Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guest post: Bringing her home from summer camp

*I wanted to hear Joe's thoughts about the trip so here he is!*

India = Wow, I mean wow.

Originally supposed to be trip I would only hear (and dream) about, my sulking in Houston quickly morphed into an 8 day visit into the controlled chaos, some jaw dropping yoga, and hanging with EE’s fellow campers (aka a super fun variety of fit & focused peeps).

I am not quite sure where to even start or how to best explain some of the things I saw so I will defer most of that to the wife’s tongue and the snaps of her lens to help explain.

One thing is for sure though – everywhere I went, looked, & turned - I was constantly reminded that I need to be more thankful and appreciative of everything. Some of those areas are:

- Thankful that Erik & Rachel were so generous showing us the in’s & outs of this trip. From our Q&A sessions to relaxing at their place before the car picked us up – they were always there for us.

- Thankful for Yannis, Erik, & Rachel helping me bring my practice where it is today.

- Thankful that my wife is brave and willing enough to take an out of her comfort zone risk (more like a “planned leap of faith”) by taking this trip in the first place. I love that about her.

- And thankful for the deep network of family and friends that we have. Though I am not sure they know or care, the thousands of India natives I have seen will likely never have many of the opportunities that I am so fortunate to have. I believe the root of those opportunities come, build, and thrive from a solid base of family and friends (aka “our crew!”)

Enough pining from me already as I must now get on it like a bonnet with my practice. I have tons to do before we go back in two years!



"That's good!"

*************Warning: Photo heavy post! Be prepared!**************

As I re-integrate into the "real world," I have so much on my mind that I want to share and don't want to forget. Leaving Mysore has definitely bittersweet, but I think it was more sweet than bitter.

On the whole, my experience was so amazing, unlike anything I have ever done before. Naturally I had ups and downs over the course of my stay there, but the ups far outweigh the downs, and I definitely feel I need to return sometime in the future.

When I first announced my decision to visit Mysore for 2 months, most people's reacion was "Why?!?" I half-jokingly answered, "Yoga and the food!" I am going to miss 20 rupee (~50 cents) dosas.


Long, leisurely lunches.

And the yoga. Imagine this room filled with 75 hot, sweaty bodies. Being able to open up your body and get into asanas deeper than you ever have.

I took this secret photo from the ladies changing room. It's not the best quality, but you get the idea: practicing when the sun hasn't risen, a crowded room, people waiting in the foyer.

But one thing I almost forgot about was that I would meet some of the most amazing people from all over the world. The one thing we all have in common is the love for ashtanga yoga, which is everything.

Marika from Sweden, Simon and Pardraig from Ireland, Ellie from America

Sari from Finland

Ellie, Emma from England, Adam from Canada

Stanley from Singapore

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China from America, Tania from Australia, Emma, Jill from America

Laksmeesh from India

Magnus and Anne from Sweden

I would like to give a special shout out to a few friends:
Jill who was so warm and inviting when I didn't know anyone at all

China was the best friend in a time of need

And of course Rachel and Erik. I cannot even begin to thank them for inspiring me to get off my a$$ and come to India!

Rachel is seriously the best.

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I feel like I still have so much to say, but for now I will leave you with Sharath's last words to me as he finished dropping me back into backbends: "That's good!"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I forgot...

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how nice it is to be in your own, clean, dust-free home!

I have so much to say, wrap up, be thankful for from my 7-week adventure in Mysore, India. However, since I have virtually been up since 3 AM India time Tuesday morning, I think it's time to hit the hay (Joe is already there) and post more tomorrow. Good night :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Next time, you stay longer!"

2011 03 28 photo
This afternoon we stopped by Sharath's office to say "Thank you" and "Goodbye." It felt slightly awkward because what do you say to someone you only know through your yoga practice? He did tell Joe, "Next time, you stay longer!" which made me feel good, because he just assumed there would be a next time.

Being around Sharath is almost like being around a celebrity. You know a lot about him but he doesn't know much about you. He definitely makes more of an impact on your life than you do on his. I guess that is the consequence of being a teacher.

So will there be a next time? I certainly hope so. I don't think I can make this trip every year, but maybe every 2-3 years would be manageable. Next time I would definitely want Joe to live here like I did. So now we just need to make it work!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Something for the house

As we were running a few errands with Rachel yesterday afternoon, Raju, her rickshaw driver, told her about an open air market that was going on.

I am so glad we went because amidst the rugs and brass figurines, we found a stall with this artist selling the most unusual art I have seen since coming here.

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They were all hand drawn on hand made paper with very intricate designs.

Rachel bought a few pieces and I bought one piece. At first I was going to buy some small pieces, but the larger ones were much more special, so I am looking forward to finding a place for it in our house.

Tomorrow is going to be my last day of practice at the shala. I cannot express how sad this makes me. I am glad, however, that the shala is closing for the month of April, because I would want to stay if it weren't!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The thrill of the "hunt"

For our last (well, my last and Joe's first and last!) weekend in India, we decided to escape the stressful life of yoga and long lunches with a weekend safari :)

We stayed at the Kabini River Lodge, at the suggestion of fellow Ashtangi Maria.

The room was nice and spacious, complete with a Western toilet and a shower! It felt so luxurious to take a shower after 6 weeks of bucket baths.

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The weather was beautiful.

So were the views.

We spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning riding in the back of this vehicle.

The roads were unbelievably bumpy, but I managed the requisite self-portrait.

At Nagarahole National Park, we saw many different animals, including

...a sambar.

...gorgeous peacocks.

DSC_5451 "I-forgot-the-name" eagle.

...lots of spotted deer.

...some Indian "bison," which is really the largest family of cow, as real bison are only found in America.

...a few packs of wild boar. They look like they have mohawks.

...families of monkeys.

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...and beautiful elephants.

But most of the time was spent waiting. On any safari, the most coveted animals to see are the big predators because they are so few and far between. The beauty of seeing animals in the "wild" (I use this term loosely because, really, is there any wilderness left anymore. A national park is just a glorified zoo without the fences. But I digress.) is that you never know when or where they will be seen. Which means sometimes they won't be seen.

We did catch a few glimpses of a leopard, but I think he was just out for a leisurely stroll. Some other people on another jeep were lucky enough to see the leopard in a tree and snapped some beautiful photos, but we didn't have such a good view. The national park is mostly a forest and the animals seem to hang out just inside the treeline, thus making it difficult to always see them. But part of the fun of the safari is the thrill of finding the animal, rather than just observing it from its cage in a zoo, which I really hate (digressing again).

We really enjoyed exploring a different part of India. (Another pet peeve: why does everyone love to center their subjects in a photo. Rule of thirds people! Last digression, I promise.)

I did try to follow the rules of the Lodge.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We're melting!

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I have been sharing a more of Mysore with Joe today, including a short trip to the Devarage Market. The temperatures keep rising with no relief in sight: no wonder he is fast asleep at 6:19 PM!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Better to share

As far as Mysore goes, I am the old expert compared to Joe. I have loved being able to share how life is on the other side of the planet with my cuter half! He is slowly getting over the jet lag, although he did wake up this morning around 2 AM and is fast asleep right now at 6 PM :)

Today we (in no particular order):

Walked around the lake.

Ate a dosa for 24 rupees.

Got a nice whiff of burning trash.

Almost forgot we were in India with some AC and ice cream at Pascucci's.

Surfed the internet.

Enjoyed carrot-beetroot juice and coffee at Vivian's for breakfast.

Rode in a rickshaw here, there and everywhere.

Stuffed ourselves silly at Three Sisters with Lynn, Ellie, Tania, Stanley, China and Marika.

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Walked home from the shala together (my second favorite part!).

Woke up early to practice yoga together (my favorite part!).