Archive for the ‘Mysore’ Category

My Standupversary

November 21, 2012

I will never forget Monday 21st November 2011, the day I stood up from Urdva Dhanurasana for the first time ever in Mysore, flying up and nearly knocking Sharath over! He beamed then said “Do again”.

In the year since that day it took me months to be able to do it with any regularity, I had a golden couple of golden months between the end of July and early September when I could just do it. Then as Louise predicted I would, I lost it. The more of second got added the less chance I seemed to have of coming up.

Too much thinking as Ruth used to say, trying to work out the dynamics, walking the hands in to be under or in front of the shoulders, trying to get the Hips forward, so the weight is going forward and the hardest part, controlling the breath at the bottom. By the time I had done all that my arms have given way.

Back to the Block to come up, then on good days I could do it off the mat, but doing the first one is the issue.

So here we are 365 days later, Wednesday 21st November 2012 and S gives me an email tip, try lunges to stretch the Hip flexors. And what do you know I drop back with more control and know my Hips are further forward on landing, walk the hands in and up I come, no block first. I managed it 6 times.

Happy Standupversary!



October 29, 2012


A lovely extra hour in Bed, followed by for the first time since I can’t remember when a stress free Sunday train ride to practice, in the Shala on my mat before ten to eight. It was busy in there today, not heard that many “one more’s” since Mysore, is it really a year since I was there. Another friend from last year leaves on Wednesday, how do people manage it every year?

A much sweatier practice, the humidity generated by that many body’s makes for a more bendy, flowing practice. Left alone in standing, before nice assists in Paschimot , Tiriang Mukha and Baddha Konasana, having managed to beat the teacher into Supta K 🙂

My right hand has sussed Bhekasana, but the left doesn’t get it at all, Emma did a nice assist, despite the left hand pointing the wrong way she got my chest lifted.

UD is good, dropping back is not bad, but standing up without a block isn’t happening. I found AYL’s one block tucked away in the cupboard and stood up easily enough from that before Louise came over to do the full range of assisted drops, cross arm half way and another drop, walk in and come up, she hardly touches my hips and i just come up.

So it’s been a yoga weekend. Moon day tomorrow “sleep & more slop” as the Shala blackboard said this morning.

It arrived

April 28, 2012


I got home on Friday to find the Postman had brought something nice for a change, not a bill, not spam, but finally a copy of Graeme Montgomery’s beautiful Mysore Style photo book. Although it is out of print the Author still has some available from his website. It’s a fabulous book, full of people I know doing the postures, the photos are actually in the order of the practice, and in-between photos around Mysore, places I recognise and even a guy riding his Bike with a basket balanced on his head who Laura and I came across near Devaraja Market back in November. I wonder if he realises he has been immortalised in the book, or perhaps that’s why he smiled at us as we took his picture that day.


“Back” to practice, though my back seems to have plateaued in the healing process, it’s no worse, but isn’t improving any more it seems, despite daily Ice treatment and not doing drop backs, well OK I did one on Tuesday, just about landing it, but after advice from the Toon Army southern division leader, I havnt done any more. Her advice being that I’m not giving it a chance to heal. The rest of practice is fine and in some decent heat would be perfectly passable, the twists are bound again and even UD done gradually is pain free.

AYL in the morning, hope L has the heating cranked up or at least my fave spot by the Radiator is free just after 8am.

Friday Chai & chat

March 24, 2012

Friday evening at the Local Shala Chai and chat, as I gave my talk on Mysore. It was a whole new presentation compared to the one I gave in London in January to a non yoga audience. This time I made it more about what it’s like to practice at “The Shala” and what it’s like to live in Mysore, the practicalities and what goes on in the 22 hours when you are not on your mat.

It was meant to be an hour, but what with a yoga audience asking more interesting questions it ended up being over 90 minutes, but nobody minded and everyone said how much they enjoyed it. The Local Shala didn’t charge entrance, instead they asked for donations to Guruji’s charity in Mysore.

Thanks to Jen who made real Chai and Jeremy for help with Projector and screen, as usual the star of the show was Scabs.


I hope some of them were inspired to make the journey.

Saturday practice

March 17, 2012


Wet, cold morning, practice at the local Shala. Not warm enough really, but an OK practice, standing up from the 1/3rd thickness Block. C just leaves me alone to play backbends.

She has a poster up for the talk I’m giving on Mysore next Friday. Anyone is welcome to turn up, though you can book as well.

The Map on Lulu

January 12, 2012


The Mysore map with more comprehensive explanation is now available as an ebook on

You can find my ebook here

The last Mysore in Mysore

December 27, 2011


On the Shala steps after my last practice.

Well today after nearly 3 months I did my last Mysore practice in Mysore at The Shala. I got my usual spot, surrounded by the usual people, the early birds all now seem to have a preferred spot, there isn’t the scrum to get in on a Mysore day that there is on the led days. Sharath seems to have the local lurgy, he croaked his was through the opening chant, then despite the warmth went back to his office to get a jacket. A really good last practice, everything bound and mostly left alone, until backbends, I did 8 dropbacks on my own then stood up to find Sharath waiting for me.


Waiting at the Shala gate for the last time.

After the assisted ones, I said “thanks, see you next year I hope”. As I arrived at the Shala later for the last chanting Sharath came out, “you still here!” he said, so I had to explain I leave this evening.


My Mat rolled out for the last time in it’s preferred spot, 4th row under the White ball.

Closing was interesting, I realised as I went up into Sirsasana that I had sun burned my head!


Prakash always on guard at the Shala gate.

After practice my last Chai poured by Bharat at Amruth, I tried the coconut thing, but could never work out what the fuss was about, but Chai after practice that rocks, especially at Amruth who always made a space for us and made us welcome.


Angelika and David from my own YP.

It’s been a wonderful three months, practice every day in heat and humidity, though I won’t miss the early alarm clock calls. My practice is much deeper, more fluid, less thinking, just doing and the obvious highlight has been standing up from backbend in the Shala with Sharath standing at the top of my mat, he believed I could do it and kept telling me, as Anna said it was like I had a personal cheer leader. I just wish I could repeat it with more frequency, but I’m sure it will come, I now at least believe it is possible, before I came to Mysore I never thought it would happen. Then to be told to “take Pasasana


Bye Scabs, you look so much better, hope they keep looking out for you.

Ive Been saying goodbye all day, some people I will see in London, some further afield like Kino and Tim. Some maybe not until next time I come, if I do ever get to come back and others probably i will never see again. But all have made this such a good three months. Don’t all rush now for my vacated spot in the morning!

So it’s all over now, back to reality.


The rumour about Gokulam being a one Horse town appear to be true!

Christmas day in Mysore

December 25, 2011


The first day I have woken this early on Christmas day since those long ago days of childhood when you crept out at 4am to see if Santa had been.

No shortage of Santa’s at the Shala gate this morning, it was quite a sight as I rounded the corner, everyone wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noele, Frohe Weihnachten or whatever other dozen languages are shared among the yoga folk or should that be Elves!

Managed to get my preferred spot today and surrounded by nice people who don’t encroach except when we all do in poses like Supta K or Upavistha.

Once we were settled Sharath emerged from his office wearing a Santa hat, everyone laughed, he said ” Merry Christmas, Samasthitihi !” and off we went.

Probably the best led practice I have done since I got here, nice flow, everything bound, energy for backbends and Uthpluthi.


The after practice Chai drinkers grew to around 15 of us today, so many we had to decamp on to the steps of a closed shop next door. A festive mood.


Scabs followed us to Chai

We drank quite a few, the man making it was struggling to keep up with our enlarged group plus all the locals.


Sunrise on Christmas morning

Home in time to see the sun come up, before going to back to bed until breakfast


After a long breakfast it was time for lunch at The Green Hotel, a lovely lunch in a lovely setting


After lunch we went for a walk around the Lake, a nice way to end the day.

Merry Christmas

Last Mysore Friday led

December 23, 2011


My last Friday led in Mysore, this is all going way too fast now, I didn’t think about it until we did the closing chant and i realised I won’t be here next Friday. It wasn’t a great last Friday led, I ended up on a ridged bit of rug and the guy in front had no sense of space, landing on my mat when he jumped back or did Chakorasana, which was annoying. We still have one more led on Sunday to go, but on Sundays it’s jam packed and I never have high expectations. At least there are still two more Mysore sessions to go, maybe a few more will depart and make some room.

Still pitch dark and pretty chilly when we emerged, the six regular Chai drinkers being joined by 2 Canadians and a few others at the Amruth chai stand for a glass or three of the hot sweet liquid. I laughed when one girl asked for hers without sugar, it doesn’t come like that, having watched the guy making it ladle at least 6 huge spoonfuls of sugar into the steaming vat! At home I don’t have sugar, but here it’s how it comes and it tastes damn good after practice.


Mr Snowman

The supermarket are already selling off their Christmas decorations, mini trees are down to 29 Rupees and little snowmen are down to just 15 Rupees! My one concession to Christmas is now the snowman on my doorknob!


Anokhi Garden


Flora and Jennie

This evening the social highlight of the week, the Anokhi Garden Christmas party in aid of a couple of local charity’s. Nice to meet a few more people who I usually only see in the dark in passing or miss altogether with the varying mysore start times. Nice nibbles including Potato burgers and chocolate cake washed down with home made lemonade and chai.


Chocolate cake

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from Mysore.

Sharper drishte

December 22, 2011


Maybe there is something to this New Moon lowers energy business. After yesterday’s good, strong practice, today’s was a bit of a slog. I was pleased to be left alone by the Assistants and Sharath, until it was time for backbends. I had done 7 dropbacks, but despite my new backbend toy, today I just didn’t seem to have the openness in my back and i was dropping from higher up, I wasn’t able to control the decent for as long, but by the standards of a year or even six months ago, these dropbacks do have control. So all things are relative I suppose. Knocked in closing Sirsasana, which annoyed my neck, so I bailed out and finished the rest of closing. Savasana felt cold, so I didn’t stay prone for as long as usual and it was still dark when I left the Shala.

While playing the “hunt the sandals” game, Cara arrived to start her practice, looking at me enviously as I headed for home, all done, while she still had it all to do. After a chai at Amruth, I headed home, i made a drink then waited on the roof for sunrise, which didn’t happen thanks to a big bank of cloud suddenly appearing to obscure the lovely orange sun.


Hotel Xmas Tree

After breakfast I headed to the city, first to the Regaalis to pick up some fresh croissants, even if I did have to wait by a Christmas tree and listen to Jingle Bells, then to collect my new prescription glasses. Very good service, as soon as I walked in the girl went straight to the box and pulled mine out. Official Varilux paperwork with prism. I reckon the amount I have saved buying them here is equivalent to the flight to get here, or maybe next years flight back here. Having a new prescription can be dangerous in the thirdish world, as I misjudged the height of the pavement outside the shop and going up and down steps has been interesting. I havn’t quite worked out which part to look through to read either, but things more distant are much sharper and in focus. Better drishte !


Bag shop


Typewriter man.

I went for a wander to get my eye(s) in, around a different part of the city. I found a street where you could seemingly buy any university text book second hand, one shop did medical, another accountancy etc and in contrast the street had the men who sit outside with Typewriters to cater for those who won’t be worrying about university


Shiva, Gokulam Mr Fixit.

Once it cools down around 4:30 the Coconut stand comes alive again, locals and the yoga folk congregate for Coconuts or Chai. So many different countries represented in such a small space, Japan, Finland, Korea, lots from the US including Kino. The third time this year we have met, Edinburgh in March, London in September and now Mysore for Christmas. Where next I wonder?


With Kino at The Coconut Stand