I thought about writing daily posts of my time here in Mysore but there’s simply too much to say and I’d never get anything else done (like eating dosas, shopping, drinking chai, socialising, more shopping…) So I’ve decided to just share the highlights from each week.
During practice on Monday, one of the new assistants was watching my dropbacks, then came over to do halfbacks with me. “Can you catch?” he asked. I was stumped for a second, as I usually only hear that question asked by Sharath in reference to Marichyasana B. Then I realised what he meant. “What, ankles?” I wheezed, “No!” and nearly burst out laughing. “Ok well let’s give it a try” he said, and after going down and walking my hands in about 4 times – the deepest I think I’ve ever gone – I came up again and asked “So how far away was I?” “Yeh, you still have a little way to go,” he replied tactfully. No shit! What is it with Mysore and being able to catch your ankles in backbending?
On Tuesday a few of us were hanging around outside the shala after sutra class watching Sharath’s son Sambhav playing cricket in the street. He’s so cute and looks just like a mini Sharath! It’s funny to think he might be our new guru one day… or our children’s guru at least. Then Sharath came out to play so we had the privilege of watching him enjoying some downtime with his son. It was so funny: they were hitting cars, rooftops, gates and nearly a cow! It was such a lovely insight into how he manages to perfectly balance being an inspirational yoga guru and a normal, family man at the same time. As they headed back inside, Sharath turned to his son and said (loud enough so we could hear) “Tomorrow you do Kapotasana!” then looked back at us and grinned.
One of my favourite places for breakfast in Gokulam (Mysore’s yogi neighbourhood) is Khushi’s. As is the norm here, the cafe is basically the front room of someone’s house and you sit on floor cushions at large, sharing tables full of yogis either recovering from practice, discussing practice, or drinking coffee to fuel their practice. Khushi’s make the most amazing spinach, tomato & cheese omelettes; spinach & corn toast; ragi pancakes; peanut butter smoothies; and ‘addash’ shakes. These are made from bananas, dates, almond milk, figs and spirulina and are the most beautiful shade of pastel green.
On this particular day, the shakes were so thick I could turn my glass upside down and the ‘liquid’ wouldn’t move an inch! As I started digging into my shake with a spoon, I was suddenly reminded of Angel Delight and realised how similar the texture was. Why didn’t they ever think of making healthier versions? They’d go down a treat…!
On Friday evening I went to a wonderful Indian classical music concert at the Blue House, which is such a lovely, serene space. Bhima Shanka, one of Karnataka’s most respected Tabla players, was accompanied by Govinda Schlegel on both Sitar & Sarod. I had a very good view right at the front and found myself transfixed, not only on the beautiful music, but also on their wonderful facial expressions, and skilled hand movements. Every now and then they’d build to a very rapid crescendo and Bhima’s hands would drum so fast I thought they might fly right off his wrists! Incredible.
Yesterday, as I was leaving the shala after sutra class, I got to the bottom of the steps and was just about to find my flip flops, when a man gestured for me to get out of the way. I moved back to the bottom step just as a huge, shiny, silver car appeared from the car park beneath the house and drove along the driveway, right over all the flips flops! I glanced at the driver and lo and behold it was Sharath himself; wearing a shirt and sunglasses, looking like such a dude. Well, if his students are going to leave their shoes strewn across his driveway I guess he has no choice but to drive right over them! Remember Ashtangis: always wear rubber shoes in Mysore.