Archive for November, 2011

Pasasana is here, standing up has disappeared.

November 30, 2011

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Tea time

Practice seems to be taking longer and longer each day, even when, unlike Monday I don’t get to do Pasasana and all the backbends twice! Practice is all there, Primary seems to have lost all it’s little hills, well except Navasana maybe, but that’s more mind over matter. But I’m pretty much left alone except for UHP, even Supta K I get to play on my own. I got all the way round to nine o’clock in Garbha, then tried a too bigger rock to get back to the front and beached myself, luckily one of the assistants saw and came and rescued me, thanks Ian!

Pasasana done both sides, no comment from Sharath, so off to backbends. My UD’s are solid now, but after the few freaky stand ups I seem to have lost any chance of coming up at the minute, though Natalie over breakfast said when you first manage to do it, it comes and goes, so hopefully it will return in the next few weeks. Assisted dropbacks after doing half a dozen of my own. My lower back seems happier for not coming up at least on my own, there is no strain at all when I’m tweaked by Sharath or one of the Assistants.

As I said its been getting longer, it took me 90 minutes to get to closing! You do work harder, stretch that little further,stay a little longer trying to get everything you can out of each Asana. Back home practice often left me wired and very awake, but here it tires me, but in a nice way , so tired I got home and slept until past 9am, only woken by some horn honking nutcase!

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Umit reading the Coffee

The longer I’m here the more you learn about your fellow practitioners, Umit for example. She’s a native of Istanbul, but has the look of someone from further east, her Georgian heritage. Umit has a talent for “reading” the grounds left in the bottom of the cups of Turkish coffee. Every day she reads the grounds of 2 or 3 people, they cross her palm with 10 Rupees, as she predicts their future. It’s a shame I don’t like coffee otherwise I could find out whats in store for me!

Pasasana day

November 28, 2011

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Sleeping (downward) Dogs

Finally the day for doing Pasasana, you may remember Sharath gave it me last Wednesday, but with Moon day plus Saturday plus the led classes its taken until today to finally be able to do it. A solid practice Setu B, the last pose in Primary then it was time. Of course back home I have been doing Pasasana as part of my practice for over a year, but i have had to be patient here and didn’t actually expect to do it here, but Mysore has been full of surprises. So time to squat, twist and bind my hands, but my heals won’t go flat. I did both sides a couple of times then started my backbends and had just dropped back for the second time when Sharath says “Kevin Pasasana” I presume he had missed me doing it first time round, so I did it again a couple of times on each side, then back to backbends, more UD’s then more dropbacks.

I found that although my stand up attempts were not brilliant today, that I could walk in, rock and lift my hands off the ground, rising a little higher each time without actually coming up, but able to keep my head back, so hopefully sewing a seed to help get me up, but without twisting. Eventually Sharath came over to assist, a deep bend, then telling me to walk in more, as I struggled to do that he said something that now seems obvious, “bend your arms,walk in more“, I had been trying to walk the hands with the arms straight, but bending the elbows made it easier, why has nobody said that before? I stood easily as he tweaked my hips, “very good!” he said.

It had been a longer practice than I realised when I saw the clock on the way out, but I suppose doing Pasasana , UD’s and dropbacks twice added a bit on.

Interesting day after breakfast seeing how the system for accommodation works with J, who was looking for a place to live for the next couple of months. Shiva seems to be one of the local Mr Fixits, he changes money and seems to act as a middleman for those wishing to rent out rooms or flats and those looking for a place to stay. J found a nice place to stay at a reasonable price, very luckily as someone cancelled yesterday. I don’t envy her washing machine though, a big stone sink with a couple of rocks to wash, scrub and whack her laundry against.

Trip, Practice, conference & fire pixie!

November 27, 2011

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Two nice days off. On moon day I took a bus trip to Sriranagapatna, explored the town, Fort, Palace and even a Dungeon dating back to when most of the world map was pink.

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Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace

When I went to Easy Day the new KFC had just opened, the queue snaked round the block, so much for south Indians being vegetarians!

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Mysore KFC open for business

After 2 mornings of sleeping in the alarm came as a bit of a shock today. More new faces pushed back into the first practice, but still got my same spot, better size neighbours too,Jose from AYL and a girl who stopped at Garbha,so not quite as much of a space issue in Supta K or in the up and over of Supta Konasana, though I got 3/4 of the way round in Garbha, then got nudged and beached, but its coming. Decent backbends, though my lower back is still tight.

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Local Festival

Leisurely breakfast before the Sunday chanting class, though that was a joke as we competed with some kind of mini street festival with a huge blaring speaker out in the street and a small child opening then slamming the Shala door.

This afternoon I met up with J, newly arrived from the UK, showed her the area, Shala and then took her to register and conference, where it was lovely to run into Louise and her family from AYL also newly off the plane from wintry Europe. Though the weather today in Mysore was abysmal, not cold but torrentially wet.

Conference

Sharath talked about the Bandhas, how particularly Mula Bandha can make the practice easier, he just got off his chair and demonstrated the incredible control it’s possible to get as he jumped back.Use mula for Uth Plutihi, jump through and back,makes body lighter

Kundalini in sushumba nadi comes when bandhas are perfected.

Mula bandha should practiced all time when walking and sitting

Use mula Uth Plutihi jump through and back body lighter

Someone asked about doig practice when you are unwell, Sharath said if you just have a Cold you can practice,but if you have a fever you should rest.

My new flatmate asked if he had any advice for newbies, he said just practice

Yogis are usually silent and solitary, especially after practice , but they should take part in society and try to do good

Yogis Make sacrifices to perfect their practice

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April Fire pixie

The heavens had truly opened when conference finished, everyone hung out under the overhang, others queued to register, start times have hit 9am, by that time I have done my practice, had another 2 hours sleep and am ready for breakfast.

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We prayed for the rain to stop as we spent an hour on the roof of Santosha watching Fire Pixie April do her stuff in aid of a couple of local charities, spectacular and good fun, shame more people didn’t take a chance on the rain stopping and come along. There was also a raffle and I somehow won a Hoola hoop, though minus the fire attachments. April makes the hoops out of drainage tube to give to the kids. Should be good for my hips, but no idea how how I would take it home. Small iPhone video I took here

Pasasana day tomorrow 🙂

Led primary

November 24, 2011

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I woke up with a very stiff lower back this morning, I could have done with it being Mysore and not the pre moon day led primary. I took it as slow as I could, but Sharath seems to count quite quickly. I was stuck between 2 tall people, which isn’t ideal. Time and lack of space are why I’m not a lover of the led class, I need more time. Backbends were a bit creaky, though by the third one I was able to walk in and take the stress out of my shoulders.I think I was stiff from yesterday afternoons extra curricular playing around where I shocked myself by managing to stand up.

After the chant and the final vinyasa Sharath as usual said “go home and take rest”, then he added “two days off,don’t eat too much!”. I wonder if that was meant for those of us who are adding Pasasana on Monday!

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Directing traffic with his Cricket bat

After breakfast I hopped on the Bus into town for a wander, discovering a Temple hidden down a side street, a man directing Traffic with a cricket bat, a Pineapple man and the old Singer sewing machine building which looks like it’s going to fall down. I enjoy wandering fairly aimlessly in the city, there are a few sights I have yet to find, but the people and buildings are as much a sight as anything on a tourist board brochure.

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Hidden Temple

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Pineapple Man

The Gokulam Coconut Stand must be doing well with all the yoga students, they were having a truck load delivered, should keep us all going for a few days.

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Coconut Stand getting fresh supplies

Surprises keep on coming

November 23, 2011

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The surprises continue to come in Mysore. Practice this morning had been solid, a great Supta K assist from Lisa, followed by a 360 Garbha and rock up into Kukutasana. All the things that have been an issue like Mari B and D in the past, just don’t get a thought now. I have discovered how to control the 360 Garbha rock now without getting beached, the bum balances could be better, but they are still better than they were.

So we come to what is the issue of the moment, backbends. Urdva Dhanurasana were good, walking in etc and rocking. Dropbacks had control, walk in, rock, splat! My problem is keeping my head back, it so wants to come up as I launch forwards, four times I tried, I got near on one, crashing down. Sharath came over to do cross arms and then one deeply assisted dropback, “walk in walk in”, OMG that’s intense, then a tweak of my hips and I return to standing with ease. I just need to do that tweak for myself, sending the hips forward just a little to change the dynamic. Then came the surprise.

“Very good, Monday you take Pasasana!” that was a real surprise, I thought he would want to see perfect stand ups or even wobbly ones before starting me on second series. At least technically my usual practice is with Pasasana, ( i was given Pasasana last year by Kino and told to continue by my regular Teacher) ,so it’s not going to be stressful doing it, though I probably better not eat too many croissants or chocolate bars over the weekend!

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Gokulam Post Office

After my nap and Breakfast I had to go to the Sony Centre, I have taken 700 photos so far and needed a new memory card, they only gad 2GB ones, enough for maybe 400 more photos, so I think there needs to be a cull.

While wandering I also came across a card shop, so managed to get some Christmas cards to send home, which then of course meant finding the Post Office. Finding the Gokulam branch was easy and surprised to find there was no long queue. They just weighed them and gave me the stamps to stick on,just hope they get home before I do!

One day wonder

November 22, 2011

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I was actually awake early this morning, despite another crappy nights sleep, I was looking forward to practice, yes I suppose looking forward to backbends.

The Shala seemed quieter again, not so many people waiting at the Gate and once inside there were quite a few spaces, so much so that I saw one girl relocate four times!

My standing and seated are so consistent now, there is hardly any thinking involved, the only binds I still just can’t quite manage are the second sides of the Ardha Badha’s, my left hand just can’t stretch enough to find my toe, I think my left shoulder is still quite tight. But everything else is consistently there, Mari D and Supta K and again today a complete 360 rock around in Garbha.

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Cow Roundabout

I got left alone in backbends, Sharath didn’t say a word today, now he knows I know I can stand up, he has stopped telling me it’s possible. I just need to work it out, how that freak set of circumstances came together and allowed it to happen yesterday. Well whatever that is, it didn’t happen today, try as I might I just couldn’t stand up. Too much thinking as Ruth would tell me. Yesterday I didn’t expect it to happen, but today I did, I suppose I was trying to force it today, knowing it is possible. Oh well always tomorrow.

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Extra Noodle shelves

Sharath talked about “Noodles” in the context of people who are very flexible but not strong. Now has anyone else in Mysore noticed the half an aisle of Noodles that has suddenly appeared in the Nilgiri’s Supermarket? When I arrived a month ago that aisle had dried foods, nuts and dried fruits etc, but I think the Supermarket seems to have realised just how many yoga students of Asian origin are in Gokulam and has now filled 3 bays with bags of dried noodles of every flavour! Does eating noodles make you bendier? At least it hasn’t been done to the detriment of the 2 most important Aisles, the Chocolate and Biscuits!

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Another spelling indianism!

On the

November 21, 2011

8th November 2009 I did my first dropback in front of Cary at YP

On the 21st November 2011 I stood up from Dropback in front of Sharath.
I never thought I would write this, it has seemed an impossibility.

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On the way to practice the new Moon was bright in the sky, practice was strong, not too much monkey mind, yesterday’s conference comment about being as connected to the easier Asanas as to the harder ones still in my head.

My practice is so much better when I’m doing Mysore practice and can take my time. The Urdva Dhanurasanas were super strong and I could walk in and stay up with straight arms. I just did 3, then stood for dropbacks. Suddenly my legs seem to have an extra level of control and strength as I went back. After the first sighter the second one I landed much nearer my feet, Sharath said “you can stand,it’s possible”, he touched my hips and I suddenly flew up, nearly knocking Sharath over! He said “slower,no hurry, again!”. I dropped back again, walked my hands in, rocked and OMG suddenly I was up, I must have finally synchronised the inhale breath and the push off, it wasn’t pretty, a slight stagger as I realised I was actually going to get up, at the top Sharath was waiting with a big smile, he was as happy as I was. “do again”, well I wish, but the combination of shock,joy and exhilaration I just couldn’t do it, though by this point I was really tired. The Assistant then came over and did assisted ones with me,before the squish and decamping to do closing.

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Yogi’s at the Coconut Stand outside the Shala

As I rolled up my mat someone came up and said “great job on standing”, I don’t even know who he was, but he must have seen it. I certainly won’t ever forget it and doing it in Mysore, wow. Of course that practice is gone and tomorrow I have to try and do it again.

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As I left the Shala a stunning sunrise was just appearing, it seems to be one of those special days.

Led Loo Waller and Conference.

November 20, 2011

Back to practice with the usual Sunday led, a few more people, Sharath is still pushing people’s times back. At least it was better than Friday’s, much stronger and the whole practice flowed much better. It definitely helps not to have tall people as neighbours as well, when everyone is doing the same thing at the same time, poses like UHP & PPC everyone staggers themselves, though there is a bit of a leg clash in Supta K and the up and over in Supta Konasana.

Home to 2 hours sleep which was noisily disturbed by the man in chargé of the Flat, accompanied by the crazy useless cleaning Lady and a geriatric Indian wearing a cloth round his waist and another around his head. Turns out he is the Toilet & Bathroom cleaner, he looked completely comical armed with what was once a 7up bottle now filled with some liquid, a brush with not many bristles and a cloth. He went in, shut the door after taking out my stuff, towels, toothbrush etc, then spent 10 noisy minutes doing god knows what, couldn’t see any difference after he finished.

Luckily I had my croissants and some Granola as we stayed in to supervise, cleaning lady can’t be trusted to keep her hands to herself.Kleptocleaner.

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After Conference

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It was lucky we stayed in as we were there to let in our new flatmate, Trish from Canada, luckily she’s been in India a week so didn’t arrive jet lagged and shattered, just with the first week chest infection everyone seems to get. We took her to the Shala, then oriented her to eating places and Easy Day.

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Post Conference Coconut

Conference

Body and mind becomes pure after practicing the 8 limbs. Become stronger in body and mind.

Asana best way 2 purify nervous system.

Primary series doing Paschimottanasana activates Agni burns toxins. lose toxins through sweating.

Some students said Sharath are as flexible as a noodle, but have no strength for handstand. Need to build strength over time to maintain flexibility. Allow the process to happen, don’t be in a hurry. Westerners are too impatient.

New Asana new pain!

When impurities gone, mind becomes stable and practice becomes steady and strong.

Yoga is a science to control the mind

When there is citta vittri , Nirodaha happens naturally.

When asana is hard you forget everything else, you completely concentrate on the posture, but it’s the opposite when pose is comfortable, the mind can go and think about anything, so the harder poses are a kind of meditation.

Facebook too distracting, Sharath said he got 150 in a day, yoga brain said no, I don’t have time to deal with this! Too many distractions in life.

Saturday

November 19, 2011

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Nice sunset last night.

Saturday lay in, no stupid o’clock alarm call, but sleep quality here is the problem, although I am getting used to the constant traffic horns and barking dogs sleep isn’t as deep as I would like it to be. After breakfast it was time to say goodbye to Laura, her month gone in a flash, back to the US and her husband and Menagerie of dogs and birds.

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So it was out to play on my own, I got the bus to the croissant shop, then came back via the Railway Museum, half a dozen steam trains you can climb over and take pictures of.

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Life in this country is often lived on the street in plain view, no privacy, yesterday we saw a woman driving her cows down the street, oblivious of the traffic and the annoyed drivers of cars,Rickshaws , bikes and trucks swerving to avoid her.

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We also saw a cow stealing Bananas!

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I’m amazed the broadband wifi is usual good when you see this.

Further along we could hear drums and noise, when we got to the spot we realised it was some kind of funeral wake, the body laying on a board on the pavement covered in flowers, the mourners sitting on plastic chairs, life in Mysore going on as ever around it all.

Ready for Saturday rest

November 18, 2011

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Saturday rest can’t come soon enough, Thursday’s Mysore class seemed hard going, assisted in UHP and Supta K again, though that feels like getting a free pass to Garbha, it was such a good Supta K assist, that when I lifted into titibhasana my arms were actually straight, with my feet locked behind my head. Usual backbend struggle, a few dropbacks on my own,the assistant was looking like she was going to help me, but Sharath said “he has to do on his own!” and laughed, so I got to do a couple more and try and stand up, but trying to stand up in the Shala seems harder with people watching, as I crashed back down for the second time Sharath said I hadn’t breathed. He then looked across and said “very good”, he knows I’m trying oh so hard to crack this, he then did assisted backbends with me.

I got home and went up on the roof to watch the sun rise over Mysore.

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We think it says Beware of the Crocodile!

A little post lunch excursion to Kukkurahilli Kere Lake, in truth some of it resembles more like a swamp, there are abandoned boats all over the place.

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Old Boat

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Lake shore

There is also a lot of bird life, Purple Moorhen, White Egret and Brahminy, a type of Kite. The Lake is an oasis of calm, there is a path that goes right round the lake. We saw a sign that we think meant “Beware of the Crocodiles”.

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Trees reflected in the Lake

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Brahminy Kite

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Purple Moorhen.

Once back in Gokulam , as Laura is leaving, we did the taking photos at the famous Coconut Stand.

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Friday Led was busy, though I still got my usual spot, I think everyone was feeling it today, but my stamina must be improving, I stayed up ok in all the seemingly long held Urdva Dhanurasana and the whole way though Utplutihi. I love the way he ends the Friday led, chant, vinyasa and the instruction “go home and take rest”. You could feel the relief this morning as we trooped out to get the post practice coconut and go back home for the pre breakfast 2 hour snooze. Saturday lie in, yay.