The Ashtanga community is a global entity today that has evolved from tiny groups of practitioners coming together in small spaces when the pioneers first returned from India and the birth of cyberspace, from the days of the old Ezyboard with its basic green face, where we all had pseudonyms (KFCKEV in case you were wondering), through the start of the blogs on to the Facebook and Instagram world we inhabit now, practising in large corporate studios, but thankfully also the more homely Shala's like AYL and Dena's.

But for all that often distances us physically we are a growing community who share so much in common and just occasionally we manage to get together and meet on our mats far from home, for me I've met a lot of people in Mysore, Karen (aka Donutszenmom), Angela (Inside Owl), Katie (aspiring yogini) to name but a few. So here I am 10,000 miles and 11 time zones from AYL and I practised in a led class last Friday with friends from Germany, UK, Australia and the USA.

I've followed Ashtanga Dispatch virtually from its birth, exchanging occasional emails with Peg, reading physical and online copies of the magazine, the email newsletters and enjoying listening to the podcast interviews. You often, well I do anyway, wonder if people are really like "that" in real life or whether their online persona is an act. Well I can say Peg is just as fun, nice and engaging and great to be around in real life. She joked that she had just come from swimming in this photo, rather than just sweated through a 2 hour practice in an Aussie sauna! And her humbleness extends to delivering her teachers shoes 5000 miles across the Pacific.

The last two weeks have been a chance to just practice without aims, to be able to take my time, enjoy the heat, struggle with the humidity and not feel a pressure to perform while I'm actually at a shala every day, rather than that precious once or twice a week as is the norm where I want it to be a "good one". Coming here is definitely good for my soul, I just hope I don't have to wait another 7 years until I can come back, Mysore was something I loved and enjoyed, but coming to Dena's Shala feels nurturing in a way that Mysore never can be.

I remember 2006, that first 2 week intensive in Bali with Dena, on the last day it felt like being let out of school, freedom, but every time since then, be it Bali, Hamburg, Berlin, Stockholm or Byron Bay it feels like someone is forcing me out of a place that I want to stay in, that I know is both physically and mentally good for me. I may not have any plans to return to Mysore, but I can tell Peg that she isn't the only one already trying to make plans for a return to this beautiful place.


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