my Brasilian friend Claudia’s birthday. I met Claudia this summer in Stockholm, when we were practicing with Dena. The circle came around and we met herein Mysore again. I saw her a couple of days ago in Anu’s Cafe and got an invitation for her birthday party.

I arrived to her place really early, because I thought that I would stay only a little time. Claudia had decorated her appartment nicely and prepared some chai for us. We had quite big group of yogis sitting down on the pillows and waiting the singing to start. I sat next to Mexican Arne and he asked me, how to sing ”Happy Birthday to you” in Finnish. So when we had song ”Happy Birthday to Claudia” in Portugese, Spanish and English, Arne started to sing in Finnish and I was obligated to sing along. Hah. Arne is a funny guy! After that we ate cake and sang some kirtans. Bubba gave me a lift home around eight and that was late for us yogis.

This morning I woke up before my alarm rang. I didn’t have that much sleep, but I felt already last night that I was really full of energy. As always, me and Ann rushed to the Shala just before mantra. I got my favorit spot near the door and Lock was practicing next to me. Lock has a really strong and very well-balanced practice, so I got into very nice flow with him. I love to practice next to someone, who has so balanced practice.

Today practice was flying and I didn’t feel any pain. I was very flexible, but strong at the same time. I think that this maybe was my best practice until now. I was just enjoying every minute. Even Urdva Dhanurasana was quite light. I was specially pleased with my transfer from Supta Kurmasana to Bakasana. I did it again without touching the floor. Sharath assisted me with Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana on the left side, otherwise he let me flow. I did my new (old) asana Upavistha Konasana first time today. I like that asana, because the balancing part is quite easy for me. However I know, that Sharath expects us to come up with straight legs, so no way, that I am getting new asanas before that.

There’s still much work to do, but today’s practice and this whole week really gives me hope. Practice is going very well indeed.

30th Practice / Why I Respect Sharath So Highly?

I met Sharath first time in Finland, when he was on his European tour. I think that then there practiced over hundered persons in the same room, but still I sometimes felt that he was laughing at me and watching me carefully, when I was trying to do some tricky asanas.

I came here one month and a half ago and felt really deep connection with that guy in his too wide spandex shorts immediately, when I walked inside the Shala to practice here first time. When he sat in front of me to help me with Marichyasana D, I felt that he was really humble, not pride at all. I mean that person is the only one in the world, who has done all the series with Guruji and then he comes and sits in front of me, our heads facing on the equal level.

I feel that it was very much meant to be that I am here now.

I respect Sharath so highly, because I feel that he somehow sees through the persons. He treats the total beginners in the same way than the students who are really advanced. If you show him your dedication, your willingness to learn, he will give you his time and teachings. It doesn’t really matter, if you are the stiffiest person in the room or you are overflexible and can do amazing asanas directly, he gives you enough challenges and really appreciates your hard work.

I have been really pleased to see here, what kind of persons Sharath has been authorizing. He is not only authorizing the persons, who are the most advanced in asana. He can also see the persons, who have lot of qualities to become good teachers not only in asanas, but otherewise too. I feel that he can see the persons with good hearts. He can give you hard time too being very picky, demanding and strict, but deep inside of him, he seems to be kind, sweet, happy and wonderful person, real teacher. For me, he is pure yoga.

This morning my practice wasn’t really flying. I was very stiff and my back hurted a bit too. I just kept going and the practice got a little easier, when my body warmed up. Sharath assisted me with Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Supta Kurma. I did the transfer in the air from Supta Kurma to Bakasana, when he was standing in front of me. I was so proud of myself, that I didn’t touch the floor. Like I said before Sharath’s memory is amazing and he seems to see everything. So when I finished he came to me and said: ”Tomorrow, one asana more.”. I was very happy, because today wasn’t really my day, but it felt like he had seen me trying so much and wanted to give me a little reward.

Oh yes. The true meaning of ”Om vande gurunam caranaravinde” is starting to come very clear to me. Mysore is magic. Every morning and day.

15 Nov 2010

29th Practice

Indians seems to be really into fire crackers and fire works. Once again last night they wanted to make some noise and shooted fire works. And we yogis couldn’t sleep. That was so annoying, because I had a very relaxed feeling and I wanted to have a good sleep before my practice. Didn’t happen, you know.

Ann walked with me this morning to the Shala. We talked about yesterday’s conference and we both thought that it was a great meeting. Sharath was very open yesterday. I got my favorit spot next to Ursula and for a long time I practiced without any person on my right side. Practice was ok reminding my lousy sleep. Yesterday I knew that my practice would be pretty good, because my body felt good. The beginning of the practice week is usually the best, because during the last days of the practice week my muscles get tired and I feel some muscle pain. That’s why I was a bit upset that I wasn’t able to sleep well and get the best out of today’s practice.

Thomas assisted me with Supta Kurma, otherwise I practiced alone. My Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana is still disaster. I don’t know, what is wrong with that asana. I mean I don’t have problems with other balancing asanas. I think that I am still too stiff and that’s why my balance is totally lost in that asana. Supta Kurma has improved a little bit and now it’s easier to close my hands. We were so near each other, that in Garbha Pindasana I was afraid to go to other people’s mat and couldn’t do it properly. I went over Suzanne’s leg in that asana, so finally I just took it up and did Kukkutasana.

Now I have a feeling, that I would like to have more asanas. All my favorit asanas are in front of me in the sequence now, so I really have to try to show Sharath, that I can do the asanas, which he has already given me. I want to get stronger and when the practice is longer I can gain more strength. So I have to figure out some way, how I can do the Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana without shaking all the time...

Led Class, Santosha, Green Market, Chanting, Conference, Yoga Sutras…

As you can see from the subtitle, my Sunday was full of program. I am not here really in a busy, but I don’t have difficulties to spend my days… It’s brilliant to be able to decide your own scheduale. I can have long lunches with my friends, I can have a sleep after my practice, if I like and I can be alone, but I will meet everyday my friends, when I am walking around here or we have some common classes. This is very ideal way of living. Some people are working from here and I don’t see any problem with that either.

Today’s practice started in a bit nervous way, because we were moving the mats so that one guy could fit inside the shala. Then we started the practice and Sharath told him to do his practice in the waiting room. That was good, because we were really too near each other.

My body was still tired after last week’s practices and for example my knees were sore, which is very rare. Also the air inside the Shala was very heavy today and general energy felt a bit heavy too. However, my practice was ok. I kept Navasana and Sirsasana up the whole counting and also Utplutih was a bit better today. I got horrible adjustment in Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana, because the girl was adjusting me behind me, so I couldn’t grip my toe properly and felt extremely shaky. Sharath assisted me with Baddhakonasana, which was again very light adjustment. I have so much work to do with Urdva Dhanurasana and I would also like to figure out, how I can get my feet through in Bjudapidasana. I think, that I just have to ask Sharath, what’s wrong with those asanas. My back hurts still, so I don’t want to push myself to the extreames, but some slow progress in those asanas could be my next step. After my own class I watched the second group practicing. That group is getting also bigger, so there is more girls doing the advanced practice too.

We had a nice group breakfast in Santosha and after that I went to Green Market with Maria. We bought some lettuce, which was great, because I so miss fresh salads here. You have to be very careful with fresh products, so I boiled the salad in hot water before I ate it. Not really so fresh salad after that, but better than nothing. Chanting class was at 11 a.m. and after that I studied some sutras, so that it would be easier to follow the teacher during the afternoon's philosophy class.

Sharath was in a funny mood today and conference was much of fun. Once again we talked quite much about yamas and niyamas. Sharath showed some details regarding certain asanas and some people asked about drishtis. It was nice to notice, that in Annankatu teachers have teached the asanas in a correct way. Good point was that we shouldn’t touch the floor when we bend the knees in Suryanamaskara B and drishtis should be sharp and exact, not blurry. Sharath started the conference by asking, what is yoga. Three persons answered and one got it right. Sharath also talked about the importance of led class and asked, who weren’t present today’s led classes. Sharath said that from now on he will ask the people who are not present in led classes the reason, why they were absent. If the reason isn’t valid, they have to pay fine of 500 rupees. I don’t know, if he was kidding, but I would be ok with that system. Led classes are totally for our own good. It’s like a test twice a week, how your practice is progressing and can you count the vinyasas correctly. After conference I rushed to philosophy class and was back at home around six. Some food and then sleep, because tomorrow’s practice is early again. 4.45 a.m sharp!

13 Nov 2010

Supper Club and Running Away the Police

On Friday as usual we had Supper Club. This time Brian was our host and we got a chance to see his marvelous place. That guy has around four bedrooms and proper kitchen and some extra open space etc. His place near water tower is just great. This time we had a bigger group of people, but Brian stayed for a long time the only man in the house. Yes. We had around ten beautiful girls and Brian until Mexican Arne came along and improved a little bit equality between genders. We joked that Brian could easily have four wifes, because he has so much empty space in his place.

Aimee, the soul of our Supper Club, had a flu, but she had created anyway a delicious salad for us. Mademoiselle Maria Shanti made us spicy lentil soup, which was voted unanimously as the most popular dish of the day. And what you think about mixture of fresh cocos, goji berries and cashew nuts? Ahu’s eggplant dish had a wonderful Turkish flavour and I was happy to hear that my tsatsiki was also accepted by my Turkish friend. Our final course was raw chocolate pie from Anu’s Cafe, which is always a hit.

After all that food we headed to a charity event, which was organized by some yogis from our school to help Indian street kids. Brian was friendly to give me a lift to the event and we had quite experience on the way there. Of course we got lost and then the police tried to stop us on the main road, because were were driving without helmets. I would love to wear a helmet, because trafic here is sort of chaos, but people really don’t wear helmets here (and I don’t have my own helmet). The ticket regarding driving without helmet is 100 rupees, which isn’t much, so I believe that this is the main reason, why people go around without helmets. We didn’t stop, when the police man was trying to stop us, because one kid was shouting to us: ”Go,go,go!”. The police man hit Brian to his chest, but he didn’t start to follow us. I have to admit that after that drive I felt a bit shaky, but after all we arrived just on time to see the show. The best part of the show was, when the Indian kids were singing kirtans with one yogi. Hahaa. They got so excited, that they screamed, jumped around and boys were dancing to us, too. What a night!

26th and 27th Practice and Santosha

Huh. This week has been very demanding. Sounds ridiculous, but practicing is taking lot of my energy. This was my first week, which was actually whole meaning that I had six practices in a row. Here practice is so intense all the time, that it really takes all the juice out of you. But in a good way of course.

Yesterday’s practice was ok. I was quite tired and during the chanting class I all of the sudden realized that I had forgotten two asanas completely. It is so odd, that you do the same practice every morning, but you can still forget some asanas and you will notice it sometimes during the day after your morning practice. Sometimes I am waiting so much some certain asana, that I skip accidentally some other asanas.

Today’s class was led class again. It felt a little bit easier than last week’s led class. Maybe Sharath wasn’t so demanding today, because we had a long week behind us already. I was able to hold Navasana and Sirsasana the whole time, but Utplutih is still too much. My hands are totally over, when it’s time for Utplutih. I just don’t manage to do it. I also took only one Urdva Dhanurasana up. I want my back to be totally warm, when I take Urdva Dhanurasana up and that’s why during the led class I can only take it up once or twice. After today’s practice I felt that I had really given all and tomorrow’s day off will be really needed.

After practice I had some sleep and headed to Santosha again. I love to go there. Ann (who is keeping Santosha with her husband Magnus) is so fantastic person. She is always smiling and I feel very comfortable with her. She is so positive, kind and warm person. I like to go there early and have a chat just between me and her. We both are so happy here. It was so funny, when Magnus came and asked, how are we, and we both said at the same time, that happy, you know, always just happy to be here. It seems that we both just love this international vibe here and can speak about ashtanga hours after hours.

This morning I spoke for a long time with Ingeborg. She is my wonderful friend from Norway. Ingeborg showed me site regarding her home school in Oslo called Puro Yoga and owned by Alex Medin. It would be awesome to go to Oslo someday, because I haven’t ever been there and Basia Lipska also owns a school there. It’s so great to speak with people about their home schools and hear, how ashtanga is all around the world. I love to hear stories, how people have ended up here, how they have started yoga and how it has changed their lives. It’s so inspiring.

I love to be inspired by other people and I love to inspire other people. I have heard, that a couple of my friends have started yoga again, because they have been reading my blog and nothing makes me more happier. It is so fantastic to be able to inspire people. I can guarantee that if you give yoga a chance, it will bring you happiness, harmony and much more. It’s never too late to start.

11 Nov 2010

25th Practice

Today mysterious energy and secrect strength just took me up in Sirsasana with straight legs first time in my life. I haven’t tried to get up in Sirsasana with straight legs in ages and yesterday I decided to try it. I thougth, that it’s impossible for me after yesterday’s experiences, but today I just walked as near my head as possible and all of the sudden my legs started to rise. Just like that. This showed once again, that when I don’t expect anything from my practice, everything happens just like that. My legs came up, when I wasn’t thinking anything special.

Today I had a good day again. My mind was very focused and I got a good spot next to Ursula. I just got inside the Shala before mantra and I was able to start my day with common mantra among other students. Beginning of the practice was quite interesting, because beetles walked through one girl’s mat and she started to scream and we all started to watch, what was going on, and after a while you started to hear nervous giggling around the Shala. I remember once in Purple Valley, when ants decided to trek through the shala and we were obliged to move our mats and give some space for the ants.

Sharath assisted me with Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana. That asana is actually getting a bit better. It is not so wobbling anymore and I feel some control over that asana. Sharath helped me in Supta Kurma, too. It is easier to close my hands now, but I’m not able to close my hands without help. Today I managed to do the transfer from Supta Kurma to Bakasana. It looks ridiculous, when I am hanging there and my legs are all over, but there is no other way to learn it. Sharath was behind me, when I did Kukkutasana and gave me one pose more. So Baddhakonasana is my last pose now. With that pose, it’s easy to see that I have gained more flexibility here. I put my chin against the floor first time in my life and I wasn’t even trying so much. I am so happy that my hips are opening and the progress is very stable here. Sharath is teaching me gradually and it really works for me. He is not giving me new asanas before my whole practice is stable until the final asana. Sharath wants to see control through the whole practice and he wants to see the stable practice every day. When you can show that, he will give you new asanas.

And you know what? I almous skipped my practice today, because I felt so tired. And now I feel so energetic, that I could run 10 kilometres. And I don’t even like running.

9 Nov 2010

24th Practice

What I really love herein Mysore are the mornings. It’s so beautiful, when you walk back home after your practice. Sun is rising and the village is waking up. Air is fresher than during the day and mostly only birds and old people are awake. It feels like time stops some way. You are not in a hurry, you are just happy where you are. It’s your piece of sky or your piece of heaven. Heaven on Earth.

It’s this after-yoga bliss. You can feel it in Annankatu, too. The light comes through the windows gradually. Your energy grows hand in hand with the light. After Savasana you open your eyes and Annankatu’s shala is full of light. In Koh Mak this bliss came during the morning swim. You left your sweaty yoga clothes behind and jumped to the sea. Time stopped and you only felt the refreshing water around you. In Purple Valley you walked to the shala in darkness. Inside the shala you started your practice in candlelight. Indians had decorated the shala with flowers and you felt that something bigger had been there. You could only hear your friends breathing around you. Light started to come inside and you felt stronger. Sometimes during the Savasana you could hear the monkeys running on the roof. Yes. I have touched the sky so many times.

Today’s practice was stable. I had the same energy level through the whole practice. No great tiredness, no big energy boosts. Just very good, stable practice. I think that today’s practice was like it should be. Focused and strong. And then at some point you will get a new asana and the stability is quite gone. Until you build up your energy back and it’s stable again for a while. Little, but good progress with Yoga Mudra today. I can almoust close the asana now. I can touch my toes with my fingers, but I can’t take proper grip. Slowly, slowly and I will close it.

23rd Practice

It was raining again during the night and I woke up once, because it was really pouring so heavily. I went inside the Shala before the mantra and practiced again next to Ursula. I have really good practice time now. It’s not too early and I am able to select my spot. Some people, who came after me, got a new practice time and they are starting really early. I suppose Sharath will change my practice time later again, but as long as I am in five o’clock group, I am more than happy.

Today’s practice was much better and I realized, that I am so stiff because of the rain and cold weather. I can feel more soreness in my body overall, too and I am quite sure that this is because of the cold nights. This is actually good, because now I can feel more like I would be practicing in Finland. I have to warm up more and really focus on my breath.

Sharath assisted me with Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana and asked after the practice, if I was able to close my hands in Supta Kurma. This time I said to the assistant that he shouldn’t try to cross my legs in Supta Kurma, because it’s at the moment just too much for me. I did finishing poses in changing room again. There I can take it a little bit easier, but I shouldn’t let the laziness take over. I have to work more with Utplutih, it is just so sad asana right now.

I had my chanting class at 11 o’clock again. Starting from tomorrow I will change my group and I will have chanting three times per week after that. I don’t know, if we start to resonate some new texts or is it just a smaller group and more intense work. We will see.

I saw Mikko by chance in Anu’s Cafe and we had lunch together. I got really good information about Yoga Thailand’s TT course, because Mikko has done it before. I asked about the final exam and it will be really demanding. I thought that it wouldn’t be so hard, but when Mikko started to explain about it, I realized, that I have really some studying to do. For example I have to know some mantras and keep a led class for small group. And of course there will be a written exam, too. Luckily I can start my studies here and I don’t have too much disturbing things going on.

7 Nov 2010

22nd Practice

Very terrible practice indeed. Last week was so perfect, that I knew, that at some point the whole practice would sort of collapse. I had two days off and it obviously wasn’t a good thing. My back started to hurt a little bit yesterday and I noticed that almoust the whole right side of my body was really sore. This morning the back was ok (I did some stretching yesterday to give some space for my vedebras), but I didn’t feel good. Last night’s sleep was bad, because people shoot the firecrackers and fireworks along the night. Usually it’s a good idea to practice, when you are sleepy and grumpy, but this time it wasn’t.

Many people looked tired at the Shala. It has been raining quite much and maybe other people haven’t been able to sleep either. I had my favorit spot, but very tall guy was practicing in front of me and put his legs on to my mat many times. I just really hate that. I understand, that it’s harder to stay on your mat, when you are really tall, but you should just go more forward and only come to other person’s mat for example in Chakrasana. Maybe they don’t teach that to the students in other schools, but I almoust stopped my practice and told him to go forward. Yes. I wasn’t very om and shanti today.

My muscles were really sore and I was hard as a rock. So stiff and lot of pain. I stopped in Supta Kurma, because I felt that I couldn’t breath and I wanted to vomit. Really strange practice, hopefully I am not getting ill. I did the finishing poses with others, but I couldn’t get Utplutih up and also Urdva Dhanurasana was fiasco. Sharath wants me to take it up directly, but when I am practicing my normal Mysore practice, I do three small ones and then three times up. I am so careful with my back. I know that I have to change it, because Sharath is watching me and he knows that I can take it up, but I am just so worried about my back. I haven’t told Sharath about my back problems and I know, that he won’t force me to do anything, but I suppose it would be wise to tell him about my previous problems anyway.

I watched the second group again and noticed that many people had problems with balance today. There is now one Finnish girl Heidi practicing among second group. She said that she is mostly practicing alone and I have to say, that she has worked hard on her own, because I really liked her practice. We had a good laught today, when Sharath sort of forgot Ursula in Karandavasana and she stayed there ages waiting Sharath to get her up. The whole audience started to laught, when Sharath continued the counting, all of the sudden noticed, that Ursula is still down and then rushed to get poor Ursula up.

I was so happy yesterday, when I came back home and I had received a parcel. I got my yoga books for Yoga Thailand finally! You can’t count on Indian post office at all. The whole packet was ripped off and they had checked the books through. It doesn’t really matter, what you send, they will check it anyway. I heard that they can even cut your postcards to see, if there is some money glued inside. So lucky me again, that I got my valuable books!

6 Nov 2010

Diwali and Metropole

Yesterday started the crazy diwali celebration. It seems that Indians really love festivals, because all the time here is some carneval going on or at least here is a day of one of the Hindu gods. And I can promise that Indians have so many gods that we could celebrate every day of the year. For example this Diwali celebration is interesting, because I haven’t figured out is it the main festival day Friday or Sunday, because it seems that for other people Friday is more important and others say that Sunday is the day. What really happened was, that we yogis had Friday off and Indian children were shooting lot of firecrackers.

We didn’t have Supper Club this week, because we went out for a dinner instead of our normal Friday routine. Our group is getting bigger. Last night we had Aimee, Maria, Ahu, Melissa and Brian. Brian is Aimee’s really good friend from States and still suffering from a pretty good jetlag, because he arrived a couple of days ago and among other things missed his flight on his way here. It’s crazy, how long it takes for Americans to get here. No wonder that they seem to upgrade their seats to the first class…

I am sure that this Diwali wasn’t typical for Indian children, because it was pouring so heavily, that we didn’t really hear so many firecrackers. I don’t still have an umbrella, so I walked to Aimee’s place my towel around my head and ended up there completely soaked. It was literally like walking through a small river. Ahu joked, that this is the only way to wash streets in India and I have to agree.

We went for a dinner to Hotel Metropole. This was actually the first time, when I weared make-up here. But you still don’t feel very trendy, because you have to dress up like grandma. I don’t even have any high heels here. Metropole was really nice place and the food was so good there. This was the first time, when I got really spicy Indian food. I love spicy food, but I have started to feel, that it is might not that good for my body. I had vegetarian kebab. It sounded so weird, that I decided to try it. We ended up tasting each others’ food which is actually the best way to figure out, what is good in the restaurant. Only thing, what was terrible there, was my drink called Green Eyes. Melissa described it as mixture of soap and man’s parfume. Aimee said that it looked radioactive. Hah. First drink ever, which I couldn’t drink, and Aimee was so friendly, that she returned my drink and got some soda instead for me.

On our way back home, it wasn’t raining anymore. That was good, because the girls, who weren’t sitting in the middle of the riksha, got really wet on our way to the hotel. After the dinner, we went to Aimee’s. We had organised a little suprise for one of our friends, who got amazingly good news during this week. Girls had ordered special cake for her and we had some sparkling, too. Rest of the night we were just laying on the floor gossiping… Party house Rashinkar tries to keep up its reputation and so we stayed up until midnight.

21st Practice and Philosophy Class

It was pouring heavely during the whole night. I don’t have an umbrella, so luckily the rain stopped just before I stepped out. Monsuun is here, but I don’t mind. I like rain and air is fresh every morning after the rain. It’s so good for the nature and I like to fall asleep, when I hear the raindrops. Rain is something very peaceful. And chai and rain so belong together.

I was practicing next to British Ursula, which was a good place to practice, because she has a very stable practice. It felt that today’s led class was very demanding, but in a good way. I felt suprizingly strong and practice was going well. Sharath assisted again with Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana and even that asana is getting slightly better. I got too strong adjustement in Supta Kurmasana, so I needed to back off a little bit. I suppose, that it’s very difficult to size the amount of power, if you are quite tall or big yourself. It takes time to learn to read the student. I wait very much studies regarding that in Yoga Thailand. It will be wonderful to learn more about body and mind. I kept Sirsasana up the whole counting, but on the contrary Utplutih was on the floor from one until the end. I just didn’t have any power left. But all together I was pleased with my practice.

It’s so good to notice that I am building up my strength step by step. I want to be in shape, when I am going to Thailand and this is a really good opportunity to get back on track after my back problems. Every day I have to repeat to myself, that take it easy. I can feel that my hips are opening more, but I have to be supercareful with my back. I must think about it during my whole practice. One tiny slip can be sort of fatal to me. It’s so difficult, because my mind is very greedy and wants to put my body aside.

I went to Shala’s philosophy class today. The teaching style is very Indian, maybe even too Indian for me, but it’s good to come familiar with the basic concepts and definitions. As a Western person, it’s so difficult to understand, how big matter karma here is. Every day you work with your karma. Some way it sounds terrible that so much depends on the family to which you were born. I was wondering today, what Indians think about adoption. If you born to a lower cast family and then you will sort of upgrade your status, if you are adopted to a good family or how it works? Is it then just that you might did something good in your previous life?

Horoscopes are also extremely important here and even in Guruji book it’s mentioned that Guruji’s and his wife Amma’s horoscopes weren’t match, but Amma wanted to marry Guruji anyway. And old yoga students say in book, that they were very happy together. It’s very beautiful to see here everyday people, whose faith is so strong. They believe that correctly done puja can heel a person and some women are upset, when they can’t do certain puja, when it should be done, because they have periods. Religion is here part of everyday’s life. In Finland you can’t really see religion, but here you can’t avoid it. I am just wondering, how big shock it must be for Indians to travel abroad and see countries, where religion is considered as some kind of like madness. It feels like Guruji was almoust like radical among Indians at his time, because he decided to teach Westeners and both women as well as men at the same time, too. He also taught very ill people and didn’t care, when the other students said, that they will leave, if the lepers will practice. I have got the impression that Guruji was very religious person, but he said that yoga is for everyone, only not for lazy people. It’s interesting, that open-mindnesness can be considered as radical at the same time.

3 Nov 2010

20th Practice / Very Early Morning, Finnish Group Is Getting Bigger

I went to see Sharath yesterday, because it was time to pay my monthly fee. He changed my practice time once again, so I started this morning at 5.00 a.m. Shala time. So I have to wake up at 4.10 a.m. regular time, because I have now new breathing practice, which I have to practice for Yoga Thailand (before my usual asana practice). Sort of change for my previous life, because before I used to walk home from a bar or after-bar-parties at that time. I suppose those days are quite much gone now…

The cool thing with the early morning is, that we are doing the opening mantra together. I love that. It feels like the whole group is more together sharing the morning and the practice. I don’t know, why Sharath selected me to start so early, because the other people, who used to practice with me, start now half an hour later than I. Many of those unreal people are practising now at the same time with me. My favorit guy was next to me today and the door was on the other side, so quite nervous spot. Luckily the guy next to me did very calm practice, so I didn’t freak out totally. I should have a slower pace. Those practices, which are quite slow, are so beautiful.

Today’s practice was a little bit tired, because I didn’t get that much sleep last night. I was assisted in Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana. The guy, who assisted me with Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana is really tall. So he took my foot really high. Maybe even too high. I didn’t wanted to say anything, because his adjustment was otherwise good. I haven’t ever been assisted with Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana and it was strange. Very difficult to go down, when somebody keeps your other foot really high. I just have to loosen up my hips a little bit more and then I can close Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana as well as Yoga Mudra.

I did finishing postures in changing room, because there was no space in the Shala. Changing room was really dark and I had just a tiny spot for my mat upstairs. Try it once at home, it’s quite interesting to do your finishing postures in dark. You can only hear your and your friends’ breath. It’s nice feeling, when you know that you can control your body so well that you don’t actually have to see anything to do your asanas. And Savasana is so relaxing in dark.

So here is now three Finns plus I. Matleena, who I met first time in Houtskär, arrived last week. We met Finnish Heidi in Anu’s Cafe two days ago. Yesterday I saw Mikko, who is a friend of many of my friends in Finland. It’s funny to meet someone, who you already know in some way. Mikko is teaching in Copenhagen and he showed me yesterday some pictures from their new shala. It is so beautiful place and you can go inn, when you like, because you have your own key. They have really figured out all the details (like the places of lights and mats etc.). I wish, that I could visit that shala someday. Mikko was very helpful and I got many nice movies and documents to watch. It’s wonderful to get some new friends again.

2 Nov 2010

19th Practice / Very Good Indeed!

Like I thought, my muscles were quite sore this morning. I walked to the Shala and the waiting room was full of people, who I didn’t know. Sharath called me first in and told, that I should come tomorrow at 5.30 a.m. So I have to start my practice tomorrow at 5.15 a.m. regular time. Btw. It’s good to know, that when you wait in the waiting room, the old students go first in. It doesn’t matter, if you arrived before to the waiting room, the old students (who arrived to Mysore before you) will pass you and then you go in.

My spot was next to the main door and first it bothered me a bit, because Sharath called often ”One more / Two more / Wait” next to me and went to check the people in waiting room. I was quite stiff in the beginning and because it was raining outside the air was very humid and sorf of heavy, too. When my body got warmer, the practice started to be more focused. When the start is sticky, I start to listen to my breath and then it’s easier to concentrate. Uthita Hasta Padangusthasana was very wobbling again, but Marichyasana D was closed alone both sides. Sharath didn’t see that, because he went to the office on that moment. Bhujapida is coming back to me, too. It’s stronger and I can keep my heels off the floor. Now, I should get my heels back and up and then it would be more by the book.

Sharath came to assist me with Kurmasana. He just touched my back really lightly and I went much deeper to the pose. I didn’t feel any pain, I was actually very relaxed. I was able to keep my hands together almoust the whole time in Supta Kurma and I managed to jump back without touching the floor. So when I finished the pose, Sharath said very good and promised that I can do Garbha Pindasana tomorrow. I said: ”Cool!”. Oh jeah! My rocking chair is back! Can’t wait to hit the floor tomorrow. Hah. I am very happy, because Supta Kurma is easily the most difficult asana for me and now I passed it. I still have so much work to do with Primary Series, but it’s nice to get one asana more. I can build up my strength more.

I have to say, that led class isn’t always so hilarious time, but it really builds up your strength. I am much stronger now. I can keep my Sirsasana up much longer than before and every fight with Navasana it’s worth it. So it’s in the name of led class!

1 Nov 2010

Rocking Practice!

Yes. Very good morning today. Marichyasana D closed alone on both sides! Finally, it has been so near two weeks and now I did it. Only light pain with my ankle anymore, so half-lotus is easier and that’s the way it came back to me. Also little progress with Supta Kurma, because an assistant was able to close my hands. Before only Sharath could do that, but it seems that my stiff hips are getting a bit more loose. Today was the day, when I took the first breath and I knew, that today the practice will rock. Sometimes you just know.

Today I practiced really in the middle of the Shala. Indian girl Tiana practiced in front of me and it was quite fun, because we started almoust at the same time, so the whole practice went so, that she was like my mirror. It was good practice for me specially, because I was able to observe, how long my breath is. I have quite short breath and I am trying to learn to make it a little bit longer. Then my whole practice is calmer.

Sharath wasn’t assisting me today, but I felt his eyes on my back many times. Even Bhujapidasana was much more better today. It’s clear, that rest did good for my muscles. Tomorrow will be harder, because my muscles will be more tired, but I don’t mind. Today everything went so well…