It's been almost three months since I arrived in India. I haven't written a blog this time sofar, because it doesn't feel like a holiday being here - it's more like actually living here. I know, I'm not working here, but the practice ìs hard work and I have been studying Sanskrit, the yoga sutra's and I even did an aryuvedic massage course, so I am growing and I'm developping myself.
The first couple of months I went swimming quite a lot with my Austrian friend Maria at the Mysore University Swimming Pool, which is a 50m pool and has only 20 rps (about 30 eurocents) entrance fee. I also went for a lot of walks and even a run around the lake here, which is beautiful, especially with sunset.
I also joined in for some acro yoga - which is really fun to do - and one of the yogi's even had a slack line!
In november I did the aryuvedic massage course and it was great: Kumar, our teacher, is really nice and he taught us an amazing massage. He's also guiding meditation 3 days a week, which I attend as much as I can.
But things change here: the more you are focussed on the practice, the less activity you will undertake during the rest of the day.
According to my teacher Sharath, we should do yoga asanas (postures) and only that, so no surfing - which is the first thing he mentions all the time, since there are quite some surfers out here. Also people that are authorised or qualified teachers.
The authorization and qualification are not easy to get. For authorization you have to have been in Mysore for at least four years and your practice has got to be solid. For some people it can take eveen 10 years before they get authorization to teach. If Sharath thinks you're ready, he'll invite you to come assist him in the morning just before or after your own practice. If you do well, you'll get authorization. Sometimes he'll give you the certificate and you'll have to assist him next time you're in Mysore - it all depends how busy it is.
There is authorization level 1 and level 2. After that, there is the certification, which will take you at least 10 years in Mysore to obtain.
For me, I'm not yet longing to get authorized, because it also means that you can not teach anything else but ashtanga yoga and allthough I love ashtanga and it is something I hope to do all my life, there are people that are not ready of made to do it and I want to be able to teach these people yoga as well, because yoga is for everyone and it's a great way to start changing your life...
But maybe in 5-10 years, when I will have my own studio maybe, it would be great to have an ashtanga yoga studio with a Mysore program (which means that you will do selfpractice at the studio in the morning. You will hold most of the postures 5 breaths and since you are doing self practice, you can do it in your own pace and that will make the practice more intens) in the morning, maybe sometimes in the afternoon also and a LED class (in which you talk everyone through the sequance so they will learn where to inhale and exhale) on Fridays and Sundays, just like here in Mysore.
We'll see what happens ;)
Sofar I had a great time here and I met so many new friends (as my sanskrit/sutra teacher always says), who I hope to visit when I'm back home. I spend a lot of time with Maria from Vienna, Rena from Berlin, Germany and Todd from San Francisco.
My dear friend Migi and her man Erik also came to Mysore for 1 month and it was really nice to spend some time with them. Edwin, a dutch guy who I met here last year and who also did the teacher traning in Eindhoven like me (but a year before me) is here now as well and I spend some lovely days with him and other friends, visiting Tamchos (a bouddist monk who I met through Edwin last year I was here) in Bylakuppe and having lunch close to the old shala in Lanksmipuram. Even Angelique, agood friend from the Hague came to visit for 2 days after having done a teacher training in Goa, India. I also made a Belgium friend: Caroline became a good friend and she's in Goa now, but will come back to Mysore the end of feb.
After having dome my massage course, Morgan became my first 'client'. We found out that we were at the same asana in the practice and we shared our first intermediate led class together - helping each other in supta vajrasana.
I became friends with Todd (and his good friend Stacey) just before Martijn arrived. He's a great guy who's guitar skills are awesome and we've had some great jamsessions in the past week and a half. Sadly he'll be leaving town on Tuesday, but that's how iit goed around here: people just come and go and you'll have to go with that flow.
Last week I met Bente, who is a good friend of Menno, a dear friend of mine from the Hague. She's a sweety and I'll spend some more time with here, since she'll be around till I'll leave.
Last but not least, the love of my life, Martijn, came to visit me for 2 ½ weeks. Allthough it wasn't the easiest time here - I got a very bad foodpoisoning and was sick for a week and he needed to go to the hospital after dropping a knife in his second toe - they actually put 2 staples in there, which was really not so nice to watch... - but I was so happy to see him again and we did have a great time here together. I really do miss him and, allthough I really enjoy being here and try to live in the moment, I'm also looking forward to go back home and continue my life with him back in Amsterdam..
We went to Mark and Claytons kirtan together, which was great, and it was fun to see Martijn even sing there ;) With Christmas we had dinner with lots of friends and we did a present game afterwards. New years eve was celebrated with amazing oliebollen (dutch treat) that we made ourselves, allthough we couldn't find all the ingredients needed. They were great though J
Martijn signed up at Yoga India for a yoga class a day every morning. He was really into it and I was happy that he was enjoying it. Unfortunately he couldn't finish his two weeks because of the injury, but he's doing 30 min of yoga asanas every day now before work (he told me).
We wanted to go on a safari and leave Mysore for a couple of days, but because of my food poisoning that really didn't happen. But we did go on a day trip to Srirangapatna, which was beautiful. I've visited the same place with my dear friend Zuza last year and I knew my way around a bit, which was nice. Check the pic's for some impressions. The funniest part was the group of schoolkids who were taking pictures of us all the time and wanted to be in the picture with us as well. I guess they don't see a lot of 'white' people in the village they're from..
Last but not least, we went to the pool 'Silent Sshores' twice and the second time, it was not as silent: there was an 'Indian style' aquarobics hour and Martijn joined in - I might put the movie on youtube soon - it was sooo funny to watch!
Every Sunday Shatath is giving a conference and he'll answers questions and tells about yoga. This year I heard him say several times that alignment is very importent in the asanas, something that wasn't expressed as much during my teacher training. Obviously breathing should be perfect during asana practice and the bandha's (energy locks in your body) should be engaged. Asana practice will bring stability in will purify your body and your mind.
When you are breathing properly - same duration (not to fast, not to slow and properly synchronized wich the movements), sound during inhalation as well as exhalation and you should be breathing free, natural, with no pressure on the troat- , you strenghten your lungs and you purify your nervous system - the digestice system will be activated, which causes you to burn the toxins. The sweat that appears when doing asana practice is very importent: only when you breath properly and work hard you will sweat and the toxins will come out of your body, something that doesn't nessicarily happens when being in a sauna or in a hot room doing yoga. If you rub the sweat into your skin, your body will get light, strong and free of disease.
As you know, yoga is more than just asana practice and there are 7 steps towards the 8th one: complete fulfillment in ashtanga yoga. Asana practice is only the third step.
Yoga will help you to get rid of 6 ennemies: anger, pride, greed, jealousy, power and lust.
It will take a daily practice for a long time though. Day by day, year by year you will change and eventually you will get rid of these 6 ennemies.
It's importent not to strain your body if doing yoga asanas. Some people will do 2 or more sessions a day, but it's likely to strain your body and your mind when doing that. There is a limit to what you can digest. Beginners in yoga should build up their practice slowly.
In the end, yoga works only when you do it for the right reasons - do it properly, with gratitude and respect for the practice itself.
During the asanas, your dristy or point o focus is very immportant as well. It is a practice that will help you with the higher practices of yoga. It will be easier to sit still and concentrate on one place. Also during the asana practice, you mind will be trained: it will get calm.
Yoga will controll/ still the fluctuations in the mind. You will get more clarity, thus more knowledge.
The primary series in ashtanga yoga are develpopped to get rid of all the impurities in the body and mind. If the body is sick, it will be difficult to move forward in your spiritual practice.
The intermediate series are developped to purify the nervous system and the third and every serie after that, will give you more stability.
When doing the third step of ashtanga yoga, you will automatically be drawn to the first two steps, which are yama and niyama: social restraints and personal observances, or, your relationships with the people surrounding you and the way you take care of yourself. You'll find yourself being a nicer person. The negativity will disappear and you'll be truthfull, honest and pure. You'll be content, experience inner joy, have a clarity of mind and you will have a more disciplined life, what will make you an even more happy person.
Through these asanas we'll develop these qualities within us. Thanks to yoga we'll get rid of our ego, we'll be more humble and more grounded - yoga is for self transformation.
If you have control of the breath, you'll have control of the mind. If you have control of the mind, you'll have control of the body. You'll gain internal strenght by doing vinyasa.
Yoga is for everyone except for the lazy people.
I am acting lazy sometimes though! Since my practice starts at 4.15 in the morning nowadays, and i have to get up an hour before, I often ga back to bed after practice. Fortunately, my practice has become a lot shorter. In the beginning I was doing the full primary sequance and afterwards intermediate series up to kapotasana. But the moment you can join in the intermediate led class on Sundays ( I was só scared the first time I had to attend that class, though in the end, it wasn't bad at all), your practice is split, so I only do half primary (first half on Monday and Wednesday and second half on Tuesday and Thursday) before going to intermediate, which makes my practice taking up about 1,5 hrs instead of 2 hrs, which is definitely and approvement for me. The long practice was really exhausting...
After practice in the morning, there is a chanting class on mon-wed-frid which you have to attend. It's really nice to have a shala full of people chanting..
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my friend Nnadi started a small group to chant the yoga sutra's, the bhagavad gita and some other mantra's. Last year I went to Jayashree a lot: a lady with whom we would do the same, but she's touring in the USA right now - chanting everywhere. Nnadi is also a student of hers and he's taking over as long as she's not around. I'm not always there, but I do love it and I'm very thankful that he took this initiative.
Since it will probably take some time before I'll get back here, I wanted to have some nice yoga pic's taken here. I saw on the facebooks of several friends some awesome pic's and I found the girl that had taken them: Christine. I booked a photoshoot with here and it was really reallly nice and I love the pics: I put a couple on the different pages of my website: www.rainbowyoga.nl
Well, this is it for now.. I hope you enjoyed reading and please leave a message - that does make me happy J