Sunday, January 30, 2011

still in India..but coming home soon enough

photo credit: Stephanie Ewens Photography

Morning Mysore Week
Straight From the Source
April 4 - April 8 2011
Two Time Slots 6.15am, 7.30am

A chance to start or go deeper with the daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga. Class will be held for 5 days with enrollment limited to 8 students for each session. In the Mysore style yoga practice method, each student practices the same sequence of poses at their own pace, learn in their own time, and create a practice that is authentically theirs. Over 5 days, a relationship develops between teacher, student, and the practice. This method provides time for observation, assessment and direction. The effects will encourage and inspire you!

You do not need to have an already established Ashtanga Yoga practice to participate in the intensive. It is open to anyone who wants to cultivate a relationship with yoga and Self through steadiness, commitment, and consistency.

Space is limited and is (already) filling up! Contact Motion Center (awarded best yoga studio by RI Monthly 2010) to enroll.

Motion Center
111 Chestnut Street
Providence, RI 02903

As many of you know I am currently in India studying the many limbs of yoga for three months with my beloved teachers and sure to return with loads to share. Space is extremely limited register early.

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."


99% Practice 1% Theory 100% Love

There is one thing that Guruji said that has really stuck with me over the years. He pointed to his heart and said, "There is a small box sitting here. In that small box is sitting Atman. Turn your attention here. That is yoga." I will never forget that. I always felt that he was a very heart-centered man, loving toward his students and doing all he could to support us on our journey.

-Peter Sanson from Guruji

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Real Thing


While most of January seemed to fly by these last few days have felt much slower as I am starting to feel the intensity of such a long practice. For all the yoga nerds out there I am practicing primary series into intermediate up to bakasana A & B, plus backbending, drop backs, and assisted drop backs and why not throw some ankle catching in there and closings. For all the non yoga nerds that is about an hour and forty five minutes of practice in the most intense environment an Ahstangi can experience. On a personal level Thursday's have not been my finest hour and I have had to apologize for my irritated and cranky behavior. Sanskrit has also picked up a more intense character and the days are getting hotter and that doubt that I had sort of under control after last weeks conference is back also with a new intensity. As I was walking to meet a friend for breakfast I thought, "ok...maybe it is time to go home now."

Instead of calling Air France and changing my ticket I'll be registering for my second month at the shala on Monday. It has been a pretty profound four weeks. I miss Mike and my dogs, I miss the students in Providence and often think about them in the morning on my predawn walk to the shala. On Wednesday in chanting I just starting crying. Lakshmish talks about the baby lotus in the heart and at that moment I felt like my baby lotus heart just about broke open. I have been getting some awesome emails from friends and family and yoga student...these are helping me focus on my business here and not what I am missing at home.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What I am reading now

After I finished, Just Kids, by Patti Smith I started this book. I am nearly finished and it is just brilliant!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I am starting to feel it

I am nearing the end of my first month here and boy! what a turn around. I am starting to feel it all....the long practice, the chanting, the Sanskrit, and the Sutra work. I haven't had dreamless sleep in weeks and the dreams are big, bold, and very bazaar. I have had guest appearances from people I know very well, people I've just met and people I haven't seen since Nativity of Our Lord grade school.

Today's practice was very fun. Since conference on Sunday I find myself more focused and having more fun. This morning's "one more" had me smack in the middle of the room directly next to a man who's practice tempo and start time was perfectly in sync with mine. I bound in maricayasa D, he bound in maricyasa. I started intermediate series, he did as well and we started to move as if we were in a led class. Our parsvadhanursana's must have been a thing to behold (I am joking for those of you who don't know my quick wit and sense of humor.) It reminded me when I started this practice and would practice with Amy Rejba. When David Keil came back to Philly to check on the little Ashtangi's that he planted into the soil, he said to us, side by side, in sync and harmony, "synchronized Ashtanga?"

Here are some photos of what is happening with me. I am currently getting up at 4.30am and having a coffee which is awesome. This is also something I took away form conference on Sunday. Sharath clearly said, "no coffee, no prana." While I whizzed through Sanskrit level 1 I started level 2 again (I dropped out in 2008) last night. Wish me luck. I am thanking the heavens that tomorrow is the last Mysore of the week and Friday primary ONLY.

"Yoga is to be known by yoga.
Yoga is the teacher of yoga.
The power of yoga manifests through yoga alone."


Monday, January 24, 2011

"There is always doubt..."

Without going to much into the details having a once weekly conference with Sharath is worth all that is takes to get your butt to Mysore....the plane ticket, the time away from family..EVERYTHING. During conference last night Sharath was asked to speak about doubt. I found myself welling up when he spoke of the many doubts that have been faced by all practitioners. He spoke about delusions and distractions. He spoke about what happens when you loose your ground and then the mind scatters suddenly. He spoke about how one should love practice above all and how in Guruji's last years how he when do puja everyday in the face of some serious obstacles. I felt the shala still and silent...and this morning there was a new energy around. Everyone I asked how their practice was they all said amazing. For me one of the marks of a good teacher is when he/she sees the student dancing around the point they gentle push them back on to the point. I felt myself pushed back on point and had the best practice I have had in a really long time. It was focused, fluid, moved while holding inner stillness and yes! I felt the for my amazing for my amazing support system at home that allows me to experience for the tradition of Ashtanga Yoga and for was a big love fest, and not surprisingly I was given a new pose the first since I have been here. I am nearing the end of my first month here and excited about the unfolding of the remainder of the journey.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011


I should go here to learn about where I will live next?


It is time for a weekly recap. I didn't utilize words during the blog dispatched this week...just pictures. There is so much change that happens so fast here it catches me off guard every time. Last year in conference Sharath said that one month here is like one year of practice at home. I really felt a major shift this week. I did need a little outside perspective on that. My friend Cyndi wrote me an email re capping my experience for me. She pointed out that my first few days had me struggling back from primary series (true). Nearly passing out in the ladies changing room is a very frightening experience, but I think more common than one would imagine. My second week there was the very timid addition of intermediate series poses (with none taken away under the intense eye of Sharath) with despite my protests ankle grabbing backbbends. Now at the end of the third week all of the above is easier, smoother, and refining itself ever new with a pretty large portion of surrender thrown in I am holding onto my own toes with supta vajrasana.

There has also been a shift in the friendliness factor. Sharath invited us all out to lunch with him to a restaurant called, Highway 18. Nearly everyone showed up. That is like 250 yoga students. It was like the best holiday dinner ever. I also made my forth trip to Chamundi Hill and felt connected to the patron saint of Mysore Shri Chamundeswari. It feels like I am experiencing my very own power surge. I am very excited about teaching again and feel confidence again in my own experience and how to transmit that to others through teaching. Off to the final classes of Sanskrit Level I and then a Kirtan.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011


All recaps of the week will be dispatched on a Friday as Saturday is a day off from practice and Sunday the beginning of a new week.

This morning was the first morning that my alarm clock actually woke me from sleep. What a major accomplishment to be woken up at 4.30am rather than being up and just waiting to leave for practice. I think I can now say that jet lag had officially ended. The rhythm and routines of being here have set in. You see the same people at practice, at breakfast at chanting, Sanskrit....I think you get the point. It has become very 'same same' and that is very good for the seeds to plant and soon there will be bloomage.

I want to write more but it is so early in this journey I don't have much to say. I am finally starting to feel like me again. I was just talking to a girl who is living in Ann Arbor, MI and she started something very similar to what I started in Providence. We talked about the emotional toll it can take when you feel so strongly about this practice and love it so dearly because it has changed you so completely it becomes so hard to have people be negative just to be negative.

For those students who have taken the chance to practice traditionally, and slowly I too have seen their own transformation and that has only fueled me more to go deeper and keep surrendering.

I wish that I could explain what it feels like to kick off your sandals in the dark and climb those stairs to the shala. Every morning it is coming home.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I must admit there is a rather large part of me that wants to be snowed in with my husband and dogs. As I sit here and type this I am still sweating a little from the rather large and spicy thali I just ate. I have always enjoyed keeping this blog, but right now I have no idea what to share. I am eight practices in and I can feel my strength returning and my mind sharpening. I can tell you that the deep funk I was in I couldn't remember what I liked to do, and now I can. I am looking forward to returning to my LIFE not that depressed mess that I left. I wonder if anyone wants to know that I am catching my ankles regularly something I swore to David Keil that I would never be able to do. That I am pretty sure I have fulled grasped the importance of breath now that I have been practicing everyday with a major chest cold. I have no idea where this time will take me. I am really thankful that I am on this journey.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goating my Way

The Aim

"Transformation has to take place." Anyone who has seen the film, Enlighten Up, most likely remembers Mr. Iyengar screaming that into the camera. Just today I realized how much holding on is happening here. First I see it in myself, but I also recognize it in the others around me. I feel at the 6am start time, I see it on the streets, and over lunch. The overwhelming need to hold what is ours. To retain what we imagined we've gained and at every turn there is unfulfilled desire and attachment to outcome. Today in yoga sutra chanting study the teacher said, "that there is a joy in losing everything." Over the next 11 weeks I'll be attempting to let go so that I can experience a state of yoga, a state where transformation can take place.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Then Who?

I am nearing the end of a long day in Mysore. I am starting to settle in the groove. Up early, practice, chanting, Sanskrit, and some more chanting. Oh yes and there is always lunch thrown somewhere in all of that. Practice this morning started a bit rough. The more times I come the more I find myself annoyed and less shocked by some of the bad behavior that seems to be rampant. Once I settled into my practice I felt significantly stronger and more focused than just one week ago. My stomach feels much better and my cough is nearly gone. I added up to supta vajrasana with ease rather than the expected effort. The chanting that the shala is now offering is amazing. I have been wanting to work on shanti mantras since last spring but it is very tricky without guidance and now I get to work on them everyday. I do miss home. I miss Mike and the dogs. I miss the dedicated students that help me build something out of nothing. I am busy putting together some sweet spring offerings so keep checking in and if you have any questions please email me.
Lakshimsh has been saying, "if yoga students can't follow the rules....then (little head and hand gesture) who?" I am off to Sanskrit. Big love from the MA ship.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Notes from conference

I haven't been in the best mood today. I have this cough that will not quit. I want to hang a sign in my window apologizing to my neighbors for the constant hacking. After going into town yesterday my belly has been a little upset as well. I am pretty sure it is from the increased pollution, but it was worth it I got to hang with Philly Rob and chill with him at Barista. We had conference this morning and after encountering the rudest "yoga" student of all time (reading the Bagavad Gita...the humor was not lost on me) I needed a good talk from one of my favorite and most respected teachers

If you can understand my notes...

"first you should feel what it is"

asana's=answers with proper understanding


not looking outside ever but pulling further inside

Guruji would say to perfect an asana you must practice 1000 times

Rama Raja

asana targets the nervous system

the importance of scanning the student

My personal favorite not only do students have different bodies but they have different minds

Tomorrow is my first day adding Intermediate Series an interesting blog is sure to follow

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Taking Rest

I am at the near end of a "resting" Saturday. Each week I will practice 6 days, chant, and go to Sanskrit at least 3 and spend quite a bit of time on homework and who knows what is to come...but Saturday we rest. I used this Saturday to finish up with some errands I have been putting off. I went into the market to but myself a bucket to wash my clothes in and also bought a nice little paper fan to fan myself, Carol style for Sanskrit and conference. I went to FabIndia and found a soft cotton sheet for my bed in an attempt to sleep more soundly at night.

Now I can feel time starting to move a little faster. Maybe it is because I am trying to put together a schedule of events for the spring and that also requires me to sit down and put key stroke to computer screen, email and remail. Practice has been a comfort...really just a joy. I feel more relaxed. Maybe it is because Sharath commented on my hair cut when I registered or on Thursday when my hands just barely made my heels he smiled and with a reassured look said, "jet lag." I am pretty sure this trip is going to be a practice/life giving experience.

I promise more photos to come.


Friday, January 07, 2011

This is a ramble

I am sitting at Anu's directly across the street from what is my home until March 31st. I have been away from my home in Providence one week and away from my home in Philadelphia one and a half years. I have no idea where I will make my next home. I do know that Mysore is my yoga home. It is place where I feel most at ease, the place where I feel I can explore who I am...not Jill the Wake Up Yoga teacher...not Jill the only Ashtanga Yoga teacher in the city of Providence and nearly the only Ashtangi in the entire state. After one week of being with my teacher, chanting everyday, and YES retaking Sanskirt level I am reminded that I love the practice and tradition of yoga as a student who so ready to admit that after all of this study that I know very little and I am eager to explore more. I found myself frustrated over the last year and a half trying to find a yoga home. I tired, I think, too hard. I was desperate for something I could relate with, latch on to. I lost energy at every turn. I don't know what is coming next for me, but today I am sure the no effort is every wasted and no gain ever lost.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

As Promised

I told several people that my first blog would be called something like, "My Mysore Mess." I guess it all started in August when my beloved boss left risd|works for a great new job in a great new city. I realized very quickly that Matt Johnson was magic. I know now that his energy was what got me to put on pants with a button and zipper and spend nearly eight hours selling widgets, very well designed widgets, but widgets none the less. While Matt was around I could practice before work, make workshop plans, and even fit in a one month trip to Mysore last January. After August with increased stress at work, and a crazy teaching schedule I watched my mood go down,down,down. I starting sleeping excessively, practicing very little, crying a lot, and drinking too much. By the time I got on that plane this week my body, mind, and spirit could be described as the opposite of yoga, union. During this post August time I read several interviews with yogis online. They all seemed to be happy to get up at 4am to practice and make their macrobiotic food. Not one hinted at how hard it may be to fit practice into a 9-5 lifestyle when there is no yoga shala and it is always a home practice, no teacher, just you. How daunting it might be if not one of your friends practices and socializing happens at happy hour. Not one mentioned worrying about money, stress with their family, or battling near crippling depression, all of which plague me. Reading about these perfect yogis made me feel even worse. I just felt like a big Mysore mess.

I don't know where these three months will take me. Will I retire as a teacher? Will I get past the self doubt? Are yoga teachers perfect? At conference with A.G. Mohan someone asked him how does one reconcile between the teacher as teacher, and teacher as a human being. He responded, "can your teacher be anything but human?" For the first time this Mysore mess felt a wave of relief. Teacher as human is a role I can identify with.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

First month...

I overheard two students talking this morning about how tired they were. I can relate. I think that I slept well considering I am pretty sure that there is at least one mouse running around my otherwise neat little flat. Registration was pretty straight forward yesterday and then there was conference so all in all my first day went OK. Although the place and the practice is very familiar to me now I am struck by feelings of uncertainly, loneliness, and gripped by fear. I asked myself 100 times yesterday, "what am I doing here?"

The practice room this morning was stifling. Maybe it was the sharp turn of heat, maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it was the surprising depth (considering I have been very much out of practice), most likely it was all things meshed together. After back bends I took to the ladies changing room and put my body directly on the cool marble floor and stayed there until I felt like I wasn't going to just pass out.

The two students said, "What did Guruji used to say?" "First month...tired, second month..pain, third month...flying."

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Just photos

outside my front door...the other is pretty obvious