Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vietnam to Cambodia - a quick summary

Arriving in Saigon/HCMC we made a quick transition to the War Remnants Museum, after organising our transport to Phnom Phen. The museum is largely devoted to the Vietnam war and was totally amazing, making us appreciate and realise even more the resilience of the beautiful Vietnamese people.
After that a beer was required and the venue was the Rex hotel, apparently a fav of the US officers stationed in Saigon - not that that was a selling point. Very camp, very 50s, and pulsing with wedding fever - one wedding each floor - wedding season Vietnam cashed up style. Marie and I had a Saigon Iced Tea, Rob his stock standard if not over inflated Tiger beer. Dinner Lemongrass restaurant - gorgeous Viet dinner, amazing view. Next morning early call for Cambodia!

Ok Ok quick summary - I'm trying!

Six hours on a bus to Phnom Phen - we were met by a relo of a friend and were soon in our hotel despite thinking 20 Tuk Tuk drivers were him. A beer or two later all our Cambodian friends arrived on mass, organising our forth coming days and catching up - all 13 or so of them. Dinner later via a few sites with our Tuk Tuk driver Hua, and an early night given our plans for the following day.

Khon and the convoy picked us ap after breakfast and we headed for the Killing Fields. Her and Urn her sister told us of their stories of flight in the Pol Pot era, as very young children - 8 and 11 respectively - all very harrowing, amazing. Killing Fields and their stories among thousands of other unheard voices, all I will say is it was totally gruesome and disturbing and I can't believe this was allowed to happen again - obviously WWII lessons were not learned. And to be with survivors of this horrid regime made it all very real - as did the S - 21 prison - right at the end of the street we are staying. Lost for words!!!!! Wake up world!
Cambodians - so happy such lovely people in the face of an horrific recent history.

Off to Angkor Wat tomorrow with the Cambodian troop - lots of fun to be had I am sure, and lots of lessons to be learned as well!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Moving On to HCMC

Today we are leaving for Ho Chi Min City - Saigon, for one night before we leave Vietnam for Cambodia. It will be sad leaving Vietnam as we have all had a wonderful time here, and also sad today leaving Hoi An as we have had 4 wonderful days here, in fact I am getting a new t-shirt printed - Breakfast, Massage, Temples, Shopping, Beach, Beer - basically the order of the days activities this week. We have been fortunate to stay in a beautiful boutique hotel, where everything has been sensational. We might all loose some weight after leaving here as breakfast is unbelievable - yesterday I had Creme Caramel after fruit, and eggs and toast - only because I could. Today I might have cake - again cos I can! My two travelling companions have been stuffing their face, me I am a bit more restrained - except for cake!
Yesterday I also did some more shopping, organised my new dress to be made, picked up my new shoes, bought bits and pieces, visited temples and the sights despite feeling a bit unwell - sore throat etc. but I still managed to be out and about. It was really hot too, after a little rain in the morning which equalled humidity and very curly hair.
The afternoon was spent at the beach, another ride down there which is so much fun, a coconut on the beach, a nice long swim, followed by a beer before the ride home. The night was capped off with dinner and again an early night - I have been so tired, but I guess that comes with an action packed day in beautiful Vietnam.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ho Ho Ho with Uncle Ho

Christmas in Hoi An has been fantastic. Starting Christams Eve, there was a big dinner here in the garden of our hotel, and being the Christmas lovers we are, we deceided to go along. The staff were buzzing and very excited, all decked out in Christams garb, even a Vietnamese Santa. We took a few early snaps and were later seated in the garden and had a lovely table. It was all very festive without being commercial and chi chi. As it was Christams were ordered some French bubbles (I only do French at Christmas - old tradition - helps me cope!). Anyway suffice to say we downed several more bottles between the three of us, all teamed up with the fantastic buffet of seafood, and other specialties.
We were very merry and really enjoyed the evening despite the Christmas tunes - it sounded like Christmas on 45 on high repeat. A lovely night I must say, the staff were so much fun as were my dinner companions.

Christams day we all had a cruisie day - Marie and I went to temples, shopping, tailors etc. whilst Rob had a relaxing day reading and doing nothing - he said it was his best Christmas ever, and I have to agree, no pressure, no fuss, just fun and relaxation.

We rounded off the day with a trip to the beach. Rob had been the previous day and so all three of us hopped on bikes and peddled down to the coast - only about 20 minutes away. It was a great ride and the beach did not deisappoint - the water was warm - not freezing like southern oceans! We hung out on the beach and then stopped off for a nice cold Tiger beer on the way home. Dinner was at a local institution - Mermaid restaurant, where I finally got to have Green Papaya Salad, and it didn't disappoint. We all had something different, again with a Tiger for our thirst.

So that was Christmas in the land of Uncle Ho. If Christams was like this every year I could learn to love it again!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hanoi - Hoi An, an amazing Race moment!

We left Hanoi at 5am, after waking at 4, arriving nice and early at the airport. Lucky lucky as our flight had been re-scheduled and we were now scheduled to leave at 5.30pm - ahhhhhh!!! However as we were there early I went immediately to the Vietnamese Airline counter to see if there was a possibility of getting on an early flight to Danang. We were told that all flights were full but to wait 5 minutes and they would see if there were any no shows on the 6.45am flight. So lucky we were but I needed to pay there and then in cash, needed everyones passports, but thankfully a trip to the bank the previous evening ensured I had millions of Dong, and could pay up quick (I was told to hurry!!) - there was lots of running around and getting passports, money, lots of chaos, and getting on the plane, through security - all in a few minutes - but we did it.
We arrived in Hoi an not knowing if our pick up would eventuate, but everything fell into place, and we were soon whisked away to Hoi An.
Upon arrival at our hotel, we were taken to the restaurant for breakfast - OMG - everything you could want and more!!! We are all going to be sooooooooooooo fat when we leave this hotel. And the rooms, DIVINE, all for US $50 per night - though Rob is complaining that it's not as good as the Dubbo motel for AUD $65! (that was vile!)
We are all in heaven - and there are shops everywhere - double heaven, though shame about all the Christmas cheers and carols, though it is sooo nice I may even be nice for Christmas this year - and also go to the spa for some pampering. Better go - shops are calling!

Hi to Uncle - Last Day Hanoi

Arriving early this morning by train from Lo Cai, we headed back to the hotel where we waited about to go and see Ho Chi Min's Mausoleum, opening at 8.00am. Given we arrived in town at 4.45am, we had a bit of time to kill and no where to have breakfast. We watched stupid Virginia Trioli verbally box a few people on ABC early morning TV, before finally being able to get out of the hotel to walk to see the man.
It was a big walk through and around the military/defence zone, before finally arriving. We were third in line for the somber pomp of viewing Uncle Ho (as he is affectionately known). Upon entering the tomb with a uniformed military guard in front, there he was - lying serenely - albeit a little white, but otherwise looking good. It was totally worth doing, though one couldn't say they'd enjoyed it!
But it was post Ho that we were all looking forward to, breakfast then proper check in and shower. Breakfast was divine - a lovely eatery called Five, great coffee, great food!
The rest of the day was spent collecting my new prescription sunnies, and shopping, before drinks at Mao's again - Long island Iced teas on special today (35 Dong or $2 AUD). Dinner was local - Tandoor - for yummy Dhal, rice and veg dishes - to the sounds of disco Christmas tunes - how multicultural!!
Now I'm tired, tired, tired - have to be up at 4am for the next leg - to Danang and Hoi An - so enjoy Christmas eve! Maybe I'll get in a practice then.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sapa - Coc Ly - Lo Cai

Another action packed day, after a very amusing afternoon and evening in Sapa. We ended up being the toast of the Black H'mong ladies, particularly Rob, as he really played a game with them, so they tried even harder to sell to him. Needless to say, on a cold evening they were all lined up outside the restaurant we went to just waiting to sell us more stuff. It was hilarious, and an even bigger game by this time. As it was so freezing outside as well as our hotel, we chose a nice warm pizza restaurant with nice cold beers, where many were downed.

Still not a yoga practice to be had, today I managed a few stretches whilst waiting for a boat, it is way too cold and with no heating and my mat in Hanoi, it can wait til tomorrow.

We left Sapa early bound for Coc Ly market, about 2 hours away, a Tuesday market frequented by Flower H'mong. It was very colorful, lots of snaps to be had, and a few purchases as well. The boat trip followed down a river for about 1.5 hours, where we were lucky to visit a Flower H'mong village, where our boat driver was from. It was great - again really colorful, very tribal, just as I like! On the way back we spied over into China from the border crossing, and saw a temple dance ceremony in action right near by.
Now we are back in Lo Cai waiting for the night train back to Hanoi minus the Baileys! I am really enjoying Vietnam, the north is wonderful, hope the rest maintains my enthusiasm. Anyway better get back to my Tiger - beer that is!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hanoi and Sapa

Yesterday, after touring around by foot in Hanoi - visiting the "Hanoi Hilton" - the Maison Centrale - an old prison, the city art gallery, some travels in and around the city walking around the streets and markets, taking in some fab sites, smells and street life, downing several beers in Maos Red Lounge, I saw the best sight so far - a motorbike travelling down the street with a full size fake blue and white Christmas tree standing upright on the bike travelling at high speeds down the street - so as you can probably tell I have not avoided any Christmas crazyness, although they are not trying to sell you stuff you don't need under the guise of Christmas.
Later in the evening we boarded the train heading for our next destination, Sapa, up in the northern highlands, very tribal, hopefully with the promise of being very funky. The train journey was great, very comfortable, and our compartment was very glam! After many Baileys, we slept all night, waking at 5am, the train due to arrive at 5.30am. We were met and transported an hour to Sapa, and realised how freezing it was. Our hotel was freezing, there was no heating, and we couldn't check into our rooms til midday. They did however feed us a fantastic breakfast, albeit downed to the tunes of an annoying new "friend" from the land of the Union Jack - who incessently complained about the weather and anything else she could.
After breakfast we left with our guide Kee, a H'mong guy, lovely and friendly and who really liked Aussies. They were 4 French in tow and little miss annoying - but we soon got rid of her as we ventured into the valley towards Cat Cat village. The H'mong people are gorgeous and we soon had a mob around us - they are so tiny and wear bright gorgeous tribal gear, so a winner in my eyes. Our trip was about 6kms round trip, steep down and as you guessed it - steep up. At the top my new friend Sy, a H'mong womand and a few of her friends extorted some $$s out of me in exchange for some nice textiles and jewellery.
We arrived back at our hotel - had a freezing shower - if I don't come back with pneumonia it will be a miracle. A hot, lunch, some warm coffees and a few beers later, and we are all smiles - loving Sapa and the local people. In fact the Vietnamese as a whole are lovely, am enjoying it more than expected - the sights, the people, but particularly loving it here in Sapa!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hello Hanoi

We arrived in Hanoi about 1pm Saturday afternoon after a few hard fought vinos on Malaysian Airlines, and too many hours at KL Int. Airport. Malaysian Airlines are a little stingy with their drinks, but the whole "service" provides entertainment in lieu of real in flight entertainment. For those interested the plane was a 737/800.
Arrival in Vietnam was easy, way too easy, and a little amusing. Marie and I had some duty free booze and we wanted to go throught the customs declaration line but there was no one attending to that line, so we asked the guy in the nothing to declare line what to do - he asked what we had - we said two bottles of booze - he said "oh alcohol - no problems" and waved us through - I was liking this place already. We quickly found our ride, and were off to town in a flash.
The surrounds reminded me a little of India, well any developing country. Plenty of scooters and bikes on the road - lots of helmets though that's unlike India, however not sure how much a jockeys helmet is going to save you. It was only 20 minutes into the 50 minute road trip to town that I heard some Christmas tunes on the radio. Our driver changed from a CD to radio - possibly to hear the news, then after that came George Micheal singing "Last Christmas", followed by some chick singing "Santa Baby", then "Rock around the Christams Tree" - Brenda Lee I think. I was crying with laughter, and Marie and I had a bit of a sing along too, much to the delight of our driver who thought we loved it. Another 5 minutes down the road I spied the first of the many Christmas decorations we would see all day. In fact our hotel is just around the corner from Christmas decorations street, where you can go to buy your Santa suit, and other Chrissy decs! I will not be spending much there me thinks.
We arrived at our hotel in the old quarter about 2pm, checked in, conducted all the necessary formalities, then showered before stepping out into the Hanoi streets.
I love Hanoi street life, a little like India, particularly in the tiny streets of the old quarter minus the color of the saris and salwars, and the absolute beauty of the Indians. Anyway mission one was to get prescription sunglasses - something that required more than a little patience. Unlike India English appears to not be widespread, and coupled with the fact that I'm an idiot and left my prescription in the hotel, which equalled interesting situations, a few potential eye examinations, much head shaking and finally a place that knew what I wanted. Suffice to say I think the people here are lovely, really gentle and pleasant.
After that was accomplished (wonder what I will end up with), we all strolled around the streets and checked out the street life which is really cool. A few beers, some delicious dinner, mine came with a hair but was still yummy, and we were set, though ready for bed. A night cap of Baileys (it's quite cold here) and I was asleep despite the horns and street noise. Can't wait for day two!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hanoi bound

Gee airports are fun!!! More than a few hours to fill in today at KL International airport - where the big jet engines roar - oopps that was from Susan Reye's 70s song LA International Airport - brilliant song!! Anyway am bored, have shopped - bought some very nice sunnies, not eating though - so maybe a few sun salutes soon! Checked out the airport jungle - there was a cockroach the size of my fist - lovely. Knee is feeling good - playing cricket yesterday seems to have sorted it out - Go Tigers - we won (not that I had much impact though did take a nice catch if I do say so myself!!).
After entering the terminal at KL on my Christmas escaping adventure - we were confronted with "Jingle Bells" and over the hours heard many more lovely Christmas tunes. Marie, one of my travel companions dared me to untie the tinsel festooned around the balcony in the main arrivals terminal, but languishing in a Malaysian prison for being a grinch doesn't appeal.
Stay tuned for more over the next 15 days, some travel, Christmas, food and practice tales to tell I hope!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Practice Post Sydney

Well practice post Sydney and Sharath has been a little up and down, though I am slowly figuring out things regarding my leg. Last week was relatively easy, and the warmth certainly made practising a joy, not to mention the inspiration of the preceding week with Sharath.

Saturday my knee was killing me and my ankle – well it was a cankle, (hard to tell where the calf stopped and the ankle began) – so had a light practice, and a swim in the bay and lounge on the beach afterwards. I then started to think about the swelling and patterns surrounding it – seems like every time I have a bit of wine it goes the puff. So maybe it’s time to experiment and minimise or eliminate the booze for a while. Certainly won’t hurt me, might improve me on many levels!!

Went to the golf (still with cankle and sore knee) on Sunday to see Tiger and of course the other boys playing – it was very inspiring – and focussed – definitely some parallels with yoga in some respects, though these guys are raking it in, and it is competition unlike the old Ashtanga practice. Though I’ve gained some inspiration from the man himself – Tiger – it is just like our late Guru said – “Practice, practice and all is coming” – he is testament to this, another golfer and his story has particularly caught my attention, given my road to recovery – James Nitties. The destiny of one is in their soul….and as he said it is important to remember there is always someone worse off than yourself. So true and again it has put everything into perspective for me. It has reinspired my practice, particularly my self practice which has been rocking this week, and made me focus on doing everything in my power to achieve full recovery.

This week a bit of a cold put practice on hold this Monday, blocked nose, sore throat, no need to spread it around. Tuesday was great and there were lots of people in the studio for a bit on momentum and energy. Wednesday it was moi – I practiced to Sharath’s led count on my iphone, and same same today, though half Mysore style, and from Bhujapidasana with Sharath. Leg feeling good, a bit sore but not swollen, and feeling very inspired – got a bit of a swing out of the golf! And tomorrow class – looking forward to it more than ever.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coffee & Yoga


This morning concluded 6 wonderful days of practice under the guidance of Sharath. I again am so inspired and touched by the practice and continually feel humbled and blessed to be able to practice with Sharath, even though it was only a week. The energy of the whole room has been sensational, and this morning, the last practice was unbelievable. I had a great practice, I felt the strongest I have felt since having my knee op, and in my comeback to full practice. It was hard as always but I felt a lightness and ease again, and felt so focused - I loved it.

After a relatively big night out (in yoga terms) last night, I thought I would drag my ass through practice. Deb, Jenn and I went out for Mexican - ended up being a bit of a margarita crawl, particularly for Jenn. Deb and I had a few, but she had to teach, and I practice so we showed some restraint - something I often lack. It has been a big week, and I was amazed how tired I have felt all week, and have had many naps after practice and in the afternoons. Sleep has not been hard, despite the noise of the Cross.

Conference the other night at the new shala was fantastic. Sharath talked about asana, about bandhas, dristhi and breath. He was as always very enlightening and I always learn a lot. I really felt so blessed then and today to have him, the ashtanga practice, and the whole ashtanga community in my life. He is also such a funny guy. He told a story about doing a demo in NYC and a guy came to pick him up and he was drinking coffee and listening to Bollywood music - made me laugh - I could just picture our guru listening to some of the tunes I know! And today in practice he - as usual he was telling people to slow down - and he said - "why you hurry - are you hungry?" Of course everyone laughed!

Today after practice there was a breakfast outside in front of the yachts and water on the terrace - it was great having coconut juice - just like Mysore, chai, muffins and a bit of a chat though I really didn't know anyone. I went to say goodbye and have a photo as well, and he asked me how my knee was and how it felt through practice. I am always amazed how he remembers things when he has sooooooooo many students - he is a sensation - a true guru, an inspiration.

And just as I was leaving, a guy showed up with some take away coffees from the cafe in the park, one was for Sharath. Sharath thanked him, asked for some sugar, and a girl made a comment about coffee - and Sharath again - he cracks me up - said "No coffee - no prana!" Love it - love him!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halfway Point

Yeah - made it through practice today despite having quite a swollen ankle, and sore knee. As previously it was great - I am really enjoying the energy, led practice and Sharath's unique style. 3 more to go and conference tomorrow night!

Ate great Indian last night, out for dinner again tonight - so social but bed early for practice tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sharath in Sydney Day 1 & 2

Leaving Melbourne on Monday afternoon, I was feeling a little unsure of my ability to get through practice, not to mention even get to Sydney. My knee was very sore and unstable, and Tiger cancelled the flight I was due to board. Nevertheless I finally made it to Sydney arriving around 9.30pm - which was great given I had to be up at 4.30am the following morning. Anyway fortunately my cab driver, who was from Gujarat - was on to it and I was in the Cross just after 10pm, greeted ever so warmly by Deb and her flatmate Jen. After a quick cuppa and a chat it was off to bed to toss and turn and listen to the sounds of the Cross for most of the evening.

Day 1
After a few little naps here and there I arose at 4.30am showered, had a cup of tea with Deb and headed of to Rushcutters Bay for my first practice with Sharath. Jumping out of the car I was greeted by Victoria - my teacher, and we headed in to register (a non-event) and placed our mats, and had a bit of a chat before class. I was feeling OK - though a bit nervous given I had no idea if the knee would survive - or in fact I would given I was a little unpracticed since my arthroscope! I was however excited and was firing on all fronts when I saw Sharath enter the room. I always love the opening prayer with him - actually chanting in general, but loved every minute of it in anticipation of the practice. Then Ekam, inhale.............and we were off - and I was feeling great. I have learnt so much about myself and my body through this practice, and never so much as in the past few months since having the knee op. I was sensible remembering that this practice would make or break me for the remainder of the week. In fact I did everything, bar any half-lotus poses with left knee - where I just modified. Backbends were absolute murder but just as I don't have the strength in my legs I once had - so the arms took the brunt. Still burning from then, they ached in Sirsasana - headstand, but I followed and worked with my breathe and bandhas and it all worked out!! It was great, it was exhilarating, it was just fantastic - he is so inspiring - our guru Sharath - bless him, bless the practice, bless Guruji - Sri K Pattabhi Jois. How lucky I am to have this practice in my life! Ashtanga rocks!

PS. I will not drink tea before practice as I was busting to go to the loo from about Uthita Hasta Padangustasana - and it was murder! Also had a bit of nausea, felt a little scratchy in the throat, but fixed that courtesy of Deb and some Chinese herbs! Also had a word with Sharath about my knee - so all is cool.

Day 2
Pulled up fine - ankle a little swollen but knee ok. Arms a little fatigued but still felt great. Amazing how great food and lots of sleep help. Dinner last night was gorgeous Vietnamese from the Cross/Darlinghurst, followed by ice-cream that I would consider moving to Sydney for. Protein protein to get my through and help my muscles, and a little sugar for love.
Anyway back to practice - all was great - am amazed lately how much I love and appreciate this gift of Ashtanga yoga. I feel so lucky and blessed to have it in my life even when my arms are burning, or my leg feels heavy and is aching, or my lungs feel they could explode - it is so powerful and beautiful. Such gratitude to Sri K Pattabhi Jois for giving us this practice, to Sharath for carrying on the lineage, and all of my teachers, but particularly Victoria for getting me to this point, on the mat in Sydney with Sharath after a few months of doubt and difficult fractured practice.
It was great today - same same but again inspiring. My practice isn't what it was - both before, or directly after my op - but it is there and it is great - it is what it is and nothing more. Best of all I love it!
Breakfast awaits - I must eat!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Off to Sydney

The time has come - I'm off to Sydney tomorrow for a week of Sharath's led classes. My knee is again feeling really bad - I had a good week last week, overdid it somewhat last weekend, and have been suffering ever since. I did however, in preparation for the coming week, manage to do a full week of practice - actually 7 practices in a row, and also jumping back both sides - first time since the operation. However lots of poses are still modified but what can I do - I don't have the full range of motion back. I will do what I can do. I was happy, if not surprised to get my touch in Supta Kurmasana this week - my aim over summer is the full bind - but as you know "to touch is to bind!!" More from Sydney.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

45 and not out!

Made it and am feeling good - I actually have plenty of moments where I feel in my youth - though those I can tell you are not physically yoga related! Nevertheless I am confident I will be back on the mat next week - I could push it this week but feel a few more days will give my knee time to consolidate! See I did learn something from last week's disaster!!

Had a dream I was doing supta kurmasana the other night (not something physically possible with my left leg at the moment). Anyway just as I was shifting my foot behind my head I woke up with an almighty cramp - so maybe that was a little alarm to be mindful of as I venture back on to the mat!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Patience (not really even sure how you spell it and I am such a spelling stickler)

It was funny - when I was in Mysore, the first conference I attended Sharath talked about patience - to do yoga you need it. Having never been a particularly patient person (ever) I felt he was talking to ME! Well now all those words come back as I learn how to walk - and slowly, and do no practice, physical exercise - nada!! I'm 45 this weekend and this experience has made me value what's left of my youth (if any), and to be kinder to my body. And to cultivate patience - I am so an all or nothing person!

Friday, August 28, 2009

To practice would be a start

Well there has been no asana practice now for over 2 weeks. My knee aches and is still swelled, my back is sore from walking in a distorted fashion. How quick it all falls apart - I can only hope that it will come back together again, both my practice and my body. I have a high pain tolerance but I am getting a bit over this. Today I just felt like bursting into tears, and it wouldn't be the first time in the past two weeks. I am just so frustrated with my in activity, just to straighten my leg would make me happy at this point. And to be frank no one gives a shit. Someone said as long as you look like you are coping that help will be far, well it may as well be in India. But god helps those who help themselves - well help - I want my physical capacity back NOW!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

To practice is to touch is to bind

Oh dear - it's been all down hill for a while culminating in knee surgery 6 days ago. Today I was thinking by the end of the week I can just have a little practice, but have been on my feet for 1 hour and my leg is killing me. Don't get me wrong it is so much better than it was, but not up to practice pace as yet me thinks. At least the swelling has gone down a little. Just as well I'm a morning person as that's when it at its best, so bless the practice being a morning thing too. So no binds, no touches, I can only dream of Marichiasana D, Supta Kurmasana......................

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Passing of Guruji

It was with great sadness that I read this morning (Melbourne Australia time) that Guruji - Sri K Pattabhi Jois passed away yesterday - 18 May 2009. Being aware of his recent hospitalisation, and having recently been in Mysore, I was not totally surprised, but nevertheless shocked and saddened. Although I only did a couple of classes with him on my trip to Mysore in 2007, I feel blessed to have been in his presence, but most importantly to be fortunate to be given this beautiful practice. His years of dedication and teaching has made the world a better place with so many directly or indirectly the recipient of his gift of Ashtanga yoga.
On my trip to Mysore in 2007 he was often present in the shala, some mornings he would lead the prayer, and on a number of occasions lead the practice on a Sunday or Friday. A few times I given a spot in front of the office, and often I would see him through my dristi in dog pose sitting at the desk reading. I will treasure these memories and the few times I was fortunate enough to be in his company or class. My recent trip this year I did not see him, Saraswati providing little updates upon my enquiries of his health.
While the yoga and Ashtanga community are saddened and have lost our Guruji, we must continue to uphold his teachings and the practice, and feel blessed and thankful for what he has given, for the path that he walked.
Om shanti


These photos were taken on my 2007 trip to Mysore

Friday, May 15, 2009

If only I could touch................

Well after a month home, and a multitude of injuries - well actually my body is just seizing up or falling apart in this cold, I can barely touch in my poses let alone bind. Practice has been hard, compounded by the absence of my teacher, who now thankfully is back on these chilly shores. I put my back out in Garba Pindasana due to being cold to begin with (need more than a couple of heaters in the room on the coldest day in April in a trillion years) and then spraying cold water on my limbs. Errrgh!! Well off to the osteopath tonight who will have his work cut out - back, foot, ankle, knee, hand - other than that I'm dandy! Also coupled with my over zealous desire to eat everything within sight, people are even gifting me food - had a Barney Banana today - back by popular demand (yes I was part of that petition).

Nevertheless being home has been hard - I truly miss India - even the bad things - and for me there ain't that many of them anyway. But I miss the warmth, both the temperature and that of the people. I miss their tenacity, ingenuity, love of life, spirituality, overall beauty, I miss the children, particularly those at Bapuji in Mysore, I miss the carefree nature of my days, the food, the colors, smells and sights. I just miss it all. If my life was not here I would be there. But my life here make me appreciate India more - so each and every trip provides me with wonder and admiration. I'm counting the days til the next, am waiting for a friend to get married, or to win the lottery - whichever comes first. In the mean time I must stop eating, get back to physical capacity, and keep practicing - for to touch is to bind - and I want my binds back!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Marvada Family - Harijan people, Bhujodi

These are photos from my embroidery family in Bhujodi, a small village south east of Bhuj. They are a Harijan family. Hari means god, and Jan means people. The name Harijan was given to the Meghwal people by Mahatma Gandhi. Ganga, the young girl in the photos (not in traditional dress), was primarily my teacher, though her mum Veeramai, and sister Uma also assisted. Ganga does not dress in the traditional Harijan dress, she is a "modern" girl, and like most teenagers wants to dress in their own way, and chooses salwar suits, and more modern wear. A really stunning, lovely family.



Favorite Photo - Jat man



This is my favorite photo, taken last week in a village in the Kutch region. The Jat people, live in a village about 25km from Bhuj. This man was sitting chatting with 2 old men, with his little boy playing with a mobile phone, by his feet. He is gorgeous.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Australian Home Sweet Home

Well made it all safe and sound - and even got to have a little snooze on the way home courtesy of Emirates and being upgraded in Singapore to J class - Business - it was heavenly - food, wine, bed, trimmings - what did a girl do to deserve that!!!

Will compose a little finalisation of my trip in the next few days as well as some photos - have some definite favorites - many from my tribal adventures in Kutch.

Thanks for reading, emails, etc - hope to catch up soon.

Missing beautiful India already - anyone up to a trip soon?

Stay tuned for more. xox P

Friday, April 17, 2009

Goodbye Dubai - Hello Singapore

What the - no one told me I was going via Changi - feel like I'm in an episode of the Sullivan's. Oh well hopefully I get more miles.
Dubai was great - did a whirlwind tour - get on, get off bus at your leisure - but sick of shopping centres - who cares if they have ice skating rinks, ski slopes, are mini theme parks. Architecturally Dubai is great - glad I have seen it, but more than a day - without my bathers, perhaps the novelty would wear off.
Have to get back on plane
Bye

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Namaste my Beautiful India

It's nearly over - a few more hours - and what a better place to spend them and leave from than crazy Ahmedabad (Amdavad). Leaving Bhuj was sad as I love it. Went to my favorite chai stand in India and Bhuj at 6.00am this morning - the bazaar was empty - just 2 people in the chai stand, and one of them I knew. Our conversation was brief, my Gujarati is non existent, and Jay's English limited - though when I met him he said he had a friend in Brunswick - and did I know where it was? He is a young jeweller - he, his parents and sister run a little silver (Chandi) shop - in fact they are all silversmiths - and a delightful family - again I have photos.

Train trip was uncomfortable - again sleeper class - 7 hours sitting on a rock almost, with about 15 sets of eyes glued on me - all creepy blokes. Was glad to get off - gave them some stick about pushing too.

My next few hours will be spent on trying to find an Ahmedabad Rockets t-shirt for Rob, though I doubt they exist. It is a funny, or should I say unfortunate choice of name for the state cricket team as Ahmedabad is not without many recent bombings etc.

Well a short post this will be - the chair is uncomfortable and very low - my back is aching from both this and lugging an almighty pack filled with half of India.

Dubai is calling, but my heart belongs to India.
But - "I'll be back" - will start saving Monday!

Kutch Rocks (excuse the pun)

Well life here is certainly so interesting and very different. Throughout the Kutch region at times you pinch yourself as you feel like you are on another planet or in some costume period piece - with all the funky tribal outfits and different lifestyles (and not alternative ones either). But what strikes you most is the overwhelming spirit, generosity, hospitality and openness of the people, even in spite of their sometimes dire economic situation. What I can say are they are rich in many ways we will never know or get.

Enough philosophising - and now a summary of the past few days - and no yoga to speak of except a brief demonstration for my embroidery teacher and her family.

Sunday I took a local bus to Mandvi - and same same everyone says hello, asks where you are from (if they speak English - and it's not that common here), looks, smiles, really it's exhausting, but give some insight into the lives of the rich and famous. Mandvi is on the coast - Arabian Sea/Bay of Kutch, and is primarily a ship building port - huge ships made of timber. Interesting but am glad I only made a day trip there - and being on my own I was hesitant to swim - stripping off even mildly is likely to cause more commotion.

Monday I was met bright and early by my driver Bharat - he took Deb and I around last trip and is a fabulous man. We first visited a Rabari family in Bhujodi, a village near Bhuj, where unfortunately the mother/woman of the house had been called away to a meeting so we spent time with her husband Vanka and various daughters-in-law who came by - all dressed in very funky Rabari outfits (and not just for me - this is there garb). Much chai was consumed and Rupees spent on some lovely Rabari embroidery - I couldn't refuse - it's my favorite. It was unfortunate that I couldn't have any lessons there, but embroidery lessons were in the afternoon, and organised near-by. Suffice to say they were really nice and it was great hanging out in their home - again like being in a film or something. Before Vanka's wife left she dressed me up in traditional Rabari dress - I must say I looked rather weird, but as they wear all black it was kind of cool. The woman have these very funky tattoos - primarily on their arms, neck and face, not to mention jewellery. They were very impressed with mine too, particularly given the colour we have, something you never see here in tattoos.

Second stop was to a family of weavers - who were really nice and great to chat to. More rupees gone but top stuff, they even use Australian merino wool. Also scored an invite to lunch, which I attended today - a home cooked Gujarati Thali - these are the famous Indian Thalis, and the feast lived up to its hype. Again really nice family, new friendships formed.

The afternoon was filled with embroidery and mirror work, from a Harijan girl and her family. Ganga is 13 and was primarily my teacher, with her mum, 2 sisters, and sister-in-law. The women spend a vast majority of the day, week in week out doing mirror work and embroidery, and I can tell you practice makes perfect - they are good, and I suck big time. When they do it it looks so easy - when I try, it is so difficult, but after round 2 today I am getting the hang. They are a fantastic family, and I felt like a real weirdo after a while in my boring clothes (I have lots of pics - you'll see why). Nevertheless Ganga is a modern girl, preferring a salwar or some funkier indo-western style clothes to that of the rest of the family, the woman all decked out in cholis, skirts, shawls, and amazing jewellery, all which have probably not changed much for 100s of years. Anyway it was great and a fantastic way to hang out with women, and particularly tribal women. Highly recommended and I really loved it.

I capped of today with a visit to the Jat community, a Muslim community about 25km north of Bhuj. They are a very poor but vibrant community, and despite the overwhelming evidence of poverty and disadvantage, all the families were very welcoming and hospitable, and not one person asked for money. In fact they were offering chai, but I declined saying I had just had one, anyway how many can I down in a day. To them it meant they would give up some of their milk, sugar, etc. so I figured they could do with it more. I did buy a couple of small pieces of embroidery, though only one family emerged with any, but many women were busy with their crafts for a co-op that supports their craftsmanship. Gorgeous people.

On the ride back to town we picked up a couple of Rabari women and a child who were walking towards the bus - some 6 kms away. They looked at me, me at them - again I pinched myself.

Returning to Bhuj today and yesterday evenings I have spent time in the bazaars purchasing mirrors and embroidery thread, and a few other bits and pieces. Next time I return I will show them my skills! Also spent a bit of time with some nice people I met in the bazaar - again much chai and laughter later. The boys in the hotel I am staying in want me to come to their village next time and stay with their families. Buddha - one of the staff here has even been asking me my opinion on what he should call his newly born son (I think Sachin - but have yet to tell him).

All in all this is a magical place (except for this keyboard which is shit and accounts for any errors there may be). Everyone should put it on their map if visiting India, though the magic might be lost if too many people come. This is by far my favorite place in India, I will be sorry to leave, as I will be my beautiful India. I know this time I will shed a tear - I will miss the people and their spirit most.

Tomorrow Ahmedabad by train - another 7 hours - then a few in Ahmedabad, then off to Dubai. Home Saturday - how will I cope - except for seeing Rob, Pixie, Chief and a few other significant others - I could just stay here in my own costume drama.

Namaste!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Living Easter egg free in Bhuj

Made it to Bhuj yesterday, loved it last time, love it even more this time. It is a very special place, I think one of the friendliest places in the world, most definitely in India.

After an epic over night train journey from Udaipur to Ahmedabad, with a 3 hour chai drinking, paper reading session/wait at Ahmedabad Junction train station, big rat n hole near feet, I finally boarded my train to Bhuj, albeit a little late. Travelling sleeper class I was devoid of most creature comforts, other than a bench, and also any other English speaking fellow passengers. I had a seat in with a big extended family, who for about the first 3 odd hours just stared at me, offering me the occasional biscuit or sweet. They seemed really nice, just watching their interactions with one another. Eventually we started hanging out - the kids jumping all over me for the remaining 3 + hours, and the adults and I making conversation with our limited cross communication vocab. We had fun though, and they force fed me, buying some pakoras and drinks for me, refusing any money, because I was "their guest in their India". We were all travelling to Bhuj - that much I got, among other bits and pieces. Arriving in Bhuj we all said goodbye, and I dragged my ever increasing bag up and down stairs before catching an auto to my hotel. On my journey I felt very sad that these are my last few days in this awesome country. There is something magical about this place, as crazy, chaotic and sometimes infuriating as it is, it brings out something in me, it makes me really happy, I always have an internal and external smile here, for so many reasons. Indian people are fantastic on many levels, but on the train, I really saw their spirit, out the windows their resourcefulness and determination in the face of adversity and hardship. And being in Bhuj, people here are truly unbelievable, the past 24 hours have been great. Bhuj was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2001, but lives here have been rebuilt in the Indian spirit - they just get on with it. Over 50,000 were killed and much of the city, and surrounding villages destroyed.

To tee up my embroidery lessons and village visits, I phoned Mr Promod Jethi, the curator of a museum here, upon my arrival. He invited me over to his house as he was having a day off (2nd & 4th Saturdays - that's all). I went over, more chai was had, and we worked out my few days here - Monday and Tuesday. Fortunately I will be travelling with the same auto driver as last time - Bharat - he was so cool in an older Indian's way. Anyhow upon leaving Mr Jethi suggested I go and check out this festival down the road at the local mosque (you could hear the drumming from his place). What the festival was for I have no idea, but it was really cool, as the people were decedents of African slaves and settlers who came to India 300+ years ago. So there was all this dancing and drumming in the mosque grounds and it was like a fair ground outside. I was mobbed by locals - kids and adults, and even interviewed for TV here. In fact they were more interested in me, and I got numerous invites into peoples houses for water, to say hi to the baby, whatever. I was even ushered around the back for a good view by a man, something that I would have been made to pay rupees for anywhere else. But here people are just very hospitable, and being not too touristy, they are not "over" foreigners, or into getting what they can. I tell you the place is special, though I should keep it to myself! Am so glad I made the trek back here, particularly after touristy but gorgeous Udaipur. Today I went to Mandvi - on the coast - about an hour away. Went to see the palace that was used in the film Laagan, and walked around town, the beach and ship building area. Returning to Bhuj I went to Aina Mahal - another palace, this one severely damaged in the earthquake. It was under reconstruction last time I was here, and it is amazing to see the completion of the project. Am very tired now though.

Forgot to mention on my last day in Mysore I did in fact go to the dentist. Wish I'd gone on my first as I probably would have gone every day, well at least would have had my silver fillings out and replace. Anyway she was really busy but squeezed me in - ground the rough edges off my tooth, checked all the others and sent me on my way - all the the sum of nothing!!! That's right - no appearance fee here - not $120 to open the door. Will be back there - have made a few dental enquiries with her!

Yoga - have done nothing more than a few stretches - no room, either in my hotels or on the train. So no boring asana news - bet you're happy!!

Namaste from Bhuj - will try and update after the villages tomorrow. Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Real India

My last day in Mysore was busy, but slow! Slow as I was feeling a little depleted - Monday's delicious lunch passed through me like a Bombay train after causing an eruption in my belly - in the wee hours of the morning. When the alarm went off for practice at 4.45am I again contemplated skipping practice, but given it was my last one I threw some water over myself, dressed and headed off down the road. The shala was again on the empty side - it is really a case of pick your spot - where ever you want. It was hard - practice that is - I was pretty light on. However what a difference little eating does - the marichi binds were easy peasy, Saraswati even nearly getting my bind in supta kurmasana. Garba pindasana - arms through easy - and nearly up for kukkatasana - hands on the floor - but right one is still spazzo. The rest - same - same - did full finishing today (no hiding in the change room) with nothing in me I wasn't really worried. Then it was all over - my month up (actually have one day but train booked for Tuesday). The clock said 7.40am (shala time) really 7.25am - had a breakfast date with Elizabeth at 8.00am - at Tina's. No coconut - no cake - thought of it made me want to spew. Couldn't even bring myself to get one for the train trip. Got home - more water throwing, clothes washing - and off to breakfast - well liquid again - Spirulina, lime and mint X 2. Did a few other bits and pieces, then decided to head off to the city to pick up some bangles from Santosh's dad. But given my lack of energy, we decided to go for coffee first, Elizabeth suggesting we take a rickshaw given my condition - a realn weakling! After downing 2 coffees, and some dry toast, bidding my fond farewells to the staff and to Santosh, we headed to town - feeling a million bucks. After getting my bangles, it was time to get serious and finish packing, pick up my stuff from the tailor (Lokesh - also sick like me), visit the shala, the children's home and get to the station by 6.00pm - all accomplished, though I must say, now several kilos lighter.

Train trip to Ahmedabad was OK - though had a moment where I felt very claustrophobic in my little bunk, combo of air con too cold, people farting, starvation, and waking from a dream. Had to do a little self talk and some deep breathing, then back up top to the bunk, til morning. Had issues with my seat so sat with a young guy who was an engineer and worked for the railways - they are the biggest employer in India - I think he said 10 - or maybe 100 lakh (look that one up) workers, with the army the nation's 2nd biggest employer. Also hung out with 3 kids who spoke very little English but were fun (and their parents), everyone trying to feed me, even the staff commenting on my lack of food intake. Arrived in Ahmedabad, quick rickshaw transition to the bus ticket place, then the bus and off to Udaipur, lucky to get a seat next to a young college student from Udaipur, returning to the city after 1st year of study in Pune. He was good value - pretty groovy, progressive, middle class intelligent guy, with impeccable English. Arrived Udaipur around 2pm Thursday - went to my beautiful hotel - Mewar Haveli - then had my first real non Indian shower in 5 weeks - heaven. Off for food, then shopping, then dinner - now off to the roof terrace to have a beer - then bed. Can't wait to lay my head down again - in a real bed - not a bunk or a seat. And no practice today - moon day - oh and happy Easter everyone - it's Hannuman's birthday today - good to have none of those boring capitalistic christian holidays here. Think I might cme back before Christmas - given my love of that occasion. Anyway Namaste - enjoy your eggs!

Monday, April 6, 2009

That's nearly all folks!

What a weekend and Monday it's been. Tuesday evening I'm out of here, so lots going on, well as much as you can do with a crook guts. I think I may have got a bit dehydrated, and then the slightest thing can set off your belly, particularly here. After a food frenzy on Saturday, I started off Sunday with fruit only - and there began my downfall. Post breakfast I began to feel very bloated - I think it all started to ferment inside. Then all day Sunday I could barely get off the bed. Dragged my sorry ass (yes it was) up before "conference" - which was just chanting - it somewhat resembled the mumbling of the rosary as no one had the words and we just had to repeat/follow after Saraswati. Thankfully it was over soon as I could barely hold myself up. But I then decided to go to the orphanage for an hour to see the kids. It as always was fun and actually made me feel a little better. Then back to bed at about 8.00pm, so I didn't see much of the day.

Practice Sunday, was not too bad - it was thankfully pre feeling vile, though did have a pre loose BM (us ashtangis love talking about our toileting). I got to do full primary which was so nice and I was amazed I could still do it and even did a bit of a faux kukatasana (spelling?)given this has been hard for me - could bring both hands down but not lift my ass off the mat. Did all the rest - felt like I was gonna die at the end though. Monday Mysore - did all of primary although I felt like stopping at Supta Kurmasana - no energy due to Sunday shits and lack of food intake. Actually contemplated skipping practice all together but then I thought if I can practice with a big hole in my hand - post dog bite 2007, then I can do this. I did however pass up on drop backs as backbends put a bit of a strain on my guts and didn't want to embarrass myself in more than one way. Might give it a go - last practice tomorrow. Did finishing in the change rooms - again was not sure what belly and butt might do so took it easy in there. Went home and died!

Dragged my ass off the bed again and went and caught up with some people from breakfast at Santosha - had some toast and espresso, nothing else, then off to Tina's for some Spirulina and a chat. Dragged myself back up the hill - lots of dragging going on I can assure you - then fell into bed again. Phone rang - my friend Santosh organising lunch at his parents place - his mum wanted to make dal for me. So lunch was on for 2pm - though I really felt like starving myself for the day. It is really hot here and not feeling to good - I have been sweating up a storm, and eating makes me feel worse at the moment. But as I am leaving tomorrow I was hesitant to pass up the offer, and I am glad I didn't. We met at Cubs, he was just back at 4am from Bangkok, so was pretty tired himself. So we drove over to the other side of town - nice to be in an AC car, with someone who knows how to drive both ways (well he has a NSW drivers licence). It was very amusing - I didn't realise they have a whole steering wheel with horn sensitivity (if you've been in India you know how important the horn is). His mum had a really nice red sari on - she is a very attractive lady, and she made me feel welcome right away. And her food - it was to die for - and she made my favorite dessert - Kheer - without even knowing - we have the same birthday so it's our connection. She also made a tomato curry with Ragi dosas, a Hyderabadi rice dish - she's from Hyderabad - and a palak Dal (Spinach Dal), and a bean dish - it was delicious, though I was scarred about my belly. However it was the least of my worries as I noticed a bit of tooth had chipped off (when I have no idea - probably fell off from all the Limca I have been drinking cos of this belly). Anyway hopefully Santosh can fix me up with an appointment with his dentist, as I don't want to get home with a rotten tooth - not to mention it is heaps cheaper - might even see if I can get the amalgam fillings replaced (all tomorrow - we'll see). The dentist apparently is from Delhi - might get him to quote me on implants too - otherwise there is this woman someone else recommended near by. Anyway felt fantastic after lunch, best I have felt in days, and his mum invited me back again, and also gave me a Ganesha - bless!!

Tomorrow prior to the choo choo I have to go and bid my fond farewells to the kids and staff at Bapaji. Bought them ice-creams today - 50 all up - have photos of us all eating them, and lots of others. It is going to be very sad to say goodbye but I hope to definitely come back and do some full time volunteer work there at some stage. Don't know if I will do the main shala again, we'll see what happens, but Bapaji - definitely.

Well a big day of goodbyes tomorrow - it will be really sad. Travels and adventures await, but I am also looking forward to coming home - so I can save up and do it all again!!!!! Well nearly all - Babaji definitely!

(Next post - maybe not for a few days til up north - or tomorrow if I have time)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Full Practice tomorrow

Well looks like I will finally get to go past kurmasana - led on Sunday - 4.30am. I asked Saraswati if it was ok and she said "You try!" - well try I will though as I haven't done Garba Pindasana etc. for a month, it might be a tall ask. We'll see what happens - will let you know.

So many people are or have left - looks like everyone will be starting Mysore classes at 4.30am this week - I only have Monday and Tuesday to go before I board my train for the epic trip to Ahmedabad on Tuesday. I am actually looking forward to going (as previously mentioned), all except for saying good-bye to the kids and staff at Bapaji. Have organised 50 ice-creams for Monday afternoon - it has really heated up here so that I hope will be a nice treat. 3 little girls (babies) have been adopted this week, but still had my little fella to play with - he is so cute and I will really miss him. Hopefully they will let me take some pictures - we'll see what happens there.

Had a quietish day today - had another coconut head massage, and as my lower back was a bit sore I had a back massage. Both really nice and very cheap. My feet look like crap again - so dirty today even post pedicure. I am also covered in mozzie bites - about 30 on my feet and lots on the back of my neck - very uncomfortable, particularly in this heat. Even slept with the fan on last night - but I hear it is very hot in Gujarat so better get used to it.

My mate Gigi left unfortunately - she was a riot, and walked the same pace as me! She also likes coffee and chocolate cake, and we spent lots of time in the short while we knew each other in Cubs - amusing the patrons with our antic (particularly hers) and scoffing one of the best cakes ever. My friend Santosh from Cubs is also away - so really only Elizabeth left to hang out with. But will be on my own as of Tuesday evening - new adventures, maybe new friends.

So much I could say but am tired, and really how much of this can you be bothered reading. Over and out from Mysore.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Only a few to go

Well as previously mentioned the shala is well and truly clearing out. It is now easy to get everything - no lining up for a coconut post practice, and with fewer students no waiting for assistance or an adjustment - well wrong on the last one, and this morning was no exception. Travelled along fine in my practice, though left foot/ankle is bothering me - it was before I left, but I decided a few minutes a day in Marichiasana B & D would not render me disabled. But coupled with wearing thongs all day every day, and the uneven walking surfaces, and the fact I walk almost everywhere (haven't walked into town - Mysore city yet - might give it a go this weekend)it means the foot gets little rest. Anyway there is always something physically to contend with particularly as this yoga body gets older. Knee is also sore - same reason I suspect. None of this is stopping me doing anything I might add, and I look like I will never get past kurmasana this trip - but soon I hope, though with no help here I am sure. It goes like this - I did Kurmasana - waiting for adjustment (as told to do by Saraswati), nothing, so jump back, look do it again - no Saraswati. So as not to get told off I sat on my mat to wait - out of the corner of my eye I see her at the desk in the office, obviously busy - or so I think. I am waiting, others waiting for the same and drop backs. Then flick, I see the page of the newspaper flick past, she is deep in the paper, glasses on. Anyway I think to hell with it - decide that's I'm not doing it, not waiting - am getting cold (well cooling anyway and am bathed in sweat), so I start doing backbends etc. - head to the back for finishing - I hear "you do kurmasana" - I say - "yes several times - not catching - waited and waited, so did backbends". So she makes me do it again (better than the other day when I did it before headstand - that's why I wait), no touch today - obviously no bind. Yesterday touch - so as they say to touch is to bind, but no next pose - can't be bothered asking!
Am looking forward to practicing on the road to see if I can still do full primary.

Orphanage news - the little princess - for reasons of anonymity we'll call her Cha Cha, well she was being picked up for adoption today. I saw her new parents last night - they looked very happy - and why wouldn't they be with the little doll they are about to share. She is a little princess, though albeit a demanding one. And my favorite little girl is going tomorrow so I will go and say goodbye this afternoon. Both are around 3 - 4 months old. The little boy - he is so funny - well he will still be there which is great - well for me at least, not for him, and 3 other baby girls. They are great kids and I know I keep saying it but it is a great place. I have been hanging out a bit with the older kids - 4 and 5, they are a riot. I told them (the stff) I am leaving next week, and they asked me when I was coming back - I have a great time there with the ladies (the carers) - they are probably about my age, they even have tattoos on their fore arms too, though they are particularly impressed with color, and they love the lotus. Anyway we have a great time - they chat to me in Kannada and I back in English, we laugh, they give me jobs and directives, I understand somehow. I think I will miss this place more than the practice at the shala - sad but true. Two shifts to go but might spend part of Saturday there if I am allowed and hang out with the kids. I love that place so much. Hope to do a fundraiser when I get home - start putting aside your coins!

Well off for a pedicure now, had a big sleep post practice this morning, and then to the orphanage, before I eat cake at a birthday party at 5pm.

Namaste!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Beauty and the Indian Beast

Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour getting a fabulous beauty treatment - Coconut Head Massage. For Rs150 (around 4-5 bucks) you get a wonderful head massage where they drizzle warm coconut oil along part lines in your hair, before massaging your entire head, face and neck included - and make that shoulders too. It was sublime - an hour of this - hard to take really. Gigi, a crazy German chick, who lives and teaches in Athens accompanied me - she had never had it before. Anyway we were so mesmerised and relaxed, we booked in for another before we leave. I have also booked a pedicure - again about $7 (Rs300). I can get a full spa pedicure - unlike the hefty price tag at home. This is however not for pampering - my feet are the worst I have ever seen them - I will take a before and after pic to prove. Anyway thought I would do it when I get home but I may have no heels left in tact by then - not to mention a feel like an ugly, filthy trog. That's what you get from walking around through shit and dirt and dust all day every day in a pair of almost breaking thongs. Oh well what must be done, must be done.

Yesterday was also just filled with eating - not much else. Morning mango, tea and carrot cake on roof post practice, followed by omelet and spirulina at Tina's, then as Vivian was heading back to Taiwan (an old friend who now has a cafe here), I had fruit salad at her establishment, followed by coffee and cake, and nibbles of Gigi's salad at Cubs, then a quick powernap, then off to the beauty salon, then dinner at the Green Hotel - Malai Kofta - yum - vege patties in a rich creamy sauce, with Palak Dal (Spinach Dal - I know how to make this), rice, and naan - what else could a girl want - well other than a Kingfisher, and Gigi had a glass (make it thimble) of wine (Grover white - thank ganesh for aussie wine). The glass of wine was so small that Gigi said to them - "the sample was good - now bring me the real glass" (joke) - and she got (they don't get sarcasm) "oh no madam, that was the glass". Anyway we had a riot of a time - walked there and home - a 5 km round trip - and peed ourselves laughing the whole time.

Today we took the bus into town - Gigi managed to entertain the whole bus for the entire journey - I should have taken a photo. She is leaving Friday so she needed to pick up some bits and pieces. I also wanted to get a couple of woven bags from a friends father in the market. We had chai in the market, entertained a few more, before having a coffee uptown and going our separate ways, she to lunch - me home - I have orphanage in less that an hour. We will reconveen for dinner - and cake!

So life here is good but slowly coming to an end. The shala has really cleared out - I am still practicing at 6am for Mysore prac, and am happy with that - though feel I will be bumped to 4.30am any day. Led is 4.30am still and Saraswati said we will be doing some chanting this week - that might be cool. No news with practice - same same really - though might ask her if I can do full primary practice for the remainder of the week and my time here - others have asked - so I'll see what happens. If not I am happy - feel my practice has strengthened so for that I am happy.

Am looking forward to moving on in a week - though have lots to do before then. Cooking class yesterday was cancelled, but am doing it Friday. Catching up with old and new friends before leaving, but also need to finish a book so I don't have to drag it with me.

Will miss Mysore, though glad to be moving on. Will miss the shala, but not lots of the wanky BS that people rant and rave about, each and everyone an "expert", but will miss the couple of wonderful people I have met. Will miss the kids at the orphanage of course - no need to embellish here. Will miss the lush green of Mysore, heading for the dry western deserts of Gujarat, and the over abundance of water here - washing the concrete and street entrance in the morning (you never see that at home). Will miss lots of things - food of course. But more new things await - lots of train travel before I leave my beloved India in 15 days - how I need to savour it - until of course the next time!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crocs, kids, kurmasana & cooking

Yesterday I went to a bird sanctuary with a fellow yogini - Ashley. Her and I had a great time - it was about a 20 - 39 minute rickshaw drive out of Gokulam, and then we just walked and slid (in mud and leaves) around. It was very beautiful and set out amongst the rice paddies. We also took a boat ride where you got up closer to the birds and almost personal with the crocs in the water - and they were big mothers too. I nearly dropped the sunnies in the water, but would have thought twice about sticking my hand in the water. Bad enough being bitten by a dog last time, but being bitten by a croc!!!

Yesterday was an epic day - up at 3.30am - bed at 9.00pm - tired, tired! Had a really yummy (actually 2) samosas from a hole inthe wall - Rs10 for dinner, and a piece of plum cake from the main street bakery for dinner. I nearly fell asleep eating - except the samosas were really hot and spicy, and that kept me awake.

Practice is practice - nothing new - wont bore you to death. Classes are being taught by Saraswati now that Sharath is off on his world tour. The shala is noticeably quieter, with even more people leaving today. Led yesterday was quiet, but even less today. Nice for the space anyway. Now I'm on the Supta Kurmasana challenge.

Kids were great tonight, finished at 7.30pm - find it hard just to walk out when it starts to get crazy in there. Hopefully they will let me take some photos before I leave, it will be sad to go from there. But I have found a young yogini to fill my shoes - she came today with me and seemed to really enjoy it and I think she'll go back (many don't after the first go).

Cooking tomorrow - more yummy things. Life is starting to get a little hectic - lots of invites to lunches and dinners, an interview for a research project, a pedicure (feet are absolutely vile), shopping of course though nothing much - just stuff from a friend's dad's shop, and dinner with his family - always like the Indian invites, and trying to finish reading a couple of books before I leave (don't want to drag them with me). All trains are booked, and I'm starting to feel a little daunted about moving on and travelling around a bit. But it will be fun, an adventure, only a week left here in Mysore.

Til the next post - namaste.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Clearing out

Everyone is leaving town - well over the next couple of days. Yesterday was that last class Sharath was teaching before his world tour - we will see him in Australia later in the year. It was led practice - the Shala was full - my practice was OK - same old - same old - wont bore you, though as I have a cold it was a little laboured. However as my chest has got worse - particularly today, I suspect tomorrows led practice will be a slog. Oh well that's what it's all about - got to take the good with the bad.

The kids home was fun yesterday - I have decided that other than the practice, this is the best thing about Mysore. I really like going there - although I wish I spoke Kanada so that I could communicate more with everyone. If I am feeling better by Monday I may even see if I can do nearly every day before I leave on the 7th. It is just fun, and you get used to the children, and they you. If I get to come back to Mysore I will definitely be volunteering there again. I also hope to send and organise some on going donations to the home as I think they do an fantastic job. Some people think it's depressing, but they don't see past the bricks and mortar, it has a really nice vibe and the kids seem well looked after and they receive really nice care from the staff. They are not walking round in Bonds or OhKosh but who cares. I would very much encourage anyone who is coming to Mysore to give some time - it's good for the kids and it's good for your soul.

On the other things good for your soul, I went out to dinner last night with another yogini, from Sydney (though originally a Melbourne chick). Cynthia is a real laugh and we had a lovely night - went to a really nice hotel and ate in the courtyard. Food was OK but company was great. We even got frocked up a bit as yesterday was Hindu New year - called Ugadi in the South. I asked Jyothi, my house mum what you do for Ugadi, and she said that you buy new clothes - so any excuse - though they were pretty cheap - Rs249 for each kurta. Only wore one to dinner though. It was nice to put the glad rags on.

Things good for your soul number 3 - went shopping today - actually took a friend to Badsha's - they have great fabric - best in Mysore. Anyway it's always fun and they know me in that store from last time. So far I think I have bought 20+ people to their shop - I think they, and my tailor, should give me commission. In fact the other night I was having a good old chat to Lokesh and Suka (tailor and his wife) and someone came in (a very annoying person - origin - I'll let you guess), anyway after we got past (spoken very slowly) "Do you speak English" (to Lokesh), which I answered as slowly "Better than me" (did she think I was sitting there staring at them), Lokesh handed me a dress he was making and got me to thread elastic (lots of students are leaving and lots of orders to finish). So they think I should bring my sewing machine next time and set up there. Between the orphanage, the tailor, and the fabric store, not to mention yoga - I have got all my time covered - next trip at least.

As tomorrow's practice is 4.30am - Sunday led - I am heading off for a quick bite now and then an early night. Last night there was a huge storm - we have been waiting for it - in fact I have been buying mango's - to die for - and all the Indian's keep saying not to buy them til after the first big rain - well it's been so now I will eat up big while I am down here. Glad I have been eating them the last few days though - anything that will get rid of this cold. Well off to cough out my lungs, and have a bite.

Om shanti

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Food, Moonday and more from Mysore

Didn't get a chance to post yesterday - had a relatively busy, action packed day.

Again practice was great - the last Mysore class with Sharath. And got to bind again in Supta Kurmasana - much so that I felt like my finger tips were going to break off - better eat less - which I haven't been doing - surprise, surprise. Actually had another cooking class yesterday - samosas, pakoras, bhajis, and Halwa - all very yummy but lots of deep frying, oil and or ghee - but everything in moderation. The great thing about cooking class is we get to eat it all afterwards.

The afternoon was again spent at the orphanage. Auntie in charge of the babies room/nursery has a bad cold/flu and proceeded to sneeze over the babies and me nearly the whole time I was there. I sent her off for a tea, which co-incided with the new baby (about 2 weeks old) waking up. She had been in hospital as I think she was left at the gate very new born. She even now still has her umbilical cord - anyway I thought she was better off not getting sneezed on if only for that time given she is somewhat fragile. Some may laugh that I am left in change of now 6 babies - and that little one, but I am getting good at this if I do say so myself. I know it is only for 2 - 3 hours at a time but they seem to like me - the babies that is. And I have got used to all their little personalities - they are really adorable, particularly the little boy (names omitted to protect their little identities). Anyway suffice to say all the babies have the sneezes - as do I - thanks Auntie.

Today is moonday so no practice, but led tomorrow at 4.30am. Had a cruisy day as lots of people are leaving, not that it makes any difference to me. Shala should be relatively quiet next week.

Not much else to go on about (actually lots but I wont bore the world anymore than I have) so - that's it for now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Supta Kurmasana - Tuesday 24/3/09

Yes - there it is again, old Supta Kurmasana (look it up on Google Images if you are curious), and that elusive bind - and yes it happened, but only with Sharath's assistance. Nevertheless I was more than excited for the 30 seconds or so that I held it - my hands broke free as he tried to put my feet behind my head. I must say I analysed how he did it - and no pain or discomfort - a really nice adjustment and after we had a bit of a chat - brilliant - love the man. So far my body is in the one piece, the same, if not better than it was before I left. Anyway I will not bore the pants off all with the details (have them in my diary), but I love the highs - though they are too few and far between. Nailed Marichiasana D both sides (have struggled with a tight bind right side last couple of practices - due to food I suspect). Now that monkey is off my back I have a new one!

Just had an awesome dinner, made a salad from greens I got at the organic market on Sunday (crunchy greens are absent from Indian cuisine), and had a piece of quiche I got from Cubs. Washed down with a fresh lime soda, and piece of plum cake from the little bakery on the main drag. Had a quick snack from a nice little pure veg restaurant Authana's - samosa (hot sambal - hhhh - fire) and a very slow arriving fresh lime soda - delicious. Have cooking class tomorrow - samosas and snack food.

Spent the day with a young girl on a youth exchange program - she is from Sweden and doing full time volunteer work at the orphanage. We went shopping - she is going home and needed some assistance. I am an expert in this field and she knows how to navigate the local bus system - together we were a great team. Had a great day, after a very long breakfast with a couple of older blokes from the US - in their 50s and 60s respectively. They just sat down at Tina's and we had a long chat about yoga and travel for ages - got there at 8ish left at 11.15am. Oh the life!

That's all - loving it, tired and no coffee today, but will sleep well tonight (now).
Namaste.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Relaxing in Mysore

Well am now into week 3 of practice, as well as India. Have toned it down a notch - not much excitement really - just upped the sleeping, reading, and unfortunately the eating. Well actually not too much more eating but with the orphanage 3 times a week, by the time I finish there and then shower afterwards (for obvious reasons as previously explained), I am too tired to go anywhere to eat or make anything myself. I did scoff down a whole carrot cake today, some for breakfast, the rest before my shift, so really I am not that hungry. Have been tucking into some grapes too, they are really tasty, green and black. And of course anar - pomegranate, and aum - mango has just hit the stands so will be into that very soon. But try to avoid fruit for dinner, though could easily go home and have a banana or something.
I would really like some dal but it's too far to walk and get some now. Actually they just gave me an ice-cream at the home, someone had bought a whole bunch for the kids, and Auntie wouldn't let me leave without having one despite my protests - she told me she would not give me my bag until I ate one. The children were so good and lined up, all very excited though but not pushing or nauty or anything like would happen at home. Might do the same and buy them a treat before I go, as well as a donation. The only little baby boy is teething I think - he was really restless and wanted to chew on my finger. Nursed him all night - actually did nearly 3 hours so he would go to sleep. Might see if I can find him a teething ring or something in the morning. He is a real cutie.

As for practice - oh yeah that's what I'm here for, I have plateaued - I need to have a light food day or two. Actually I was hoping for some assistance with Supta Kurmasana today, but it didn't happen. Some people repeat the pose they are stopped at about 10 times til they get the touch by Sharath, but really I'm not going to those lengths. I did it twice this morning, only as first time the chick next to me was so close I couldn't straighten my left arm and was all kind of mankie, so I did it again. But I would love to move to the next pose, but figure it probably isn't gonna happen - oh well. They are allowing people who don't get there binds to move forward, which didn't happen last time I was here - no bind, no bind, no next pose!! Not now however. Anyway unless I get some assistance, I wont get the next pose, hate it anyway, so can have a months holiday from it!!!

We have moonday this week - 26th, and the 27th in Hindu new year. Jyothi tells me the thing you are supposed to do is get new clothes, so might buy myself a kurti or something as I am sick of the few clothes I did bring with me (not many). Any excuse for a new garment! Wish we had practice straight through all week though.

Met a guy today who had this amazing old volksie - he had actually lived in Melbourne, but the car was fantastic - all restored, very nice. If I ever get round to posting a few photos I will put it up. He has something like 31 cars and 50 odd bikes - think he might be pretty cashed up, though he didn't look very old.

That's about the extent of the excitement - cricket is not on at the moment, and that is often the highlight of my day (India that is not those bogan Aussie's. Saw a headline that my mate Symonds is up to his tricks again). Sachin has been playing so well - lots in the paper about him in the last few days. Also the IPL - hope it goes ahead - wish they would play it in Australia - I would go.

That's it til next time - good night.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day of Rest

After a big week - no moondays - it was nice to rest a bit later this morning, particularly after a night out last evening. What started as a morning coffee with a fellow yogi, ended up as a shopping and eating adventure round town. Nikki from the UK, but has lived in Melbourne, proved to be great fun. After a few hours of shopping and chatting, we decided to meet for dinner. We walked to the Green Hotel, as she wanted to check it out for a potential place to stay, with her boyfriend arriving early next week. So we walked up there via a few other places, and arrived for dinner about 7.00pm. Mind you this is nearly bed time most nights. Anyway we settled in and decided to have a beer. We ordered a large bottle of Kingfisher to share, which turned into 3, and us into giggling messes. Amazing after 2 weeks of alcohol abstinence, all it takes is a couple of beers. We also ate a huge feast - dal, curries, rice, naan - no binds next practice after all of this. We had quite a fun night, retreating later for chocolate cake at Cubs, and more giggling. Home at 10.15pm - the latest night I have had since leaving home. I think Jyothi and the family were in shock, me being the old lady of the house (student that is) and home so late.

With no practice this morning, we decided to embark on a walk up Chamundi Hill (more like hike). Actually the incompetent fool of a rickshaw driver took us half way, not to the bottom as I requested. He then tried to extort a small fortune out of us, much to our protests and refusal. We won!! Well actually if he had dropped us at the bottom as I asked, we would have, but it cost us an extra Rs 40 -50 for the half way point. Anyway again I think we were winners, as it was a hot steep climb, the decent to the bottom being more than enough for our legs.

I went home for a nap - tired, and now very used to that mid morning or afternoon nap. Will probably kick myself at midnight tonight when I can't sleep, with the 3.15am wake up looming - yes 4.30am practice again tomorrow. Anyway feel better for it now after waking up with the sniffles, courtesy of other students I think, not my gorgeous little orphans, who again I visited yesterday afternoon. It is great going to the home 3 times a week as everyone gets to know you and you them, though it will make leaving difficult, but I am enjoying the time with the little cuties.

More from Mysore and my mat tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Touch

I'll be short but sweet - I got the touch - yeah!!!! Supta Kurmasana. The combo of less food, self imposed earlier start time, and doing kurmasana twice, both for an eternity, and then Sharath helping me (that's why I went earlier and hoping not to get told off but lots of people who arrived after me are starting earlier). So starts the journey of this pose - but I asked him a few things - and here the bind/touch is what they focus on more - not foot behind head - anyway wrote a good little essay in my journal on how I suspect it occured, including his comments. Wont share them with you and bore you even more. Tomorrow is led, and Sunday - both 4.30am - so at Shala gates at 3.45am - bed early, so I doubt there will be any further celebrations on the pose front, but I am excited - maybe next week if I get the touch again.

No other interesting tit bits - just hung out with Lokesh and Sukunya this arvo, drinking chai, eating biscuits (now I got the touch) and just doing boring stuff. Finished the book I was reading so might start Vikram Seth's Ordinary Boy - a mega epic about 2,000 + pages - should see me home I think.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sims, cooking, baby puke & practice

What a day it's been. Practice was great though might turn up a bit earlier as Sharath was leaving right when I needed him - Supta Kurmasana - that's right - you'll be sick of the sound of that pose by the time I leave India. Anyway it isn't going anywhere - and I suspect this one will have me for a number of years to come if not ever. It will serve as a good reminder for me to walk home often when back in Melbourne, and while here to go easy on the food - easier said than done though.

While on the subject of food, today we had a cooking class with Tina, it was great - Spinach Dal, Bhindi Masala (Okra/Ladies Fingers), and Chapatis - yuuuuuummmmmm. It was really great and Tina fused it with a history/cultural lesson which I found facinating. The great thing is that at the end we get to scoff it down, and a bit along the way too. My favorite thing though was along the way - a chapati with some ghee and jaggery, then all mushed up - it is a quick dessert - more to worry about than chapatis now with getting supta kurmasana! Next week is snacks - samosas, pakoras etc. A friend - my tailor's wife, Sukanya - has also invited me over to teach me some dishes after I told her about my class - can't wait, it will be fun.

Prior to cooking class I went to my friends cafe - Cubs - and he organised for a friend who works for Vodaphone to bring me a sim. I opted for a lifetime one (only Rs 50 more), but can't get it to work in my phone - it keeps telling me restricted access and I need to add a restriction code - so I suspect it is locked by good ol' Telstra. If anyone has any info let me know via email, as I would love to be able to make calls etc. cheaply - as happens here. My friend Santosh - from Cubs - lived in Woolongong and Sydney for 4 years, and loved Australia. He saved up and opened a business in Mysore - which is thriving. He is good value - it is funny when he comes out with Aussie slang. He is going to put me in touch with an astrologer - I am interested in finding out what I can about past, present and future lives - if at all possible. Particularly past - as I am sure I must have lived in India at some stage in a past life. Stay tuned - hope it can be organised.

Had shift 2 at the children's home - man if I was ever unsure around little babies you would never know it now. Had 5 babies under 3 months in my care - one on each arm, one resting between my knees while in crossed leg position, two on the mat on the floor next to me. They are so cute - Indian babies that is - with their dark locks and dark eyes, some with latte skin, some like a short espresso - they are gorgeous. Didn't get shat on today, but did get spewed on and a bit of pee on me - hey but who cares. For quite a period of time I was the only one with all these babies and ended up doing 3 hours rather than 2 as everyone just disappeared - and left me with the babies - what were they thinking - if only they knew I had little experience with tiny infants - but not now.

Well am off to bed - I am nearly threw my first novel - reading not writing that is - and have now a list of books from it's bibliography - all about Partition.
Til tomorrow - namaste.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No More Chapatis

Well ol' fat ass was told by Sharath this morning - "No More Chapatis" as he tried to get my bind in Supta Kurmasana - and to no avail. So have had a light on food day - hard here - as I am sure you have worked out, but am about to have a salad for dinner, though would love dhal, rice and chapati for dinner. Oh well the price I pay for another pose. Actually he says that to everyone, but a bit of restraint will do me good. Got an invite today to a friend's place (Indian) for a home cooked Indian lunch - so will save up my pig out for that. Nearly had an invite to a wedding tonight, but it was going to be hard to sure it up and get something to wear - so I passed it up - but have been promised an invite to my friend Santosh's wedding - date not set, bride yet to be found, but hopefully I will finally get to an Indian wedding. He lived in Australia for a number of years so each time I have been here we always have long chats, as I think he really misses Australia. It is also good to have a few contacts here - when you need something you know who to ask and they can always get things for you at the right price and without all the hoopla.
Had a cruisy day today - trying not to eat....actually just trying to have lots of downtime and not feel guilty about having naps every time I feel like it.
(I am in an internet place - guy next to me keeps hacking up stuff - as long as he doesn't spit too - it's discusting).
Got shat on again today - this time by a bird - lovely - they have big poo here.
Each day I am loving being here more - am doing less socialising by the day - it is nice being quiet and just reading and watching the world go by, without feeling like you have to be doing something or some activity. The volunteering will take up some time, and tomorrow I have a cooking class - so that is my activity for the week and will also form part of my socialising too. Am looking forward to the class though, Tina is taking it and she is a fantastic person, and a really good laugh too.
But back to India. On Saturday and Sunday it rained quite a bit - it was lovely - I got caught in it both days - it was fantastic. Each morning I acknowledge being here, particularly as there are things you no longer see in Australia that you see here - like - people washing their paths and the front of their house - hoses and all. They take so much pride in the cleanliness and appearance of their homes around here and after washing the front down they use rice flour to make a design - Rangoli, which I think is to keep the good spirits in or the bad spirits out - something like that. The designs are very intricate and beautiful.
Anyway I love it and my love affair with India continues - stronger than ever. Might see an astrologer to see when it was I lived here in the past!

Fat Ass

That's what i am going to have (well an even bigger one) if I don't stop eating. Man the food is great here - actually it's not all bad but there is so much nice stuff to eat, and so much time to do it. This morning before practice I picked up my cake (see earlier posts if you are not up on the cake thing), and I paid him for the one yesterday - keeps ya coming back. Had chai and a slice of cake on the roof after practice (BTW it was good - that is the practice) before heading off to Tina's for you guessed it more food - breakfast. I actually drank more there than I ate - Spirulina, Lime and Mint - I could move here just for that. I also had eggs and chapatis, finishing up there at midday (oh the life of a holidaying yogi....mmmm). Went home and had a nap - it's hard but someones got to do it, before going to visit Lokesh and Sukanya (tailor and his wife - my good friends), then to the children's home at 4.00pm.
Today was my first shift - and I tell you I touched more babies than I have in nearly all my life, changed more nappies than ever before (thank Krishna they don't have disposables - save the planet!), and got peed, shat and spewed on lots (I know some of you are laughing and/or in disbelief). It was relatively enjoyable surprising particularly given I would not consider myself good with babies (average 2 - 3 months old in the nursery). They are really cute though - love Indian kids. There was no one really telling you what to do - and even when there was they didn't speak English. All quite bizarre, but am glad I am doing it.
After my shift - left at 6.30pm, I headed home to wash up and change clothes (think poo, wee and spew), and then headed out to find something for dinner (not really very exciting decided to do a light snack instead - vege quiche from Cubs). I think it is really fantastic that the ashram (Children's home) is not too regulated - like what happens at home. Having had some experience with children's services when I worked in Shepparton, it is refreshing to see that kids still turn out OK without crazy OTT regulations. DHS would die if they saw what happens here - nothing bad at all but just not western craziness and regulations gone mad - really much like all of India. Somehow in all the chaos and madness, the place actually functions and is refreshingly alive because of it.
Anyway can't finish off without boring you all a bit more about my practice - actually nothing much happened at all - experimented a bit with Supta Kurmasana - Sharath disappeared so no adjustment. Anyway tomorrow have been bumped up to 6.45am so hopefully he will be about. Just want a touch - I think the bind is out of the question for this pose - but never say never, I used to think Marichiasana D was not for me but look what happened. Anyway enough bantering - off to bed for rest.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Patience

Well you indeed need plenty of patience in India, and most importantly in your yoga practice. At conference today Sharath said you need patience to practice yoga - and yes I tend to agree. I love conference - unfortunately it was the last one, and I forgot to bring pen and paper, but maybe that is not a bad thing as it keeps me focused on what he is saying rather than what I am writing. He comes out with some gems, I wrote some notes afterwards, but I must say I find what he has to say very interesting at at times highly amusing.
Back to patience - well I think I agree for me not much comes easy - and I have come to totally realise over the last few years, the more you think you know, the more you don't know. What you think you have in your practice, you can so easily loose, and for me my practice can totally plateau or suck for long periods of time. Fortunately patience with some poses has paid off, but I need plenty more - always another challenge waiting around the corner.
Anyway will make it short but sweet, as practice at 4.30am this morning meant a very early wake up. Only one led class (primary) meant it was going to be very full, so an early wait at the gate was necessary for a decent spot to lay your mat. It was good, hot and sweaty, and I enjoyed nearly all - with the exception of some poses where the count was long, and the hold was hard!
The weekend overall has been fun - had a nice quiet day yesterday - just caught up with some locals I know and had lots of chats and chai. Am enjoying the down time and just reading, sleeping, or whatever I feel like really. It rained and I was out and about so go a bit wet - something that hasn't happened for a while back home in the land of kangaroos.
Looking forward to practice in the morning, though am a bit full after dhal and rice for dinner, with a bit of garlic naan to stink out the shala. Oh well til tomorrow, namaste.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What's cooking?

Had a quiet day today - just noticed the blog is one day out of sinc due to the time setting and the time I post. Today is Friday here - 13/3 - and it was my first led practice - always a challenge, but it was fun. No great revelations, only thing I really have noticed that all the work I have done on headstand has paid off - and I guess generally with my practice as a whole - I feel much stronger than last time I was here - but that is many practices ago now.
Everyone is a buzz with planning activities - day trips etc. but as I have done many I am just chillin' out, reading, sleeping, eating - in essence having a holiday. Initially I feel like I am being lazy but have to remind myself it's OK - and I'm loving it. Next week however I have organised a few things - cooking classes - one next week, and then the following week, lots of yummy things to cook upon my return for people nice enough to send me an email or two (so far very small dinner party). I also went again to the orphanage and I am going to do 3 shifts a week commencing Monday. Other than that my focus is practice - and am loving it, though I may not think that at 4.30am Sunday morning - next led practice. Til then - namaste.

What to do with my Time

Practice this morning was good, but not great, though I did get an adjustment in Supta Kurmasana, but no touch, definitely no bind. Oh well here begins the next long asana journey - let's see what I learn on the way with this one. I must say that Sharath's adjustment in Supta Kurmasana is much more gentle than last time I was here - which I am thankful for as I was anticipating my rib being out for the entire month, and having difficulties breathing, laughing, sneezing etc. For this I am thankful.
Went to Tina's after practice, she was not there the other day, but a received a warm greeting from the lovely Tina. Of course I had Spirulina, Lime and Mint, fruit salad, and today and egg roll - a fried egg, and onion rolled in a chapati - what's not to like -mmmmmh. It was nice chatting to her, and I also found out about some volunteer work - the schools are nearly on holidays, so no English work, but she sent me to the orphanage, where I went after breakfast.
Tina had said that they had received many little babies this week - which they had. Indian kids are just gorgeous, I might just bring one home. It is heart breaking in the orphanage - mainly little girls, but a few young boys as well. They are soo cute - I was playing in the yard with some, sitting on a see-saw, pushing a little girl with a broken arm on a swing. Man they are soooooooo cute - did I already say that? I have yet to sign up as there was no one there to take our details. I am thinking of doing a couple of hours a day - well maybe 4 or 5 days a week. While I was waiting there was this little girl sitting in the doorway - maybe 12 - 18 months old, a runny nose, and she was falling asleep sitting up - did not look right. So I picked her up - and yes she cried - but then she just went to sleep in my arms - apparently she was sick and that's why she was fatigued, and I was hoping I didn't then come down with a cold too. Anyway she was gorgeous - as they all are - too cute for words. Will find out more tomorrow but would love to do some work there. More on this later.
Had a fairly quiet day otherwise - am reading quite a bit, and had some yummy samosas for dinner, all in all not a very exciting day.
Tomorrow is first led practice for me - always hard, but also fun, can't wait, am always a little nervous before class here - no fear, no fun!!