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.