30 Dec 2011

What a Great Day!

So it seems that everybody had a tough practice today. When we were complaining about our lousy practices on coconut stand, one guy came over and said thank you, because he wasn’t the only one with a bad practice today. Many of my closest friends here are injured at the moment. And so many have had a flu and being laying on their beds. Nobody really knows, what’s going on, but we keep knocking the wood for those friends, who are fine at the moment.

However, I had a good day today. I went to Sandhya for a lunch with my dear friends, food was amazing as always. After that I did a little bit shopping, got a number from a cute guy for my friend (maybe I am real Mysore matchmaker) and saw my dear friend Angela, who just arrived from the States.

I went to pay my shala fee, again for Usha, because Sharath was playing outside with his son. This was the first time, when I actually had the right amount of money with me and I joked to Usha, that I am finally learning. So no word with Sharath, but practicalities in order anyway.

I went to Maria’s place for a chat and some guys were practicing there. It was amusing to watch their own play-ground (and safe, because I can’t dislocate any part of my body, when I am just watching) and then Maria and I went for a coconut. My whole extended Mysore family was there and one of my friends had so good news that it made my day indeed. Promised to keep my lips closed, so can’t reveal the secret yet, but I can assure you, that this is fantastic news.

I came home late and read a little bit sutras. It was a good remainder from the sutras that practice becomes firmly grounded when well-attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness. Like Swami Satchidananda says: ”So, it is not only how long you practice, but with what patience, what earnestness and what quality also.” I have some work to do with my patience. Patience, devotion and faith. It’s not only the amount of the work, it’s also the quality of the work. So it doesn’t matter so much, what I do (in asana level), it’s more about, how I do it. Slowly, slowly and without losing it.

Lousy Practice, But Good Chai

This morning again I woke up nose blocked and frustrated. I still can’t turn my head, so Chaturanga Dandasana is awful. I went to the Shala, queued long and got the spot, which I really hate. I was on the last row, on the cold floor and there is crazy breeze around you. Plus people walk in front of you to the changing room constantly. On my left side was a girl, whose nose was totally blocked. So many people are having this strange flu, no fever, but every morning you wake up face swollen and nose blocked.

Practice was awful, too. There was no focus and body felt heavy. Too much pain everywhere to actually enjoy my practice at the moment. This neck injury is affecting my back and weak breathing doesn’t really make this better. I was so tempted to finish after half-Primary, but I just decided to go through all the way. I closed in changing room, skipped Sirsasana and some other poses. I tried to do Padmasana to calm me down, but just gave up finally. Practice is totally lost, I am beging on better next week. The problem is partly inside my head, my focus is so lost.

After practice I had a coconut and then went for a chai with Todd. Todd is in such a good mood, so he is perfect company for me. He totally got my spirits up and I walked happy back home. When practice sucks, you need good people around you. I have had so much pain during the past half an year, that I can lose my perspective on things pretty easily. People, who have been practicing for a long time and have gone through similar periods, are good to hang out with. This is one of the awesome things here, so many great people around you to keep your head straight, when you don’t have your own will-power to do that.


I didn’t practice on Sunday, my neck was still off and I got some fever. On Monday morning I struggled a lot. Should I go or should I stay? If I go, am I able to take it easy or am I gonna be carried away? What about practicing at home? I am glad that I went, I did pretty decent half-Primary, Sharath came over asking me about the drop-backs, but I looked scary and said no. He was merciful and said: ”Next week.” So hopefully next week is full power and no fear.

I practiced on Monday again next to Todd and it was just hilarious. He likes to talk. He likes to joke. So I ruined my Uthita Parshvakona B totally, because I started to laugh at him. When Todd was doing Karandavasana with Mama, they had a little talk about the adjustment. I had difficulties to keep my face straight, when Todd said to Mama, that I go down alone and then you gonna lift up my heavy body. He is so much fun and it’s good to practice next to somebody with who you can actually have some fun. Ashtanga shouldn’t be so serious all the time.

Today I was between big people. The guy on my right was tall, but he had so good shala manners. The girl on my right was Russian and they are so pushy with their practices. You can almoust feel, how much they push. I know that Finnish people are stubborn with their practices, but Russian people are on another level. Sometimes I am afraid that they gonna kill themselves (or me). They both did Second, so I moved pretty much back and forward to give them some space. I did whole Primary except Setu Bandha. Practice was heavy, because the shala was so hot today. I don’t do well with that, it feels like I can’t get enough air. Every morning when I woke up, my nose is blocked, so that also gives me a feeling, that my inhale is so weak. So obviously I am not yet in shape, but hopefully I can practice through the rest of the week. Neck is still off, but it’s not getting worst. I feel positively about it, it will heal fast.

Sharath moved my time finally, I practice now 8.30 a.m. I have to pay my next month’s shala fee this week, so he might give me a new starting time. I am pretty ok with 8.30 a.m., because I can still sleep and I finish a bit earlier, so that I will have more time before chanting etc. And I can close inside the shala, which is good for my back.

Time is going so fast here. My first month is almoust over… Bubba arrived last week, Mikko will be here tomorrow, Anriikka is coming in the beginning of January and Aimee in January, too. Time is so different here. People are coming and going, it’s like own time zone. Your life settles around your practice. Sometimes one breath can be so long and then you face days, when nothing moves. Time to take every second in or at least every ray of light. Christmas time in Finland has been very stormy, so I have to enjoy the sun now.

24 Dec 2011

Merry Christmas!

I love my room in Mysore, because every morning I can bathe in sunlight. My balcony is facing the morning sun and my room is full of light 6.30 a.m. I can now wake up without alarm, my body knows, when it’s the time to wake up.

I started my Christmas morning with fresh, self-made orange juice and green tea. I went to bed early last night feeling a bit low, because of my brutal massage and hurting neck, but I woke up this morning happy after good sleep. Good sleep is essential for me, without it I am not myself. I made a good decision yesterday, when I decided to skip one charity party and just stay in. I am not tired now and my sleeping routine is in order.

Today I am invited to Christmas lunch with over 20 people. I am trying to keep my Christmas spirits up and enjoy good food as well as company. I am facing here the same troubles as at home, so many tempting invititations and incredibly hard to decide, where to go. Finally I decided to stay in Gokulam and just go with the flow. Hoping to have a breakfast with Finnish friends and then see my international group.

I miss my Mami today. She is a talented cook and loves to pamper her daughters. I think that my dad is decorating the Christmas tree now and my sister is excited about her gifts. Not the ones, which she will receive, but the ones, which she can give. She loves to buy gifts. I am also missing my dear friends all over the world, who are not with me today. I have shared Christmas Eves and Days with different friends in various countries and I will never forget those times.

Christmas peace is here now. Om shanti.

23 Dec 2011


That’s the word, how my massage therapist Joycee described my body. She asked me, what I have done to my body, because my back is so swollen… Just some yoga, you know. She said that my body has taken so much pain, that it’s become numb. Now my body is covered by bruises, some are size of my palm. I am hoping that Joycee’s treatment is doing me good, not sure about that yet.

On Wednesday night I felt pretty good and did some yin yoga. Then I decided to try chakrasana and I was able to do it again! It has always been ridiculously easy pose for me (I learned it, when I was a kid). And I have had difficulties to understand, why somebody couldn’t do it. But we all have our challenges. My challenge seems to be, how I can practice without injuring myself constantly.

Because of that night training on Wednesday, I propably strained my neck. I woke up on Thursday and my neck was sore, but I thought that’s nothing serious and went for my practice. Just to walk out after standing poses. I couldn’t turn my neck to the left at all. And I couldn’t hold any weight on my left arm. So there wasn’t much vinyasa happening…

There was no way taking led class today. I still can’t turn my head. So frustrating, but I am hoping that this injury will heal fast, because I have had it before. It’s related to my back, the pain moves away from my back under the shoulder blades and then it comes to my neck. Normally Supta K can cause this pain for me, but this time it was chakrasana.

It would be interesting to speak with somebody, who has similar body type as I have. I don’t feel that much pain during the practice (unless it’s nerve pain), I am quite flexible, but after practice, when my body gets cold, I am sometimes starting to feel insane pain. Many teachers are assisting me in a very strong way, because they don’t know my body type and I have to often tell them to take it easy with adjustments. And when this flexibility is mixed with very pitta character, it’s pretty damaging combo. So one of my best teachers is always telling me to try less. Sharath is here very protective with me, his assistants are not allowed to touch me. Then I should just learn to protect myself from myself…

So what can I say? Always respect the pose, even the easiest one.

22 Dec 2011

Word with Sharath

I went to speak with Sharath. I asked about Setu Bandha and my practice. He showed me, which part of the head should be on the ground and it’s pretty close to the forehead. That pose is a killer for me, I don’t understand the pose and that’s why, it’s so hard for me. I do better with the poses, which I can do inside my head, too. Image counts for me.

He said that I should relax into the poses. He also said, that I am sometimes holding my breath (I am aware of this, but it’s just so difficult for me to breath freely). Maybe there is some strange control freak inside of me. Free breathing was his advice.

And then he said that I should start back bendings next week (this means drop-backs). I am dying. He said that only with him, but I am still dying. This is not just some little fear, this is crazy fear of dying or injuring myself terribly. I said that my back is better (which is true), but now my hip is hurting. He asked, if it’s muscle pain or something else. I said that I think that it’s muscle pain. But I still don’t know about those drop-backs. I can’t do chakrasana and muscles around right hip are cramping after practice. I should massage the hip with oils, but I am not sure, if there is still something else than just muscle pain.

Sometimes I just think, how crazy I am to be here. And how crazy this practice is.

Christmas Week and It's Cold!

It has been so cold today. Personally I am fine with the weather like this, because as much as I love sun, superhot weather makes me just sleepy. And I don’t like to practice, when the shala is boiling, it feels like I can’t get enough air to breath. After all these years of traveling, I know, that I love four seasons and my favorite climate is in France. Summers in Finland are special, but winters are just too much. Never-ending darkness just isn’t my thing.

My practice today was ok. I don’t have that much back pain anymore, now it’s my right hip which hurts. I have started to lift up Urdva Dhanurasana and I can feel it under shoulder blades. But all in all I am very suprized, how fast the practice is coming back. It feels like everything is there, I just have to put the pieces together. Chakrasana is still impossible. It’s the only pose, which I can’t do from Primary Series. I think that I won’t do drop-backs during this trip, but on the other hand I still have one month left and it’s hard to say, how fast I can heal.

Today I cooked first time at home. I never cook in India, because the food is so cheap to eat out here. Eating out is also very social event here, big part of your day. I get bored with my food very easily, so that’s why I cooked at home today. Indian food is heavy, so time to time I really need something else. Vivian’s Taiwanese buffet is a good option on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but at the moment I am eagerly waiting my avocados to ripe. Last season I couldn’t find any, but we got lucky in Easy Day (a new supermarket here) and now I am just waiting…

Like last year, I assume that Christmas won’t be a big thing here. We will practice normally through the whole week, because Moon Day is this year on Saturday, which is off anyway. My friend Yan is organizing a B-day lunch on Saturday and on Friday I will be working as waitress for charity party. For some reason I am craving after chocolate, which I don’t normally eat that much. Maybe my body is telling me, that it’s Christmas time…

Why I Am Here?

During yesterday’s conference Sharath asked us, why are we here. I think that we were a bit shy to answer that question, because nobody really replied. Part of Sharath’s own reply was that we are somehow connected to this place because of our previous lifes. We might have been practicing yoga for a really long time.

Sunday’s conference was so beautiful, we did a little bit pranayama together and Sharath was in such a good mood. I believe that questions like that are bringing us closer to each other. It gives you a feeling that you are part of something bigger, that being here is very important.

My reply for that question would have been, that I am here, because this is the source. This place is the source of ashtanga yoga tradition. I am learning directly from my own teacher Sharath, from my Guru. I am receiving information, which has existed in India for ages, but which almoust got lost. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a system, where you learn directly from your guru, who learned directly from his guru. This practice should be done in a certain way and I personally feel that Sharath is the right person to show me this way.

But this way is also such a crazy struggle. I have faced so many obstacles, practice has been so hard with my injuries and I have hesitated this practice a lot. I have had many days, when practice has been just crap. I have been tired, fed up, lonely, hopeless. I have hated this practice so much and I have cried. I have also faced (and will face) so many people, who can’t understand my decisions related to this practice. They will never understand, why I studied a degree in law, then gave up my career and just started to focus on my practice. They won’t understand, why I want to spend all my money to be able to be here with my teacher. And it’s not always easy to be here either. Sometimes India is just getting on my nerves and making me very tired. This is my fifth Christmas away from home, second in Mysore and my family keeps asking, if I ever plan to be at home during Christmas time. And among other small questions they keep asking, where I am going to live and work, when I go back home.

For me it is just some really strong feeling, that I have to be here. That this practice is actually doing some good for me and this way is right for me. It’s so easy to be in Mysore, because I don’t have to explain anything to anybody. People around me understands me. Because they have the same feeling.

Many people also say that in Mysore you can have some special spiritual experiences. I don’t know, if I believe in that, but something interesting happened for me here a couple of days ago. I was driving with my friend Maria and I was just thinking, how dangerous and insane Indian traffic is. A strange thought about dying in a traffic accident came to my mind and I was thinking my childhood friend, who died in a traffic accident. And all of the sudden we hit another bike. We were driving along the main street and the guy came out of nowhere just in front of us. We fell down in a very slow-motion way. It was so strange, because I wasn’t afraid. I just had a feeling, that nothing bad will happen. That my time isn’t yet. After the accident (nobody got hurt, the guy got scared and run off the place before we were able to talk with him) I was of course a bit shaky and I saw another accident yesterday, which was scary too, but at the same time I felt that this was a good reminder for me, that life is very short. We never know, when our time is due, so it’s better to enjoy the ride and just try to be here now.

Part of this way is also, that sometimes practice just feels incredibly good. My mind is quiet, my body is strong and I am in my body. I don’t feel any pain, I can just hear my own breathing and my friends’ breathing around me. Sometimes I can hear Sharath’s counting in my head, sometimes I don’t hear anything, I am just flowing. I don’t think.

I want to dig in deeper to this practice. There is something there. I don’t know, what it is. But I just have this feeling, that it’s something good. It makes me feel light and happy. Effortless.

21 Dec 2011

Sunday Is Super!

Sunday is so my favorite day in Mysore, because we have so much program comparing to other days. My practice on Sunday is 5.45 a.m. and I was so tired this morning, when I woke up. But Sunday’s led is much easier for my body than Friday’s, because after day off you just don’t have that much muscle pain. My back felt still good and I got a good spot next to Todd. It’s always so much easier to practice next to somebody, who you know. I kicked Todd today accidently and it’s just so much nicer to kick your friend than somebody stranger. And when you are practicing next to a friend, they don’t care, what you do. I feel more comftable to do my wierd vinyasa next to my friends. I know, that it shouldn’t matter, but it just feels homey.

After my led I watched led Second. That group has never been so big, when I have been here. Asta did her debut with that group and other people from Helsinki (Hanne, Pia, Heidi, Raisa, Dan) did well, too. And the group is getting bigger again next week, because so many students have arrived, who are normally practicing with that group. In Mysore also the more advanced students practice only led Primary during their first week here. So that’s why for example Kino and Todd were with our group today. Led Second is still only by invitation and today there was one guy to who Sharath said after standing poses to go home. I think that student was a new one, who didn’t know, how everything works here.

I still have half of the day left and chanting is my next class. I went directly on level two, because all my friends are with that group. This time it’s hard to fit in that chanting class, because my practic during the week ends so late and after practice I am just starving.

Can’t wait today’s conference, because I missed last week’s. I think that during next week I will go and speak with Sharath privately about my practice and Setu Bandha. I am very relieved that my back feels so much better. Now the pain is on my right hip, but it’s easier to handle. I just would like to learn, what is causing all this pain. Maybe Sharath has some ideas, what I should do differently.

Good Week and Sweet Friends

My beautiful Danish friend Helena arrived and we had long, lovely dinner at Green Hotel on Thursday. Helena is bubbling, spicy and so much fun, that I am always in a good mood, when I am around her. After dinner we had chai from Amruti Café and just watched the street life on the Main Road. India by night never stops amaze me.

On Friday it was Sharath’s led. Led is so hard for me, because it’s fast. I had a strange night before Friday’s led, I hardly slept at all. But class was okey and breakfast at Anouki afterwards good, too. I finally had a chat with Ursula, who has been teaching in Phuket during the last three months. It was also nice to hear about her life in Japan, because she used to teach in Osaka for three years. Japanese culture is fascinating, it’s so different. Full of hidden rules, high expectations, strong pressure and great traditions. When everything must be so perfect, it causes so many problems, too. And yoga reveals those problems easily. When Ursula started to teach in Osaka, she couldn’t speak Japanese and people didn’t really speak English. So she went to see her friend every week with a list of words regarding yoga, which her friend translated to her and that way she learned to teach in Japanese. I bet that life was interesting and hard during those three years.

The most amazing thing with this week is, that my back feels good. It’s so hard to believe that it’s true. No back pain, now my right leg is hurting, but life is just easier, when my back is not the problem. I can even sit down still for a moment without pain. This just makes me very happy and tells me that Mysore is a good place for me to be.

Yesterday Yan invited me to Mexican dinner party. We had a good group of yogis, everybody brought some food and we watched sunset on Yan’s roof. It was so peaceful up there. And the food! It was so good, Jen’s chocolate cake, Shelley’s polenta with beans and herbs, Joye’s masala chai cake (it tasted like Christmas) and Kranti’s superstrong coctail which we called ”the bomb”. After all that eating and loud music we hit the new club Fluid in Mysore. It was good to dance and meet some new people. I am so lazy to go out, but sometimes it’s worth the effort.

I had Saturday’s brekkie with Maria. It’s our one-on-one date, where we talk and eat Indian food. I will have my cup of chai+set dosa and we talk about Mysore and life. With Maria everything is great, she is so natural and we have certain common understanding about things. With good friends you don’t always have to talk so much, you just get other person’s thougts anyway. Good friendship feels natural and easy, there is nothing forced. Friendships in Mysore evolves fast and get very deep, because people are over your face everyday. You get to know them well and you really cherish every moment here with them.

Dream Practices

OMG! This Indian detox totally worked. I have had two great practices. My back pain has been mild and I have just enjoyed the ride. I am still practicing alone, Saraswati gave me an adjustment in Supta K today, otherwise I am left alone. I forgot to do Urdva Dhanurasana today, so that might be one of the reasons, why my practice feels easier. I am trying to learn to do Setu Bandhasana properly, it’s an interesting pose, because it looks like everybody has their own style to do it. I should go and ask Sharath, where the weight should be in that pose and what is the correct position of the head.

Yesterday I practiced next to Hanne. It was interesting, because I have never practiced next to her before. It is so strange, when somebody who is normally teaching you, is actually practicing next to you. But she was a very good shala neighbour. By that I mean that some people are really nice shala neighbours and others are horrible. Good shala neighbour knows how to give some space and take their turn. Good shala neighbours mind their own business, don’t kick, don’t go over the mat (unless really necessary) and don’t smell. Yes. This last one is really important. There’s nothing so horrible than stinky neigbour. I also don’t like people, who walk over my mat or move my mat. Man. Just don’t do that.

Finnish mafia is here! So happy about that. Yesterday I saw so many Finnish people practicing at the same time with me, that it felt almoust like practicing back home. Asta always walks out of the shala, when I am coming in. Danish Helene arrived yesterday, so I saw her smiling at the shala, too. Hanne has been here for a while as well as Maarit. I saw Teija practicing first time yesterday and Tuomas was behind me today after Raisa warmed up the spot for him. Riikka from Kuopio was practicing yesterday too and of course Noora has been here a while too. I am not the only Finn anymore, but my Americans still like to call me ”the Finn”.

I haven’t been so social lately. I just like to be at home and relax. Yesterday I was pretty brave and went to Sasha’s birthday. She is a supernice girl, good friends with my dear friend Maria. House was packed, so much nice food and a singing cake! They had found somewhere a candle for the cake, which opened and keep playing a birthday song. That was one kinda Chinese-Indian masterpiece. And after all these months in Mysore, I saw a cute Indian yogi at the party. Indian children are so cute and pretty, but the men… Oh boys! In general, I have seen more Indians practicing with us than last season and that’s really cool. I think that it’s really good for the general energy, that we all can practice together. I think that the problem is more that Indians prefer their own shift. Traditional Indian girls dress up differently (some women even wear their saris during the practice) and I bet that they don’t feel comfortable in the middle of sweating Western men and woman. But it looks like that even traditional Mysore is getting more modern step by step.

13 Dec 2011

Mama’s Led, Sharath’s Led and Obligatory Rest

On Thursday I did my first led under Mama’s eyes. We call Saraswati as Mama. Even boys can be a little bit afraid of Mama’s love. Yes, she likes to give strong adjustments. Saraswati is a supercool lady, I don’t know anybody here, who doesn’t respect her highly. She is just so strong, real superwoman. She is normally teaching first her own class and then she arrives to help Sharath. But on Thursday she was teaching the last led class and I was with that group. I liked her counting, but I was struggling with my practice and skipped the key poses in the middle of the series. I just didn’t want to stress my back too much. She gave me one adjustment, which wasn’t too strong and I was happy about that.

Friday and Saturday were off, because they like to give us a long weekend, when Moonday is close to the weekend. On Friday I went to down town with Noora. We walked around the center and streets were quite empty. We went to see some gold jewelry (I would love to buy gold, Indian earrings finally) and saw my friend Hanne, who just arrived from Finland. On Sunday I went for my first Indian breakfast, which was some chai and set dosa. Then Tasia and I had some coffee in Barista, where I saw my Canadian friend Darcy, who just got out of plane. After all that caffeine, we went to hang out at Tasia’s place and Joycee invited us for a lunch. When you spent here a lot of time, you get always very excited about lunch invitation at somebody’s home, because the food is something else than Indian. I love Indian food, but when you have to eat it everyday, you just start to be sick of it. I knew most of the people, who came for the lunch and we ate some Asian noodles. The rest of the day I just spent at home watching TV-series and chilling out.

On Sunday I woke up, didn’t feel too well, but thought that I only had a bad night and lack of sleep. I walked to the Shala, waited around 45 minutes before we got inside for the led class. My practice started ok, but during the standing poses I started to feel that something was wrong. It was really hot and I started to feel dizzy. In the middle of the seated postures my hands started to shake and I knew that something was wrong. My hands never shake during the practice. It felt like there was a heavy cloud on top of me and I couldn’t breathe. The cloud just felt heavier and heavier on top of me and stopped practicing after Marichyasana C. I waited there for a while, my face was totally sweat, but I was freezing. I had no strength left. First I thought that I would wait until closing postures, but then I started to feel that I will vomit. I took my mat and left.

Back home I walked directly to my bed and slept three hours. My belly hurted and I got fever. So India hit me. Stomack flu and obligatory rest. I missed Sunday, my favorite day in Mysore, because I couldn’t go to conference and watch led Second. I stayed in bed the whole day and kept answering my mobile. It’s pretty dramatic here, if somebody leaves in the middle of the class. Also so many of my friends were waiting outside the Shala for led Second, when I walked out, that the news spred fast. Alin came over and Maria brought me some soda later. So many of my friends called.

Today my fever has gone down, but I have to take tomorrow still off. I feel very weak, my belly still hurts. My Malesian friend Yan came over today, she brought me some food and we finally had a chance to catch up. I saw her last time in Bali, when I stayed in her villa. It was good to talk and eat fresh food.

It’s hard to stay out of the Shala, but I know, that I am not in shape to practice. I must do this Indian detox first…

8 Dec 2011

Independence Day and Practice Routine

So Finland’s Independence Day passed by like any other ordinary day here. I couldn’t get online and didn’t really see any Finns in Mysore on Tuesday, so I missed the whole party. Abroad you miss all the national festivals, friends’ weddings and other parties. After my last trip I made a quiet promise to celebrate well all these parties, when back home. But what can I do? This is gonna be my fifth Christmas abroad, second in India and I can say, that my mum isn’t too happy about that. But Gypsy Girl just needs to get around, even when it’s Christmas time. I still hope that all my Finnish friends celebrated Independence Day properly!

I am getting into my practice routine. I can sleep long and I am actually sleeping, which is very rare for me. I am a terrible sleeper and last time here couldn’t really sleep at all. Sharath doesn’t like any extra preps or streching inside the Shala, so I have to wake up a little bit earlier to do my extra core exercises to warm up my back. Then a quick shower (read: water from the bucket splashed around), tape on my toes and I am ready to… queue. Yes, when you are not with the first group, you have to wait (sometimes half an hour or more) and pray for a good spot at the same time. You don’t wanna end up being on the back of the Shala, because the floor is really hard and cold, you don’t wanna be next to the window, because it’s cold, if you are shy, you won’t like the spot next to the main door, because all the people are staring at you and nobody likes the spot, where the carpets are on top of each other. Sometimes I am wondering, if Sharath wants to test us with all these tricky spots. If he just wants to see, how we will react, when we must just surrender and accept our random spot. I have my favorite spot and Sharath knows that, so yesterday he gave me my favorite, which made me very happy. I have heard that students have literally fight over a spot. So if you like a certain spot, you will learn to queue.

Yesterday there was a funny incidence, when Sharath was calling us in one by one. There was a new student, really tall girl and when Sharath called: ”One more!”, she walked in, but Sharath started yelling at her: ”Not you, too tall!”. This is normal here (sometimes he calls: ”One short!”), it’s nothing offensive, because the Shala is so packed, that tall students can’t fit everywhere and Sharath tries to find them nice spots. But I bet that that girl was devastated.

My practice is going allright. Nobody is touching me, I do my thing and say thanks to Sharath and Saraswati afterwards. This is fine, because I know, that Sharath is waiting my back to heal and he is letting me to take my time. Some people are getting worried, if teacher is ignoring them. I don’t worry about that, because I know, that Sharath is watching my practice. He has eyes on his back, too. I am sure that he knows exactly, which poses I am skipping (Chakrasana among other, because it hurts) and I know, that he is waiting me to show him nice Urdva Dhanurasana before he will start to comment on my practice. This might sound strange, but I don’t have to speak with him that much. Because he is my teacher, I am on the same page with him anyway. I trust on his valuation completely.

Today was the first day, when I took Urdva Dhanurasana up here. I have to be really careful with that pose, because it can take my sacrum off again. My practice was superslow today and tomorrow will be a fast led again. I am happy that this practice week is short. I have more energy and strength left for tomorrow’s led, than after normal practice week. Friday is off, so we are getting a long weekend. Next week is full practice week, so no rest, but hard work. Time to get my routine on!

Walking into My Old Life

Just when I arrived, I was talking with my dear friend Alin and she asked me, if this was like walking into my old life. I had a pretty good jetlag at that moment, so I wasn’t able to answer her properly, but actually coming back here is a bit like getting my old life back. Some things have changed, but so many good, old things are still here.

This time my place is absolutely perfect. And remember that Indian perfect is very different thing than Western perfect. I got this place through my Australian friend Deva, who unfortunately isn’t here right now, because she flew out of the country on that day, when I arrived. I have here certain luxuries of life, which are hard to find in Mysore. My friend Maria went totally nuts, when she saw that I have a washing maschine. Yes, I have a blender, electricity, soon internet connection and lovely Sakhi, my maid. My place is bigger than I have ever had in my life. I even have a little living room. I am sharing this place with Bernice, Malaysian girl, who is very friendly. So after my horrible booking problems related to my accomodation, I landed very nicely in Mysore (they forgot to pick me up from the airport in Bangalore, but that’s just India).

But Mysore isn’t so much about my place for me, it’s more about my friends here. They really make this place to feel like my home. It was so nice to come back, walk on the streets, when people were calling after me and I saw many surprized faces. Where have you been? When did you arrive? How long you are here for? What’s your practice time? Can we do lunch, breakfast, anything? Gosh, I have missed you! And when I went to my regular cafés, restaurants and shops, Indians were greeting me in a similar way and asking, how long I am going to stay. And when I went to a coconut stand, where all we yogis spend so much time here, I got the most amazing smile from Prasad, who is cutting the coconuts open for us. He is so sweet.

Then I went to get registered. This is part of the landing process, too. You have to have your photo, copy of your passport and visa. And the shala fee, which I never manage to get right, so I always have to go back there and give them more money. Usha, Sharath’s personal assistant, is taking care of the registration and first time, when I arrived, I thought that she had no idea about customer service. This time I knew, that this is just Indian style and because this wasn’t my first time here, I got a little smile from her.

I got my practice time, which is so late. 9 a.m! That’s so late in Mysore, last time I was finally with the first group and my time was around 3.30 a.m. But this trip is a new story and I have to live with that practice time. Practice time sort of decides the schedule of your day. What time you eat, with who you can hang out most, what time you go to bed etc. It’s funny, but it’s true.

I saw my riksha driver Apu and got my first bike lift from my friend Arne. It’s just so great feeling to feel the wind in my hair, when getting around with bikes. I never get bored with that feeling. Dealing with the riskha drivers is another story, such a headache, so I prefer to use my regular driver.

So my card in my hand, my arm over my mat, my friends around me and Sharath in the room, I am ready to start this season and check out, what my second home is willing to offer me this time. Bells on, would Aimee say!

5 Dec 2011

Back to the Shala

A couple of days and practices behind and it feels like I am back to my home. I have done two Mysore practices and two led classes. Thursday’s practice was good. I was in the middle of the room and the energy was so strong, that my mind was pretty blown away. But my body felt surprizingly good and it was just good to be back. My American friend Stacey was going to adjust me with Supta K, but Sharath was immediately next to her telling not to touch me.

Friday’s led was hard. It was my first led Primary after Dena’s led in Byron Bay and my back is still not ready for that fun. But I was able to keep Sirsasana and I could keep Utplutih longer than last time. So it wasn’t totally desperate. Afterwards my back was giving so much hard time and I was pretty worried about Sunday’s led through the whole Saturday.

But on Sunday everything was fine. Maybe my friends’ prayers (and good sleep+Ibuprofen, which I took the night before) helped, so that my back wasn’t hurting that much and I was able to keep up with the rhythm. I totally messed up Bhujapidasana, because I was wearing shorths and my skin was so sweaty. Sharath was assisting me with Setu Bandha, which I am trying to learn to do correctly. So all in all, pretty good practice.

After practice it was time to watch led Second. So many of my friends are with that group now and the Shala was totally packed. I mean about 50 students doing led Second, so it was worth to watch. Sharath really has his hands full with that class.

Sunday’s conference was pretty much about the good, old topics. Somebody asked about the kriyas (in general Sharath is not recommending kriyas unless you have some health issues) and Sharath talked about, how hard was Guruji’s life in the beginning and how he still kept practicing. Guruji did his practice even when he was very old, but then it wasn’t anymore so much about the physical postures. Sharath’s son was trying to steal the whole attention, when he was playing on the stage and showing us some postures. He looks like mini-Sharath, but he is totally wild. Unbelievably cute, but so out of control (or full of chocolate like Sharath said).

Monday’s practice was good. I got a really bad spot, because I was next to the window and when I was sweating, I could still feel the cold breeze on my back. But otherwise practice went well and my back was pretty ok. My Italian friend Gabrielli, who just started to assist, came over when I was doing Supta K and started to adjust me. At some point I said, that’s enough and he just kept going. Then Sharath came over and said, that’s enough. Gabrielli said to Sharath, but she can do it and Sharath was telling him, that yes, she can do it, but she has back pain. It was so funny, because when I got out of the pose, Gabrielli was in front of me saying, how sorry he is, because he couldn’t see my face (he knows about my back) and I was telling him, that it’s allright, I am fine. Gabrielli is like the sweetiest guy here and poor thing looked so worried after the whole episode.

When I was starting to do Urdva Dhanurasana (I am only doing small bridges), the girl next to me was doing her drop-backs and Sharath was assisting. Sharath was watching me and asking, if I still had pain. I said yes. This was hilarious, because he knows, that my back hurts and he was only teasing me with the drop-backs. This is one of the reasons, why I like Sharath so much. He is really funny. He can be superstrict (I heard that this morning one girl was late again for her practice and Sharath told her to come back four hours later), but if you do your practice and behave well otherwise, he is like the most supportive teacher ever.

So I am in good hands, because he is watching my back. This morning he even tried to call me by name (this is sort of big thing in Mysore, because he has so many students, so he just keeps calling us as common ”you” = You, next! / You do! / Yes, you can!). My name is just so tricky, that I don’t think so that he will ever learn it. Even the man who has learned all six series must have his limit…

Gypsy Girl Goes to India…

Spark is back! On my way to Mysore… It has been a while since I wrote last time and so so many things have happened, but I promised to my Finnish yoginis to start posting again, so here I am, writing at the airport of Chennai. It’s 2 a.m. and this airport is horrible, even a bit scary, but luckily I found a lounge, where I can sit down without creepy men staring at me all the time. I mean I am the only woman in this lounge, but at least these men here are wearing a suit (I am wearing my sporty clothes) and they don’t talk to me. Outside the lounge, in the departure hall some passengers are sleeping on the floor under newspapers. Yes, this isn’t my favorite airport for sure.

I forgot, how exhausting it is to travel alone and specially take three different flights (+two taxi rides and one bus) to actually get here. When you travel alone, you have to always carry all your luggages with you for example when you go to the toilet. But I am just glad that I got my luggage. I always take my mat on plane and my mat bag is packed with training clothes, too. I just don’t wanna lose my mat and start practicing without my own stuff.

So this time my plan is to practice two months with Sharath. My back is still in pretty bad shape. I injured it in Sydney and that was the reason, why I flew back home in July (months earlier than originally planned). After my injury I started my practice basicly from zero again, starting with modified sun salutations and adding more poses slowly. I did only standing poses almoust two months. Helsinki was the best place to heal my back at that time, because I had my own teachers there, all my friends practicing around me every morning and my osteo helping me, too. Miisa helped me to build up a new base for my practice, Hanne was able to keep me calm and Pete just gave so much his healing energy for me, that a couple weeks ago I was ready to add all the poses of Primary. I was also practicing with Sharath in Helsinki and he was often standing next to my mat, when counting led Primary. He asked everyday, how I was and I got some personal tips to help my back from him, too.

Without my friends I wouldn’t be here now. So many people offered their help for me in Finland, so that I was able to save some money and get my tickets fixed back to India. I have been a true gipsy girl, because I kept my things at the storage and lived in five different places around Helsinki. This lifestyle isn’t for everybody, but it worked for me, because I had so many amazing friends back home, who opened their doors for me. I am so spoilt with good people! And I owe so much the rest of my life for some people. Thank you.

I am sure that this time Mysore will be very different than last time. I have to do a very easy-going practice and I might not be able to do led classes. But I am just very very happy to be able to practice with Sharath. There is no place like Mysore’s shala in the whole world! I am so excited to see all my friends from the last season. All my Americans are coming and Finnish girls around the world are getting back to Mysore, too. I can’t wait to take chanting classes again, see my new place (my Australian friend Deva rented her home for me) and have some morning chai as well as dosa. India will be such a crazy experience again and I must say that as crazy as it is, I have missed that chaos. I feel so alive in Mysore. I can only focus on my practice, learn new things and meet amazing people. It’s my dusty paradise on Earth.

26 May 2011

Opening Second with Dena

So I have been learning the three first poses from Second series this week. I thought in advance that Pasasana would kill my back, but it has been actually the opposite. I like Pasasana, it’s hard, but I can bind my hands with an assistant and that’s beginning. It’s good to open my upperback properly. It’s going to take for a while to be able to balance that pose, but I am not in a hurry. Second pose is Krauncasana and it’s deep stretch for my hamstrings. That pose is very beautiful, so I like it a lot, even if mine isn’t that pretty. It’s so powerful pose, I feel strong, when I am doing it. Third pose is Salabhasana, which is so useful for my back. Good nice, slow stretch and balancing lift. It’s not very exciting pose, but beneficial for sure.

I have done dropbacks with Dena, too. This time I started directly three times down, no preparations except normal Urdva Dhanurasanas. Dena is very good with dropback. She is supporting me very well and I don’t have to worry about hurting myself. I can still feel pain in my back, so I am a little bit worried, but yesterday I felt first time, that I might actually learn the dropbacks someday. I felt that I have enough internal strength to go through this pose without hurting myself. And there was a little moment, when I felt that I could control the body through the pose. That made me so much more relaxed.

Now my right shoulder has started to hurt. Hah. For yogini there is no day without pain. I think that my right shoulder has been overused during the back injury and it’s now telling me that it needs a break. All problems in my body are now on the right side. Luckily I wiil have a great osteopath in Sydney, if something goes really wrong.

I know that tomorrow’s practice is going to be hard. Dena will be speaking in such nice way, that I will be close to tears. She is very special and it’s an honour to be able to practice with her.

We all think that Dena can read our minds. She always says the right words for each person. One day, she said to me that that’s half-commitment! And today she said after dropbacks that you don’t freak out anymore. But the most interesting thing is that sometimes she is actually talking about your life outside the shala and not so much about your pose. She makes you think your attitude and patterns outside the shala just asking or explaining something to you during your practice inside the shala. I think she is real witch. And Dena is very funny, too. One guy is watching around in the shala too much and not focusing on his own practice, so he has to pay a fine every time Dena sees that he is looking around. She can just pass his mat and say that his fine is fifty dollars already… I think that Dena’s favorite comment during this course has been: “No drama!” It’s pretty hilarious, when people are huzzling around with their poses and then she is just saying in a very calm way: “No drama!” and crazy energy drops down in a second.

I am going to miss Dena. I hope that she would be living closer to Europe. At least I can do workshops with her in Sweden. I just know that I could learn so much from her.

22 May 2011

Sunday's Led

I knew this morning that my practice was going to be a torture. Yesterday we walked along the beach to local lighthouse, which is very beautiful and pretty popular tourist attraction here. Lighthouse was amazing and worth the walk, but I chose a wrong day for that visit. When it’s my day off from the practice, I really should rest. Long walk on the beach plus climbing stairs up and down after that just totally smashed my feet and made me exhausted. This morning I woke up superstiff and tired.

The day when Guruji passed away was on last week, but Dena got confused with the date and thought that it was today. So she asked us to bring some flowers on Sunday and the plan was to show our respects for Guruji on Sunday during the practice. Today she knew her mistake, but we showed our respects for Guruji and this whole asana practice anyway. Dena read a poem, which she wrote after Guruji passed away and cried a little bit, too. The start for the practice was very emotional, but it was good to see, how much she still respects and misses her teacher.

Practice was very heavy and my mat was wet. I washed it yesterday, but it didn’t dry on time. So my clothes got wet and the mat was very slippery, too. Never practice on a wet mat! It’s dangerous. Tomorrow I must borrow a mat, if I can’t get the mat dry today.

I am very tired all the time. And I am starting to feel that I am ready to move on to Sydney. I love my practice here with Dena, but outside the shala I don’t really find the clue of this place. I don’t bond with the people well and I don’t have enough to do. Today I was happy because of rain. I didn’t feel guilty staying just inside and reading a book. I am missing busy life. Challenges on the mat aren’t enough for me at the moment. I am hungry for the life outside the shala again.


… is the name for Andre Agassi’s autobiography. I found it in my landlady Christina’s bookself here and I have been completely taken by the book. It’s so interesting to get inside a professional tennisplayer’s head. I don’t know anything about tennis (I can’t even count the points), but that book has taken all my attention. And I am not that interested in his personal life, relationships with Brooke Shields and Steffi Graf. That book is just so honest, brutal story about growing up and being athlete.

I am amazed, how important mental coaching is in tennis on that level. For me it sounds that players are pretty much on the same level and then the guy, who has the strongest focus, capability to block everything else out and just focus on game, is gonna take the trophy home. And then next day, your consentration is totally lost and you are going to lose for a player, who didn’t even dream about winning a point against you.

I never thought, how much tennisplayers hate their opponents. How crazy the training and travel routine is. How important your team is for your game. How you can irritate your opponents during the game. What happens in the locker rooms before and after the game? What is going on in player’s mind, when he decides to skip the press conference and pay a fine instead of that? What makes them to swear so much during the game that they are almost kicked out from the tournament? And what makes them play and what makes them finally retire? Open is a book about these questions, but most of all is a book about one man’s mind. And I was surprised to find so many similarities with this man.

19 May 2011

Fuck You Practice!

I know. It’s not politically correct to use language like that, but it’s, how I am fighting with my practice sometimes in my head. I can be furious on mat. There is no ahimsa, there is only pure rage.

This morning was my typical fuck you practice -day. I woke up, I didn’t feel like at all practicing. I took a taxi to the shala with Andrew and before that, I was laying on sofa and wondering, why I am torturing myself with this stupid practice, when it’s not going anywhere and my bloody back keeps hurting. Should I just give up? Should I just stay home and get drunk instead of going to the shala, doing the same thing and coming back home tired and frustrated? Why I am doing this? I just wanted to stay at home, not to practice and hate the world, just on my own.

But there is one thing, which keeps me going. It’s discipline. I don’t skip practice unless I am really ill. I am very stubborn. I practice even when I don’t feel like it. I practice even when it rains and I have to walk to the shala. I practice even when it’s freezing and dark outside. I practice even when the shala is too hot for me. I practice even when the shala is too cold for me. I go there, I do my thing and after I can be happy, tired, furious, frustrated, hyper or just balanced, but I always go there and do my thing.

During the time in Byron my shraddha (faith) has been really tested. Shala has been cold, I have been in the corner doing my Primary and my back has hurted quite much. There has been too much drama going on around me outside the shala and I have been really close to snap totally. But somehow, I have been able to control myself and I have kept going.

So when I walked to the shala, I decided that I am gonna practice like maniac. I am gonna push like crazy and drive myself to the limits. And I did that and my practice was good. It was strong and focused. I have to be really careful with this kind of like practice style, because I can hurt myself easily. Today I was playing with fire and I was able to not burn my fingers.

After practice I felt good. I was tired and my body was beaten up. I could almost feel my hands shaking. And my nervous system was singing hallelujah for sure. But everything in my mind was clear and my breathing was strong. I was there. Full stop.

I was waiting Andrew outside the shala and Dena came out. She started to talk with me, asked about my normal practice, when my back is ok. I told her the same old story, how I have been unable to open Second, because I can’t do dropbacks. And how the disc comes out so easily, if I do dropbacks. She looked surprised, when she heard that I haven’t done Second at all. And she said that she has had disc problem, too. Dena continued, that she is going to open Second for me anyway. She wants to give me three first poses from Second. And she asked, would I feel comfortable to do the dropbacks with her. I said, that we could try.

So now I am excited and terrified at the same time. I trust on Dena, she knows, what she is doing. But my dropbacks are terrible, really embarrasing. I just wish that someday I can pull my dropbacks together and just enjoy.

However, today’s practice was again a great reminder, why I practice. I practice to get my mind more focused and my body in shape. Fuck you practice is the best practice. Even when I hate it so much! It takes me to the next level. So don’t give up, do your thing and get to the next level!

17 May 2011

Oh Boys!

That’s what my new roomie Adrew likes to repeat all the time. And that’s pretty much, what I feel about this Byron experience. I mean, my focus has been pretty much out of the shala, because of moving out from my old place, which was full of fleas (yes, I got fleas there and moved out immediately) and other non-stop drama around me. People around me haven’t been getting along, they have been fighting or being otherwise crazy. I have really reached the peak, where I just would like to tell people: “Grow up or shut up!” And I am usually very relaxed and easy-going person…

I have moved from dirty house to superclean apartment, where German owner had immediately a chat with us on my second night. We went through six-point list including windows, bathroom, bins, washing maschine, internet, dishes starting from which windows should be kept open when cooking, when we can use internet (because the sound of keyboard is so disturbing), which program should be always used, when using washing maschine (so that electricity bills are not gonna be extreme) until how the dishes should not only be washed immediately after use, but also dried and put into the cupboard. And I have thought years that I am actually adult and can take care of my own business…

All this craziness around me is just making me very tired. Many people around me at the moment are hyperenergetic and they are just taking all my energy. I don’t like to talk all the time, I don’t like to do something all the time and I don’t like to be with people, who are making me uncomfortable. I like to be either alone or with my friends, who don’t care, if I don’t speak during the whole day. I like nice, normal people, who don’t have mental problems and who know about something else than yoga, too.

I have a couple of friends here, but they live here every year and are doing Dena’s three year program, so they are of course quite busy with their own life. And that’s not the problem, I like to be alone and just read my books. Maybe I am just tired sharing an apartment with strangers (and their odd habits). Or maybe I am just secretly missing my home and old friends.

Because of this intense Byron experience, I decided to make sure, that I could in Sydney just focus on enjoying and exploring the city in calm. From the beginning I had a little bit bad feeling about the house sitting deal in Sydney, because the contact person was behaving in unreliable manner and I decided to drop the whole deal. After that I started to go through work and accommodation possibilities in Sydney and decided that the best deal for me would be to take care of kids and get nice housing that way as well as proper dive to Australian culture. I got really lucky and I found a family, which sounds just great. They have two boys plus a baby boy and their apartment is near city center. I was able to negotiate the terms so that I can have weekends off starting from Friday morning and I have my own studio with own entrance. My gut feeling about the family was so good immediately, that it was hard to wait them to say me yes. But they replied yes and I am moving to Northbridge on 28th of May!

My visa is valid until May 2012, so I have time to think about my travel plans. I would like to get another job for the weekends and make some extra money that way. Sharath unfortunately cancelled his workshop herein Australia, so I won’t get a chance to see him before Mysore. Because I might prolonge my travels over Christmas, I have been starting to figure out, what I could study during the coming months. I am trying to do distance studies to Finland, which could be useful in the future, because I don’t want to just travel and then start from zero in Finland again. I am still facing the same problem, I don’t know, what I want to do in the future, I have no idea, who I wanna be. I don’t know, why this decision is so hard for me. I have always done big decisions very fast, but this one seems to be impossible for me. Maybe because it feels so final and I can’t do a mistake again. I don’t have anybody than myself to blame; if I am gonna screw up this one. Normally I love challenges and high pressure, but this decision is making be paralyzed. I am a career girl, I am a city girl, what is my career, what is my city. I have absolutely no idea. I know that I don’t want to be fifty, broken, sharing a house with strangers and just getting by like some people in Byron are. I know that I can do better. I must do better. I feel like I am a rat running around in labyrinth and I just can’t find the exit. I wish that I would be supertalented in something and could just do that. But no talents, so no easy ways out. It’s pretty hard to breath sometimes…

16 May 2011

Gold Is Gold...

Yeah! Finland won World Championship in icehockey. This is the first day during my travels, when I really would like to be back home. Helsinki is going mad and the parties will be the best. Oh, how I would like to party with my friends in Helsinki. It's gonna be awesome, I miss you guys and I can feel you most definitely! Party is on!

11 May 2011

On the Beach and Practice

Today is sunny and so beautiful in Byron. I went for a walk along the beach before midday. Beach in Suffolk Park is breathtaking. It’s very powerful place, the sky seems to be so high and the air is fresh, salty and warm. Little surfers are catching their waves and dogs are running wild, feeling the same freedom as we people, when we are so close to the nature. It’s very enjoyable to watch surfers’ skills, they can read the sea, its moves, its ups and its downs. Surfers must feel the same as yogis, that sea is their minilife as the mat is for yogis. Sometimes it’s easy to keep up the balance, even eyes closed and sometimes there is absolutely no balance. You have to look for the right moment to relax and the right moment to follow the wave. Often you crash and then you just slide through the wave again and finally you are inside the wave and you can just flow. You surrender completely in front of the sea and the sea will carry you.

Dena is playing with us a lot. Today we did standing poses together, so that we were allowed to take only three breaths in every pose. But those breaths were long and specific. We were trying to actually use every breath completely. In Sun Salutations every vinyasa was four counts, so the practice was slow in a way, but very relaxed, controlled, smooth and really following the breath. Shala was so cold today, but this practice technic really warmed up my back.

I was really flexible today and didn’t feel pain during the practice. Dena’s extra core practices are working and I try to open my hips a little bit before practice, too. My right shoulder hurts because of the continuous imbalance in my practice as a consequence from my back problems. Sometimes is feels like my whole body is falling apart step by step because of my back pain, but I just have to find the way get my body straight again. And even when my practice is so hard often, I am reminding myself, how serious my back problems would be without this practice. So the practice sometimes hurts, but it hurts less, than without practice. Hopefully one day there is no pain.

10 May 2011

Hippie Market, Mother’s Day and Practices

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I missed my mum so much. My mum is a very unique lady, the best in the world. I spoke with her yesterday and we talked about our last travel together. We went to Paris during springtime and it was fantastic. We just walked together around the City of Light, ate and talked in different cafés, went to see Tour Eiffel, Sacre Coeur and all other famous tourist locations. Our time in Paris was magical, because Paris was just waking up for the summer, flowers starting to blossom and people getting exticed about the summertime.

Yesterday’s practice was hard. We did very modified asana practice and Dena was practicing with us. We did lots of hip opening and core strengthening. In the end of the practice Dena talked about mothers, being mother and becoming mother. It was very beautiful, touching and made me miss my mum even more.

After practice we headed to Sunday market. Byron Bay is a paradise for market fans. Here is different kind of like markets through the week and local people really seem to love the market atmosphere. Weather and the drive were so beautiful. It felt like being on the countryside in Italy or France. Market was full of old hippies selling food, clothes and second-hand stuff. Too much weed and drumming for my taste, but it was nice to see the market anyway and company of yogis was the best of course.

Today’s practice was ok. I am doing Dena’s extra core practices before asana practice and then I am doing modified Sun Salutations to strengthen my core. I can feel the difference already and my back feels better, too. Just have to keep going…

7 May 2011

First Byron Week

On Friday we had a led class. Dena was practicing with us again. My practice was terrible, because I was next to the heater, which they have in Shala. My feet were burning and my upperbody was ice cold. First I thought that I will only do half-Primary, because I was so distracted, but I was able to do my whole practice. I have to say that the Shala herein Byron isn’t the best one. It’s cold and superhumid. The floor is ok, but when my body is so cold because of the room temperature, I am quite stiff. This practice week wasn’t the best one, because I don’t like short weeks. I like to have a full week and then I am enjoying my day off more.

Dena gave me extra practices to strengthen my core. I think that those will be really beneficial for my back. Dena’s own students are doing those extras too to support their backs during adjustments.

I went to the Shala by bike during one morning and I liked it. I prefer to go to the Shala a little bit earlier and do stretching before class. We start always with common pranayama and little meditation. I haven’t done my own pranayama practice now, but I will get back to it after this course. I think that one breathing practice per day is enough for me.

To be honest, otherwise I am not that impressed by Byron Bay. Customer service here is terrible and people in general are not nice. Here seems to be a lack of manners and culture. People walk around wearing beach clothes and so many are drunk or on drugs. Beach in Suffolk Park is beautiful and this area is very green, but those are the only things, which I really like (and yoga of course) here. Everything is very expensive and often overpriced. In stores you can find a lot of organic and healthy food, but in restaurants food isn’t that good. Maybe many people cook their meals at home. Accomodation is almost ridiculously expensive, specially what comes to quality hotels. Suffolk Park area could be a paradise on Earth because of the amazing beach, but houses are built in a bad way, so that often houses are a little bit too humid, cold and dim.

My roomie Kate is asking me what she is going to do in Byron during the whole month. She is dying to leave this house and go back home to Melbourne. She is specially struggling with our accommodation, because the owner of the house doesn’t keep places tidy. We cleaned here one day and the day after people were walking around the house their shoes on and our work was worth nothing. Luckily I have been traveling for a while, so I don’t struggle that much, but I have to say, that even I would prefer a place, which would be cleaner. Kate got now her own car, so that’s giving her more freedom. I have been borrowing Shelagh’s bike to get around or I have gotten a lift from my friends. For sure Byron isn’t very exciting place and I am pretty done with small places anyway. I am looking forward to city life in Sydney and getting back to civilization, but before that I am trying to enjoy the beach life here as much as possible and read interesting books.

I have been reading quite much lately and I finished Not Without My Sister yesterday. It wasn’t my favorite book, but the topic was interesting. The book was so much about sexual abuse and other heavy topics, that reading wasn’t enjoyable. When three sisters were telling their own versions about the same events, book was repeating itself too much.

After that book I started to read a book called The Road Home by Rose Tremain. It’s a story about Eastern European man Lev, who moves to London to look for a job and start a new life. I like to read books, which are happening in the cities, where I have lived. It’s nice to go back to those cities in my head and be there again.

Tonight I am going for a dinner to my friend Deb’s place. She lives in a gorgeous Japanese style apartment, so I will get my dose of luxury for today. I will prepare a dessert with apples and vanilla sauce, Kate will prepare dal and Sonja promised to make salad. I love sharing meals with my friends. You will get good company, excellent food and the work is half. I don't like to eat alone and cooking for one person is such a waste. Sharing is caring, too…

2 May 2011

My First Days in Byron Bay

So here I am, living in my new house in Suffolk Park. I have three roommates: English Teacher Kathryn, who owns the house, Graphic Designer Kate, who is yogini from Melbourne and originally South-African Shelagh, who is Naprapath and Childcare Specialist. Our house is messy, cosy and very Australian. Beach is near, this neighborhood is calm (drinking is prohibited mostly in this area) and city center is about 30 minutes by bike. Here is very green and different kinds of birds are walking on our backyard. The weather has been sunny, it only rained, when I arrived.

I have now practiced twice with Dena. Shelagh has a car, so I have been lucky to get a lift to the shala every morning. Shala has been packed, it’s quite small room and we have over 30 yogis there. I met four yogis here, who I have seen before in different retreats. I was so happy specially to see Sonja (my friend from Mysore) and Debbie (Dena’s devoted student, with who I practiced in Stockholm and Koh Mak), who both are doing commited practisioners –course with Dena.

First practice on Sunday was led half-Primary, which was a good start for me after long nights at the airports. Dena was practicing with us and she also did some demos for us. Today we started our own Mysore practices. Some of Dena’s students, who are doing three years teacher training with her, were adjusting. All the adjustments, which I got, were smooth and sensitive, so I don’t have anything to be afraid of. My back felt surprisingly good after the flights and coldness (our house is cold specially during the nights, because here is no heating system). Today the energy in the shala was really full on, I think that later people will be more chilled out. I did my basic practice, but started lightly with Urdva Dhanurasana (three smalls and one up). I am happy to practice with Dena again, she is such a good teacher and calming person for my mind.

Yesterday I walked to the center with Kate. It was a long walk, in total it took one hour to go to the center and we both were wearing flip-flops. We went for a lovely sushi lunch (I am just smiling, when I can eat sushi after all that cooked food in India) and checked the main street. Our plan was to go back home by bus, but there was no bus, so we were forced to take a taxi back home.

Today I borrowed Shelagh’s bike and enjoyed the good weather, when going to the town. I finally got new bikinis, so maybe tomorrow I can go to the beach. I found a nice store, which was selling various different parfyme candles and wandered around the town until I ended up to a bookstore. This time I resisted my temptation to buy a new book, I first have to finish Not With Out My Sister. And I got a pre-paid, so I have local number now.

Sun here is very strong, even when it’s obviously the beginning of the winter season (all bikinis were on sale). Tomorrow will be a Moonday, so this week is going to be a short practice week. For me it’s fine to start the practice in a light way and settle down to my new life here first. Tomorrow I will have a dinner with Sonja, so I can finally catch up and here all what has happened in her life after Mysore times. It’s good to see my Mysore friends here, too.

30 Apr 2011

Airports, Waiting, Books and Finally I am Aussie Baby!

My transfer from Wenara Bali to airport wasn’t so smooth as planned. An employee of the guest house forgot to book my taxi, so there I was again fixing my things on my own. In Asia, you have to double-check everything. Read: EVERYTHING! People are very nice, but they can’t get really anything done. I got a little bit mad with them and finally got a nice driver to take me to the airport. I didn’t want to pay any extra fee because of their mistake and that’s always hard in Asia, because they never return any money or give refund. But once again my background in law was useful and I got out of the people what I wanted. You just have to be very calm and determined.

My flight from Denpasar to Kuala Lumpur went fine and then I waited through the night at the airport. I love airports, but waiting at the airport over 15 hours isn’t my favorite thing. Luckily airport in KL is superconvenient, so I found a sofa and I was able to sleep at least three hours.

At the airport I finished reading a book called Choke written by Sian Beilock. Writer is psychologist and her main research topic is choking or how to avoid choking, what happens in your brains, when you choke and how you can learn to control your behaviour, so that choking isn’t taking over. Writer is specialized in sports psychology, so she gave a lot of examples regarding sports and athletes.

Personally I found intresting, that Beilock found that meditation is very effective way to control and avoid choking. She wrote that: “Experienced meditators can clear their minds of unwanted information when practicing their ancient art, but new research suggets that, even when not meditating, people who practise this tradition are better than those who don’t at facilitating their brains’ return to a calm, cool, and collected state when stressful events come their way.” “A recent study by Davidson and his colleagues showed that only three months of intensive meditation (a practise in which you observe what ever thoughts and perceptions arise in your consiousness without making negative judgements about them) reduced people’s tendency to have their attention captured by unwanted thoughts or events.” Beilock mentioned on her book famous people among other Tiger Woods, Hilary Clinton, Al Gore and Goldie Hawn, who meditate and find it helpful.

Beilock’s book included in up-to-date data about different researches and technics how to handle choking in sports, business environment and in general. She gave tips, how to succeed in stressful situations like job interviews and exams, so that you can actually use the extra excitement for your benefit. This was again excellent book about the connection between body and mind. I think that all teachers should read a book like this to be able to go to a student’s level (who suffers choking) and learn ways to help him out this kind of like situation.

After I finished my book, I couldn’t resist going to airport’s bookstore. Books are my absolute weakness. I love bookstores and I can spend hours just wandering around bookstore, reading backcovers and holding different books in my hand. I bought a book, which is the No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller, called Not Without My Sister, which is a true story about three girls’ experience living in (and later escaping) a cult called The Children of God. I will write more about this book, when I will finish it.

Feeling very dizzy after my night at the airport I catched my next flight to Brisbane. Luckily I was able to sleep a little bit during the flight, because the seat next to me was empty. Food on airplane is always making me sick, so again after this flight I felt very swollen and couldn’t function normally. However I was happy to get my luggage and pass the border of Australia. I passed the border easily, not even a single question about my visa. Guards put me to walk next to a dog, which is searching drugs (maybe because of my passport including Indian, Thai and Balinese stamps), but I didn’t catch dog’s attention, so I am now officially Aussie baby. One more night at the airport waiting for my bus to Byron Bay and then I am at my new home.

28 Apr 2011

Power Yoga with Denise

Yesterday I saw my friend Danielle, with who I did the teacher training in Thailand. We met in Kafe and also her boyfriend Rob was there. It was so nice to catch up and also hear Rob’s experience regarding Thai boxing camp, which he did in Thailand during the time Danielle was with us. I know, that I would love Thai boxing. Just kicking and jumping around so that your pulse is at least 150 the whole time sounds fun for me…

My morning practices on my own have been surprisingly good. I don’t like to practice alone, I need other person’s energy around me, but I have been happy to notice, that I can do it. I have been going through in my head the advices and tips, which I got from Paul and it has been pretty ok. I am practicing on my balcony, so I have to move all the furnitures from there inside around seven every morning to have enough space to practice. My neighbours think for sure, that I am totally crazy.

This morning I woke up, and my throat was sour. My belly was upset again, even if it has been better lately. I did my pranayama practice and after that decided to try something different today. One girl at Yogabarns recommended Denise’s power yoga class for me before and I wanted to try that. In the class description it was written among other things, that this class will take you out of your routine, and right into that sacred space between the external force of gravity and the internal force of the breath. Oh boys, it really did! I loved this class, we started with sun salutations, but then the rest of the class was mixed. We did quite many different balancing poses, which I like, because those are so tricky for me and I really have to concentrate maximum. We also tried some poses from Second and Thrid Series, but it was more playing around than being serious. This class was very rebel, but safe at the same time. My body felt great after the class, even when during the class I was shaking and sweating so much. Denise is excellent teacher and I would love to practice with her again. She did some demos for us and it was great to see, how easy it is, when you can…

I have been so happy with this experimental yoga period herein Bali. My last week with different teachers and different styles has been the best in Bali. It has absolutely done so good for me and my body. I think that it’s sometimes very good go out of the box and have some fun with different styles. It gives totally new approach to asana and you learn to use your body in various different ways. With other styles, there is not that much flow and meditation during the practice, but you can increase your body knowledge hugely. Personally, my body needs cooling practices and restorative classes too, so I am planning to continue this experimental yoga. And I have to get back to my stretching exercises. Those are just so beneficial for ashtangi.

Tomorrow is flight day again and I am heading to Kuala Lumpur. My flight schedual is terrible, but hopefully I will make it well to Byron. And yesterday it was published online, that Sharath will be teaching in Sydney, when I will arrive there, if they get his visa in order. So I am really hoping to get a chance to take one class with him. I can’t afford more (and even that one class is actually too much), but I just want to go, see the shala and practice with him once.

Yin Yoga with Denise and Back to Mysore Practice

Superyoga day today! I woke up early wondering, what I should do today. My belly was better, so I decided to start ashtanga again. I started with pranayama and it was ok. Also asana practice was good today. It’s interesting to see, how fast you actually lose strength. My arms never hurt, but today I noticed, that I had difficulties with Chaturanga Dandasana and also jump throughs were heavy. I had kept my flexibility well and also mind was surprisingly calm and focused.

After almost three hours practice, I had a little swim and small breakfast and then it was time to go again. I walked to Yogabarns to try Yin Yoga with Denise. Denise was one of the recommended teachers, when I spoke with the people in Little K before. And I liked her a lot! She was active, exact and her demos were good. She knew many of the students by name and talked to everybody at least something. Most of all she was very natural, beautiful and I was able to feel her experience regarding yoga.

Denise was teaching Yin yoga, which is according to her a cooling practice and so opposite for many other practices. During the class focus was on connective tissues and we started with a tennis ball. We kept the tennis ball under back, butt and shoulders. Practice was powerful and painful, but in a good way. It was possible to feel, how the pain was melting away. In Yin yoga class you keep the poses for long time and the duration of the poses increases towards the end of the class. Some of the poses are easy stretching moves, but when you have to keep those poses so long time you can really feel your body opening. Last forward bend was really long and I could feel it in my back, but my whole body felt good after the class. Tomorrow my muscles will be so sore, but all in all it’s just good for my body and practice.

After class I headed to Kafe, because Little K was closed. Kafe was packed and busy. I was lucky to get a table and ordered vegetarian sandwhich and cappuccino. Next to me came Australian Emma, who did the same class with me. I didn’t recognize her from the class, but she remembered me. It was nice to talk with her, because she had travelled and worked in India a lot and now her work with international health had brought her to Bali. Her home base is now Melbourne, where she stays three weeks and then she travels three weeks in a row. It was nice to share experiences about constant traveling. Also she thought that it’s really demanding for your private life to travel all the time. And our experiences related to India were pretty similar. She said that working with Indian male ministers isn’t the easiest task for a young woman. Indian culture is very male-focused and white girl trying to change things is facing difficult moments for sure.

I had this morning difficulties to turn my head to left again, so we will see, what I am able to do tomorrow. This problem is related to my back, which actually feels quite ok now. During the yin class we kept block under belly for a while and Denise said, that back problems are often related to tension in a belly. That pose was so hard for me, I felt literally sick. Yin yoga really forces you to breath, because that’s the only way to release your pain and tension. I liked yin yoga and got a feeling that it could be a nice, supportive practice for ashtanga.

Inspired by the Book: Healthy at 100 by John Robbins

I am going to cite a couple of things, which I found so fascinating in Robbins’ book (btw his dad is that icecream Baskin-Robbins and he is writing about him in this book, too), so don’t read further, if you are planning to read this book later…

“In the modern world, when people are feeling down they are often told to “take it easy” to simply lie in bed and relax. --- So great is the recognition of the healing power of walking to visit a friend that there is a saying in Vilcabamba that each of us has two “doctors” – the left leg and the right leg.”

“In Okinawa, elders tend to stay remarkably fit and healthy until the last year or two of life, but in the modern Western world, the prevailing lifestyle takes a toll far earlier in life. In the United States and similar countries today, most of us hit our peak between twenty and thirty and gradually decline after that. By the age of seventy, most of us have lost 60 percent of our maximal breathing capacity, 40 percent of our kidney and liver functions, 15 to 30 percent of our bone mass, and 30 percent of our strength.”

“If you eat until you experience yourself to be 100 percent full, you actually go about 20 percent over capacity with every meal. And if you do that regularly, your stomach will stretch a little bit each time to accommodate the extra food. Then you have to eat more next time to get the same feeling of fullness.” What is written on that page before: “..it takes the stretch receptors in your stomach about twenty minutes to tell your brain (via the hormone cholecystokinin) how full you really are.”

“We must treasure tradition, but we must also embrace change.”

“Many studies have found farmed fish to be far higher than wild fish in toxic chemicals and other pollutants that affect the central nervous system and the immune system and can cause cancers and birth defects. --- The study found that the levels of PCBs, dioxins, and banned insecticides such as toxaphene in farmed fish were so high that, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, no one should be eating farmed salmon more than once a month.”

“…muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest. A pound of muscle burns roughly 15 more calories a day than a pound of fat. If you lose ten pounds of fat and gain ten pounds of muscle, you would thereafter burn 150 more calories a day without increasing your exercise level…”

“When the study was published in The Journal of Pediatrics in 2004, Professor Lloyd said that “although calcium is often cited as the most important factor for healthy bones, our study suggests that exercise is really the predominant lifestyle determinant of bone strength in young women.”

“One study found that subjects who ate meat as their main source of protein were nearly three times as likely to develop dementia as their vegetarian counterparts.”

“And now modern science is recognizing that loving and intimate relationships also keep us healthy. It is a striking fact that mortality rates for all causes of death in the United States are consistently higher for divorced, single, and widowed individuals of both sexes and all ages.”

This book includes in so many modern studies related to health that at least I got so many things to think about and pay attention to. The cover of the book is pretty self-help oriented and sometimes the text is pretty creamy, but if you can get over those things, you can learn a lot from this book. Nutrition and exercise matter a great deal – wanted or not!

24 Apr 2011

Yin Yang Yoga with Malika

This morning I woke up without alarm before six. My stomack was still hurting, so I couldn’t really think doing my normal practice. At Yogabarns was a class called Yin Yang Yoga at seven o’clock, so I decided to try that. According to class description, this class was supposed to explore the body’s polarity activating yang energy through movement, and yin energy by relaxing both body and mind to attain inner balance and harmony with nature.

According to Wikipedia in Chinese philosophy the concept of yin yang, normally referred to in the West as yin and yang, is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only exist in relation to each other.

Traditionallay yin is female and yang is male. They fit together as two parts of a whole. From a philosophical standpoint, practitioners of Zen Yoga see yin-yang as a flow. In Wikipedia it’s mentioned that the Taijitu is one of the oldest and best-known life symbols in the world, but few understand its full meaning. It represents one of the most fundamental and profound theories of ancient Taoist philosophy. At its heart are the two poles of existence, which are opposite but complementary. The light, white Yang moving up blends into the dark, black Yin moving down. Yin and Yang are dependent opposing forces that flow in a natural cycle, always seeking balance. Though they are opposing, they are not in opposition to one another. As part of the Tao, they are merely two aspects of a single reality. Each contains the seed of the other, which is why we see a black spot of Yin in the white Yang and vice versa. They do not merely replace each other but actually become each other through the constant flow of the universe.

The teacher of the class was called Malika and her English was very hard to understand because of her really strong Asian accent. She was obviously aware of this problem herself, because she apoligized her English a couple of times. Her opening mantra was totally wrong, but never mind. Quite in the beginning of the class she advised us to do a deep twist (where you sit in half-lotus, turn and take a grip of your big toe with your fingers so that your hand is behind your back), which was ok for me and for one other girl, but the rest of the room couldn’t even do half of the asked rotation. I was a bit afraid, that the class will be too demanding based on the beginning, but then Malika started to show modifications and the class got better.

I liked the class, but some of the asanas were too demanding for that group. Malika herself was superflexible, but clearly pretty unexperienced teacher, because she was teaching so demanding poses for that group (for example twisted variation of Ardha Chandrasana) and sometimes it felt like she was reading a speech aloud and not actually teaching something she has experienced. I enjoyed the class anyway, because I was able to modify the poses and my focus was good. Many poses were good for my back and my lower back felt good after the class. I enjoy so much practicing at Yogabarns upstairs, where you can see rice fields, everything around you is green and you can hear monkeys as well as birds. After class my mind was still and I walked to Little K to have my morning cappuccino. Oh, how much I liked that coffee!

I am so glad that I decided to try different yoga classes. I have already learned so much about different teaching styles and this experience will be beneficial for me specially, if I start to teach later. After these experimental classes here I feel that I could teach those classes and maybe even do better. On the other hand I have noticed that ashtanga easily becomes serious and the joy of yoga disappears, when people start to be too fixed getting new poses and making physical progress. It’s nice to try different styles, modifications and poses and then get back to your own practice.

23 Apr 2011

Slow Flow at Yogabarns

My belly is still upset and it’s Saturday, so I decided to take slow flow yoga class at Yogabarns. Teacher was Donna and I was immediately able to see that she has done her training at Yoga Thailand. It’s so funny, how I just knew, that she has been practicing with Paul. I spoke with her shortly after the class and I asked, what is her own practice. I found out that she is ashtangi, too and actually she normally practices with Prem and Heather. Ashtanga world is so tiny…

Donna’s class was actually modified ashtanga class, but really slow and more focused on meditation. This was good class for me today, because I noticed, that I am not in shape. When your belly is upset, you can’t use bandhas and the whole practice is very compromised. Almoust all the poses came from Primary Series, but in different order and modified. We did for example Sun Salutation A, Utkatasana, Prasarita Padottanasana A & B as well as Uthita Trikonasana A. When the pace is so slow, I should really keep my breath strong, but it’s so hard. That’s why I feel very cold during the practice and I am stiff. We stayed in poses for pretty long time and I noticed that once again my hip flexors are killing me. I am wondering, are those ever gonna open… The class started with light meditation on ended with Shitali. Donna’s voice was nice, so I didn’t mind her speaking through the class. She also used music, which I found suitable for a class like this.

After practice I spoke with Australian-British couple, who did the same class. They were quite typical yogi tourists: done yoga some years ago and now wanted to practice a little bit during their holidays. They enjoyed the class, so I think that Donna’s style was good for holiday yoga. Donna was recommending power yoga with Denise for me. I might try that, when my belly gets better. She said, that Denise is very experienced yogini, who teaches ashtanga based practice.

I ate my lunch at Little K again. Today I had vegan sandwhich and apple/cucumber/ginger shake. My dessert was raw blackcurrant pie and latte. I couldn’t resist coffee, even when my belly is upset. I am trying different meals to get ideas, what to cook in the future. I am missing so much my own kitchen, so that I can cook, whatever I like and I know what my meals include in. When you travel, you eat what you can get and often it’s not so pleasurable. Food in Bali has been good, but it’s expensive to eat out all the time. When you can’t boil your water for tea at home, you end up paying ridiculous amount of money just for a cup of tea or coffee.

I did my pranayama practice this morning before asana class and it helps me to concentrate for sure. I have been also swimming here everyday. Pool is the best thing with this guest house. And also the monkeys on my backyard are entertaining. I have my own monkey, who comes to my balcony everyday. And last night I had my own frog, too. I was going to bed, when I saw a little frog jumping around my room crazily. I was trying to show him the way out, but he went under the bed and I couldn’t reach him. So I gave up and went to bed. Then I was listening, when he continued to jump around the room. I couldn’t see him this morning, so I think that he found his way out. So I have jungle pets now: monkeys and a frog.

22 Apr 2011

Hatha Yoga Class at Yogabarns and Some Future Plans

Yesterday I ate something bad (I think it was my breakfast papaya) and got sick. My stomack hurts and I am tired. So this morning I was thinking about my ashtanga practice as well as pranayama and didn’t really feel like it. I decided to be nice for my body and took a hatha yoga class at Yogabarns instead. I bought a card, which entitles me to take five classes there, so today I wanted to try hatha yoga.

I have never done hatha yoga before (I mean a class which is only hatha), so I was pretty excited about the class. My teacher was called Uma. We went through different elements: ground, water, fire and air/space. Ground was mostly about hip opening, water about feet and stretching, fire about vinyasa / movement and air/space about hands and upper body. We also did quite much sort of sound meditation, where we did poses, when repeating some syllables. The class started so that we were observing, which nostril is more open. According to Uma, if it’s right, you are thinking logically and using your brains and if it’s left, you are more grounded. So hatha yoga is about searching balance between these two sides of you, balancing your moon and sun.

What I liked about this class was that she talked a lot about letting go and getting rid off your fears. I personally also like sound meditation technics, because it’s the easiest way for me letting go. When I have to only concentrate on creating a sound or listening to a sound, I can be still. This was a typical led class, where the teacher was speaking through the class, but she didn’t do any adjustments or corrections. The main purpose of the class was just to balance yourself. It wasn’t superathlete class, but I was able to warm up my back and also noticed some tensions in my body. I think that hatha yoga is so much about grounding yourself better and that way it worked for me. I wanted to take a hatha class to relax more and release the pain in my belly and for that it worked well.

After class I had an early lunch at Little K, which is the restaurant downstairs at Yogabarns. I had green mango tea and vegetarian wrap plus extra avocado on the side. It’s interesting to see, how I am a little bit nervous now all the time, because I have to make decisions regarding my plans in Australia. I walk fast, I eat fast, my mind is busy and my sleep is nervous. I really have to focus on calming myself down and being just here (and not yet in Australia). I am also very sensitive for traffic sounds, busy people and smoke. When somebody is smoking near me, I have to move a way and drunken people are making me almost angry. I obviously need my peace.

However, my Australian plans are now starting to be more in order. I will fly to Brisbane 28th of April and practice with Dena. Then I will fly to Sydney probably 26th of May and start my house sitting job. I will take care of a house and one cat during three months (June, July and August). At least for that period, I have to find a job. I might stay in Sydney for a little bit longer, but I don’t have to decide that yet. I heard a rumor that Sharath might be teaching in Sydney just, when I will arrive there, so I might have a chance to practice with him. Keep your fingers crossed, that I can do that and my life in Sydney will be a success otherwise, too!

21 Apr 2011

Practice at Home and Balinese People

This morning I practiced alone first time in months. It was good, my body felt good. I was a little bit unfocused, which is typical for me, when things are changing around me. So I forgot a couple of poses, but then I did those poses just later. It was nice to get back to proper vinyasa. I have missed my flow lately. I was first practicing by the pool, but couldn’t continue there, because the floor wasn’t good. So I ended up practicing on my balcony. I don’t like practice outdoors, because flies are coming and it’s noisy, but the temperature here is perfect for the practice and air is fresh during the morning.

After asana practice I did my pranayama. This was first time, when I did pranayama after my proper asana practice. It was interesting to see, how my muscles were so much stronger after asana. After pranayama I was full of energy and my focus was superb.

Yesterday I left my sunglasses to a local restaurant, where I go every morning for a coffee. So I walked back there after I noticed that yesterday and the staff started to look for my sunglasses. They tried to call to the girl, who had worked earlier and figure out, where my sunglasses where. When they couldn’t reach the girl, they asked me to come back later. So this morning I went there and got my sunglasses back. That just made me so happy. This is just one example, how good and honest Balinese people are. The staff in my guest house is also really nice. They are always in a good mood and they really try to help me, if I have any questions. In India I often felt that people were trying to get advantage of me, but herein Bali I have felt very welcomed.

Last Yoga with Prem and Heather / Bali Food

Yoga Mamas and Bali Playboys

I have never seen so many female, single travelers than I have met in Bali. It doesn’t matter, where I eat, I see women eating alone, reading a book or just sitting in front of laptop. This must be the first place, where I can actually fit in that way. I carry my laptop, go to various different cafés and people are not staring at me. But what is the same thing in every country, is that men really like to approach a woman sitting alone. In Bali this seems to be like national sport. Other sports must be running after tourists and offering them taxi lift.

Yesterday one man was desperate to talk with me in a café. I was going through my internet stuff and he just kept talking. Finally I gave him a nasty look and he understood to be quiet. But he didn’t give up so easily. When I was heading out, he ran after me, gave his business card and was begging me to go for a drink later. Huh. It’s not always so pleasant to travel alone.

I have to say that I admire those yogini mums traveling alone with their kids. Many Western mums come here to practice and live: they rent a villa, take some yoga classes and their kids go to Green School. It’s pretty suprising to see, how many women are actually able to do that. I mean private school, nanny and driver for your kids as well as flight tickets for your whole group isn’t that cheap. At least these people know, how to enjoy their money. And your health is always a good investment.

I am personally starting to feel, that I want to work and / or study again. For me practicing only asana isn’t enough. I liked to be in Yoga Thailand, because the course was so busy and I had all the time so many things to do. Now I am trying to self-study a bit. I want to learn more about ayurveda, so I sent a message to my friend, who has studied Western and Ayurvedic nutrition and asked some advices regarding good nutrition books. I also checked YT’s website and found some intresting, recommended books that way. I was able to find one of those books here, so I am now reading Healthy at 100 by John Robbins, which is about certain nationalities, who have typically lived long and healthy lives. Studying even a little bit everyday keeps my brains going…