Archive for October, 2011

How it was meant to be

October 31, 2011


Man at the Traffic lights yesterday

I could feel I’m almost fully well again in my practice. The length and strength has returned to my limbs and I was drenched in sweat. There still didn’t seem to be many people waiting for the 4:30 start, I think this bug is still doing the rounds. I pretty much seem to get my preferred spot every day, one of the advantages of being in the first group, no “one more” randomness ending up on a lumpy bit of rug or on the Marble at the back. I know where the rug rut is and place my mat far enough away, so that even if Sharath shifts people up there is no danger of ending up with it underneath, the one day it happened practice was a pain of having to straddle the rut.

Practice felt so much better, being able to breathe again is a major help, Sharath made a comment at yesterday’s conference about how people who breathe correctly have more energy and stamina, so true, today wasn’t a slog, it all just seemed to flow including the rivers down my face and arms. Adjusted in UHP and the assistant spoke for the first time to tell me to put more weight into the front of my foot as I balanced. Completely left alone for seated, bound everything, my body feels looser and longer, I’m grabbing more wrist in the Marichyasanas and easily getting in to Supta K on my own before anyone thinks about assisting. Garbha two rocks to beached, mainly because my rock has power but no control and I was in danger of taking over my neighbours mat.

Sharath takes no shit in his Shala, he called “one more” and pointed where the person should go, I think they asked “can I go here?”, to what they thought was a better spot, Sharath’s reply being “don’t ask me question, you go!”, pointing at the original spot. She went!

So being Monday meant the resumption of dropbacks as instructed. My UD’s were strong, I did a few extras to get e deeper more intense bend, then stood up and landed 3 decent dropbacks before assistant Liz was sent over by Sharath to help me. Liz is a good squisher almost up in Michaela class, right on top of me pulling my feet back, a few days ago that would have killed me, today she could pull as hard and for as long as she wanted, once she got off I stayed for another 10 breaths, it felt so good.

Closing in the upstairs part of the Changing Room, not great up there, just did it. Then home to stick the washing in, have my medication and crash out for two glorious hours sleep before breakfast. This is how I imagined it was going to be in those January Mysore dreams in the Hospital.


Part of the morning parade of sellers who call out their wares as they go


Led with more space

October 30, 2011


Seemingly more space, but maybe not as some people still practised in the Foyer, but I don’t think they needed to, perhaps they were just trying to hide! More space because there was a led 2nd series following the 2 Primary classes, taking 30 or so out of the mat space equation.

A decent practice, no adjustments, didn’t get stopped, even managed 2 Garbha rocks, got beached by the neighbour on my left kicking me in the head as he went round, unbeached myself and got up into Kukutasana unassisted, it’s coming. Tomorrow when I have more time I’m going to try and go the whole 360 round. I sweated buckets, think this means I’m pretty much back to being well, still a chesty cough and poses compressing the Chest feel uncomfortable, but at least I can breathe, which I hope bodes well for the resumption of dropbacks tomorrow. Crap Sirsasana, less said about that the better, but at least I didn’t fall out or take anyone else out.

Home and slept like a baby for 2 hours before breakfast and doing my Sanskrit homework , reading on my Balcony, so enjoying reading again, time and decent light make a difference, stopping occasionally to take a photo if anything interesting went by below.


For entertainment we nipped down to More Megastore in the city. I didn’t quite find Battenburg, this is the closest so far! But I did find a giant pack of Tetley Tea bags which even at the rate I drink Tea should last me out.



In this life we all need a guru – darkness dispeller- to lead us towards the light and nana knowledge

Difference between east and west, in the West they challenge guru, in the East they surrender to Guru. Westerners question too much.

Guru is a live god

Sharath said Nobody now wants to be student and by inference put in the work, they just want to teach, he said they get phone calls from people, ” is that the yoga Shala ?”, “yes”, ” how do I become a Teacher?”.

He said Asana is pointless if you are not calm. Beginner looks round all the time, after time learns he to focus. Dedication and commitment, if you have this you get nana Jnana knowledge.Develop control of the mind, so that Eventually we become less distracted and have less attachments.
A yogi should be happy with what he has.

Chamundi Hill

October 29, 2011


A first full nights sleep since I cant remember, feel so much better today.
A decision at breakfast to make a little trip to Chamundi Hill, which lies about 4km south east of the city. We sensibly decided to get the Rickshaw to drop us at the top by the big Temple. You ascend via a very winding road that seems to go on forever


The area is busy with stalls selling tat, Ice cream sellers, religious string sellers and various others trying to remove you from your rupees.


The Temple queue was long, though there is an “Express” queue if you pay more, but the worry was leaving our shoes in the piles and finding them gone, so we decided to take a few photos, before starting the descent down the 1000 steps to the bottom. The top step has 1000 on it and as you go down they are marked every 100 or so. Glad we decided just to walk down.


After 300 steps down we came to Nandi the Bull and vehicle of Shiva, a massive stone carving, quite impressive.


Next to Nandi is The Cave Shiva Temple, which is red and White striped and has a tiny little door. It seems to be guarded by a troop of evil looking Monkeys, one of whom lobbed a coconut husk at me!


I think most Indians seem to visit by Tour bus, we saw a few people walking up and down, but nothing like the thousands who were at the top, the final 700 steps down were interesting, a kid dressed up for photos and someone putting the “dot” on the forehead, which the girls had, but they seemed to run down their noses in the heat!


500 steps, the half way point

It was good fun, well worth spending a few hours, we got down just in time as a huge downpour arrived, the Rickshaw in Town was almost aquaplaning and as anything big or fast overtook a bow wave of water came in


The bottom

Friday Led

October 28, 2011



The Diwali ceasefire kicked in around 11pm, so I actually got a few hours sleep before this mornings led class. Sharath announced that on Sundays there will now be a 2nd series class at 7:30am, but hopes of a bit more space in our led were dashed by the later news that anyone with a 5:30am Mysore start time in the second (too oversubscribed) led shift is to being pushed into our earlier group 😦

Practice was steady, though a bit of a struggle with the quicker pace, but I still managed to bind everything unassisted. Garbha miracle occurred after finding that turning my hands out slightly gives me the ability to lift into Kukutasana. So since getting here I can now do Lotus, get my arms all the way through, touch my head and balance ( even if Sharath had got to 3 before I found the balance) and lift into Kukutasana, my problem is getting myself round the circle, I may try and get away with back and forth, rather than two rocks and beached. Considering before I got here I was certain to be doing a month of up to Garbha and get stopped I’m pretty pleased the way it’s gone and it seems to pass muster. 🙂

We hardly seem to open our eyes from Savasana before the second shift are slapping their mats down, so it’s roll up the mat and rock down the road home, throw the washing in the machine and then the best uninterrupted 2.5hrs sleep I have had in over a week.


Ganesh Temple


October 27, 2011


As well as noise Diwali has some beauty, these are outside many of the houses, made of piles of coloured dye.


Some have candles but everyone wishes you “Happy Diwali”


Ganesha Temples colourful lights


Unless Sharath has a sound proof bunker he is going to be tired tomorrow, as his kids seem to have more fireworks than anyone

Monday Backbending

October 27, 2011

I have been in London on November 5th, I was in LA once on July 4th, once I was even in a hotel in Beirut as the Israeli airforce bombed the city, but none of those compare to the noise of Diwali fireworks for keeping my eyes from closing and depriving me of the one thing I really need, a proper nights sleep. It goes on all day round to midnight, it’s not just crackers and sparklers, there are some freaking big explosions. Don’t they realise I have to get up in the middle of the night to practice, some people have no consideration, especially as the yoga students probably finance this part of town for a good 6 months a year 🙂

Thanks to my prescription I did get a few precious hours before it was Shala time, it’s starting to work, not so many nocturnal interruptions. There also seem to be less people waiting at the Shala gate in the mornings.

Practice was slow, well not that slow I realised when I got home after, it was actually only 10 minutes later than usual. The Assistant now waits for me to get to UHP, let’s me wobble then adjusts me and today she helped with the following Ardha Badha too. Does lack of sleep make you bendier, does tossing and turning and getting up make practice easier than just laying flat for 8 hours? ( I wish!). But seated were actually pretty good, I just made sure I took my time, I felt Sharath coming to assist my Supta K, but i beat him too it, I think he flicked my foot on the way past, though he was back for Garbha. I think he tries to see how few rocks he can get me round the circle in, before giving me a todge up into Kukutasana, but he seems pleased enough with my efforts and smiles as he leaves. I didn’t want to push my luck so after more than a few Urdva Dhanurasana I rolled up my mat to do closing in the changing room.

When I was done I had to walk by the Stage to exit, passing Sharath sitting in his Chair. I thanked him, he stopped me to ask if I was ok, then asked me why I hadn’t done “backbending” by which he meant dropbacks. I told him the Doctor told me to take it easy and as today was the last Mysore day until Monday I figured I would start again then. He said that’s ok, just as I walked away he said again ” Monday backbending” I looked back to see the smile on his face.

Doing his London workshop gave me an insight into the way he counts the practice and a little of his humour. On his own patch he is a really nice, friendly guy, he rules his Shala, no doubt about that, but I am enjoying practicing with him.

I seem to have limited energy still and burning most of it before 6am is meaning that I am sleeping in the day a lot. If the prescriptions do the job and once Diwali is over I hope to sleep less in the day and more at night and actually get out again. But my body wants rest so that’s what it’s getting.


BUPA in India

October 26, 2011

Well I figured as I don’t have anything to do I would get myself checked out at The Vikram Hospital. You get checked in, then issued with a little card.information they want also includes fathers name. About 5 minutes later the receptionist came running after me to ask if my father was actually still alive! Then you pay 250 rupees to see the Doctor. He was more concerned about my nocturnal time on the Toilet than the end (hopefully) of this virus. You pay for each test individually before being told the room number to report to. So I got to pay 400 Rupees for an abdominal scan and for providing a sample. You get to see each Doctor or take each test immediately, no waiting around, what you do wait for is the result, you cant move to the next stage of the process before they tell you,as Indian bureaucracy insists that no prescription will be given until all the protocols and hurdles have been jumped and passed. I had done with all the tests by 1:30pm, the scan results were fast, electronically sent to Reception, so back into the Doctor with that printout. The sample result took forever, every time I asked how long it would be they seemed to add on another half hour. The report needed to appear in the magic red folder, before reaching the folder it had to come up on a screen and be printed off. Every few minutes the test lady would check to see if any new reports had been generated and print them off. eventually the test lady went for lunch and was replaced by a young guy, so I figured I would get him to check, turns out my report had been in the red folder a while!

So then you have to go and find the Doctor again, but my one had gone off duty, luckily my file was still on the table, so after explaining that the previous Doctor said once I had the reports then they would give me the prescription. This new one must have been slightly junior as she wanted another test, she said i had a slight infection. Eventually after more phone calls and me signing a form to say I didn’t want any more tests she gave me the prescription, for tablets and a bottle of liquid I have to mix 2 teaspoons full of with 200ml of water. Need to work out what constitutes 200ml and hope it doesn’t taste too disgusting, better get some chocolate just in case, just hope it works.

Finally after this assault course I get to the Pharmacy, hand over another 134 Rupees and get my stuff, well actually I handed over 140, the guy had no change so I told him to buy some Diwali fire crackers for his kids as I just wanted to get out of there.

This was a private hospital, most likely out of the economic reach of many who live in this country. It was clean and seemed efficient, god knows what the Hospitals are like where the poor have to turn to.

Our gas cooker finally got connected last night, so on the way back I got some soup, a potato, a carrot and some frozen peas. Hopefully things are turning the corner, though the chances of sleep seem minimal with Diwali, it’s like being back in Beirut! The family whose balcony is across from mine were launching fireworks off a piece of board attached to the railing in the hope of getting out from below the balcony roof. They would light one, then quickly retreat inside before the boom!

WordPress seems to be having issues loading photos so no idea when I will be able to post any.

Sent from my lovely


October 25, 2011



So where have I been since Sunday? Mostly in bed but not sleeping is the answer. Sunday evening we got caught out in a thunderstorm while going for dinner. The intense rain left me shivering and feeling sick again. After dinner I went to bed but I have not really slept, getting up every few minutes in the night to visit the little room at the end of the bed.

Monday I did a full practice, god knows where I got the energy from, though I finished on Urdva Dhanurasana before closing. Back home and slept till early afternoon. I dragged myself out for dinner with Laura and Bella, just a potato Parantha.

Another night of uncomfortably lying on my bed, then when I am fast asleep the alarm goes off. I went to practice but felt grim, I kept having to take breaks, I got as far as Mari C then thought I’m not doing any good being here. I looked at Sharath and said “I’m sick”, he just gave me a nod of acknowledgment before calling “one more” to fill my spot. I had hardly produced a bead of sweat. I went into the changing room for a 20 minute Savasana before heading home. At least I tried.

I have actually only had one good Mysore practice since i got here, last Wednesday when I did dropbacks, Thursday I passed out doing dropbacks and Monday and Tuesday this week have been dire.

Diwali moon day tomorrow, so a day like today of doing not much, hopefully by Thursday morning things will be better.

Led and Conference

October 23, 2011


Sunday 4am here we go again, though I slept well for the first time in nearly a week and dreamt about standing up, ye right in my dreams is where that will probably stay.

Standing are becoming metronomic, I’m used to Sharath’s count and there are no problems getting into any of the poses, I just seem to be able to focus and do it here. It’s seated where my mind wanders, knowing the poses that I need some faff time to get into them, that said I’m getting quicker at getting in to Mari D, though it’s still one and half of Sharath’s count before my hands get it together. Even Garbha I am managing to get in further in led, though he counted three before my arse balance, then started to roll round, getting stuck, Sharath laughing at me saying ‘good punishment!” before rocking me round. My arms were aching in the backbends, that’s a pose where I need my own time to walk the hands in and get stable, but in led it just feels like a race. Unlike Sirsasana where he counts so slowly, though I managed through to 5 of Ardha today before the structure failed.

Being in the first group our Savasana seems unbelievably short, he tells us to go home and take rest so the second shift can come in and be tortured.

Sunday Conference

Conference with entertainment, Sharath’s kids doing what brothers and sisters do, kick, whack, look angelic when Daddy is looking!

It’s only at Conference that you realise just how many people are here now.

Sharath said every time he travels to the west there are ever more new yoga names. but really yoga only has one meaning “Union”.one with supreme soul

Yoga asana makes the body and mind pure and stable, then yoga occurs through the 8 limbs.

Yoga is like technology, you need to know how to use it and most likely you need a Teacher to show you how to use it.

Yoga is experienced from within, no Samadhi certificate needed

When you can do asana without effort you can connect to the divine.

Someone asked if he gets nervous giving demonstrations, he said never, because unlike us (laughing), his mind is completely absorbed in the posture he is doing. He said he could tell when students may be physically in a posture, but mentally elsewhere.

Conference finished up as his kids were threatening to wreck his office!


Just in case you forget it, even Supermarkets sell yoga mats in Mysore.

The Zoo, where we become an attraction!

October 22, 2011

My first day off practice in 10 days, a decent sleep, breakfast bonus of chocolate orange muffins along with the toast and granola.

A rest day, though in some ways it wasn’t, but it was fun. Three Ashtangi’s took a ride to the Zoo, I havn’t been to a Zoo in years, but as I’m giving a lecture on Mysore in January I figured I had better take in the sights so I don’t bore them to death with yoga.

The strange “Indglish” signs start as you enter, after you pay four times as much as the locals to get in plus a fee for having a camera, though weirdly they don’t make you pay for mobile phone cameras.

Some of the birds are very colourful, though the aviary’s seem extremely old which makes taking photos through the fencing difficult


Some of the birds are very colourful, though the aviary’s seem extremely old which makes taking photos through the fencing difficult. After the birds you get to see Tigers, one of whom seems to be sponsored for life by Mr Iyengar of all people.



Some of the animals seemed to be “out” or more likely sleeping, but some like the Sloth Bears were hanging out in the sunshine


Much of the Zoo is very old and it looks like it, there are chain gates between some of the enclosures and some of the animals don’t seem to have much space to play, but the signs just crack me up.



After walking the nearly 3km round the Zoo we sat down for a break, but then we became the attraction as seemingly every bunch of locals exiting the park seemed to want either a photo with us or of us, one guy took 2, so I said ” that’s 20 rupees!”


Tired and thirsty we took a ride to The Green Hotel and managed to spend quite a while having tea and cakes in this lovely colonial was a fun day and after going nowhere with the lurgy this week it was nice to get out and explore in good company with Laura and Caroline. Just hope practice isn’t too hard in the morning.