Saturday, September 29, 2007


I feel like I have been away from home a long time. I am not saying this in a bad way, but this is how I feel right now. I think this 2nd trip to Mysore has been affecting me, as I have wrote many times, more deeply. Everything feels less shiny, and new, less exotic, and different. It feels like home. The small group that shows up every morning on their mats feels nothing like a scene at all. It is just people showing up to practice. For a few weeks now there has been no Sharath to impress (which will ever happen, but we all try anyway) no Guruji to squeeze. It's just practice. I had one of my favorite quotes on practice up a few weeks back, and it continues on brilliantly:

I think the reason dance has held such an ageless magic for the world is that it has been the symbol of the performance of living. Even as I write, time has begun to make today yesterday-the past. The most brilliant scientific discoveries will in time change and perhaps grow obsolete, as new scientific manifestations emerge. But art is eternal, for it reveals the inner landscape, which is the soul of man.
Many times I hear the phrase "the dance of life." It is an expression that touches me deeply, for the instrument through which the dance speaks is also the instrument through which life is lived-the human body. It is the instrument by which all the primaries of life are made manifest. It holds in its memory all matters of life and death and love. Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to the paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths. Then I need all the comfort that practice has stored in my memory, a tenacity of faith.

I have not danced formally in 10 years. I am often asked at the end of a yoga class that I have just dropped into, "wow, are you a dancer?" I have had many reactions to that question over the years. Sitting here in India, where the image of Shiva, as the cosmic dancer can been seen in shops, and on auto rickshaws, all over everyday. I feel certain that everyone practicing yoga is Shiva dancing, exploring their own way out of delusion and darkness into light.

Tomorrow will be my final practice in the shala. I will miss it so.

Friday, September 28, 2007


The Mysore chapter of this journey is coming to its end. Trish and I walked to practice this morning. It is so quiet at 4:30am. Many of my predawn walks to practice have been so nice. So many stars lighting the sky. Practice this morning was all about integration. Have I really been putting things together, or have I been pretending to. I felt awake, and confident in what I know, and confident in what I still have to learn.

I finished up the month long Sanskrit class. Today he wrote a long passage from the Gita in the transliteration on the board and we had to write the whole thing out in Devanagri script. I made no mistakes! I will miss Laksmish. He is a great teacher, and very serious about the study of Sanskrit, but more so that yoga teachers know this stuff. He is a beautiful person. Mike and I just got back from chats (snacks) at Nalpak. I am sure we will be headed to dreamland soon. Only one more practice remains, and then Mike and I are of to try to "get" all of what India has to share.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Rickshaw to A. Shankara Chetty Jewellers 35 Rs

One A.D. Stone Set Nose Screw 298 Rs

Rickshaw to Aadithya Adhikari Hospital 35Rs

Prescription for Piercing Needle and Personal Syringe 8 Rs

Nose Pricking Fee 100 Rs

Getting your nose (re)pierced at an Indian Hospital Priceless

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My blog posts go up considerably later than they used to now that Mike is here. Full Moon today, but I did a little practice while I locked myself out of the room and needed to wait for Mike to return from wandering the city and finishing up our travel arrangements. I certainly couldn't go out in public in Mike's boxer shorts and a top that I had been wearing for three days. Mostly it was the boxer shorts. Entirely inappropriate.

Mostly today we ate. We went to the Hotel Metropole, for us it is like India's version of Congress Hall. They have the best lunch buffet in the prettiest atmosphere. If you sit there long enough you'll forget you are even in India. Somethings that can be an alright thing. Walking home after such a meal is always a good thing.

Now here we are back at Shakti house getting ready to settle in for the night. I can't believe tomorrow is my last Mysore style practice. I'll end my practice here with a Friday and Sunday led class. Wow it has been an amazing month.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

M as in Mango, G as in Goat

Just for those of you would were worried about my health, I am feeling 100% better. Practice today was a pleasure. As Mike settles in here I am reminded why I missed him so much. When I came home from practice he was out and about, and didn't get back until 8:30am. We sat with all the yoga students and Mike just fits in with even trying or changing anything about himself. I love that about him.

We have finalized our plans. Leaving Mysore on the 30th we are going to explore Hampi, and travel on to Goa, and them make our way to Mumbai. I hope to blog throughout the trip this time. So, stay tuned.

After we left the travel agency we just wandered through the streets. We shared an ice cream cone from the street vendor. Tomorrow is a full moon day and I think Mike and I might go out to dinner at a normal time. I'd better get my Sanskrit homework done, early class in the morning.

I miss everyone at home. Can't wait to see you all!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Argh, India!

I am having one of those days. I was sick all day yesterday, from what I have no idea. To say that my practice was a struggle this morning might be the biggest understatement of the trip so far. Then I found out that my travel agent left the country, so as of this morning we once again had no travel plan. My final music lesson was this morning and of course he was very late.

Mike and then had lunch. His first India meal, I was sick enough to need Domino's pizza last night. I was pretty good, and didn't upset my stomach. We just got back from the travel agent again, and I think that we've got something now. Hopefully she won't leave the country between now and tomorrow. It is India, you never know.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Restful Saturday

It’s officially the start of festival season here in India. As the 10 day celebration in honor of Lord Ganesh comes to a close the volume in Mysore continues to amplify. Last night my neighbors must have had some party. The music was so loud, coupled with the noise on the street it made any night in NYC seem still and silent. 4am wake up calls help you fall asleep in the midst of it all.

It’s Saturday and this is the yogi’s day of rest. I woke up late and leisurely climbed out of bed and made myself a cup of coffee, wrote in my journey and just relaxed. I just had a music lesson and Trish and I made the room up for Mike. This entails that we squish the two beds into one big bed and change the sheets accordingly. Mike will be here soon! I almost can’t believe it.

Trish is going to take me to a Punjabi restaurant for lunch. I haven’t eaten much Indian food in the last couple of days, I felt like my stomach needed a break. I haven’t been sick, but I haven’t felt like myself either.

(Hours Later)

I loved the Punjabi restaurant and the food seems to be sitting very well with me. Now it feels like I am just waiting for Mike. I have one more thing left to do for his arrival. I’ll need to drop off a set of keys for his drivers and when I come home after practice; he should be fast asleep in bed. It feels like a dream.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Be Inspired

a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation

b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions

c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions 2 : the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs 3 a : the quality or state of being inspired

I was walking alone today and once again I found myself ruminating on why exactly I am here. I overheard a brief conversation this morning on the topic of macrobiotics. What I heard that made my ears perk up was the concepts around not over cooking the food. One should only cook the food to a certain temperature so that some of the life force remains to be digested by the eater.

I am hoping that I can intake some of this vital and vibrant experince. I wondered what is the defination of inspiration. Being in India is inspiartion.

Love Peace and Contentment

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amy Bye Bye

Well, I can't beleive how fast three weeks fly in India. Amy left shortly after breakfast this morning. The room feels empty, and really quiet. I am right now sitting in the middle of my small bed surrounded by homework that needs to be done, study materials (from home TT is coming up, and here), and my big India book. I went to the travel agency this morning and starting putting together our two week travel plans. Here's a preview. I think this is the basic outline. After leaving Mysore we will make our way to Goa for some good old fashioned beach time, after that visit a hill station, and then on to some very old Buddhist caves and finally arriving Mumbai. It takes a few days to begin to fill in the details.

I spent the early afternoon if you can believe it practicing yoga. I just got the urge to move and play with some sequences that have been flashing through my mind. It was really nice. My creative brain feels satisfied.

Tomorrow is yet another 4am wake up call for a led practice. This time I won't have anyone to energetically help me out of bed. My walking companions will most likely be Rat, and Juanita.

I officially smell like curry.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

" Madam is Joke Making"

I know, I know yesterday’s blog was a bit pathetic. I just wasn’t feeling like myself yesterday, and I don’t know why. I had no appetite, I basically forced myself to go to lunch and eat. I do feel better today, more like me. Big transition ahead. Today is Amy’s final full day in Mysore, so after my music lesson we’ll head into the market and get her last minute (bindi’s, bangles, and beads) shopping done. We will attempt to find the “secret” dosa place. I think that David gave me clear enough directions, but I’m sure it will be an adventure.

It is just about the half way mark for me. I have 9 practices left at the Shala, 5 Sanskrit lessons, and 5 music lessons. I can’t believe the amount of studying I am doing here. Maybe I was in a funk yesterday because I don’t think I did so hot on my Sanskrit test, it was no joke, timed and all. I’ll get the results tonight.

I think the closer it gets to Mike’s arrival the more I miss him.

Well we made it to the “secret” dosa place, but it came as no secret to me that it was closed. If will just have to wait until Mike arrives. Amy and I just spent many hours wandering around town, getting caught in more than one rain storm. It couldn’t have been a nicer afternoon.

I am off to Sanskrit!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


What to blog about today. This morning I can say without a doubt it was very difficult to get out of bed. The walk to the Shala was silent and painful. Something happens when you walk through those Shala doors, suddenly you wake up! Practice was really nice today, I really took my time with the practice and once again feel in love with the details. I decided at my music lesson to take 5 more, which I can almost complete before Mike gets here. Amy went to an Ayurvedic Center for some treatments. I took myself to lunch. It was nice, I thought a lot about why I am here. What this pilgrimage means to me and how it relates to my home life.

I miss everyone very much. I look so forward to seeing everyone on my return.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rice Krispie Treat

Have you ever heard the sound of a rice krispie treat slowly smashing? It sounds just like when Saraswati grabs your hands mid-drop back and puts them on your ankles. There was no pain, just the sound. When she pulled me up, she smiled and said “good.” I have two weeks left here and I anticipate this will become a routine occurrence. Svaha. Amy is heading out of Mysore on Thursday, and Mike will be breezing in on Sunday very early, like 4am early.

Today is Monday, back to the all yoga, all the time schedule. Pre-dawn practice, music, and then Sanskrit early to bed and then start again tomorrow. I still have no idea where Mike and I will travel. I am not even going to begin to tackle that until Friday. I’ll be back in Philadelphia in less than a month. There is no doubt that I love it here, but I do miss the community of dedicated yogis at home. I am constantly reminded of the dedicated and disciplined group that has found its way into the cocoon that is Wake Up Yoga.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lazy Days

The last 48 hours have been almost exclusively about sleep. After I came back from the Metropole and ran some errands I just placed my head down on the bed and fell fast asleep. It was a sneaky nap. Since I've been here its been a whirlwind of yoga, Sanskrit, music lessons, trying to talk to my husband, and worrying about home. I just crashed, and crashed hard. I feel very refreshed at the moment.

Practice today was great. I made some interesting discoveries, and I seem to have gained back my "normal" range of motion that I lost this Spring/Summer. I remember Tina paraphrasing the Gita in one of her classes, "no gain is ever lost." This is true on some many levels.

Amy just arrived back from Chennai and she, of course had a wacky and wonderful time. So both of us will head back to the Shala tomorrow for some more practice. I am sure the remainder of the day will be slow. Plenty of time for me to catch up on my music homework for tomorrow's lesson, and study for my first Sanskrit test. I can already hear Lakshmish in my head, "friends, find the letter properly."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Everyone always asks, "what's a dosa?"

Remember how I said that the rain would pass. Well, yesterday it didn't. I refused to leave the house, so I ending up having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for lunch. I find here in India I am on a two meal a day schedule. I woke up this morning starving and decided as a treat I would take myself to the Metropole for breakfast. They have this very long buffet which is divided into Western choices, and Indian breakfast choices. To the waiters surprise I ate only Indian breakfast. I had an idly, a dosa, a vada, and all the sambar and chutney I could eat. After I filled my totally empty belly, I decided to take the somewhat long walk back. That felt nice. Back to practice tomorrow, another super early 4am wake up call. I am off from music until Monday, but he gave me plenty of work to do before then.

How quickly time is moving. I have only 15 more days in Mysore then Mike and I will venture out to see more of this beautiful country. It's funny how much I feel at home here. Everyone who has been commenting and sending me emails, thank you.

Amy, of course got to Chennai safely and will be back in Mysore tomorrow!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Me and Juanita

What a strange day. No one at the Shakti house could sleep last night. I was up, Trish was up, and Natalie was sick. It's good that there was no practice this morning. I had a nice long breakfast and talked to Satu and Trish for quite a while, and then practiced for my music lesson. It's been dark all day, and about an hour ago it started really raining with thunder. I want to venture out and get some lunch, but it will be impossible to first get a rickshaw, and then get a fair price. So, I'll just wait it out, it always passes. Mike leaves for Mysore a week from today! Yeah! For now my favorite companion in the house is Juanita, also known as Princess. Maybe tomorrow will be more exciting.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

“Soft Enough?”

Practice this morning was pretty good. I had more energy than yesterday. Being here often feels like a science experiment. Each day is pretty much the same. So it feels kind of mysterious as to why some days practice has more energy and other days not so much. After my drop backs today Saraswati assisted me and when we were all through she called me soft, explaining to me that I was soft enough. Soft enough for what, you might be wondering. I knew exactly what she was talking about. Soft enough to grab my ankles in back bending. Basically she said that it was time, to at least try. My whole nervous system froze thinking that she meant, let’s go right now. But then she said very sweetly, “Monday.”

There will be no practice tomorrow in the Shala. Tomorrow is the festival, Ganesh Chaturthi; it is the celebration of the birth of the lovely elephant-headed god, Ganesh. I am practicing in the morning at the house with my neighbor Natalie, and then we will embark to the Ganesh temple down the road to check out the festivities.

Amy has taken a journey to Chennai and will be back on Sunday. I am sure she will return with at least 108 wacky “India!” moments. I just finished up my music lesson and just hope to rest until tomorrow. My system feels just a bit off today. I have my first Sanskrit test on Monday, I should start studying now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Leisurely Lime Soda

All my posts are starting to sound the same I know. That is part of the beauty of being here it's all about routine. Up early for practice, and then afternoon music lesson, and then evening Sanskrit. I feel like I am in school. All you need to do is figure out where and at what time you'll eat. I just came back from the best lunch. I was scheduled to take a cooking class with Anu tomorrow, but it has been postponed until next Thursday. Joy requested that I take detailed notes and lots of pictures. That I will do.

The days are slipping away it feels like any day Mike will be here, and then will be off and out of Mysore making our way to Mumbai.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Black Moon

On Quiet

Today is a new moon. No practice. I have also heard the new moon called the black moon, I like that. It sounds more like it is dark, covered, hidden. Amy and our housemate Natalie took the trip to the nearby Tibetan Settlements this morning. I have been pretty silent all day. I woke up and began to do some Sanskrit homework. I can’t say that I am getting IT, but I think I am getting something. Played the harmonium with much enjoyment and then I called my husband. I miss him so. After my music lesson I don’t know what I’ll do for the remainder of the day. I am now reading two books at once, writing daily, and thinking, rethinking all things yoga. My little cat friend came back to visit me while I was practicing my music lessons, I am starting to love her.

Back to the Mysore practice tomorrow, no doubt things will have shifted in my body, breath, and focus. So much about being here is about just attempting to pay attention to all of the subtle or not so subtle changes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pade Pade

On Practice

This morning it was rough getting up and taking the increasing long feeling walk to the Shala. It is always dark. I was able to walk right into the practice room, and begin. No Sharat today. As I stood at the top of my mat, I was sure I was not going to get through this. The days here have been rough for me, and yesterday I couldn’t really eat, and I didn’t really sleep. I stood there and prayed, chanting the opening mantra and really trying to embody its meaning:

I pray to the lotus feet of the supreme guru
Who teaches knowledge, awakening the great happiness of the Self revealed
Who acts like the jungle physician
Able to remove the delusion from the poison of conditioned existence

I began very slowly. Half way through I decided that I would not do more than the three Urdhva Dhanurasana’s. Somewhere from deep inside me I stood up almost effortlessly after the third. I continued three more drop backs on my own, and then Saraswati (Guruji’s daughter) came to assist me. And off we went, after I came up from my last deep back bend she asked me why I wasn’t reaching and grabbing my ankles. I must have made a funny face, because all she then said with a very sharp eye was “later.”

On Music

We went over Raga’s today. It never occurred to me until that moment that the word Raga in music has the exactly same meaning as it does within the klesha’s. A musical Raga is something that is said to produce something pleasurable deep within the listener. The lessons just keep getting more intense. Up and down the scale with limitless exercises and variations, the singing, the correct method for clapping. It is starting to make the Ashtanga Yoga method feel easy. I have another lesson tomorrow. While I was practicing this morning this skinny cat climbed into the door way from outside and sat down. The girls at the Shakti house have been trying to court this cat from some time now, but the in house dogs (Junita) chase her every time.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I led a morning retreat this summer soltice on the two wings of yoga, abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (non-attachment.) Today was spent, as many days are here, cultivating abhyasa. Rising very early I went to led practice at the Shala. I then completed half of my Sanskrit homework. Then, I had another music lesson. I am slowly falling in love with this teacher. Yes, I am learning all about classical (South) India music, but he is also a masterful teacher. I think most people who meet me know how mad I am for excellence in teaching.

I would love to say today that I feel footlose and fancy free, but I have much weighing on my heart. If you could as you read t his blog send many blessing toward my family, we need it grately.

One of my favorite passages on practice:

I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God. To practice means to perform, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.

Martha Graham

Keep Practcing

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Seeing the Rama in the Drama

No practice today. I slept in until 5:15am, it was my soundest sleep yet. Amy and I went to Tina's for breakfast this morning. Mike and I never did manage it get there last time, but I'll be sure to bring him when he arrives. I had a plain dosa for breakfast and I topped it with fresh peanut butter and jam. To make sure that we were sleepy enough to go to bed early (4am wake up call) we decided to climb Chamundi Hill. Yes, I climbed it last time, but it was something that I thought Amy needed to experience. How could you pass up scaling 1000 plus steep steps battling giant spiders and moving amongst monkey madness? The climb was hotter, and harder then I remember. Isn't memory funny that way? I am now settled in at home getting ready to practice for my music lesson tomorrow, and do the gobs of Sanskrit homework Laksmish assigned.

Oh I almost forgot the Rama/Drama. So, Sharat was supposed to be finished teaching this week, but the word is that he is in fact staying on. This morning I overheard this funny conversation, that to me sounded like...."is he staying?, is he going on safari?, is he going to the moon?" Such stress. I am just happy to have the space to practice to rest, and to get clear on where I am going and how I want to get there.

For all of you at home interested in the next TT at Wake Up Yoga, don't miss the last information session on Sunday, September 9th 12pm. Here's the link-

Sending Lots of Love

Friday, September 07, 2007

Putting it all together

The wake up call this morning was intense. Amy and I got up at 4am and were out the door headed to the Shala by 4:30am. It was an intense first led class. I thought that David's led classes were tough. I felt pretty strong, but mostly I felt really well informed thanks to the Ashtanga Intensive I participated in right before I left. I talked to Mike for a long time this morning. Harmonium lessons are intense. Classical Indian music is so beautiful. The class is structured with sound and rhythm. The teacher and I sing, and clap, and play. He gave me a 37 page syllabus on music theory. Tomas would be proud. All things seems to fit together here Sanskrit, yoga, music. I feel like giant pieces of a puzzle are just now starting to fit together. Indian culture is endlessly fascinating to me. Last time I was here I spent so much time walking the streets, or in the market trying to let everything seep in from the outside. Now I feel like I am working more internally studying and feeling everything swell from the inside now out.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Good Vibrations

I have no pictures as of yet, but I may have some soon. I will be heading out to chanting sutras at Jayashree's around the time my mom checks the blog so I definitely want to have some thoughts/musings up. I am really diving into yoga school here this time around. I am taking Sanskrit three nights a week, and I just had my first Harmonium lesson. It was great, very traditional, very difficult. I loved it. Practice this morning felt really nice. I attempted to repeat the method that Sharat taught me yesterday with some success. Tomorrow is a lead class starting time 5:00am. The word on the street is that Guruji will lead that class. I hope so. On my way in and out of Sanskrit last night I saw him sitting in his office. I smiled at him. I am not sure if he saw me, but I smiled as big as I could.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"Oh, is that a flute you have?"

Jet lag bye-bye. I feel great, and my cough is almost gone. Practice this morning was like heaven. Every part of my body felt like me. I even managed to count to myself in Sanskrit all the way up to Navasana. I looked around the room today and I saw so many familiar faces from last fall. When I began my back bending I could feel Sharath come out of the office and walked directly toward me. Last year I was never assisted in back bends by Sharath, just Guruji, and Saraswati. He stood there and watch every drop back. I thought I had really improved, but I guess not. After my second he looked at me and simply said, "many mistakes." Yikes. Then he proceeded to ask me to reach my arms overhead palms touching all the way to the floor, and then come up without changing anything. Nothing. I squeezed my toes deep into the earth and I did it. He asked me if I was tired, I was just terrified. Amy and I after breakfast went into town. We walked around the market, and downtown for a long time. We just are now back from an awesome lunch completely stuffed. I am heading out for Sanskrit at the Shala. I really enjoyed all the comments this morning. Keep them coming.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"Not Lying?"

Today was the first day of practice and it was intense. Sharath is still teaching and the group is so small that there is no hiding. Amy was right behind me today and when she was working on her Bhujapidasana he asked her if she did Marichyasana D properly. She said yes sheepishly and he laughed and asked “not lying?” I felt pretty good today even with the jet lag. Sharath with no problem quickly put me in Suptakurmasana. I must be over thinking that pose. I slept pretty much through the night, but woke up for good at 3am. Which was ok given the fact that our practice time is 5:45am/5:30am “Shala Time.” This morning I took David’s exam from the teaching intensive. I think I did pretty well. It is very quiet here. I talked to Mike for a long time this morning. I can’t wait until he arrives. I am heading back to the Shala to pay the rest of the tuition and to see about Sanskrit class.

Monday, September 03, 2007

"Mysore Coming Madam"

Epic. The journey is epic. 24 hours of non-stop international travel. Amy and I have arrived safely and quietly here in Gokulum. Everything feels like home. The air, the sounds, even the driver who picked us up in Bangalore was like an old friend. Today I’ll run some needed errands and register at the Shala. I find myself already looking forward to Mike’s arrival. Satu told me at breakfast that the second trip here is harder in some ways. I am already feeling that. I am still sick, and without my husband. I do feel blessed to be here and confident that I will return once again to teaching and, really all of life with renewed joy and gratitude. I can’t wait to step my bare feet into the Shala and just simply begin again with practice. My head is swimming from David’s intense intensive and I hope that some information will solidify.

Here are some pictures. That's me and Amy in the car to Mysore. If you look closely you'll see her watch telling the wee early hour. My friends Rat and Junita greeted me at the door this morning. Where's Burrito? Burrito made it out of India and is living in L.A.