Monday, October 21, 2013

Finding a Balance With Social Yoga in Mysore, India

Mysore Palace at Night

I came to Mysore to practice ashtanga yoga, an intense and demanding yoga practice, but I had no idea for how long I would stay. When I arrived I was not in my best mood and I didn't like the area where I was staying, Lakshmipuram.

So I thought about leaving straight away but a dear friend encouraged me to stay at least for a week. I decided to follow her advice.

Three months has passed and now the only reason why I'm leaving is because my Indian visa is about to expire.

Yeah, I've had an amazing time here in Mysore and although I came here for yoga the best experience that I'm talking with me is the great time that I've had by meeting so many wonderful people.

Some have become life time friends and some I will probably never see again but I treasure every moment that I shared with each one of them.


My busy life in Mysore

Until today my days in Mysore have started at 5:45 am with two hours and half of Ashtanga Yoga practice with two amazing teachers, first with Ajay Kumar and now with Vijay Kumar, and after those two hours and half… no more to do.

That has been my whole daily schedule for the last three months since I arrived in Mysore. The rest of the days I've just being doing different things, mainly hanging out with friends and exploring the different restaurants in Mysore.

After those long "Mysore breakfasts" the usual question has been "so, where do we go for lunch?"

So, in a way, although I came here for yoga I have felt pretty disconnected from my "path to yoga" because I've been more focused on having a social life than on my sadhana (spiritual practice).

But you know what, I'm cool with that because that's exactly what I needed at this time, some "social yoga" to find a balance in my path.


Before Mysore

Before coming to Mysore I was living for five long months in Nepal, until the end of July, and my experience over there was completely different.

I hardly made any friends so I basically spent five months all by myself, which in a way was great because I was very focused doing the things that I wanted to do and because I had the opportunity to work on myself and to practice svadhyaya, self-study.

Well, actually I had no choice but to work on myself.

Nepal brought me back many memories from a past relationship and it was quite a challenge when I found out that that girl that I was kind of in love with got engaged.

That kind of news can turn your world upside down and since I had not many people to talk with I had to find the strength and wisdom to deal with this situation all by myself. I did have some "emergency Skype calls" with some good old friends when I needed them the most.

I think it's an amazing opportunity to be in such a situation because you get the chance to know yourself at a deeper level instead of just ignoring your problems or suppressing them by keeping your mind busy with something else.

But that karma was only for five months, my intuition told me that my karma in Mysore was going to be completely different and that's exactly how it has been.


What to do in Mysore?

Although I haven only been practicing ashtanga yoga in the mornings there is actually a lot to do here in Mysore.

You can practice ashtanga yoga or classical hatha yoga with different teachers and if you have the energy you could practice more than once a day.

You could also try other different activities like taking pranayama classes, sanskrit classes, Kannada classes (local language in Mysore), Indian cooking classes, traditional music classes or work as a volunteer in some organization.

Yes, there is a lot to do in Mysore so if you want to get busy you do have many options, but at this time one ashtanga class a day has been more than enough for me.

I did try some classical music lessons but I managed to stick to them only for a week. I enjoyed the classes but I couldn't handle to have something "mandatory" on my daily schedule.


After Mysore

My next destination will be Sri Lanka. I'm leaving tomorrow but I still have no plans for what to do in Sri Lanka except for applying for a new Indian visa.

I have no idea for how long I will stay. It might be a week, ten days, a month or who knows. I want to return to India soon but I'll remain open to whatever Sri Lanka has to offer me.

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