Days 1 and 2

by Joanna D.

Our driver, Vali, dropped us off at our house #15, 3rd Stage, Contour Rd, Gokulam, Mysore. It was 6:30am. The sun was just coming up; a modestly lit sky. We talked with our landlords, dumped our stuff off and headed out. Breakfast and a walk-about… get the lay of the land.

We walked a lot that day. Not sure where all the energy came from. Excitement. We went to a couple restaurants eager to try the local fair. Found some ATMs. Picked up some supplies for the house. Had my first coconut from the coconut stand. Saw more poverty and garbage. This time, unlike the dark drive through Bangalore, I could see the beauty among the poverty. Brilliantly colored Saris, vibrant flowers hanging in doorways, smiling faces, patterns drawn on entryways… tradition; it was both magnificently beautiful and crazy humbling.

It was an early night and I slept hard.

Next day I woke at 5am and took practice in my room. It was amazing. No heater needed. The sound of morning prayers floating through the windows accompanied my solo breath. Beautiful. Grounding. Later, after wondering down into a particularly poor part of town and getting pointed at several times we hopped in a rickshaw that took us downtown – the market – Mysore. We stopped for lunch and apparently it is customary to just sit at a table even if there are others there. So we sat and ate with two Indian men across from us. A little weird: also, oddly awesome. Good food too. Masala Dosa. Yum! We never actually make it into the market. We ended up leaving shortly after being led down a shady path by a Muslim stranger, Salim, and our jet leg caught up to us.

Short rest then to the Shala: register for class. I was the second person there. Waiting patiently. We started getting called in around 3:30pm. Conference was to start at 4pm. There where a lot of us and as it turns out it doesn’t much matter who got there first. So I ended up being there for Conference. I wasn’t really prepared for that and franticly searched for a pen. Which, I did not find. It was a good foundational talk about the Yamas and Niyamas. Questions were asked towards the end and in response to a question regarding ahimsa in our own practice Sharath said, “Enjoy your asana.” Simple. I will be referring to that many times over the next few months.

After conference, I registered, handed over a pile of rupees for a month’s tuition and a chanting class (that I didn’t know about) and got my start time. 9:30am. … Man.