Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1. this blog
2. practice 6 days a week
3. longer closing asanas, and longer savasana
4. more vegetables (for Krishna's sake I am a vegetarian!)
5. increase the amount of joy in my life
6. plan to celebrate Guruji's birthday with him this July
There is more to come...come and practice with me at Wake Up this January 1 and celebrate the newness.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Maybe discipline is the key to freedom?
"maintain silence" = I don't have to chit chat. Even this morning in the middle of practice student A is practicing, student B comes in (like an hour into student A's practice) and feels the need to say, Hi student A, and then she would be rude if she didn't say, Hi student B and so she does.
All in all I made it to my mat, made it through practice maybe tomorrow I'll make it a more silent experience if only internally (unless I make a sign for the Shala in Philly.)
Saturday, December 27, 2008
It has been a really tough time for me this holiday season and I am ready to get over myself and turn toward practice, friendship, lots of harmonium Ho-downs!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I think I spoke to her four times yesterday. She now has a blog (I have added it to the stuff I love list) and I 'll read that in addition to the many daily chats. For me, she is the only one who really gets it. I am not surprised that she is blogging about food, and about weight. Yesterday we spoke about honesty in blogging. When I was away in Mysore I felt really free with the flow of writing but here in Philly where I live and teach I tend to be more careful. I think that one of my '09 resolutions is to be more candid about the yoga community here in Philadelphia and try to distill down what works and what is not working for me in the larger scheme of things.
Yoga is universal, and yet such a personal journey. Yoga is so intimate, and most often in such a public forum.
As always I need to get dressed and get to practice, and then later a little Christmas Eve with my Super Shakti Sister.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
My mini yoga pilgrimage to New York was perfect! I went right from the bus to a Mysore practice. Walking along 5th Ave (midtown) was magical. I am not the biggest fan of the holiday season, and this year Mike and I are choosing to buy gifts for Operation Santa versus buying gifts for those so gifted in our lives, but walking past the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center filled me with excitement. I fondly remembered ice skating at the famed location with my sister as teens.
After a practice that was filled, in my opinion with way too much chit-chat I ran to meet Samantha. We ate and gabbed and then went Kirtaning. The crowd was crazy with bliss and while we ashtangi's hang out in the world of restraint it was refreshing even as it was slightly irritating.
Went to sleep and then back to practice. It is no joke the pilgrimage that you need to take to get to Guy's shala, and as promised it was the most silent silence I have ever heard. It was a true Mysore morning with a long breakfast with friends popping in. I left and walked to Ma's house had a great lesson, and then came home. All in all in was really a densely packed trip.
My winter solstice workshop was a sold-out success! If you are interested in the next workshop please register early space is limited and I hate to turn people away. Keep checking jillmanning.com.
Love and Peace
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I have a really tight schedule this trip
Practice at Yoga Sutra NY (for free!!) 4:45pm
Meet Samantha-Ji AKA Fiona Anew at some yummy vegan eatery
Kirtan at Jivamukti
Back to Sam's house and most likely endless gabbing about Mysore, Yoga, Mysore, Yoga etc....
Head to Guy's Shala, this is where Sam practices, it will be my first time there
I am bringing my camera this time and hope to take many pictures for the follow up blog about the whole experience.
I am excited to say that My Winter Solstice Retreat has only one spot remaining...if you are interested check out jillmanning.com
I am already hammering out the juice for the drop back workshop (who couldn't use a drop back workshop?) Check it out, and yes! space is limited.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I am trying to climb out of the hole that I so enjoyed digging and climbing in. Off to play harmonium with a friend.
Monday, December 08, 2008
So, it is now 5:40am I can hear the wind, and have a blanket wrapped around me, but will go out into the December morning and practice. My research has told me the rest of the day will go more smoothly, and then I can go to bed as early as I want.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Even yoga teachers get the blues. I started feeling glum with the approach of the holiday season. I have never been a big fan of this season, but this year I was ready two weeks ago to pack a bag head to Mexico and not return until January. I love to escape. On top of it all the attacks in India are so confusing and upsetting, both Mike and I who have walked Mumbai's beautiful streets, felt the funk.
Tomorrow is the beginning of a new week, and I am practicing and then starting my first day volunteering at the SPCA. I am really excited about the Winter Solstice celebration at Wake Up Yoga two Saturdays from now. Please join me. Check out the events page on jillmanning.com.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
It was the weirdest hour of yoga in my life. I did get a nice black top, and a chance to explore my inner exhibitionist. Would I do it again? Like the title of this blog...for sure Lululemon, I will asana for clothes, so call me anytime.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Earth is actually nearer to the sun in January than it is in June—by three million miles! In this intensive three hour “master class” will explore our ever present internal light source. Through sound (chanting), movement (asana), simple cleansing (kriya) rituals, breath awareness (pranayama), and quiet sitting we will align with the quality of the solstice, as a time that humans have long recognized as a turning point, a day that celebrates the return of the sun.
Our asana theme is designed to shed and spread the light within. The focus will utilize the contemplative and cleansing power of more simple forward bends in combination with more complex and often confusing deep twists. Picking up suggestions from the “great vows” of yoga, the yama’s, and niyama’s, we will weave together the themes of greedlessness (aparigraha), cleanliness (shauca), and contentment (samtosha).
Appropriate for all levels! Leave with...• A better understanding of the relationship of darkness and light• An enlightened perspective in more “advanced twists”• Deeper connection to niyamas, yoga, and yourself!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Ok, Ok. I cut my trip to NY short. Do I feel guilty about this decision? Absolutely not. I woke on Saturday morning knowing that this was a very natural braking point for me and decided to honor that feeling. After meeting with many a gifted yoga teacher, and wandering around in the rain with way too much stuff on my shoulder. I traveled back into the soft, warm, comfort, of my home.
Because Mike is applying to SVA for grad school I wanted to feel the energy in NY and I wondered how after 8 years of being away I would return.
NY and India, very similar
I would bring my practice to Eddie's shala
I couldn't be less interested in style
Jackson Heights, that's the juice!
Yoga teaching, NO...waiting tables, YES
Tomorrow I start a Mysore with the great David Keil, and Saturday is my 30th birthday. This is no small thing.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
The edict was to look good. Really good! After traversing India from stem to stem, and surviving the only thing left to do was to celebrate. After about a month at home in Philadelphia most of us met at Tina's house, and laughed, drank, and felt at once very far from Mother India, but very close to each other in her wake. The experience is the transformation.
In just two weeks I get to work with my teacher who I have missed very much. A lot is coming up for me this month (including my 30th birthday.) I am pledging to blog more....
Off to practice!!!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
How often do you let yourself off the hook?
After a long day yesterday, Mike and I went to a West Philly baby shower. I used to think that I really disliked baby showers, but the West Philly kind I can get behind. Not a gooby or juuby for miles. I did make a practice date for this morning and was up late, ate cake, and drank red wine. Did I let myself off the hook? Absolutely not! I got up, shook it off, and practiced. No drama, no excuses, just practice.
It was a great practice and great energy. New definition for yoga...yoga is not letting yourself off the hook.
I am teaching tonight at 5:3o pm Wake Up Yoga Fairmont!! Come and chant, breathe, and connect before the beginning of the wild work week.
I was just told that the Ashtanga Foundational Workshop is getting full....check the events page and pre-register for what will be a really enlightening experience.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thanks to in no small part:
Mariana for practicing with me and then having a long coffee/laugh fest.
Kristina for sharing her home, her fantastic energy, and practice.
Mike for sharing an afternoon cappuccino.
Mary for her knowledge and bhakti.
Tina, oh Tina! for playing music, chanting, practice and just being a yoga nerd.
Brian, extending his talent and taking away some pain.
Sung-Ji, again a coffee date.
...and yes, I practiced 6 times this week, and feel very connected and accomplished. My new Harmonium is coming next week!! I am very happy.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."
Sunday, October 12, 2008
This is a picture of my friend and practice partner's alter in her West Philly Shala (her home.) We started practicing once a week since my return and I am so grateful for the breathing room. This week she is going to share a full moon series that she picked up from Ashtanga Yoga teacher Matthew Sweeney.
It has been a rough couple of days for me it feels like the missing Mysore blues have set in. The Philly yoga community is strong and yes, vibrant, but the Ashtanga community feels fractured and very dispersed. The energy is just not there, yet. I just keep plodding along practicing daily, and yes even today grabbing my ankles in back bending.
I went to a sweet Harmonium workshop yesterday afternoon, and raised my voice, pumped my bellows, and still today the blueness.
My friend from Mysore Kim, sent me a message about this she said simply, "Blue, like Krishna!" Yes, precisely.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I miss India. (the next trip is already in the planning phases)
Lots to blog about..Kirtan Friday, and harmonium workshop. TT is in full swing and that is just incredible for my mind and practice and playing with my edges of what I hold to be true.
I am giving a workshop (October 25th and 26th) on the Foundations of Ashtanga Yoga in Center City and a lovely place, Yoga Squared. All the information can be found on my home page, http://www.jillmanning.com under workshops. It is sure to be enlightening, and no matter what style of yoga you hold dear, will change your practice!
Space is limited so register today.
Monday, September 22, 2008
'You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place?Just this; What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. Oneclimbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can on longer see, one can at least still know.'
Saturday, September 20, 2008
It is 4am in Philadelphia, and in India it is 2pm. My whole body is confused. I woke up in a soft bed with Mike's arms wrapped tightly around me, and for a moment I didn't know where I was. It was kind of a long moment, I turned to Mike and stroked his face, focusing my eyes and then I felt it..I am home.
I would love to be able to write about this experience, but I even had a hard time talking about it last night. So much has happened in the last 9 weeks. Soon I'll have something to say......maybe.
I woke with this poem rolling around in my consciousness. As I sit here and read it in its entirety there are just too many sections that are bringing me meaning, I'll just share a particularly potent one and maybe later more.
As on the shore of the ocean
To remain sea and not to cede
The power of motion!
Fated to flow back
To be reduced, to be restored,
To be transformed into immutable number.
As idea to the body returns,
As thought from the point falls
Where its secret cause,
Having dared and lifted it,
It cannot but return
To the pure and simple presence,
To all things less itself,
Even though not itself,
Itself never for long
Friday, September 19, 2008
I am still ruminating on what I am bringing home with me from India. I know have been changed!
What I am most looking forward to:
Holding my husbands hand, no other hand is like his.
Sqeezing and snuggling with my dog Angie, remembering that not all creatures are loved like her
Sleeping in my own bed
Practicing in the place that I make my home
I am returning to teaching this Monday and check back in for more details about the launch of the new website and upcoming workshops/master classes
Monday, September 15, 2008
I miss the Shala (really bad)
I miss Tomas and Carol (even worse)
I miss Mike (more than I can say)
The Arabian Sea is magic. ( I was still practicing at half 4)
I finally got to "the point" (a place where the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean merge)
Akbar has a really powerful resting place
The Agra Fort should not have been skipped on my first trip
The Taj is more amazing than I remember (I did the walk of love with Tina)
Delhi is India FULL ON
Going in for a Harmonium and coming out with a roll of tape (this is a good story)
I really am grateful for coffee day
Here I am now in Rishikesh. Words can not describe this experience.
I'll be home on Friday, see you then!
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
As I sit here so tired..I have been up since 3am it is now 11:40pm, and having said goodbye to my dear friends I am also quite sad.
It is still two weeks until I see my husband, or squeeze my dog. Two weeks until I breathe fresh air, and come down form the cosmic high.
As I left the shala this morning I debated if I should tell Sharath that I was leaving. I walked into the office and said that today was my last practice, and that I was leaving Mysore that evening. I thanked him, and he just said, "you'll be back" with a smile.
Off on another travel adventure into the unknown. I'll keep blogging, I am sure there will be some Indian madness in my future!
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Practice at that hour in the Shala is very serious, and quiet. It is at least an hour before the first; “One more!” is heard. I also noticed the efficient nature of the students at the time. Even just an hour later I always feel like the fastest, but this morning my tempo synchronized perfectly. I felt very at home. I had a really nice practice. After drop backs Sharath came to assist me, and my hands on the final back bend went right to my calves. I could feel my heels grounding, my legs pulsing, and yes my heart wide open. When I came up, eye to eye with Sharath he said, “Monday, you take Ustrasana.” In that moment I couldn’t say out loud that I would not be here on Monday. I just nodded my head, and put my palms together and thanked him.
I was finished practice by 6:15am, real time.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Well, it is Tuesday. I leave Friday night. I started cleaning up the room that I have called home for the last seven weeks. This routine feels familiar. You start my making the piles, piles of trash, piles of laundry, piles of all the things that you will give to those who are staying on, piles of the clothes that you started the journey with, and the pile of clothes that you are ending the journey with, the small gifts, and the yoga books that you just had to have. All the things that will journey on with you, and all the “stuff” left behind.
I am really trying hard not to run around like a mad woman. I am trying to enjoy my last days here. To soak in, rather than wring out. As I arrived for practice this morning Sharath said “you come 4:45.” It felt like a metaphor for the depth that I have climbed. As I approach my last practices I am trying to allow the space in my head and in my body that will tie all this together. The aloneness, the togetherness, the struggle, the release, all the chanting and the vibration that has remained. Wallace Stevens says it better,
"I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendos
The black bird whistling
Or just after.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
This is my last week here in Mysore. I couldn't have even imagined typing that sentence upon my arrival. I feel strong and connected to myself and the tradition of yoga. I am very much looking forward to sharing this India experience with so many dear friends from home. I'll be seeing some of them dark and early in the Bangalore airport this week.
Friday, August 29, 2008
I think really working on "minding my head" and since I've been here in Mysore this time I've tried to practice "oily." In this process of being here alone, on my own, I have found her. I look forward to shaking more Shakti this year. Maybe you will too!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
For me I will never be grateful enough for these experiences. As I right now look out my bedroom door and see the brightest blue sky with the whitest clouds only interrupted by the most brilliant palm tress. I've got to pinch myself. Ahhh! India, what sweet friends we are.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The rain this morning was a joke. A big cosmic joke. It's dark, it's pouring, and it is before 5:30am. Practice was strong today and I made sure that I remembered to add Bhekasana. As I was starting my back bends Sharath came over to me and told me to add, as in today, as in stop what your are doing and do this, two more poses. This is no small thing! Again I start with the back bends and he is there waiting for me. I tend to go faster when Sharath is standing there. Faster for me when it comes to drop backs is sloppier. After my third he caught my waist and said, "Wired?" I made a face that must have conveyed my confusion. He said it again, "Wired?" Oh! Tired. An Indian head wiggle comes in handy in these situations. Had my ankles today, I know that Sharth thinks I can do it better.
As I walked to the changing room, I passed him and he and I giggled. His laugh said try harder tomorrow, and mine said OK, I will.
Thanks to all my teachers who set the bar higher than I thought it should go.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
How can you begin to and then continue to develop flexibility of the mind? What about flexibility of the heart? This phrase popped into my head the other day. How can you begin to see the pattern differently? The pattern does not change; you change in relation to the pattern.
I was all set and excited to go to Philosophy class this morning. We had off on Monday for a holiday inspired by Lord Krishna. When I arrived at Jayashree’s and opened the door, I saw all the students sitting in the large entrance way in front of a newly built large alter built to Lord Krishna. Jayashree’s family was in the next room performing puja. After some time listening to the chanting, Jayashree came out and said, “One by one come in and see God.”
Better than Philosophy class….participating in a Jayashree’s family puja.
Then as I waited outside for Kyle, who I split a rickshaw with, it was decided that we would go with Niko to find a book on Sanskrit that he was looking for. As we walked Kyle asked if anyone knew where Krishnamacharya’s Shala where he taught Guruji was. And just like that Niko brought us into the Shala where Krishnamacharya taught. The pulsation was off the chart, for real.
Now I am sitting in what has become my office at Anu’s Bamboo Hut sweat dripping down my body and off my nose…it is so hot, isn’t suppose to be Monsoon season?
Monday, August 25, 2008
The weather is wild. Since the day I arrived we had very typical Monsoon season weather. I learned to never leave the house without, at the very least, my umbrella. I was growing accustomed to the sunless days, and the damp downright chilly nights. Since Thursday it has been hot and sunny with very little humidity. I am trying not to get overly attached to this weird weather pattern, it is still Monsoon season after all.
As I left for the Shala this morning I noticed my neighbor across the street had his light on and too was preparing for the predawn march down the road. Over an after practice coconut I told him that seeing his light on gave me comfort, a feeling that I wasn’t alone in this crazy dance. He then told me that the sound that my gate makes signaled to him that, “ahh, Jill is walking to the Shala now.”
What to say about practice? I am learning that in the intense back bending section it is ok to not be in control. As I surrendered to Sharath he easily put my hands right away on my calves, this time with no argument from me, he then said “Wednesday you do Bhekasana.” Just like that…Pade, Pade.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I haven't felt torn about being here since that very first week. Now that Mike is home from his adventure I just want to be near him, and Angie. These things tend to cycle and I am sure by the middle of the up coming week I will be once again relishing each moment.
Today I am just resting and trying to heal myself so that my last two weeks of practice can be as amazing as the first 5 have been.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Lessons learnt this week:
Do not book a massage on the same day as Sanskrit
No Chai after 3pm
It is good to be a geek
Tomorrow I am in the early led group. New waking time 4:00am. Two weeks until the Philly yogi's leave for India!!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Finally it feels like India. After practice this morning, I am slowly starting to get used the early morning routine, Ida from Denmark informed me that the weather report was to be sunny for three whole days. Sun, she said, sun. I haven't seen the sun since I have been here, and clothes have dried very slowly or not completely at all. This will be a good time to do some laundry.
I have been taking at afternoon philosophy class that is given at Jayashree's. Her brother combines lecture with a question and answer period in a 90 minute session. The classes are really tough, and challenging to sit through. The room is packed, like Shala packed and I sometimes leave there with my head kind of spinning.
I have some interesting feelings arising. I am very contented to be here, at the same time I am very excited about seeing my friends in Kerala, and at the same time looking so forward to coming home. This seems to be the exact opposite of the definition of dharana which according to Patanjali is binding the mind to one place. Maybe my practice will be stronger tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Going to re register at the Shala yesterday was a new experience. It sometimes feels like everything around me is going to turn into a pumpkin. I have been here for more than one month, but not quite two. Sharath called me a bad lady for not staying longer, I bobbed my head put my tongue firmly in the third position and said, "What to do?"
5:45am is my new start time.
4:45am for led classes.
Practice today felt great even for such an early start. As I went to work on my drop backs Sharath again was standing waiting for me. It is not an unusual thing to see Sharath on the final drop back bringing students hands to their calves, or in some cases even higher. He has not been moving me in that direction....until this morning. As I tried to surrender to the teacher he put my right hand on my right calf, and then as he went for the left I started resisting. I got the "Don't fear" mantra, but there I was fearing, fearing, and then there it was my left hand holding onto a part of my body I never dreamed it would go.
Now I've got to dream bigger.
As I stood up to move to the stage for closing postures he said "tomorrow you do salabhasana." I am plugging right along. Two weeks from Friday I'll be saying goodbye to this part of the journey. I am working hard to stay present and not anticipate what is coming next. In the short term what is next...a Thai massage, and a Sanskrit lesson.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I awoke this morning to the alarm. It was 5am, and completely dark in my room. The only sound I heard was water rushing through pipes onto the street and the rain falling. It was kind of a relentless rain.
Get up, get dressed, and go.
One by one we assemble on the stairs, there is an earlier class, and wait. Waiting in the rain. Waiting 40 minutes in the rain to begin. As I look around the group I see all the familiar faces, it seems as though no one has decided to stay in bed this morning, although I am sure we all contemplated it. Sometimes it is very hard to define devotion, or bhakti, or love, but you sure know it when you see it.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
There are more days behind me on this leg of the journey than lie ahead. I have no idea how this time will come to be shaped and manifest in my life and teaching, but I do feel different already because of it.
Things that I am inspired by:
Mike, my husband, check out his blog
The beauty of India
The other (hopelessly) devoted students who like me traveled so far and risked so much to be here
Uncertainty, "is it raining, or is that just the palm tress rattling?"
Thursday, August 14, 2008
My morning started crummy. I should not check my email first thing in the morning, no matter how much I want to hear from my husband. As I walked to the Shala my mind was racing, and I contemplated going back home and stewing there. As I made it into the lobby to my surprise there were no students waiting. Then I heard it, "One more!" I looked around and then went into the room. Making your way through the Shala is kind of like making your way through series of land mines, arms and legs are flying from every direction it is best to move quickly and decisively. Just when I went to lay my mat down all the way across the room I heard, "What is your time?!" and just like that I was sent back to the lobby. Just because I am feeling a little sensitive today I started to cry a little.
This is what I am now referring to as the new "Walk of Shame." Like in college, but without the messy mascara.
At the end of practice, another day, another set of dropbacks, Sharath saw me move my right foot a tiny bit and when I came up like he was the Meryl Streep character in the Devil Wears Prada. He softly said, "don't move." For the next two dropbacks I swear I didn't move even an
It's Thursday and I am exhausted from the routine. I just got back from a special lunch for Mary from Yoga Sutra Philly, and now I am officially "taking rest."
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Here are some highlights that you all wrote me that have me living vicariously through you:
"I am flying high!"
"both of us are good and sore."
"something stirred of how good it was to see him, made me happy"
"I was so wiped out by the end, and definitely fell flat on my butt in karandavasana"
"David is like a velvet hammer. I miss your "are you KIDDING me??!!" looks (pre-mayurasana) that always help me through mysore week!"
Missing David Keil very much, but very much so missing all of you!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I have been thinking a lot about the role of the teacher, and what it means to teach, and how so often a good teacher may not answer your question, but will invite you to examine the question and give you the space to expand into the answer for yourself.
Here in Mysore there in no shortage of wonderful teachers. As always the best teacher starts from within. Sitting in Sanskrit today as everyone in level 2 was struggling away Lakshimish just casually said, “Effort may fade, but never fail to make the effort.” I think I’ll sit with that for awhile.
The sky is getting dark and I am about to head out to chant, it is sure to be a rainy rickshaw ride.
Jai to all of my beloved teachers, and Thank You.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Saturday was an off day from asana, but my turbo Sanskrit class met and it feels like there should be a level between one and two. I think I need a level one and half. I am managing, while struggling and learning a whole bunch.
Sunday I had another Sanskrit lesson, I know turbo charged, and then conference. What an experience. Listening to Sharath speak about yoga, and so skillfully answer or not answer questions humbles and awes me. I will be forever grateful for that experience. I made the choice to not take notes and I am still processing the gems. More on that later.
Big News. Just as I wrote an email to my teacher back home saying that I think Sharath had forgotten about me. Today I am starting my back bends and I hear from across the room "Krounchasana, you do krounchasana." He didn't forget about me at all! So, I received another pose and a new start time 7am!
I am very happy, and very full from a North Indian Thali.
Friday, August 08, 2008
I have been staring at the computer screen for to long. I am trying to come up with something meaningful and profound to say and it feels like I got nothing. I think the enormity of this experience is finally hitting me. I think that is the wave that has crashed into me and pulled me back out far away from shore.
I have been thinking a bit about what I sometimes refer to as the personal and universal experience that is inherit in a led vinyasa class, like the ones I teach at Wake Up Yoga. The same is true here. There is this overarching universal experience. We are all here practicing in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Tradition. We have all traveled from far away to drink from the source. So, what separates us? It seems that it is the personal intention that creates such uniqueness here.
In Teacher Training we spend so much time emphasising the question, "What is your intention?" By knowing your intention dichotomies disappear and as a result self confidence grows. I think this helps when trying to relax into an experience. I should remind myself of this everyday.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
It feels like I hit my first wall here. I am for the first time since my arrival really looking forward to Saturday as a day off. I am also struggling today with the intensiveness of the experience. My body hurts, my mind is totally full, and I still have to finish Sanskrit homework and go to class. I woke up this morning, and it felt like I dragged myself to practice, and then half way through a practice that I can best describe as limp, I thought what the **** am I doing here. I didn't want to do drop backs again today and I thought that I would just skip them, but I don't know how or where the energy came from I completed them and retired to the ladies changing room for closings and savasana.
Someone with a child told me that is how children make their strides. They seem to take a few steps back before they launch themselves forward. So, I am working on this visualization of me in a sling shot and right now I am being pulled WAY back. Back so far that it is totally uncomfortable and I'll wait to be released.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I am missing my husband today, so I have gone through my photos and found one from our last trip. I really miss him. Today I feel that my brain might explode right now. I went to take my first harmonium lesson and it was a real trip. Aunti Ji is about 75 years old and she is one intense teacher. When I asked her how often students come to take lessons she said without hesitation, "every day." So, I am embarking on this journey for the remainder of my time here. Just as my brain was nearly full, I went to Sanskrit and whoa, overload. The homework, how I forgot about the volume of homework. I think with the amped up study regimen, time will fly.
Practice was great! Finally, my time was moved up and now I am starting at 7:30 shala time (7:15am.) I am very happy about this. Again Pasasana was more than passable. After my third back bend I could feel Sharath standing on my mat so without any drama I simply came to standing. I know the cure for not being able to do drop backs. Have Sharath standing there watching every single one, waiting to do the assisted back bends with you. Oh Dear!!
Now I am sitting in Anu's Bamboo hut, in the company of other yogi's from all over the globe enjoying the breeze and the sound of the palm trees rattling. Life is Good.
Monday, August 04, 2008
I finally lost the battle with my trusty alarm clock. Last week it petered out on me, but by the grace of the god powering all things technical it came back to life. It was the birds of South India that provided me with a wake up call this morning. As I turned to see what time it was it came into sharp focus that my alarm clock had officially passed away. Above is my new alarm clock courtesy of Loyal World.
I walked to the Shala this morning feeling great. My Sanskrit class started yesterday, and I already feel that level 2 is going to be a real challenge. We learnt "personal terminations," which someone had to explain to me that was the Indian way of saying personal endings. Lakshimsh laid those out as foundation and then gave us at least 25 verbs that need to be memorized by Tuesday. I forgot how serious he is when it comes to homework and showing up properly prepared. At Jayashree's there are rules written and hung on her wall the first one states:
"Be sincere and regular."
I love that rule.
Practice was strong, very energized. As I bent down to practice Pasasana, I tried to put into practice surrender and non-attachment. Viola there is was on the left then the right. Here is the real lesson, Sharath was in the office speaking with another student. What's that expression about the tree in the forest falling? It still for me was a really powerful moment.
It has been raining less and slowly heating up. I am heading to chanting this evening, and I made an appointment with the famous Auntie-Ji for a harmonium lesson tomorrow. I am excited to add that to my study here.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
I took off yesterday from blogging, it was after all a Moon Day and after nearly two weeks here I wanted a day to climb in rather than expand out. Yesterday was totally the tipping point for surrender. I have finally come to grips with several things:
#1. bucket baths are not so bad
#2. it is ok if I never move past Pasasana
#3. mosquito bites while annoying will not kill me
#4. while some in India experience diarrhea, I on the other hand spend more time constipated (this is good to note if you are on the Wake Up Yoga pilgrimage)
#5. here, no matter how many times you have made this journey, is not HOME
#6. Laundry takes a very long time to dry during Monsoon season
#7. I have no control over what happens at home
I gave myself two weeks to really get into the experience here. Starting tomorrow I go from wading in the yoga to the full submerge, as Mike would say, "just dunk it."
Thanks for all compassion about my neck pain. It is feeling much better and I am excited to get back to the Shala for tomorrow's led class. Hopefully soon I'll have some postings about classes/workshops/Sanskrit meetings for the fall. Until then if you or a yoga studio you frequent would like to schedule a workshop please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
or as Ali G says, "respect!"
Thursday, July 31, 2008
It's the Thursday before a moon day therefore we practice as if it was Friday today. Very Indian logic. I woke up early for practice and as soon as I stepped out of bed onto the cold marble floor I felt it. A massive kink in the left side of my neck from sleeping funny. As I slowly got dressed I contemplated skipping practice this morning. I couldn't turn my head at all to the left and dipping my head back was completely out of the question. I got dressed anyway and went out the door.
All you can do, is all you can do.
As practice started even raising my arms over head was incredibly painful. I manged to crawl around on my mat and not make too much of a scene. I was glad when it was over. Stopped and had a coffee and then it was on to the cooking lesson.
I must say it wasn't the most stress free cooking lesson. There was a lot of information, and a lot of people so at times it felt chaotic. I was reminded how India food fits so perfectly in the science of yoga. Every spice and herb has specific healing properties in addition to the flavor for the dish. We made dahl (now I feel I totally get it), and cabbage, and spinach, and of coarse chapatis. Which are easier and harder than I thought they would be. After the lesson my friend Tomas and I took a long walk. I mean a really long walk, and now I am so tired. Tomorrow and Saturday are days off and many people have left Gokulam. It is quiet, and that it good.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Definitely settling into a routine. Even the rain seems predictable (kind of.) My alarm clock seems to be playing with me one minute it is working and the next it seems to be broken. Right now it is working. I enjoyed practice this morning and I like have time to tinker with poses and transitions. Pasasana is coming right along and maybe Monday I'll get to add another. I am not getting my hopes up. Friday is a new moon, so tomorrow will be a led practice at 6am. Showing up to the Shala early is very important. One thing I know I am good at is being early. For the most part in India being early isn't helpful, but on the mornings of led practice it is the key to sanity.
After practice I found Lakshmish and firmed up that Sanskrit Level II is beginning on Tuesday. We meet three times a week for the month of August. I am very eager to begin studying with him again. I still haven't decided about harmonium. The best part about this trip is that there isn't this mad dash to get everything started. There is time to contemplate what you want to study and with whom.
I am getting ready to go have lunch with a friend then I'll be off to chanting. Tomorrow I am taking a cooking lesson with Anu. I know a lot of foodies so stay tuned for tomorrows blog with loads of pictures and information about some South Indian delights.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Chanting at Jayashree’s
Chat and Chai
The schedule will vary slightly next week Sanskrit starts at the Shala. Chanting last night was intense Sutra after Sutra, one Pada after the next. The energy in the room combined with the vibration from chanting is so powerful. Jayashree is a master teacher. When ever I sit with an exceptional teacher I wait for the gem. I think I started focus on this when I would go to Joan White’s class at home in Philadelphia. No matter how frustrating her class could be. There was always a point, a nugget, a gem that I would catch and ruminate on it for days. I know that there is always at least one. When you sit with Manorama she has at least 108.
Jayashree related the idea of practice like learning to swim. She said with the cutest hand gesture and head bob that when learning to swim we all swallow a little water. I think that I swallowed a little less water in Pasasana this morning. As I began to move into the pose I could feel Sharath’s eyes on me and when I turned to do the right said there he was watching me. I bound on the left and the right and he made his way over to me and just said “better.” I’ll take that. My husband asked for a picture of this mythic asana so that he could “see” the story better. Above is a picture of my teacher in a perfect Pasasana.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I think that I am figuring out that traveling to India no matter how many times you’ve done it, no matter how familiar the destination it is a shock to every system in the body. Thinking that you can just pick up where you left of is just silly.
Conference last night was so nice. All the students came to the Shala and sat waiting for Sharath. Sharth took a seat at the edge of the stage and we all sat in silence for a bit then he chanted and began to speak about yoga. What a great teacher. This is my first time really having an opportunity to work with Sharath. He is giving me poses, and dropping me back everyday. He is teaching me. I didn’t bring a notebook which I will surely do next Sunday so when I came home I just jotted this in my journal.
Yoga must be connected to Shastra (spiritual text)
Proper breathing (in asana) is breath through the nose
The point that which you focus, the dot, the dot is your soul. Focus on that union.
Sharath after back bending told me he’d help me with Pasasana tomorrow. Can’t wait.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Today was another led class. Here is the rhythm, Monday through Thursday is a Mysore Practice and Friday and Sunday the class is led. Sharath's led nearly killed me so I took comfort that Sarasvati would be leading my group this morning. Just as I sat down on my mat Sharath came blasting out of the office and heralded, "Samasthitih." I literally looked at the girl next to me and said, "oh shit." Thankfully Sharath just led the chant and then Sarasvati took over. She leads like Guruji with some serious quickness to her count.
This afternoon there is conference with Sharath. I haven't been to a conference since my first visit when Guruji was still so vital and present. I have no idea what to expect, but I'll be sure to write about it tomorrow. Tomorrow I am starting Intermediate with the addition of Pasasana, of all the 2nd series poses I have to work with this is my least confident. Who knows just having Sharath standing in front of my might change everything. Let's hope.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Finally I slept through the night. This is a good thing because today is Saturday and there is no practice so getting up at 2:30 am would have really been bad. I got up and went to have some breakfast and coffee and what used to be Shakti. It is not there same there. Junita still lives there and it is always so great to see her. When I came through the gate she did this little happy prance dance and thrilled me, but also broke my heart because I would love to remove her from this place and bring her home. After breakfast I decided to go with a group to Chamundi Hill. This is the third time that I have climbed this monster of a hill.
This is trip number three. I am in a strange place here in Mysore. I have been here before, but not so many times that I have like "Mysore Peeps" connections. I guess that is what it feels like when I hang out with Michael from last years Sanskrit class. We know each other from here and now we are here together again, so there is none of that weird first time getting to know someone. I am shocked that I am not sorer from led class yesterday, and I am looking forward to getting back to practice tomorrow. The practice here anchors you, so that you don't get caught up in the drama of it all. I just had a lovely lunch/dinner. They tend to bleed together. I am looking forward to a semi hot shower and another full night’s sleep. Hari OM
Friday, July 25, 2008
The chant was amazing.
When you practice alone or in some very small groups being in the company of so many people, for me is "the juice." Sharath was brutal this morning. The count was so slow. If students came up from caturanga before the count (which happened more I thought it would) we had to hover and wait, and wait before coming up. I think we were in headstand for at least three minutes before we came down half way and then back up. I am going to be sore tomorrow. I don't even want to talk about Utplutih.
Tomorrow is a day off and I have no idea what I will do. Maybe laundry? When I first arrived on Monday morning I doubted everything. My decision to come here by myself, my decision to stay for so long, I couldn't remember what exactly I was here for. Now, I remember I am here to study and rest. I am here to work on the practice of yoga inside of its homeland. I am here to play with effort and surrender. As Mike's mom says, I am here to rearrange the furniture of my mind.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I rode that practice high all day yesterday. In the evening I went to Jayashree's for chanting. It is a great group and some tough chanting. I think that Ashtangi's get a bad rap when it comes to the more meditative practices. Here Jayashree's small room is full of yoga students chanting their hearts out and swaying with the divine. It is so nice. We worked on a favorite chant of mine and Jayashree went word by word over its meaning.
I am still not sleeping all the way through the night. I woke up at 2:30am and have been up ever since. My practice this morning felt tired, heavy, and sluggish. Those words are just qualities and I try not to give each practice like a thumbs up or down, but to dive into the feeling. I think a full night sleep would really help.
The sound outside my window soft South Indian rain. It's so sweet.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Last evening I went to Jayashree’s to do an epic chanting session and it was awesome. I went with a Finnish woman who has been so sweet to me. She is a long time student and an Authorized teacher. Really just a gift. In the last minutes of the chanting class it began to rain, no downpour, it was the biggest Monsoon rain I have ever seen. Our Rickshaw driver was supposed to come and pick us up, but he never showed. Another Rickshaw did arrive to pick up two other people and they were so nice and let me and my Finnish friend hop on in from the rain. So four Western adults were squeezed into this ride and the water was just flying around, huge puddles in the street. Cars were stuck, rickshaws couldn’t make it and all four of us were getting soaked. I really wished I had my camera. Next time.
Practice this morning was intense. I bought some fresh millet bread and home made peanut butter (110 Rs) so that I could have something in my stomach. It is so weird practicing that late in the morning and much sweatier. At the end of my drop backs Sharath came over to assist me with the deeper backbends and really just went for the ankle grabbing stage. I think as my fingers lightly touched my heels I whimpered a bit. After the forward bend squash Sharath smiled and said, “Crying?” It is going to be an intense practice with Sharath heading the Shala everyday.
After practice I asked Sharath if I could pay him the balance of my registration fee. He brought me into the office and smiled because I had the exact balance with my registration perfectly wrapped up to present to him. Then the exciting part happened! He looked at me and asked if I was doing Intermediate the last time I was here. I said no. Then he said (are you ready), “Monday you take Pasasana.” I feel great. I thought that I’d have to wait one month before that might (or might not) happen. So there you have it the longest post ever. I am going back to Jayashree’s tonight and most likely every night to bask in the vibration and memorize me some Yoga Sutra’s.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So, I know the pictures where are they? I haven't had the chance to get my camera out and carry it with me. It has been a bumpy ride in my mind. I am dealing with loneliness I think for the very first time in my life. How do I turn loneliness into aloneness as a way of dating myself?
Practice this morning was great. I felt great in spite of all the other insecurities I have about everything else. It put the spotlight back on what I am here to do. The shala was so full. When I arrived at my given time 8am. I know, no dark predawn walks to the shala. I am really working on how I think this experience is supposed to be. I waited along with about thirty other Main Shala student for the call of "one more" for about another 45 minutes. I need to figure out a small breakfast to eat. Thank God I had a couple of cookies to bite on in my room otherwise I might have been forever known as "that girl" that passed out in the shala. As usual the first practice was a little fast. I'd love to say that I was one with the breath, and with an internal count like a metronome, but alsa I was not. I was however binding in every Marichasana nicely and dropping back and standing up with ease. When Sharath worked with me he just laughed a bit. At least he didn't reiterate the many mistakes making theme from last time.
Sanskrit level 2 doesn't begin until August which saddened me a bit, but I found out about some other juicy stuff in which to become immersed. In a couple of hours I am going to head over to Jayashree's for chanting the yoga sutra. I miss home. I miss the yoga community that I am so grateful to be a part of.
Practicing for what? Practice for Living.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Traveling to Mysore:
Movie that was awful to watch 21
Movie that looked to awful to watch Fools Gold
Movie that was “ok, ok” Definitely,Maybe
Movie that had not one likable character in it, not ONE The Family Stone
I already failed at the no napping rule. I just woke up from an hour nap. I really needed it.