A Day in the Mysore Life
3:00 Out of bed without an alarm (because I accidentally set it for 3am Monday). Boiling water for coffee. Quiet in Gokulum at this hour, can barely hear a few cars honking in the distance.
3:55 I realize my front gate is padlocked and I don’t have a key. It’s usually open by the time I leave the house, so it hasn’t been a problem yet. I climb up the gate, hop over, and am on my merry way.
3:58 I arrive at the shala, for the 4:30 class. Yogis are tightly packed together, facing the locked gate, ready to spring forward. Almost silent.
4:25 (shala time) Gate opens, and within a minute we are inside, mats are an inch apart filling the practice room. I head for the changing room to lay down my mat. There are only three of us in there, so there’s plenty of room.
5:00 Sounds of collective breathing, Sharath counting, and dogs barking.
5:45ish: Utplutihi. Sharath’s count of 10 is equivalent to perhaps 30 slow breaths. I make it to his “6” before lowering down briefly. Lift back up to hear Sharath approaching. He stands in the doorway and watches us for the next three counts (12 breaths or so). I collapse as he turns.
5:49ish: Sapta jump forward. Go home. Take rest. With a tightly packed schedule, no time for savasana.
6:00 Coconut and friendly chat for an hour or so as the darkness starts to lift and the sky lightens. We can hear counting from inside the shala, and the students begin to arrive for led intermediate.
7:00 Home. Writing, reading emails, taking rest.
8:05 Breakfast at Santosha.
9:30 Anna and I are early for 10 o’clock conference. The shala is packed– rumor has it that around 400 people are practicing here, plus Saraswathi’s students. Sitting shoulder to shoulder, with a small crowd of people standing outside the door too. We watched a new documentary on the Mysore experience that was made in the span of about two weeks in the beginning of January. If you’re interested, watch it here. If you watch the full version, the proceeds go to the Sri K Pattabhi Jois Charitable Fund.
10:15 After the film, Sharath gives a brief talk. Parampara, gurudakshina, and the importance of motivating and disciplining yourself to cultivate a practice that will rid you of delusions and bring purity. He ended with these wise words: “Have a good moon day. Don’t eat too much; I have to lift you on Tuesday.”
11:00 Rest, bucket laundry. Avoid the fire ants on the rooftop clothesline.
13:00 Lunch at Anu’s Cafe with new and old friends. We sit on cushions on the floor and eat on low tables, light filtering in through the green paper roof. This is one of my favorite spots in Gokulum, an atmosphere fit for lounging in the post-delicious-lunch food coma.
This is where it gets a little fuzzy, as afternoons often do here. There are walks around the town, stopping to take pictures of goats or buy supplies at Nilgari’s, the local market. As busy and social as the mornings are, the afternoons, though relaxing and long, often leave me wondering just what exactly I did. The dinner hour means a smoothie back at Anu’s Cafe, followed by a ginger tea and some light reading (currently Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. Young adult sci-fi).
20:00 Evening in Mysore, Sunday morning in Minnesota. Skype date with Peter. What did people do before Skype? Which reminds me, I brought some notecards and envelopes, and I plan on writing some “real” letters while I’m here. The question is whether they’ll get back to the States before I do.
20:47 A rather large-scale fireworks display outside the window. Happy Chinese New Year!
21:04 I’ve lasted long enough. Tomorrow is a moon day, no practice. Sleep is coming.