Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Well I started a post on Sunday but didn't get it finished... and now with a bit of distance, I have to start over. This is a good thing, as it will stop me from going into Proustian-type detail over every little thing....

Led intermediate was HARD this time. My practice was ropey for a few weeks before I came here.... then a week of just primary, and straight into intermediate LED....

Started off nice and light though, and wow.... it is nice to be in that group. Just the simplest movements of surya namaskar, performed in synch with dozens of practitioners who've devoted so many years of their lives to this.... the soft energy and buoyancy of the breath is palpable. Just Wow.

Unfortunately the breath got away from me a little bit during the 'anti-gravity backbends' (as I call shalabasana through parsva dhanurasana.... whereas ustrasana through kapo, whilst not exactly 'with gravity', are less of a strain). And whilst assisting supta vaj (i.e. resting), I noticed I was having a tachycardia, or runaway heartbeat, i.e. my heart was beating harder and faster than the norm. OK, I get this sometimes, more often apropos of nothing than during practice, and I have a technique for resynching my heartbeat to the breath. NB I have discussed this with my doctor and had all the heart tests, so no lectures in the comments, please!!!

If it came down to a choice between dying on the mat and getting sent back, I would have stopped, but I found I could carry on, though I couldn't apply my normalising technique during full-on practice. So the rest of it was shaky and somewhat breathless. If you were watching from the foyer you might have seen me doing some sneaky mouth breathing and checking my pulse, though my moral support, Karen, couldn't notice. Anyway, it was HARD, I couldn't get karandavasana up on my own, my face was fully swimming in sweat, and by shoulderstand there may have been a 'nerve cleansing' tear or two mixed in. No blood though ;-)

Conclusion: **less coffee required before led 2nd class**

On the bright side, he let me finish, so my practice here is full intermediate now. As a bonus, I was the lucky recipient of a chakra bandhasana assist. :-D

Yesterday's mysore session was better, and today's was nearly flying. BUT. The pain! After, I mean, not during. In the legs, mainly, which makes navigating hilly Gokulam a bit of a trial: I'm sure I am walking funny! Not entirely sure why practice here has this effect, as my full practice at home has another 16 postures... not that I've been doing all of it lately, but still.....

And yesterday: totally wiped out. Absolutely useless, laid out flat on the bed. Sleeping odd hours, full of freakish and disturbing dreams, unable to move sometimes in the grip of a massively body-stoned torpor.... this place is fucking with my energy levels something crazy. But hey, that is OK though... that's why I am here and not in the office......

So a typical day involves getting up around 4:00 even though practice has only been moved up to 8:30 so far.... which is really 8:00 (if you don't know... don't ask!). After practice comes a crucial part of the day, namely BREAKFAST. At some point during the day there is either the mandatory chanting session (creating positive vibe in us and in the shala), or Sanskrit class, or conference, all of which may involve a long wait and/or sitting in a crowded room in intense heat. There is a lot of walking between one thing and another, and if carrying the heavy Manduka, each step can be a giant effort. A lunch or a dinner with friends. Errands, shopping, a chai on the main strip watching the world seamlessly wheel by... and soon it is time for bed. Thus the days are full, enjoyable, exhausting.

Some minor revelations:
- I am not an imposter (!)
- I 'deserve' to be right where I am, by virtue of putting in the work.
- Sharath is not there to catch me out (this is all purely neurotic unworthiness 'stuff'!!!)
- Sharath seems extraordinarily kind this year. Also completely impartial, clearly wanting all of us to fulfill whatever our maximum potential is as of right now.
- Following this practice will surely bring progress just as laid out on the map. We are all on that map; it matters not where.

Also: I really have to let go of being the queue-jump / mat control police. As long as I get into the room eventually, and leave it with all of my teeth, then all is OK (having said that, there is no reason to crash down out of the seven headstands a foot onto my mat behind you and a millimetre from landing on my neck.... if you do this then I will head butt you from chaturanga, just like a goat).



Helen said...

Hey Susan,

Great to read about your trip. I think we all work a little bit harder when our teacher is there. Particularly if that teacher is Sharath and your in Mysore! I am aching a little after being at the shala at the weekend, calves, no idea why? Great that your doing full intermediate now and more importantly surrendering more and more. The drama is mostly in our heads isn't it. Thanks for blogging. x

susananda said...

Hi Helen,
I'm certainly working hard, but still? It was the led that started the aches off, it was just harder this time. If he gives me any advanced postures, I expect to be flattened for most of the trip. LOL.
Yes, the drama's in our heads... there's less than last year, so far anyway, so that's good!
Good that you're getting down to see Hamish, I will try to go Mondays when I get back, I don't work that day so hope we can have a breakfast soon.
Thanks for commenting! X