Sunday, September 30, 2007

The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart. - Helen Keller
As I sit in my cozy little flat here in Gokulam eating some fresh papaya, listening to John Mayer, tryping away at my computer, I can't help but feel a little bummed - why? Because I just finished reading an email from my friend Sue back home...She is happy I've decided to extend my stay in Mysore an extra month but informed me that I'm going to miss the "Invent Your Own Superhero" contest for Halloween ;( It just dawned on me that this will be my second Halloween in India - and that kinda makes me sad...You see I'm one of those people who LOVES Halloween - every aspect of it - yes most certainly dressing up! I know all my friends back home will have a blast - and I'll be sitting in India where they don't celebrate Halloween - My time here is totally worth this ity bity sacrifice but it still bums me out a little - I'm thinking I may be able to convice some of the yogi's to celebrate with me....

I am off to Bangalore tomorrow morning after practice to meet my dear friend Sasha!!! I am so excitied - I can't really believe she is actually coming to India...I have been pretty homesick recently so her arrival couldn't have come at a better time. It still hasn't quite hit me she is coming - man I can't wait...We will stay over in Bangalore til late Tuesday and return to Mysore so she can spend a week experiencing "a few days in my life here" - Sasha is a really great friend - I feel quite blessed to have her in my life!

A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway. - Fr. Jerome Cummings

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. - Walter Winchell

Here in Mysore things have been busy, fun, and exciting...I've been blessed to meet many really great people here this year - and have acquired a great group of girlfriends to do girly things with ;)

On a reflective note, I'm getting to a point where I'm really ready to go home and get back to teaching - miss it terribly - my students, clients, friends, and family. I am ready to go home and continue some programs I've started, and begin new ones...Ready to go home and work more with my business - sell some products, do some tradeshows, enter some new markets, take some classes to learn more about what I'm doing, and begin next year with some new goals.

There is quite a lot that I need to figure out - know that only time will bring things to the fore - but I am feeling very impatient at the moment - want to know that what I'm doing is right - want to know how to move forward and continue to grow in all aspects of my life. Hmm....

I'll leave you with a powerful quote that I keep near and dear -
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. - Anatole France

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ah, ready for bed...Been a lovely day...Slept in til 7:30am as today was a moonday...Spent the better part of my day writing - yes I do love to write - no not just blog...

I left my flat around 3:30pm to head to my Kanadda lesson, which was rockin today - we worked on learning pronouns - Hema taught them to me and then we used the remainder of our session writing sentences using the pronouns with vocabulary I've already learned - I was really surprised by how many words I've actually have imprinted in my memory bank...
She would say a sentence in English - like "those are beautiful flowers" and ask me to write in Kanadda...Since there are two ways, essentially, to write each pronoun, I had to understand which context called for which use...I had a blast with this exercise b/c it's just the type of progression I'd hoped for with these lessons - I've learned a lot of words, now I need to utilize them to really retain in zee head - and also need to work on writing and saying sentences and phrases so I get used to hearing them....Was a fantastic lesson....

After my Kanadda lesson, I went straightaway to Sindhu's house for my dance lesson - busy afternoon man...And as always Odissi was really wonderful - I had a great deal of energy pent in my body because I had not practiced today - so that was great for dance class - but the downside to no yoga is that my body was really stiff and my balance was way askew...Good nonetheless...We did review of many of the positions I've learned, worked more on the seventh Trebang and Chowka, and spent the last 45 minutes working on the item she's teaching me. She adds a little more each day, and nit picks on what we've already learned (which is great b/c I want to get this down perfectly)...Feels great that my body and mind are finally getting this stuff - the moves, the sequence, everything. Must admit I wasn't a big fan of the item for the first few days b/c it seemed so much more difficult than the positions we've been learning - which are already hard enough...But the more we practice the item (what I've learned of it) the more comfortable I feel doing it - and the more I really enjoy it ;)

Erin arrived at Sindhu's around 6:30pm as this is the night we'd all agreed was best for Sindhu to make dinner. Sindhu is so sweet - really a genuinely wonderful woman. She insisted Erin and I relax while she prepared a fabulous dinner for us - quite tasty too - she made an Italian pasta dish, Indian rice, curd, okra, and salad, and a really lovely dessert. I usually don't eat much for dinner and definitely not quite so late - but this was a special occasion well worth the possible tummy ache in the morning. I felt a little badly that Erin and I had to leave so soon after dinner, but it was already almost 9pm and we needed to get home and get to bed - need that sleep to ensure a delightful practice in the morning!
These are some of my favorite quotes....May they inspire your day!

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

"The seat of knowledge is in the head, of wisdom,in the heart." - William Hazlitt

"A loving heart is the truest wisdom." - Charles Dickens

"There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way." - Christopher Morley

"Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration and inspiration." - Evan Esar

"It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, "Always do what you are afraid to do." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Seek and you will find. Don't be willing to accept an ordinary life." -Salle Merrill Redfield

"Have the courage to embrace the greatness for which you were born." -Edge Keynote

"Forsake all inhibitions. Pursue thy dreams!" -Walt Whitman

"You are the one who can stretch your own horizon." -Edgar Magnin

"The mind determines what's possible. The heart surpasses it." -Pilar Coolinta

"Life tends to respond to our outlook, to shapte itself to meet our expecations." -Rich Devos

"Never fear the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it you can make it so." -Belva Davis

"He who hesitates is lost." - Proverb

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall." - Confucius

"We are still masters of our fate.We are still captains of our souls." - Winston Churchill

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

"Time in its aging course teaches all things." - Aeschylus

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I woke up a little late this morning....Late for me - 4:15am as opposed to my usual 3:30am...I remember my alarm going off and thought I had pressed snooze....But I apparently turned the damn thing off....Luckily my internal alarm clock sounded at 4:15am - "GET UP!" I'm not one of those people who can just get dressed and go practice - I have to shower man! With Herculian speed, I showered, dressed and was out the door and in the shala by 4:45am shala time - that's like 20 minutes ;) Yeah!!! Not that it really matters one bit as the shala is so empty now and I know it wouldn't have mattered if I even arrived after 5am - but I didn't want to start my day all off kilter...

When I got to the top of my mat, I began my practice with a few moments of thanks...Todays practice really belonged to the earth - I wanted some grounding and felt very connected to the earth beneath my feet - wanted to take a moment and resonate with it.

When Saraswati came out into the shala we did our usual opening mantra together. Then she announced that Sharath is the proud papa of a healthy baby boy born on Monday! Everyone in the shala must have been smiling ear to ear - what a special moment to share - I love Saraswati!

Practice was good today - happy to be able to say that it was yet another wonderful asana practice, with all the bells and whistles. Backbending was a bit intense today - but well worth a little discomfort.

After practice I spent about three hours writing - writing all types of things...It was very relaxing, stimulating, and soothing...

Maureen and I met and ran some errands in the city - first we had lunch at Green Hotel which really hit the spot as we were both starving...Then we made way to my favorite Bata shoe shop in town so Maureen could get some shoes. It seems I had much better luck than she did - for I somehow ended up leaving the store with three pairs of shoes to her one - but I didn't have such intense pangs of guilt b/c it only cost me about $25.00 for all my precious finds ;) We hit a clothing shop too so she could find a top or two - I was along for the ride....By the time we got back to Gokulam I had just enough time to run home and grab my clothes before heading to my dance lesson with Sindhu. Great as usual - but also pretty darn hard today - she is really pumping up the intensity in our lessons and today it was all I could do to keep up...

Erin and Maureen picked me up from Sindhu's house after practice so we could head to Metropole for Jake's birthday celebration. Was a really lovely evening with many people I knew and some I didn't. Jake is so funny - he is in complete and total bliss with his new camera - I had warned him he'd fall in love with a piece of electronic equipement - he didn't quite believe me til now ;)

After Metropole many of us met up at another yogis' house for a bit as tomorrow is moon day so everyone can sleep in tomorrow and stay up past their bedtime tonight. Not long after arrivng though, my gas tank reached an all time low - I couldn't stay long b/c I desperately needed to get myself to bed. Erin left with me as she was pretty pooped herself - we walked back to my flat and she just crashed with me for the evening....

Another busy day in Mysore...Tomorrow should prove to be much more mellow and relaxing....

Monday, September 24, 2007

Here are some photos from zee weekend trip to Bangalore....A little shopping, a little dancing, a lot of fun...

Central Mall

Oh Yeah!

Do you see all the cookies behind us?

Me and Jake at FUGA

Isn't Joyce Hot!


Hey Hey!

As I sit in my flat typing away I can hear the remnants of the never ending Ganesha festival...It was supposed to last two days - and started two Fridays ago...But it is yet to be over...Not that I am complaining, just intrigued is all. It was actually quite nice to walk home this evening and see another procession of dancers, jugglers, and other interesting characters parade along the streets of Gokulam - the main event being a rather large Ganesha on a throne carried by several Indian men. That's one of the things I really love about this place - the culture - the heritage - the community. Nothing like that ever really happens back home - at least not like it does here - quite beautiful to watch really...

This day in general has been good, but I've had a bit of a gloomy undertone in my own mind...Lots and lots in zee brain - moved from one mode of thought to the next today - feel the need to sort and compartmentalize my thoughts and emotions - then the urge to let it go and surrender knowing that all will work out as it should when it should - and then back to sorting....Been a consistent trend today....What you may ask - well - well a lot of things...Things I don't care to talk about - but things that need to be sorted nonetheless... Time right? Time is the healer of all hurts, the bearer of all truths, the decipherer of all that is indecipherable... Finally at 9pm I've decided to surrender to father time...At least until tomorrow...

On a brighter note, I had a truly phenomenal practice today - very needed indeed. As I walked to the shala at 4:40am I was listening to Hootie and the Blowfish, Time - funny eh! My mind had already begun its non-stop blah blah blah that has remained constant all day long...When I arrived though Maureen was walking up - and moments later the shala gate opened...Went inside and set up my mat, Maureen set up beside me...After getting settled I stood at the top of zee mat and took several minutes really trying to center myself as I knew I could 1) have a really crappy practice if I allowed my inner dialogue to consume me, or 2) I could have a glorious practice focusing intently on my bandhas, breath, drishti, and working to find a pure centeredness...I selected option two, but that required quite a bit of pre-asana dedication...I dedicated my practice to my mama and daddy; gave thanks for the practice I was about to receive, asked for additional inner focus today to help maintain stillness in my mind, and then I silently chanted my opening mantra...Did the trick ;) I had a really wonderful moving meditation today - far better than it's been in quite a while. I wonder sometimes if it is better to have many scattered thoughts before practice - in order to force you to really center yourself...Hmmm

I physically worked myself so hard - by the time in got to Karandavasana I was exhausted...My arms felt weak and my determination had waned. But I did it over and over and over...And seemed the more I attempted the asana the easier it became to do it again. On my third or fourth attempt Saraswati came over to help me - felt badly as I wondered if she was like "come on - get the posture already - I am soooo tired of lifting your bum everyday" - but I doubt it...I tried several times more after she assisted me - and always have more umph then as I seem to get the 'feeling' of how to do the asana...When I didn't think I could do another forearm balance, I laid down to begin backbends...After Saraswati squashed me in forward bend I looked up to her and asked if I could finish where I was today as the shala was sooo empty - she said that was fine - and I must admit it was quite lovely to finish where I'd started!

The rest of my day was a bit of a blur - busy and among good company...Met Maureen and Erin for breakfast at Tina's around 9am - and had the pleasure to sit with Neal and Dominique as well - they arrived a few days ago - first time I've really gotten to meet Dominique - she is quite lovely! Haven't seen Neal since last year in Mysore so it was a treat to chat with him and catch up on the last year.

After breakfast Girish picked Maureen and me up from the coconut stand and took us to the Rashinkar's - finally a successful trip - yoga bags are finished, skirts are finished, and now just waiting for them to make some smaller ladies bags...Also getting a few personal items of clothing made - which I am really excited about ;)

From there we made way to Barti's shop to check on the progress of bags there - and also to grab my dishes (stored some stuff there last year and now that I have a kitchen of my very own I needed to get me dishes to eat from ;) Bags were supposed to be done late Saturday, but totally knew that wasn't gonna happen - hoping they will be completed in a few days - then Girish and I can go to DHL and ship them home - will be really nice once all products are completed and I don't have to think about them anymore the rest of my trip.......

When Maureen and I got back to my flat we both did a bit of emails and what not - then we both took an hour nap ;) We woke up about 3:30pm and Maureen headed home - I got ready to head to my Odissi lesson - Which, by the way, was wonderful today! I am so glad that we've moved my lessons to the afternoon as opposed to 11am in the morning...I feel so much more energetic and focused in the afternoon - have all day to sort of wind down from my practice, and occasional trip to the gym. I felt great, and had a blast with Sindhu.

After class she insisted on feeding me a dosa before I left to meet with Jake to have dinner! She ALWAYS tries to feed me, which I think is really sweet - but I don't ever want food right after my dance lesson....She's really sweet though and I truly appreciate her generosity. I indulged her today and ate one dosa - she tried to give me another one and I explained that I was about to meet a friend for dinner! Before I said goodbye we organized our plans for dinner this week....She has been on me about having Erin and I over for dinner one night - had originally planned to do it tomorrow evening (Tuesday) but that is Jake's Birthday - so we arranged to move it to Wednesday evening instead - which means I've got to bump my Kannada lesson up on Wednesday before dance and dinner...Oh sometimes making plans is so complicated....

Met up with Jake and we made way to Green Leaf for some grub. Total Indian dinner tonight - had some paneer rice with veggie curd...Some of Jake's fried onion appetizer (which I must admit didn't agree with my tummy), and finished off with somph (fennel seed) with the hopes that the fennel would help me digest dinner - I've really gotten a nice taste for Indian food, but my digestive system still doesn't care for it one bit...Still try every now and then, but always feel yucky afterwards - oh well I guess it's the price you pay for such a sensitive GI system....

On my way home I stopped by Joyce's to get the photos from Thursday nights outing to High Octane, and our 24 hour trip to Bangalore...Posted some up on the blog for your enjoyment!
Evening At High Octane - Pictures Compliments of Joyce!

Hey Now!

I love Hats - especially this one!

The GiRlS...

You Lookin at me?

Shake Shake Shake

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I must admit that today has been the best Sunday spent in Mysore thus far - HANDS DOWN!!!

My dear friend, student, and fellow yogini Maureen arrived in Mysore on Friday - was able to stop by and say a quick hello before I headed off to Bangalore...But couldn't wait to get back to Mysore to hang out and catch up on the last 1 1/2 years - she left Orlando soon after I did last year to go to Korea and teach English. She finished up her year stint there in August and traveled around Asia a bit before arriving here. Maureen will be in Mysore for the next month - and If I can talk her into it - she may opt to stay til I leave in Mid-November ;)

It is so great having her in Mysore - although I have friends here it feels like home away from home - so comfy like old times. And sure feels like we haven't missed a beat - even though it's been well over a year since we've seen each other....

This morning I made sure to save a spot next to me for her to practice - she was so cute - a bit nervous about her very first day practicing at the shala - told her not to worry - Saraswati allowed her to do all of primary - and I was grinning inside b/c I knew she would be just fine ;) After led primary we enjoyed a few coconuts - then enjoyed a large chai....

At 9am Maureen, Erin and I arrived at the Southern Star to indulge in a fantastic breakfast buffet...Haven't had the Southern Star breakfast thus far this year so I was most definitely looking forward to it - and omg it was phenomenal......Simply amazing - we all gorged ourselves on nearly everything available to us...Well deserved though - I know I woke up starving this morning and had to wait another 2 1/2 hours after practice before putting my first morsel of food in my mouth...After we had finished devouring everything in sight Jake joined us, and then Joyce...

Maureen and I had already planned to lay out by the pool, weather permitting...So we spent a bit more time chatting before I couldn't take one more second away from the sun. Erin didn't care to join as she tends to burn as opposed to tan, and Jake had forgotten "his bloody swimming costume" at home ;) but Joyce joined us by the pool for a bit before heading out to meet a friend for lunch...However, Maureen and I spent 4 1/2 glorious hours paying respects to the sun gods...I was so stoked too b/c Maureen had some little speakers to attach to her ipod - so we had tunes by the pool! By far the best day to lay out since I've been in Mysore...I even burned a little today, which I don't mind at all b/c my burn always turns into a nice golden brown.

Around 2:30pm we'd had as much as we could handle for the day so we got dressed and walked a bit further into town for some grub - ate at Shanghai for the second time - and it was delicious!

From there we took a rickshaw back to Gokulam - spent some time at my flat before meeting up with Jake to walk to Loyal World so Maureen could grab a few necessary items and so I could show her around Gokulam more...After a bit of grocery shopping we stopped by Cubs to grab a latte (me;) and hot chocolate (Jake and Maureen;)...We ended at the coconut stand as I needed a coconut fix! We just got back to my flat and I must admit I am pooped - a lovely lazy day in Gokulam - how sweet it is!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Well, just got home from a 24 hour trip to Bangalore - boy oh boy am I worn out....That city seems to have that effect on me - always come home utterly exhausted...

Joyce, Jake and I headed to Bangalore yesterday afternoon around 2:30pm - we took the nice AC bus - about a 2 1/2 hour trip. Jake had booked us rooms at the Empire Hotel - a cheap, decent place to stay in the city center. As always, it is quite a feat to get a rickshaw driver to actually take you where you need to go in Bangalore - hoping that one day I'll finally get the hang of that city....But Jake found his Hindi quite useful, and I my Kanadda - the little we both know got us much further than one would imagine :)

After getting settled into our rooms, we ate at the restaurant just downstairs - one of the more satisfying meals any of us had in a long while - unfortunately for me, my dinner like me too and opted to sit in my tummy and hang out for a bit longer than desired....

After dinner we had a bit of time so we made way to a nearby mall so Jake could start scoping out the camera selection. The shop we did find had both my camera (canon rebel XTI) and a slightly older model canon 350D. He didn't buy anything Friday night bc he wanted to think it over - I picked up a new pair of earphones for my ipod (I lost the comfy ear piece for one of the earphones a few weeks back, and it has not been quite so comfortable to listen to music since - hoping the cheap earphones I picked up will do the trick til I get home:)

After a bit of browsing and purchasing, we ran back to the hotel to change, and then made or way to a highly recommended club, FUGA...The atmosphere was lovely, the music mainly techno - which Jake simply loves...I am not a big fan of techno, but made the most of my time - danced anyway - and Joyce and I seem to be able to tear up any dance floor, anywhere, regardless of music. Since clubs close at 11:30pm in Karnataka, we were home before 12am ;) I was quite happy about that b/c I was pooped - and wanted to get a good nights sleep as I knew that Saturday would be very tiring indeed...

Joyce and I shared a double room, and were both fast asleep soon after we got home...When I woke this morning I felt a bit like a truck had run me over - but after a nice hot shower I was rearing and ready to go.

We spent a little too much time trying to find a certain breakfast spot in the city - and after two hours we threw in the towel - failed attempt...When I get really really hungry my blood sugar drops, I can't really think straight, I get pissy, and well just become an unpleasant human being...I know Jake and Joyce were quite hungry too - we were just about to settle for anything when we luckily happened upon a nice little cafe off the main road - just in the nick of time too b/c it was about ten til 11am and they stopped the buffet breakfast at 11. They were kind enough to let us dine - and dine we did - all of us ate like it was going to be our last breakfast. We were all quite happy, full, and energized by that buffet - we paid the bill and started walking the streets of Bangalore once more....Will spare all the details, but the three of us managed to accomplish all that each had set out to - took all day, alot of walking, alot of stopping into shops, but by the end we were all happy...

Jake and Joyce wanted to hang out in Bangalore a bit longer, and I simply wanted to make the three plus hour trek back to Mysore. So I left them to relax in the city that doesn't seem to relax, and grabbed a rickshaw to the bus station, and a bus to Mysore...Girish picked me up from the station and brought me home....Home sweet home....The first thing I did was turn on my hot water heater, unpack, and take a nice long shower - whenever I return from Bangalore I feel weighted down by five pounds of dirt, grim, and scum....So nice to feel free from that....

On a wee different note, I have pictures coming soon - this time of some innocent fun and dancing...Joyce took tons of pictures of our Thursday night out dancing at High Octane (this has somehow become a tradition for me and Joyce and Erin every single Thursday - Friday mornings are a bit rough sometimes bc we dance our bums off - but so worth it to hang out with the girls and and pictures from our 24 hours in Bangalore....So I hope to post some up for you guys tomorrow or Monday...

Well I wish everyone a fabulous day or evening (depending on where you are in the world ;) - I myself am off to la la land.....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Woke up in my new place - how glorious ;) Got to sleep an extra fifteen minutes today b/c I have a five minute walk now vs. my old fifteen minute walk...

This flat only has an Indian toliet - used to Indian toliets, and had one at Tina's but also had a western one...So now I must get used to using an Indian toliet for all my business ;)

Must admit I feel like a queen having the luxury of taking a proper shower each day - bucket baths really aren't all that bad, ReALLy; but they sure as heck don't come close to the kind of clean you feel using a proper shower head...How spoiled we Americans are...SPOILED ROTTEN!!!

I made my way to the shala - and must admist I really liked the long walk each morning - will have to take a few days to get used to this shortened version (only got to listen to one song on my i-pod ;(

When I arrived at 4:45am shala time I was shocked at how empty it was - it has been sparse at that time for a good week now, but it was seriously EMPTY...And it seemed to remain rather empty thoughout practice. May have gotten close to full by the time I finished - but not a 'normal' shala full with mats cramped together and a wait out the door - this type of full was one where all yogi's had plenty of room to either side of their mats...hmm...wonder if it will be like this til I leave - wouldn't complain if it were...

Practice was glorious - although the body has been rather stiff the last few mornings, it opened up rather nicely about mid-way through. Having no problem with Pincha Mayurasana now - going up or coming down...But Karandavasana, another story altogether...Wonder when I'll actually grasp the body balance needed to attain that asana. A good long while I'm sure. It's all good though - all things in life worth having are worth the effort...Backbends good as gold today - had plenty of time to work on them on my own before Saraswati came over and whipped my hands to my quads - she means business man....

Enjoyed not two but three conconuts today after practice - I know I'm a pig :) Then I made my way to the gym for a bit of cardio - hoped it would give me the extra energy I need for dance at 11am - but fear it didn't quite do the job today. I'm just about to head to Sindhu's now and I am pooped...

When I did get home ;) I made myself a rockin breakfast - big ole omelet with tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms - although I didn't have oil or butter it still worked ok - but scrubbing that pan later will be a nightmare ;( Serves me right for not making sure I got all necessary grocery items last night.

Wishing everyone a beautiful day - be it here in Mysore or elsewhere around the world!
Om Shanti

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I can truly say I am pooped...It's almost 10pm, way past my bedtime, and I am getting my first chance to sit down and blog today - at my new pad!!!

I had a rockin practice this morning - energy was great and body wasn't as stiff as its been the last few days. Yummy!

When I went outside for my daily coconut fix Reinaldo was there - felt like I hadn't seen him in forever...He leaves on Friday - couldn't believe three weeks has already passed so quickly. He asked me if I could do lunch with him tomorrow - 'for sure' - James from L.A. was conversing with us as well and offered to host lunch at his place. So it was settled, we meet at the shala a little after 1pm and I'll get to enjoy a farewell lunch with Reinaldo.

After my little converstaion with Reinaldo and James, I went home to finish packing, shower, eat...Girish arrived around 8:30am to help me shift to me new home ;) Didn't take long to move my things in his rickshaw - but took forever to unpack my stuff - I totally exaggerate - was finished by the time I had to head to my Odissi lesson - but seemed like forever b/c I wanted to make sure I put things in 'their' perfect spot - I know I'm such a dork ;)

Dance was good - had better - but good - think it had to do with the fact that I was already tired by the time I arrived, so it took all I had to make it through.

After dance I came home (to me new casa) and took my second shower of the day - but this time in my new bathroom - let me just tell you how pleasureable it was to take a proper shower, with a shower head and all - the hot water flowed down from above me head as though it was raining from the sky!!! Been over a month since I have enjoyed such a sensation - I was in heaven...No really!

I had Kanadda with Hema this evening, and it was all I could do to muster the energy to walk to her place. But, I must say once I actually got there I found a fifth wind - had yet another lovely lesson with her - continue to learn vocabulary and small small phrases. As I go about my days I realize words or phrases I really could use to communicate better - mainly with Rickshaw drivers...For instance, when I need to go someplace and said driver doesn't know where it is but I do - I tell him in English that I can show him (and yes ALWAYS a him)...Often the driver doesn't really understand what I'm saying - so tonight I asked Hema to tell me how to say that in Kanadda. We didn't get as much done tonight as we have been, in terms of vocab, but she taught me a lot more about the Indian culture and language in general - which I often times find more facinating than working on the language itself - seems to really help me put what I'm learning into context...

Girish met me at Loyal World after my Kanadda lesson and hung out with me as I shopped for groceries - although exhausted, I refused to end the day without getting some foodstuffs for my new place - I mean I simply gotta make my own breakfast tomorrow morning - hello! So I grabbed some things I knew I needed, but as my brain had opted to shut off by that point, I simply couldn't remember all the things I wanted to get - that is until I was on my way home - but of course! So I must return to the market tomorrow - with list in hand - to gather the remaining items. No worries though, have my eggs, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese for my omelet. Drat, just realized I don't have any oil or butter to cook with....hmmm....

I actually wore a skirt today ;) I know I can't believe it myself...I had four cute inexpensive skirts and tops made here in Mysore - but haven't really worn any of them because I just don't wear skirts. But I did today and I must say I loved it - was comfy, covered, and felt pretty ;) Hope to make a point to do it more often...

Other highlight of my day was Jake reserving our rooms in Banglaore - he and I are gonna travel to Bangalore on Friday and come back Saturday - he's been begging me to go to Bangalore with him for several weeks now so he can get a camera like mine - he wants me to go so I can help him pick out the best one, haggle with price, and I'm sure just keep him company. And I don't mind one bit....He scored a really cheap hotel in the center of the city - and while I do realize cheap means CHEAP - you get what you pay for - I am totally ok with a crappy little room for one night - have no desire to spend money in Banglaore...Will be sure to fill you in on the details ;) We plan to leave around 2pm Friday afternoon and come back sometime late Saturday - can't miss practice Sunday....

Well, off to bed - Krista needs a little beauty sleep....Om Shanti

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Been a busy day….Tired…Ready for bed…

Dance was great today – energy was good – flowing more gracefully in the movements – feel like I’m retaining all Sindhu is giving me - learning the seventh Chowka and Trebungs. And the highlight of my dance class was finding out that Sindhu is teaching me parts of the first ‘item’ or actual dance – she is sneaky – she started teaching me the ‘walk’ near the end of last week and slowly been adding pieces to it…Only today did she tell me she is actually teaching me the very first item – the same item all Odissi dancers learn first – really cool to be learning such a traditional dance – feels much like yoga practice in many ways.

I checked up on my products at both manufacturers – things are slow in coming, but I only expect as much…

Went to new abode to finalize plans and assure that I was going to move in tomorrow. All is set – can move stuff in the morning!!!

Enjoyed a nice stint at the gym today – was bounding of energy this afternoon, so it was nice to work it off.

Ended my day taking a lovely walk around the lake with my friend, Athul. Was fearful it would rain, but asked the gods to allow me to take a walk free from rainy weather – and my wish was granted ;)

I’ve spent the last thirty minutes packing…ugh…But almost everything is packed away, so I will simply have to call Girish in the morning and he’ll come help me switch my stuff from Tina’s to Ghetta’s. I’m really excited to be moving into a new place, but also quite sad to be leaving my old one. Change is good though right?

Today’s entry a bit bland– tired though…Will make more time for zee blog once I get settled into my new casa. Until tomorrow – Om Shanti

Sunday, September 16, 2007

For One More Day…A beautiful story…I simply couldn’t put the book down, until a moment ago when I read the last page. It was, for the most part, a sad story…but one with a great deal of meaning and one that really pulled at my heartstrings. A tale of a man who got one more day with his deceased mother – she appeared to him while he was in a sort of coma after trying to kill himself. There is a great deal of depth to this novella, and I highly recommend you pick up a copy and read it – especially if you have lost a parent to death or divorce, been through a divorce yourself, or somehow estranged yourself from someone close.

“It’s such a shame to waste time. We always think we have so much of it.”
- This is a truth that every single one of us is guilty of…Looking back now, I understand that I realized this truth at a young age - that there simply isn’t that much time... when my father died I understood that you or someone you love can be here one moment and gone the next…I think that is why I live my life the way I do – try to fill every day, every minute, every second to the rim…take on every challenge with lightening speed…I never want to look back at any point in my life with 'what if's', “What if I had done that…what if I had taken that chance…visited that place….” I'd rather live totally in the moment and experience as much as I can - while some people think I’m a little eccentric, reading this book has helped me put my worldview into a different perspective.

“I hope you never hear those words. Your mom. She died. They are different than other words. They are too big to fit in your ears. They belong to some strange, heavy, powerful language that pounds away at the side of your head, a wrecking ball coming at you again and again, until finally, the words crack a hole large enough to fit inside your brain. And in so doing they spilt you apart.”

- This passage made me cry…Cry for the father that I lost, and the mother I will lose one day. I resonated deeply with the words written – for that is how it felt when my mother told me my dad died. That Saturday afternoon, in February 1990, I remember not being able to grasp, to comprehend what she was saying – it didn’t make sense – I’d seen him just a few hours before, he had kissed my forehead as he walked up the stairs to the kitchen before disappearing again to his bedroom. When she sat my sisters and I down on the couch in the living room to tell us (and how she mustered the strength – to this day it astounds me) my world began to spin and when it eventually stopped, I felt a part of me die…There was nothing my poor mother could say or do that could bring him back, make things right again.

- As I’ve grown older I realize all that she had to endure after his death – the many hats she had to wear, the pain she had to face, the obstacles she had to overcome – and all on her own. She had to be a mother and a father…she was without any support from anyone…her parents were long gone, her only brother long gone…and my father’s parents, although alive then, were pretty much gone to us…

- All these years my mother has humbly lived in the shadows of my dead father…Who can live up to such a legacy in the mind of a little girl…With each passing year it has been harder and harder to hold on to the times I had with my dad, so it seems natural that only good memories remain…How could my mother possibly compete with a handful of good memories of my father, when she was the one left to deal with the difficult years – the grief, the pain, the sorrow, the dysfunction, the financial stress, the puberty, the growing pains, the everything! Over the years, as I have ‘grown up’ I’ve had this talk with my mom, expressed my gratitude towards her for everything – and apologized for a lot too.

- I still hold my father sooo dear, keep him on such a pedestal, feel him with me at all times. Maybe its death that does it – maybe its time, maybe its because he died when I was so young…I don’t think I’ll ever take him off that pedestal – don’t think I would want to…But, I want to be sure to make more time for my mother – I know that one day I’ll hear those words, “Your mom…she died…” I just pray I have a lot more time, far more than one more day.

- Mama, I love you from the bottom of my heart – I am so grateful for you, your strength, courage, patience, acceptance, love, determination, and grace. We’ve been through more than the average person should – but all the events in our lives have made us strong and truly appreciative of life – this moment – this day. I want to thank you – you are an amazing, incredible woman – a true inspiration – I LOVE YOU!
- Although I went to bed really early last night, 3:30am seemed to arrive too soon this morning. Once, however, I had my daily bucket bath, all was good ;) Practice was quite delicious – energy was good, pace of practice was good, and Saraswati’s voice was soothing…By the time we reached Shavasana I was so ready for it – wore myself out today ;)

- People have asked me here, why I always turn around to face the back of my mat during Shavasana – it’s out of respect for my teacher. Today was no exception, I do it during Mysore and led classes – and haven’t ever really paid attention to weather anyone else does or not – but after a recent conversation with another yogi about my ‘strange habit’ I was aware of it today – and I realized I was the only person in the shala who does/did…Wonder why others don’t – but don’t really care if they do or not – it is a very special part of my personal practice. Even at home, when I practice alone, I always turn around to face the back of my mat – and I teach all my students to do the same…Hmm

- When I left the shala I was pumped full of energy – so I opted to make way to Silver’s and do a bit of cardio – since no cardio machines were open when I arrived, I thought it would be fun to do some plyometrics for about twenty minutes while I waited - such a bad idea....realized after the fact that I will most definitely be feeling this tomorrow...Cardio felt fantastic as I jammed away to my tunes, got my blood pumping, and watched others workout. Couldn’t help but wonder what the Indians might be thinking, as I’m always the only foreigner working out there. Feel a bit like a spectacle in and of myself, but don’t let it bother me one bit – just curious is all – especially this morning when some of the younger boys there kept staring at me as if I were a freak show– hmm

- No dance today, no Kanadda today, no real obligations whatsoever. If the weather holds up I’ll make my way to the pool in a bit to read and relax in the sun. I thought last night about how much I try to make it to the pool while I’m here – couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that I live in the Sunshine state, have beaches all around me, and NEVER make it to the pool or the beach to lay out and get some sun – it’s totally because I work so much back home that I simply don’t have time to indulge in time with the sun gods, but still quite comical nonetheless to think that I have to come to India to lay out ;)

- Still reading The E Myth Revisited, but needed a break from business stuff last night and cracked into For One More Day by Mitch Albom – quite a lovely read, but then again all his titles are. Hoping to dig deeper into both texts today, as well as work on zee Kanadda – have a lot of goals with class this week and need to get more solid in much of the vocabulary.

- Speaking of For One More Day…I just finished reading a passage that hit me hard… “You can be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both. So you cling to the one you think you might lose.” When my father was alive, I was most certainly a daddy’s little girl, while both my sisters seemed more attached to our mama. Did I cling to my father when he was alive because I somehow knew, deep down, that I would lose him when I was eight? Now that is a profound concept to ponder over…

- Moving into my new place this week – on the 19th I believe…I’m really excited about my new pad, but am a little sad about leaving Tina’s – I love Tina, her kids, her husband, and her housekeeper. Her housekeeper is extremely lovely – she recently started making a point to say ‘good morning Krista’ everyday…And this morning, on the way home, I had grabbed some eggs, onions, and tomatoes so I could make myself breakfast as this is Tina’s day off – I came in and put my foodstuffs on the counter in the kitchen – then went to my room and took a nice long bucket bath. When I opened the bedroom door to make way to the kitchen to make my breakfast – she was standing there with a piping hot omelet – she had made my breakfast for me!!!! I simply couldn’t believe it, didn’t expect it, and was truly grateful – couldn’t tell her ‘thank you’ enough! Man, days like these make me sort of wish I’d not opted to switch my living accommodations. But I know it is a good idea because I’ll be here another two months – here I just have a room and a bathroom – my new place will have a kitchen of my own, a much nicer bathroom, bedroom, living area, and internet – it’ll be good.

- Hoping to make the most of this relaxing day, as the rest of the week will be busy, busy, busy as usual – sometimes I get antsy when I don’t have a jam packed schedule, but gonna really make a point to enjoy the slow pace of this Sunday – know I’ll wish for a bit more free time tomorrow when there simply won’t be ANY.

- Sending love, joy, and happiness to all my peeps back home ;) I think of all of you often and hope you are well – miss you very much…Can’t wait to get back to teaching – looking forward to putting what I’m learning to use and looking forward to seeing my students, my clients, my friends, my co-workers, and my loved ones…May you all be well and content!

Friday, September 14, 2007

After enjoying a relaxing breakfast with Jake, Joyce, and Petra I accompanied Jake to his flat so we could quiz each other – I quizzed him on his Hindi and him on my Kanadda. I found it MOST helpful and we do plan to get together to work on our respective languages a few times per week as it makes a big difference to have someone there to work on your vocabulary. When he left for his Hindi lesson I headed to Anu’s for about an hour to do emails and whatnot. While I was there it started raining – a theme that has remained all day and into this evening – so it has turned out to be a very wet Friday in Mysore – it’s ok though b/c it sort of suited my mood today. Ganesh was kind enough to let me borrow and umbrella – which I gratefully accepted as I made my way back to Tina’s. Spent about an hour reading, took a brief nap, and then I met Erin at the coconut stand so she could walk with me to my dance lesson at 4:30pm.

She came with me today to see what it is I do, meet and talk to Sindhu and see if she’d like to start lessons with her. I knew she would as I know how much she enjoys dancing – she will begin working with Sindhu on Monday – five days per week like me – she’s committed herself to two weeks but I’ve told her she’ll be totally hooked by then!

I had the best dance lesson thus far today – always like the afternoons better but they are rare b/c it’s easier for her to meet in the morning due to her kids being in daycare vs. them being at home in the afternoon. But my body and energy respond better to afternoon classes – so while they are rare I really enjoy them when I can! After the lesson, Erin and I spent about thirty minutes chatting with Sindhu and her husband Kiran. Sindhu also enjoys painting and she showed us some of her work – it was quite beautiful – I absolutely love the abstract piece she is working on now – told her as much and planted a seed of thought that if she may want to sell that piece I’d be very interested. She told me she actually started that particular piece the first day we started working together. Well then…if she’s willing to sell it I simply have to have it ;)
Oh my….zee body….zee poor achy body…Lots of intense dancing sure does a number on my legs – every single inch of them…

Didn’t get a whole heap of sleep last night – body’s so used to waking up at 3:30am now that when I don’t it does anyway…Up and down, up and down since about 4am. Around 6:30am I finally gave in, gave up, and got up. Cleaned my room, organized my photos, did some reading and writing – just about everything but leave my room ;) And truth be told, I don’t plan to anytime soon…I scheduled my Odissi lesson for 4:30pm this afternoon as I knew my body would be worn down physically after a lot of dancing last night – nothing is open today because of the Ganesh festival so I can’t take care of any errands - so I’ve literally got a whole day to kill. I want to lay by the pool, but no enough to motivate me to actually do so…I may just spend the next few hours in the delightful company of myself ;) and make my way to Anu’s at some point before Odissi…Hum….Decisions…Only thing that will actually motivate me to soon exit zee room is this fierce, growing growl in my tummy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A recap of Thursday – in a list of ‘things done’

Odissi lesson – There is a certain way to walk in all Classical Indian dances…Sindhu says you can tell which kind of Classical dance it is just by the way a dancer enters the stage…Today, I learned the Odissi walk (two of the three plus ‘speeds’ of walking.) Quite interesting – and very enjoyable. Recap of all other steps we’ve learned, making continuous progress!

Barthi’s Shop – Girish took me to Barthi’s shop to see the progress of the bags, coming along…as usual production isn’t as far along as estimated (but then again I’ve come to know this and do not expect things to be completed when quoted – so it’s allllll good.) Bags look great! Gave tailor another material to make a sample bag – should be ready in a day or two.

City – Decided I’ve had enough of my Croc’s – desperately need a pair of flops…Stopped into a Bata Shoe shop on Deveraja (sp) road pick up a pair. Spent about twenty minutes trying on different sandals – the little shoe salesman was really working it – kept giving me new pairs to try – didn’t mind – enjoyed being pampered in a shoe store – when does that EVER happen in America! Only problem is that I have big wide feet – and most Indian women don’t – so many of the shoes I tried were too narrow for my ‘broad foot’ (as the salesman’s so eloquently put it) – After all was said and done I walked out of the store with a black and a brown pair of sandals…Happy with my purchases, stoked that they fit, feel good, and look good…Now I can trod through Mysore in style ;)

Finished my Book – Just read the last few pages of ‘This Day in the Life’ – was a lovely read. I always love finishing a book – while it’s a little sad to turn those last few pages, it’s also quite exciting to know that you will soon be opening a new one. Next book, which I barely cracked into today, is a loaner from John – he has been kind enough to loan me ‘The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It’ – I am really stoked to read the book – think it will teach me a lot about a lot that I don’t know about business – but then again that wouldn’t be difficult! I’ll be sure to fill you in ;)

AYRI – needed to pay my second month of shala fees today…

Kanadda lesson – Unfortunately it was raining when I left the shala – so I grabbed a rickshaw and made my way to meet Hema for my fourth Kanadda lesson. Hema was delightful as always, and we got through a lot of material today while enjoying a tasty chai (yummy!) She taught me how to say the time - idhu gantha (5 o'clock), onedhu vara (1:30)...Various tidbits today - like how to say male and female friend, lady, gentleman, boy, girl, Pronouns, some clothing, lots of verbs (walk, swim, jump, sleep, eat, run, sing, dance, write, read, drive - you get the picture...) Of all the things we covered today - my absolute favorite was the descriptives of food (sweet - see; spicy - kara; sour - houli; bitter - kai; and my absolute FAVORITE - salty - upupu (which sounds like oooo poo poo)

Shower – desperately needed a shower before dinner and dancing – the itinerary for this evening…Had just enough time to become a clean and presentable version of myself before I met Jake and Joyce for dinner.

Kings Court
– We opted for dinner at a new favorite spot of mine – King’s Court Hotel and Restaurant…The Rashinkars had introduced this jewel to me last year – but I only recently revisited. Directly across the street from the Metropole, the little hot spot is on a main road but never busy when we go as it’s more a local spot than a yogi spot and the locals don’t usually come to dinner til way after we finish. The atmosphere is splendid, service terrific, wait minimal, prices decent, and food good! All around, I give it three stars.

High Octane – the main event of the evening – ‘Dance, dance, dance’…Jake, Joyce and I arrived at High Octane sometime after 9pm. Several people were already there. A lot of other well known faces arrived throughout the night, but Erin, Joyce and I were way to busy on the dance floor! Proud to say we closed the club ;) but com’on, clubs here close at 11:30pm at night…It’s all good, we managed to get a good 2 ½ hours of booty shakin in, which was just about perfect because we were all tired and really sweaty. Nights like these remind me of the ‘good ole day’s’ with my girlfriends back home – well sort of ;) It’s been a long time since the whole group of my friends back home got together and danced the night away in Orlando – definitely need to put that on my list of things to do when I get home!
Utterly amazed at how this practice creates such intense body awareness! Yesterday I felt like a total waste of space – I was utterly wiped out - exhausted, no energy, hungry, irritable, and did I mention exhausted! I knew my ladies holiday was due anytime, and sort of figured the complete and total fatigue was due to the approaching menstruation…My lack of energy was so extreme I had to cancel my dance lesson and my Kanadda lesson…Spent most of my day sleeping and eating – that was the other kicker – I could not satiate my appetite…

Woke up this morning and all was ok – I definitely felt better and had more energy than yesterday. I actually had a rockin practice – got Pincha Mayurasana on the first go (I was so excited I couldn’t help but smile through up dog and down dog) – is my fear of lifting up gone? Maybe…When I got back in position to start on Karandavasana I looked up and noticed Saraswati looking at me with a big grin on her face – she must have seen me do Pincha Mayurasana – made me happy to see her smile at me! She came over to help with Karandavasana – I go up in Pincha alone and while I was there she told me to try one time on my own – her attempt to talk to me while inverted on my forearms threw me off a bit – but I gave it a go anyway (knowing, though, that I’d land hard on zee bum b/c I have a long way to go before I can bring my lotus legs down to my triceps with any sort of grace.) And lo and behold, after getting into lotus, I tried to bring myself down – and down I went – smack into the floor…I looked up at Saraswati and started to laugh – she laughed with me ;) On my second attempt she was there to help – she wiped my legs into lotus for me – the grabbed my hips and away we went – while I was in the asana (with her help of course) I was trying to figure out how in the world I find my balance point here – and before I could spend another breath contemplating it – she wiped my hips up into the air – I swung my legs up and then went down to Chaturanga…I thanked her graciously as she started to walk away. I spent another few minutes working on Karandavasana – usually have pretty good stamina to give it a go a number of times. No problems with Pincha Mayuranasa – yeah!!!! Managed to get myself into lotus and try to descend at least three more times – but all without success. It’s all good – practice, practice, practice…all is coming! I happily got down to the floor for backbends.

This is when I knew ‘ladies holiday’ was about to start. In backbends I felt odd sensations in my lower back all the way down to my hips…Like there was just no space there when there usually is…A bit painful actually. I did my usual dropbacks and then spent a few minutes working to grab my ankles – and I did several times – but each time I grabbed my ankles I simply couldn’t straighten my legs like I usually can. I swear I actually felt my internal organs while holding my ankles – felt that they were very swollen! “Hum…that is amazing,” I thought to myself as I was holding onto zee ankles. Never been this aware of my body before…I grabbed my own ankles at least four times today b/c I wanted to open up as much as possible before Saraswati got her hands on me – but the work I did didn’t open me up – seemed to make me feel tighter with each attempt. “Ugh, it’s really gonna be uncomfortable when Saraswati comes over to help me! How can I tell her I can feel my own swollen uterus and don’t think I should grab so deeply today?” In mid thought she came over to me – I opted to just do it! Down and up, down and up, down and up – and then boom…She placed my right hand to my knee, then my left. “Maybe she does sense something as she took me straight to my quads yesterday…Or not!” In the next instant she pulled my right hand up to the quad, then the left – I held on for dear life as I tried with all my might to strongly ground my feet and straighten my legs – but it just wasn’t happening today. I stood up – sat down – and got a soft squishy push in forward bend. When I looked up to the stage I frowned – all three spots were taken…Just a few minutes earlier and I would’ve gotten to finish on stage. “Oh well, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna to the frigid ladies locker room and close out – that’s what!”

When I stood up I felt so old – zee body was yelling at me, Did a gentle finishing sequence as I knew when I got into headstand that ‘my friend’ had most definitely just arrived to spend a few days with me. I was really astounded that I sensed it might arrive during or after practice – and thank goodness I’d been smart enough listen to my intuition and grabbed the necessary toiletries this morning as I left the house. After Shavasana I welcomed ‘ladies holiday’ and smiled at HIS impeccable timing – there is no class tomorrow because of the Ganesh festival, and Saturday is day of rest anyway – so I’ll actually be taking two full days in honor of ‘His almighty pain in my ass’ ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This is the infamous little 'Monkey Boy' that lives in Mysore. You can always find him hanging out somewhere in the city. He has grown quite a bit since I saw him last year - He is quiet, polite, and simply adorable. If you see him in Mysore, please do give him a few rupees!
Do you ever try to convince yourself to go to sleep? – As if your sane voice of reason can make that ‘other’ one shut the up! Such inner dialogue kept me up til after 11pm last night – way past Krista’s bedtime on a ‘school night.’ I tried to ‘put myself to bed’ around 9:30pm – but Krista wanted water, Krista wanted to use the potty, Krista wanted to mentally recap the day, and think about the one to follow… This was followed by Plan B – to fall asleep listening to music – fat chance – all I could do was listen intently to the words of each song – and the mellow beat didn’t seem to be mellowing me out… Plan C – read for a few minutes and try to lay down again… Somehow – Plan C ended up working – but only after about twenty minutes of reading, another trip to the potty, and another glass of water… Finally it seemed I’d be making my way to la la land ;) Children can be so difficult sometimes ;)’

Awoke to a beep, beep, beep sound coming from my alarm… “Dah…it’s already 3:30am! How has the night passed so quickly?” I hauled myself from bed, made my bed, and every so gingerly headed to the bathroom for zee lovely bucket bath. Ah, the life! Again this morning, I stopped in the street near a lovely little park on my way to practice. I looked up to the sky to find the brightest star – and it certainly didn’t take much time today because there were so many clouds trying to mask the infinite beauty of the sky above. Yet there were three visible clouds – and one was far brighter than the rest. I smiled and silently spoke to my daddy – long gone but always with me: “Good morning daddy, I love you! I miss you but can feel your presence here with me…Thank you for always watching over me, Kimberly, Kama, Mama, and the boys! Thank you for continually helping me find my way – for being my guiding light whenever it’s dark and lonely.” I put my hands together in prayer and kissed my fingertips before reaching my hands toward the sky – I believe my daddy can somehow reach down from heaven and grab the kiss I just sent to him.

As I stood at the top of my mat giving thanks for all that I have been blessed with, sending love and prayer to all those I hold dear, and working to center my body and my breath, I took an extra moment to ask for a deep inner focus during practice - to seek a little more guidance staying connected to each moment. It is true, if you ask the universe for what you want, you shall receive – I had a phenomenal practice – with all the bells and whistles – super strong bandhas, deep focused ujjayi breath, fierce drishi, an open body, and a couple extra ounces of determination today! Sweet!!!

I maintained a gorgeous moving meditation – until I got to Pincha Mayurasana. Behooves me how one can have such difficulty coming into a posture that didn’t used to be so fearful – I know that all I need to do is kick up a little bit higher and I’ll be balanced – but it’s something that is going to require some more time on the mat at the shala…Saraswati watched me as I attemped it by myself a few times – then she came over and stood over me – with her there I always come up b/c she is my wall – she stood there for about three breaths until she knew I was totally balanced – then she stepped away and watched me – I took five more breaths on my own and then descented into Chaturanga. Once Saraswati comes over to help me – the next attempt always seems successful – as was the case today. I got in position to do it again, this time totally on my own – and it was a piece of cake….Go figure…But Saraswati watched me the whole time – and when I came into updog she was smiling and told me to do Karandavasana today (She knows I can physically do Pinca Mayurasa no problem – she also knows it some fear inside I need to overcome – think that is why she is moving me forward.) Excited and nervous, I said, “OK!” I got into forearm balance – then she held my hips as I got into lotus, she swung my hips down and got my knees to rest of my triceps – she held me there for five breaths and then swung my hips back into the air – I released the lotus and balanced again in forearm balance – she let go of me and I jumped down into Chaturanga. ROCKIN…That is one STRONG woman…My bum is NOT light…She is my hero ;)

I happily lowered myself to the floor to begin backbends – and boy did I have some major energy, courage, and determination built up by then. Did some great work with backbends – usual three, stand up, drop back, stand up, drop back, then grab the ankles…Today I pushed myself harder – I grabbed higher at the calve – held longer and worked harder to straighten my legs more – then stood up. I proceeded to do this three more times before Saraswati came over to help me (one thing I really do LOVE about her – she allows me plenty of time to work on my backbends as much as I want – she sees the whole room and knows those people who want that extra time – she rocks!) And while she rocks – she is freaking demanding too! Today, she put my hands straightaway to my knees (expect this from now on) – but then she moved my hands above my knees – I was hold my own quadracip! When I felt my quad in the palm of my hand I couldn’t help but think, “What the ?>:”*&#$%^&*&^?>?>” After the initial shock – I held as strongly as I could, straightened my legs, and just kept breathing. Six or seven breaths later I gently peeled myself up to a standing position. As I did finished sequence on stage, I thought, “Wow, what an intense practice!”

Monday, September 10, 2007

Please visit World Trade Center Memorial today!

This museum is an amazing tribute to Americans who were lost; to Americans who were heros; and to Americans who gave their time to help. What you see here will touch your heart.

My latest book, “This Day in the Life,” is a delightful compilation of woman’s diaries from across America…Some are funny, some sad, others inspirational…I just read about one woman who is a diversity education program coordinator from Cincinnati – In one paragraph where she explained a bit about her job, I laughed so hard I almost wet myself – felt it was worth sharing!

I hold an information session for parents whose children are going to be freshmen in the fall. Parents are so strange. I can’t believe they expect us to police their children while they are in college. “My child is allowed to have overnight guests OF THE OPPOSITE SEX?” asks an Indian father. He reminds me of my dad, overprotective and perpetually concerned. “Yes, sir,” I say. “They are eighteen.” He huffs and puffs for several minutes. It’s the opposite sex part that bothers him. I joke to myself about how my parents were so concerned about boys, while I was having sex with other girls.
There are 1.2 Billion people living in India. So many people in this country – and only 20% live in the cities – that means 80% of 1.2 Billion people are living in rural areas…

The population in India is quickly reaching that of China…India and China account for 2.5 Billion of the worlds humans…(say it with me – 2.5 BILLION…my mind honestly cannot grasp such a figure – how about you?)

In 2002, there were 100,000 cell phone users in India – today there are over 50 million (more than the U.S.) Craziness…And, if one source is correct, 700,000 are added daily!
I had another lovely dance lesson with Sindhu today. She taught me the sixth Trebang, and we went over the first five trebangs and five chowkas. I am really getting the hang of Odissi – loving every second of it – and really love Sindhu!

And Kanadda…OMG I can’t get enough! Hema and I met from 6:45-8:15pm – and it seemed like we only spent five minutes together. She taught me tons more vocabulary tonight – but what I really love about her is that she spends a lot of time teaching me about the culture, while at the same time, teaching me the language…

The first bit of class was review of the vegetables, fruits, and animals

Then she taught me the months of the year:
January – Chaitra
February – Vyashaka
March – Marga
April – Pushya
May – Makha
June – Jashata
July – Aashada
August – Shravana
September – Badrapada
October – Ashvija
November – Karthika
December – Falghanu

The Planets:
Mercury – Mangala
Venus – Buddha
Earth – Buhoomi
Mars – Guru
Jupiter – Shukru
Uranus – Uranus
Saturn – Shanni
Neptune – Neptune
Pluto – Pluto

One – Onedhu
Two – Yaradu
Three – Mooroo
Four – Nalaku
Five – Idhu
Six – Aru
Seven – Yolou
Eight – Yentu
Nine – Wambathu
Ten – Hatu
Eleven – Hanandhu
Twelve – Hanaerdhu
Thirteen – Hadimoru
Fourteen – Hadinalaku
Fifteen – Hadinaydhu
Sixteen – Hadinaru
Seventeen – Hadinalou
Eighteen – Hadininthu
Nineteen – Hatombathu

Twenty – Epathu
Thirty – Movathu
Forty – Nalvathu
Fifty – Ivathu
Sixty – Arvathu
Seventy – Yapathu
Eighty – Yambathu
Ninety – Tombathu
One hundred – Nuru

To make 21-29, 31-39 etc…You simply add the number (say twenty and one – Epathuonedhu – sounds a little different when they are connected but really simple nonetheless.)

And we ended our lesson with more information about food. We talked about some spices, their Kanadda name, what they are used for, if they have medicinal value – what – and how to create the concoction…She even had her helper bring out almost all the spices so I could see, touch and taste them!! I love Hema! She has invited me to come have lunch with her one day – I told her I’d love to but would like to actually watch her make the foods so I can see how she prepares things. She has even said she’d like to take me to the market before I leave so I can put my newly acquired knowledge of fruits, veggies, and spices to use! I am so stoked!!!

Powder – Pudi
Bhala – Dal
Rice – Akki
Ragi – Ragi
Chick pea (toor dal) – too gri bhala
Green gram (with husk) – hasru kalu
Green gram dal (without husk) – hasaru bhala

- Dal creates gas – so don’t eat too much and when you make it you should add asatafotidi (a pinch of it in its powder form) to help counterbalance the gas created by dal.
- There are MANY types of beans in India – the season should dictate which beans you eat…some beans are cooling, some create heat etc...
- Each planet in the solar system has grains that correspond to it – so you should eat specific grains on specific days as well as specific seasons.
- In Hindi religion people don’t eat any meat on Mondays (b/c of respect for Shiva), Thursdays (b/c of respect for Raga Vendra and Sai Baba), and Saturdays b/c of Lord Vishnu (Saturday most important day to refrain from eating meat.)
- Chili Powder – Achakardha Pudi (it doesn’t really have any taste per se – it is meant to help secrete juices and saliva and also flavor other foods you eat with it)
- Coriander powder – kotmuri pudi (medicinal value – helps relieve menstrual pain)
- Turmeric – Haldi (it works as an anti-septic – all foods are washed with Turmeric before cooking or serving)
- Cumin – jeera – jeeraga (it removes all toxins in the body – also aids in digestion)
- Black pepper corn – good for colds (mix one glass of water with three pepper corns, three garlic cloves, and three curry leaves – boil together and drink slowly)
- Ajwain – Omkalu (it removes gas from the body – you can boil the tiny seeds in water and drink – or you can slowly chew it on its own – also used with cooking as it has a nice flavor and helps with digestion)
- Fennel – Somfu (also good for digestion – this is often what is given after dinner at restaurants here in India – often times coated with sugar for taste – but really has a hint of sweetness on its own!)
- Jaggary (a sweet taste like sugar but much better for you – it aids in digestion and also retains all its nutrients when added to cooking.)

I asked Hema before leaving if it would be possible to meet three days this week instead of two. She said that was fine! So I’ll be meeting with her on Wednesday and Thursday this week (and possibly move up to four or five days next week!) – Told you I just can’t get enough…

Today has been a fantastic day – yes yes I say that almost daily – but its true – I am loving every second of my time in Mysore…I am so extremely grateful – words cannot express…I feel like the luckiest person on earth – doing all the things I want to do – having the time and ability to do them – blessed to have the most amazing teachers – blessed to continue to grow as a person, continue to open my mind to new heights; continue to respect, appreciate, and value each and every day, each and every moment – and isn’t that what its all really about? To live in this moment – and to be content? For the first time in my life I can truly say – I GET IT…
After every storm comes a rainbow! Practice this morning seemed glorious after the hellaciously difficult one yesterday. I enjoyed a lovely walk to the shala – still very dark outside – I could see the stars in the sky…It has been a habit of mine, since I was a little girl, to pick out the brightest star in the sky – I imagine it to be my daddy! So this morning, on the way to practice, I stopped in the middle of the quiet road and stared up to the sky for a few minutes – smiling inside and out – I spent a few minutes looking for my father. When I found him I sent him kisses. Felt wonderful to connect with him – haven’t in a while. It set the tone for a wonderful practice – when I got to my mat I spent several minutes breathing – and dedicating my practice to all the people I hold dear – of course my father was on the top of my list! And as often happens, I could feel his presence with me this morning through practice – there is no better feeling in this entire world ;) I silently chanted my opening mantra – and then was off on a beautiful flowing moving meditation. Better than it has been in a long while – I was so deep in the midst of the moment – my drishti was super strong, breath and bandhas controlled, body loose and light…

Was quite lovely to do the opening mantra with Saraswati this morning – and to have her assist me in every asana that I need help with – Supta Vajrasana, Pincha Mayurasana, and Drop backs. As I was feeling good physically, I spent a good deal of time with backbends today – it’s been a while since I – 1) had time to work on grabbing my ankles on my own, and 2) felt strong enough to…Today I did – back was a little tight but still able to do some good work. When Saraswati came over to assist me – she didn’t mess around. As she helped me grab my hands to my legs she put them straightaway on my knees (man is she intense – Sharath usually places them a bit lower and then moves them up after a breath or two.) After she gave me a nice adjustment in forward bend, I grabbed my mat, my towel, my tissues, and myself – and headed to the stage to close. I noticed it was 6:05am when I headed to the stage – figure it takes about ten minutes to do closing – and when I came to from Shavasana it was 6:30am…Wow, a nice 15 minute Shavasana – rockin ;)

I gave my respects to Saraswati – and I can’t begin to tell you how good it makes me feel inside every morning to do so – as she always looks over and gets a huge grin on her face when I put my hands together and give her a little bow to thank her for her presence, grace, love, and devotion. Love that woman!

Went outside and saw Sharath dressed and ready to go somewhere – he smiled and said, “good morning!” I smiled back and told him good morning – he said he liked my yoga mat bag – it’s a backpack bag that I picked up from Annanda – fellow yogi who created a rockin back sack for your mat – not something I’d really use so much in the states – but when you have a fifteen plus minute walk to and from the shala – lets just say it makes life much easier. I smiled to Sharath and said, “thank you!” Then I walked out of the gate and realized that our coconut guy wasn’t there – nor was his truck full of coconuts…Hmmm….Odd…Never come out of the shala – ever – and he wasn’t there ready to chop open a coconut with his machete. Hope he’s ok. Since I simply couldn’t break my daily ritual of having at least two tasty and hydrating coconuts (my type A personality shining through) I walked up the road to the infamous ‘coconut stand’ to get my fix. As I walked up I saw several other yogis’s doing the same – ha! Enjoyed two coconuts, had a chat with Erin – and then opted to head to the gym…I know I’m a bit odd – but don’t we all know this by now? I just jumped on the eclipse machine and did thirty minutes of cardio – as I knew it’d give me a much needed burst of energy – and I have a very long day ahead of me…And it did the trick – first ten minutes were a bit rough – but the last twenty were rockin – as was I – rockin to some good tunes on my I-pod. That done I headed back to Tina’s for my second shower of the day.

Perfect timing! By the time I showered and dressed – it was 8am – time for breakfast!
My appetite seemed insatiable this morning – luckily a bowl of oatmeal, four egg whites, and a fruit salad did the trick! I also enjoyed the delightful company of Jake, Erin, Elise, Petra, John, Lisa, and some other nice yogi’s. It’s almost time to head to my Odissi lesson – and feeling full of energy – stoked b/c some mornings zee body isn’t quite ready for dance at 11am. Really attribute it to the cardio after practice – maybe I’ll try it a few more times and see if I get the same result!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

After my nap, I went to a little veggie stand to buy some eggs, tomatoes, and onions. Then I came home and made a mean veggie omelet – which I ate with great pleasure. I spent a good hour or more reading my latest book – then opted to make way to the Southern Star to continue reading in the sun! Yes, the sun was shining beautifully today – hot as all get out. When I got to the pool it was nice and quiet – as I’d hoped it would be – today has been a ‘Krista’ day – I’ve enjoyed the solitude – yearned for it actually. I spent 2 ½ glorious hours by the pool, adding to my newly acquired tan. Around 1pm several other yogis arrived and gathered around one another – I’ve seen these people at the shala – but haven’t the slightest idea their names – and kept it that way as ‘Krista’ day didn’t include meeting new people ;) By 2:15pm I had had enough of the sun – could’ve stayed longer, but my internal thermometer was reaching an all time high – “time to get out of the sun!” I got dressed and happily made my way to the main road to grab a rickshaw.

I immediately grabbed one – told him to please take me to Gokulam and asked that he use the meter – he said, “30 rupees Madame!” I said, “No, please use the meter!” He told me his meter wasn’t working – and I realized it wasn’t – I also realized I’d paid 40 rupees on the way here. So I said ok and hoped in. The driver was young, and quite pleasant – we spoke a little on the way home – broke my “Krista day doesn’t include meeting new people rule!” His name is Santhosh and he is 23. He asked me my name, my age, where I’m from, etc…I was impressed by his English. As we approached contour road I asked if he minded stopping at the coconut stand for two minutes so I could enjoy a coconut – he didn’t mind at all – I hoped outta the rickshaw and delighted in a very hydrating, delicious coconut. That finished I hoped back into the rickshaw and he took me to Tina’s. He told me I could call him if I ever wanted to go into the city or anything. That was how I met Girish last year – I thought he was a good driver and we exchanged numbers – the rest is history as he was and now is my primary form of transportation here in Mysore. I asked Santhosh if he had a cell phone – he did – so I told him to give me his number and I’d call him if/when I needed his services. For some reason I felt a little like I was ‘cheating on Girish’ ;) but whatever…There have been a handful of times this year that Girish has not available – like today he is in Bangalore. So perhaps Santhosh’s assistance will be useful in the future. As I was getting out of the rickshaw I handed him 35 rupees – he tried to give me five back – I shook my head no – for him to keep the extra 5 rupees, thanked him and headed inside.

I came inside, hung up my bathing suit, changed clothes, grabbed my computer – and walked to Anu’s. Ganesh and Anu are out of town til tomorrow – but Ganesh told me I could use the wireless upstairs if I wanted. When I arrived no one else was there. I sat down and spent a little over an hour on the World Wide Web. How sweet it is to be able to stay connected to the rest of the world ;) While I was at Anu’s it began to downpour – I was very happy I was no longer at the pool, was happy I was at Anu’s under shelter and not walking, was happy the internet was still working…and in the midst of all the happy thoughts I was having – I realized, “Shit! My laundry is drying at Tina’s!” Oh well – one unhappy and three happys – not too shabby. Hunger began to engulf my belly and my brain – as soon as the rains stopped I packed up and headed back home.

Just finished me dinner – yeah! I plan to spend the rest of my evening reading and writing – so sweet to have the time to indulge in my passions.
Heavy, sooo heavy…That is the overwhelming feeling that preoccupied my thoughts as my alarm went off this morning. “Man, I really could sleep in today!” Despite the conversation – or attempted persuasion of the ‘other’ voice in my head – I pulled the covers from my body and lifted myself to a seated position – where I stayed for at least three minutes. I was bewildered by the feeling of stiffness, tiredness, and heaviness in my body and my mind. “What is this,” I thought to myself. I made my way to the bathroom for my morning bucket bath – which helped a little – but not enough. I continued to feel dazed as I got ready for practice, as I walked to practice, and as I practiced. Today was BY FAR the hardest practice I’ve had since I arrived in Mysore. Why? Dunno…My body was extremely stiff – thinking b/c of dance, lots of walking, and thirty plus minutes of peddling that darn swan boat yesterday. “Oh well – sometimes practice is like this!”

When I arrived at the shala there were a lot of yogis already there waiting for the gate to open. It opened really late today – around 4:55am…When I went inside I took my preferred primary led practice place in the room (spot on the far right wall way back closest to the office door). Went into the changing room to remove my long sleeve shirt, put my mat bag away, and empty my bladder before practice. As I was heading out the door I heard the opening mantra start without me… “Oh no…must hurry!” I was a bit surprised to see only Saraswati on stage – leading the chant and then the class – sort of assumed it would have been Guruji – but he was no where in sight. I was excited to experience a led class with Saraswati – never have before…Only hate that today, when Saraswati was teaching, my body didn’t want to be there - far and away my worst practice yet…In addition to the fact that my body was not cooperating, my mind was all other the place, my breath was choppy, still have a bit of a cough and stuffy/runny nose…Add to that the fact that I did something to my left forearm in Friday’s led class (the musculature near my bone is really sore – on Friday it really began to hurt doing jump backs, jumpthroughs, and Chaturanga’s – great!) – today it hurt even worse – really had to baby it – couldn’t jump back at all and jumping through was really painful….Oh man…don’t know what I did but don’t think it’s gonna go away anytime soon. Must baby it – must get a wrap to put on it – maybe need to see a doctor about it…So, needless to say, practice sucked…I vividly remember thinking of how I may be able to leave early – but of course I didn’t – but the pain in my arm was really overwhelming today….Ugh…When practice was over I was SO grateful…Grateful I did my practice despite the pain and stiffness, and soreness, and heaviness, and you get the picture – but also truly grateful my practice was now OVER! I went outside, enjoyed three hydrating coconuts, and very slowly walked home to Tina’s. Once I got there, unlocked my door, changed my clothes, and turned off the lights – I literally fell into my bed to nap for a bit and allow my body to ‘take rest!’

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A pretty leisurely day…Had a small breakfast at Tina’s, spent a bit of time with John, went to my dance class, headed to the city to see the progress of my bags and ship some items, came home and showered, and met up with Jake, Joyce, Mani, and Erin at coconut stand so we could head out to the lake nearby Chamundi hill.

The infamous coconut stand - yummy coconuts!

Joyce and Mani

Me, Joyce, and Erin

It was beautiful there – and we were in for a special treat – we got the opportunity to enjoy a boat ride – it was a swan boat that you maneuvered with your feet – Erin and I peddled for the first ten minutes, then Mani took Erin’s place and we finished the last twenty minutes. I quickly learned that peddling too fast causes water to come into the boat and hit the ‘drivers’ with water – needless to say my bum got soaked more than once – I couldn’t help it I was really excited to peddle the boat with my feet (and while I did peddle the entire time – no one else really cared to – so I wasn’t a ‘peddle’ hog or anything ;) The weather was lovely, and the view gorgeous. We all seemed to have a grand ole time at the lake today – got some great photos too! Afterwards Mani dropped the rest of us off at a Punjabi restaurant on Kalidasa road. I was Starving and impatient to get my food. Jake made fun of me and Joyce sympathized with me…I think I ate a bit too much, but hey, shit happens. I just got home – I am sitting on my bed regretting the last few bites of food I ingested – hope I don’t feel too heavy for practice tomorrow…Which is at 5am – Sharath informed us on Friday that there is only one class tomorrow – led primary at 5am L no more led second on Sundays. Can’t say I’m too upset about it – but after a few weeks of it – I got a little attached…I plan to hit the sack soon - hope to get good nights sleep.

Can you believe that is my hair? I couldn't...

I'm peddling baby!

Mani and I combing forces to stear the swan ;)

Manu, Joyce, Erin, and Jake

Yes, we are complete and total DORKS!

Me Bum...Told you it was SOAKED - thank Jake for this lovely photo opp.

Me Crocs! They Rock!

Beautiful eh!

I had to run down the stairs b/c the security guard was getting pissed - we'd stayed past closing time - opps...

I think i can fly ;)

Another candid shot of our dorkiness

Jake and Mani chillin...