Merry Christmas from Mysore

Life if simple here in India. I am in a small town in Gokulam just outside the big city of Mysore, which isn’t so big, but there is a lot of activity there. I often go downtown by rickshaw for the adventure. Gokulam is sort of protected but it’s authentic as small towns come. I can get everything I need for the apartment from cleaning supplies to fresh fruit and flowers just a short walk away. You buy what you need. They ask if the bananas are for today or tomorrow just to be sure that they are just right. I love the chocolate man and the coconut stand and of course my favorite place to stop for nuts or juice is the little stand around the corner from the Shala called Guru & Sons. Sometimes they have fresh nut butters and even banana bread.

Practice at the Shala under Sharath’s watchful eye is focused. I feel like I am rebuilding my practice and finding it refreshing to see it change. I have to watch the breath as the Shala gets hot and you can heat up fairly quickly. By the time I am at the seated asanas, sweat is strong and even throughout my body. It feels good to get to the floor. It’s also a good time to reconnect and collect yourself, breathing freely with no movement, almost feeling effortless, connecting to those allusive bandhas. I’m enjoying all of the practices here and as usual we learn something new every time we come to the mat.

The day before the New Moon, Sharath made a comment that I was stiff and we can blame in on the moon. He knows I’m not one of the bendy people and I’m able to be amused at his comments. Today I felt more open for sure and he says to the assistant, “Have her catch.” He knows I’m not catching so it’s amusing when I am asked which side first. “He’s kidding”, I say and I try harder this time to deepen the backbend, which means; walk, walk, walk, the hands to the feet. It’s fun and after three weeks I feel more confident to keep trying.

I’m happy practicing here and I get the feeling that the people coming here become your big extended family after a while. After practice, I look forward to chanting sessions with Laksmisa and other classes. Breakfast spots are fun to connect and chat with other westerners. It can be as quiet or busy as you want it to be. Lunch is the main meal and you can tell by the practice the next day if you ate well the day before.

I’m noticing different things about myself. When I feel lonely or tired or sad, I know it will pass. One day I heard a dog crying and looked to see where he was in the small cage under the stairs of a house. Then I saw a woman with a baby begging and I keep seeing puppies looking for their mother everywhere. I love the cows and want to feed them. I love the dogs and want to give them some love. The goats make me smile. I close my eyes and wait for these feelings that get stirred up in me to pass.   I’m not sure I could do this if not for the practice.   The practice makes us sensitive and the practice also teaches us that you don’t have to be stuck in any emotion too long.

I try to stay in the present and breathe and feel and be grateful.   Tomorrow I will practice at the Shala on Christmas Day and remember the times hitting the slopes or waking up to waffles and ice cream, dedicating my practice to my three sons.  Maybe I’ll find some waffles!  Merry Christmas from Mysore!  – Deb


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