Saturday, 11 January 2014

Ego ~ Surrender ~ Busy ~ Early

A little practice vignette from the week before last:

I'd managed a nice vrshchikasana on Tuesday in front of Sharath (this is hanging out in handstand with your feet on your head). He told me 'very good!', then stood in front of me for assisted backbends. He stands very close. 'Legs were shaking' he said and chuckled... our eyes met and there seemed to be some complicity between us... it's hard to stay still there without your feet bobbling around... it's a hard posture! Then he took my hands onto my kneecaps, told me 'very good' again, and I trotted off to the changing room for finishing postures feeling rather special.

New moon the next day and no practice. I got to the backbending/handstand sequence on Thursday, the pinnacle of the practice, and again managed a good vrshchikasana (I'm starting to get it!).... and again Sharath was walking towards me. 'Look at me... I am rocking it again!' says the 'I-maker'....

'Come, come quickly!

I drop over and stand up.

'Your practice is taking too long - so many people waiting'... he shook his head and tutted... he looked truly disappointed in me. I felt distinctly less rockstar-like.

Backbend was good, the squish was perfunctory. 'Go inside!' 

So I scurried off, chastened..... but this story delighted me so much that I repeated it to everyone I ran into, all day.


I had a hard time sleeping last Friday night, mainly due to gluttony and mosquitoes. At various points in the middle of the night I had the lights on and was swatting away at the little bastards, swearing.... finally I dropped off and woke up absurdly late, with a horribly stiff neck, to find Oh Jun informing me there was no water. Luckily this was a day off practice. I didn't display the better part of my character at this point, though... my poor flatmate, he went off a little early to his cooking course. 

More things went wrong. My coffee maker broke. Luckily I'd got the first pot out of it first.

A knock at the door. I was still in my dressing gown, and unshowered of course (no water!). It was the landlord. 

Here, things began to improve: he informed me that an unmarked switch near the door in our flat controlled the water for the building. It was one in a row of switches, the others controlling various lights. He flicked it on.

The improvement ended there, however, as he told me we needed to move out the next day. Previously we'd agreed I'd have the place for another week. No problem, he told me, there was another room free on the top floor for me. And he left.

After a quick shower and my mind clearing a little, I called him. The place on top would be great for one of us, but it was a two-bedroom place we were being chucked out of. He said he would come down and talk to me. I waited. Also, my phone credit had just run out.

He didn't arrive. Eventually Lauren came to pick me up and we went to the pool. And on the way there, via the phone man, something delightful happened.... I started to let it go. There's something liberating about being carried through Indian traffic on the back of a scooter. Or driving, I suppose. The pool and hot sun and the cool water are gorgeous. Elsewhere in the world, everyone is freezing. There was a kind of concert venue being built in the grounds and some groovy Indian music blaring out, which for some reason made me really happy. I had more coffee. Friends were there.

It turned out Jimmy Crow had an extra room at his place. To make a long story short, Oh Jun is staying with him now and probably way better off. And I have the small, bright room on the top of the building, with a big sunny rooftop and all the privacy I need to cope with a new start time of 4:30 am. 

Riding home from the pool with the wind in my hair, life had never seemed better. Truly, we are the lucky ones.... Somewhere, people are thinking about value dates and parameters that govern currency pairs. But I speed down Hunsur Road in the sunshine, and the air is smoggy on a dying planet, but we are LIVING, while we can.....

India is all about curve balls, and the quicker you can surrender, the quicker things resolve.  


The shala is VERY busy at the moment. Last Sunday we couldn't all fit in the room for conference, and start times are running out to 11:00. Luckily I got shifted to 5:00, then 4:30 this past week. 4:30 actually means get there by or before 4:00, so this has been a bit of an adjustment... mainly diet-wise. I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night (2:30) as I can have a nap after, but lunches aren't really working for me, or my body is just used to doing certain things at certain times (one of which, not at 3:30 am). Hmm. 

But the energy is SO GOOD in the early slot, and I am so lucky to be escaping the crowds and the wait. I'm speeding up my practice and trying to blast through 2s + my three postures of 3rd.... I want to show that I can, I want to show I was listening when he scolded me last week, I want to show that there's plenty of time for me to do more 3s without my practice taking forever. Also, I just have more energy at this time.... I find waiting around for hours before practice somehow draining. Finally, it's not really the people waiting in the foyer that I feel bad for, it's Sharath himself, teaching for more or less eight hours straight every day, which, unless you've ever taught mysore classes (which normally run for three hours, and that's hard enough) is something the physicality of which you simply cannot comprehend. 

Where does he get the energy, and how is he always in such a good mood for beginners getting into marichiasana D at midday? How is he smiling at conference and not in a hurry to end it and put a stop to the questions?

So practice: in and out, bare bones and no preciousness. This isn't the right place to take one's time, indulge oneself, or practice like a 'special little snowflake'. I do that at home.

This is the time to build up some tapas and help clean the other potatoes :-)

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, see here: One potato


So the program is: first breakfast, nap, second breakfast. Light lunch, no dinner, bed around 20:00.

A massage. Pool time. A cooking course. Stuff like that. I may take a ten-day course in the Kannada language. (!)

Day off: shopping, cleaning, bucket wash. Castor oil bath, theracane session, a little puja. Read about Ayurveda, finish this blog. 

Drink lots of chai. Hang out with yogis, but not too much. Go for long walks.

I will try to keep up with the updates better this week. I have seven more weeks here from today.


StEvE said...

Thanks for all that, I really enjoyed it!

Just wondering where you bought those framed pictures of Guruji and Krishnamacharya? Locally, or even the shala shop, or did you travel with them?

susananda said...

Hi Steve,

Sorry, I've just seen this.... I bought them at a new shop called the Green House on the shala road, really great shop! It's where Ravi used to give massages. They still have some of the photos there; others have been moved to the shala shop, so have a look in both places.

You can get other great things at the Green House, like freshly made coconut milk for coffee and smoothies, ayurvedic products, organic foodstuffs and books etc.


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