Monday, June 30, 2008

Here's the Scoop:

There was no conference this Sunday and there will not be one next Sunday as Sharath is out of town - or as the locals say, "out of station." He will return on the 8th of July and so will conference :)

I went to Operation Shanti on Sunday to meet the kids there and chat with Tracy, one of the amazing individuals who makes this organization work! The children were truly precious and I look forward to working with them! I will be helping them make arts and crafts every Sunday - I'm uber stoked :)

I went to pay my shala fees yesterday and Saraswati asked me to come in at 5am...Not a problem with me, heck only an hour earlier than my usual time...And 5am has been my time every year I've come to Mysore...But it takes a moment to swallow and digest. As it is I get up at 4:45am each morning - now it'll be 3:45am...All good...

Not too much else to report at this moment....well I do FINALLY have a cylinder, so I cooked myself dinner last night :) made me soooo happy! And I have sheets for my bed, so now I'm just waiting on the table for the den and the cot for my bedroom and I'll be all set! I may even be getting a washing machine ;) I know oMG..... Well not sure yet but a friend of mine might be giving me their older semi automatic washing machine - which would ROCK my world! I cannot even begin to describe the pure joy that will flow into my veins if this works out - so please send out some good wishes for me ok!

I just got word that my dear friend Claudia Jones has put together a yoga retreat in Goa in February of 2009. If you are thinking about taking a nice yoga holiday next year consider going to Goa to learn yoga with Claudia!

The Yoga Retreat will be held in Ashvem, North Goa on arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of beach on this coast. The Yoga Gypsys Retreat Centre is situated in a spacious and shady palm grove which is quite literally on the beach. Its accommodations are in keeping with the beautiful, natural surroundings; there are both octagonal Zen style bamboo houses and Portuguese villa style cottages from which to choose. The lovingly tended three tier gardens are stocked with organic vegetables and a variety of medicinal, local and tropical flowering plants.

The Ashtanga Yoga/ Pranayama Programme
7 am – 8 am Pranayama and Meditation
8 am – 10 am Ashtanga Yoga Asana Class
10 am Breakfast Free Time
4 pm – 5 pm Restorative Asana Class
5 pm – 6 pm Pranayama and Meditation
7 pm Dinner Free Time

The retreat is open to all levels of fitness and abilities. Some experience of the Ashtanga Yoga practice would be helpful but is not essential.

The morning asana classes will focus on the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga, while the afternoon asana classes will be gentle and restorative to counter the morning practice.

The pranayama sessions over the course of the retreat will teach the preparations for pranayama practice and introduce students to each of the different pranayamas.

Meditation will be a part of the morning and evening sessions, allowing quiet time to focus within.

The Food
Dining is on site with breakfast and evening meal prepared fresh to our requirements. Breakfast usually consists of fresh juice and fruit salad, yoghurt, muesli, porridge, bread, preserves, plus a hot Indian accompaniment, bhaji. Local fruit and a mix of Indian nuts, seeds and raisins are available early in the morning for those who like a small bite before yoga along with hot water, lemon, ginger and honey. The evening meal consists of 2-3 courses of Indian/ Mediterranean fusion fare, mainly vegetarian, with occasional chicken and famous Goan speciality fish dishes, and fruity desserts.

With advance notice vegan diets and food intolerances can be taken into account.

Breakfast and dinner is included in the retreat price. Snacks available in between these times at the seaside bar include fresh juices, lassis (yoghurt fruit drinks) soups and salads from the garden and are at an additional charge.

Along Ashvem beach are several restaurants open for lunch and snacks.

The following therapies will be available during your stay outside of class times:

Indian Head Massage
Thai Yoga Massage

Please note that therapies are not included in the retreat cost and are offered at an additional charge.

Reiki Level One training is also available on the mid-retreat rest day, or can be arranged prior to or after the retreat. Again this is at an additional charge. Please contact Claudia for further information on therapies and Reiki training.

About Claudia
Claudia’s early interest in yoga began with the study of Integral Yoga and Sivananda Yoga and the teachings of its founders Sri Swami Satchidananda and Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati.

Since being introduced to the Ashtanga Yoga practice by a friend in 2005, Claudia has made its study and practice her main focus.

Claudia has spent the last two years in India studying yoga, pranayama and meditation. Her teachers include Sri. K Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga and the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, and his grandson Sharath, and more recently one of his senior students, Rolf Naujokat.

In 2007 Claudia completed her formal training in Thailand under the tutelage of Paul Dallaghan, also a senior student of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, where she received a Yoga Alliance recognised teaching qualification.

Her other teachers in the field of Ashtanga Yoga include Danny Paradise, John Scott, Miri and Gili Harouvi and Marci Naujokat.

The Pranayama approach Claudia follows is in the tradition of Sri O P Tiwari, head of the Kaivalyadhama Institute, Lonavla. She was introduced to this style by her teacher Paul Dallaghan, one of Tiwariji’s few senior students. This year she will be attending a one month long instruction in pranayama under the direct tutelage of Sri O P Tiwari, enabling her to pass on the teachings of this incredible lineage to her students.

During her time in India, Claudia has been able to deepen her focus in Vipassana meditation, attending courses in the style of S N Goenka and following her own self-practice.

Prior to her time in India, Claudia lived in Bournemouth, England where she founded the Bay Tree Holistic Health and Yoga Centre in 2001 which she ran for five years. During this time Claudia focused on her practice of complementary therapies and her teaching of the healing art of Reiki.

Claudia is currently teaching Ashtanga Yoga at her shala in Lesvos, Greece.

Getting There
The Yoga Gypsys Retreat Centre is based 90 minutes away from Goa’s Dabolim Airport. Transfer to the retreat centre by taxi is the easiest option. There is a pre-paid taxi stand as you exit the airport arrivals area. A taxi to Ashvem Beach should cost between 750-1000 rupees.

There are two main flight options: one is to take a charter flight direct to Goa, through a holiday company, the other is to take a scheduled flight to Mumbai and book a connecting flight to Goa. For budget internal flights try Spice Jet, Indigo and Air Deccan. Other options include Kingfisher Airlines, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air India

As Indian currency is not available outside of India, you will need to change some money at the airport on arrival or use the airport’s ATM machine. Please note that there is no ATM near the retreat centre but you will be able to change money/travellers cheques and use ATM’s in the local towns. The exchange rate last season fluctuated between 76-82 Indian rupees to 1 GBP.

Please note that a tourist visa is required to enter India. Visas are valid for 6 months from date of issue and cost around £30.

Vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis are recommended.

What to Bring
The weather in February is usually at its best with warm days and cool evenings. Please note that early mornings can be quite chilly so bring something warm to begin your practice in.

Yoga wear, yoga mat, swimwear, sunhat, sun cream, mosquito repellent.

You can buy pretty much everything you need locally, beach vendors sell clothing and sarongs and there are pharmacies and general stores in the local towns.

Exploring the Local Area
There will be plenty of time during the day to explore and enjoy the local beaches and to sample the local fare. There is information in each accommodation with suggestions for day trips and local places of interest. Taxis can be arranged to and from the retreat centre. There are local markets for shopaholics or for those who like to browse; Anjuna market, held weekly, offers goods from all over India and is ideal for souvenir shopping.

Please note that on the first day of the retreat we will meet at 4 pm, giving you plenty of time to arrive and get settled in.

On the fourth day the programme will be pranayama and meditation only from 7 am – 8 am, allowing you a rest day and free time to explore the area.

On the last day of the retreat we will finish our yoga programme at breakfast time, allowing you to spend a leisurely last day at the centre or to take an excursion.

Booking and Prices
The cost of the retreat including 10 night’s accommodation, breakfast and evening meals and full yoga programme is £770, inclusive of 10% luxury tax.

Single accommodations are available at an extra cost of £220 per 10 nights.

Extra night’s accommodation before and after the retreat are usually available with advance notice and are at an additional charge.

Please note a £200 non-refundable deposit is required upon booking to secure your place.

For all bookings and information please contact Claudia

Saturday, June 28, 2008

We Ashtangi's in the world are blessed souls - we have an amazing Guru.

If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hearafter - if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental, and spiritual happiness and our minds will flood toward the self.
- Yoga Mala K. Pattabhi Jois

I heard Guruji will be teaching tomorrows first led class again!

Friday, June 27, 2008

My dear friend Lynn is an extremely talented photographer. She and I had some fun in Mysore taking pictures.

You betcha, my gorgeous black yoga wear is the one, the only, LULULEMON! I am really bummed I don't have more lulu here in Mysore with me ;( Nicole - please send me some Lululemon clothing, I know you have a whole closet full ;)

Here's the Scoop on Friday:

Yesterday was a really jam packed, fun filled, uber interesting day! After practice I went to Tina's to have some breakfast and do my laundry. When I arrived it was obvious Tina could use an extra set of hands with breakfast so I started running food and taking orders for her. Ah it brought back memories of my high school and college days when I waited tables for a living. It was kinda fun doing it again ;)

Once I finished helping Tina, and doing my own laundry, I biked home to put the laundry out to dry, and then headed to my Embroidery class. I have started taking some arts and craft classes - beginning with Embroidery I will also do painting on several mediums, and a variety of other fun things;)

From there I met up with Mona and we went to the city where I finally got a cushion for my bike seat - couldn't beat the price, 40 rupees, but its only mildly beneficial. On our way home we grabbed some parcel, and came back to my place to eat. Then I took a shower and got ready for Kimberly Williams' birthday party at High Octane. It was really fun and extremely entertaining.

My friend Ashley was kind enough to pass these on to me - I am now passing them onto you! Enjoy :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I was up too late last night...I was hanging out chatting with Anu and Ganesh til after 10pm...And I didn't go straight away to bed once I got home...Very few hours of sleep...Woke up a bit unhappy to be waking up at all let alone 3:50am...I slowly walked to the shala wondering how todays practice would feel...I put down my mat in the back row, close by the ladies room...Sat down and waited for Saraswati to come out and begin practice...When I saw Guruji I smiled and thought, "Oh how wonderful, Guruji will chant our opening mantra today!" And he did...I assumed he'd sit down and I'd hear Saraswati's voice lead us off to the land of sun salutations, but he didn't...He led us in practice this morning! I was really surprised, and really grateful...I haven't been led by Guruji in a full practice since 2006. Last year he didn't lead any practices August through November, and none thus far this trip. Needless to say, regardless of my lack of sleep, I had a most amazing practice - thank you Guruji!
PS - In addition to the Internet, my mosquito net problem has been resolved, and I have my two newly made cushions for the floor in the den. I now only lack a table for the den, a frame for my bed, a cylinder for my kitchen, and sheets for my bed....Please say a little prayer that I might at least be able to cook for myself tomorrow! PLEASE!
Here's the Scoop on Krista's Ramblings....

So there was this package full of goodies…I shipped it to America via Indian government post last September…It was supposed to reach Orlando by early October…It never arrived…It completely disappeared. I have been back and forth with Rakhee since mid October about the whereabouts of said parcel…she has been back and forth with the post masters…It had completely disappeared. Today I got a phone call from Rakhee; the parcel has miraculously turned up in Mumbai! I was shocked that said parcel still exists; I had given up. It appears there were/are issues with customs, but it is not clear if it ever made it to America and then back to India, or if it has been sitting someplace in India since last September. Rakhee said she simply had to provide a detailed list of the contents of the parcel for customs, and then it could be shipped to its destination in America. Only problem there is that I don’t live at the mailing address any longer…She said she will try to change the address for me but fears the mail people out there in Mumbai may not send the parcel to a new address – so it may have to come back to me here in Mysore before we can ship it out again. She is to let me know the outcome tomorrow. The moral of the story, I just don’t know when my package is gonna arrive ;)
Had dance with Sindhu again today ;) I am still brushing up what I learned last year – really quite nice to be dancing with Sindhu again – it is such an enjoyable experience – one you must feel to understand. So some people have requested pictures of Odissi – I took tons last year so I’ll post some of 2007’s practice photos up for you to view – might take more this year if I do a performance (OMG what a scary thought!) Melissa, these pictures are for you!

The power goes out for a few hours each day between 6 and 7pm…It really isn’t a big deal…but sometimes the power goes out at the most inopportune times…like today…I was at the gym – I had just gotten up to a full fledged run on the treadmill when, all of a sudden, the power went out and the treadmill came to a complete stop nearly throwing me off the damn thing…one of the only times I get a bit irritated by the daily power outages here in Mysore…
I am now typing away in the comfort of my own house! That's right folks, I FINALLY have Internet in my house again ;) what a beautiful thing indeed! It isn't wireless but hey! I can't have wireless here b/c it is too far from the airtel Internet office where my connection comes from ?^&#!@()^??? yeah that one got me - but whatever - I have Internet! Besides, my wireless went kaput on me about four days back....One day I was at Anu's to check my email and my wireless decided it no longer wanted to detect wireless networks - just like that, "sorry Krista, I have decided to go on strike; what are you gonna do about it, huh?" Well SHIIIT...I can't my internal wireless card fixed here, so I'll have to wait til I get home to do that - but I was able to get my hands on an external wireless drive so that I can access wireless networks when I need to (coffee day, barista, anus, etc) - thank goodness....When Himesh hooked me up with this lovely little external wireless thingie this evening I thought, "HA, that's what I'm gonna do about your lazy bum going on strike! Take that Mr. internal wireless drive guy!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I started my dance classes back up on Monday. It was AWESOME! Both Sindhu and I were extremely surprised how much I remembered - I'm a little rusty but its all still there ;) Incredible! I'm hoping to meet with her each M, W, F - but this week only Monday and Thursday. Don't worry Melissa - I'll be filling you in on dance classes for sure! Right now it is just gonna be a week or so of 'unrusting' myself in Chokas and Trebungs, and the dance I learned last year. Well, I actually learned about 3/4 of a dance, so once I'm refreshed in what I've already learned we will start working on the rest of the dance. If I'm lucky, and learn fast enough, I could possibly learn at least part of another one!

Tuesday was Sharath's last day at the Shala until July 8th. He will be missed but it is still quite lovely to have Saraswati here to guide us all.

So Here's the Scoop on the House:
- Have my beds, and my curtains, my stove and fridge, my mosqito netting on windows, dishes, water, floor mats, cleaning supplies, and rope to hangdry my clothes. The mosquito netting isn't correct though and needs to be fixed...I am waiting for the cylinder for the stove so I can actually cook, waiting on my cushions for the den, sheets for my bed, table for the den, and the bedframe for zee bed. All in all I'd say, "not too shabby!" I am hoping that by Thursday I might be able to cook, check my emails while sitting on my new cushions, and sleep on my newly made bed sheets without getting torn up by mosquitos. We'll see!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sundays second series led practice was oh so yummy! I’m sure anything would have felt better than Fridays led primary practice but I must admit today was quite exceptional :) Nothing new in terms of asanas, still working away on Karandavasana, but my mind and my body were feeling healthy, light, and clear! Can’t ask for anything more than that.

The day became uber busy very quickly…I went home after practice to wash my clothes as I was running out of things to wear. For some reason I thought it would only take me a little time, maybe ten or fifteen minutes to complete this task. Oh how I’ve forgotten that hand washing your clothes can turn into an all day affair. I was scrubbing away without any concept of time when I heard my phone ring…It was Sindhu and I was late for breakfast! I felt as terrible as she was making breakfast for me and poor Sindhu sounded so hungry on the phone. I quickly finished what I was doing, threw on some clothes and was out the door.

Enjoyed a lovely few hours with one of my favorite women. We talked about traveling together soon for a few days - I do hope we will be able to. We also agreed upon my timings for this weeks dance classes – yeah baby finally starting back with dance….I’ll be meeting her at 4:00pm Monday and Wednesday this week. I plan to do three days per week but I’ll be traveling Thursday through Sunday so two days to start back sounds great to me ;)

On my way to meet Mona I stopped by ‘the curtain guy’ (not to confuse with the cable guy ;) ok ok I had to do it). To my delight he was ever so obliging to my dilemma (you know my inability to make a decision as to where to put which curtains in my new flat!) – I explained that I no longer like the blue ones at ALL and asked if it were possible to switch them out for a set of red ones. He was so kind – he took the blue ones back and he is ordering red ones for me – which will also be the color of the cushions they will make me this coming week! I thanked him profusely and happily made my way to the coconut stand to meet Mona. I thought, “that I what I call a SWEET outcome to my wee lil problem!”

Mona and I ran some errands in town…you know ordering sheets for my two new beds, towels, etc…when we made our way back to Gokulam she jumped out of the rickshaw to take a lil nap and I headed to Anu’s to check my email – but there was no electricity in Gokulam – therefore no internet… [I want everyone who has been so kind to email concerning over my absence on the net to know that it is merely due to the combination of constant power outages that occur during monsoon, and my lack of internet in my flat]…so I headed home to stuff my face with some food, followed by a quick thirty minute power nap, and finished off with a near sprint to the shala in order not to be late for conference. I had planned to sleep just 20 minutes (I know a Stupid idea right) but ended up drooling on myself for a little over thirty. This caused me to wake in a total daze, which caused me to stumble around my flat in a pathetic attempt to figure out where my keys, my brain, and my shoes were.

In any event, I made it to the shala just ten minutes tardy – and since it is not practice I didn’t receive a scolding from Sharath (thank goodness!) So I’m sure everyone is dying to know “what’s the scoop on conference?” So glad you asked ;)

Here is The Scoop on Conference:

Today was primarily focused on the physical aspects of the practice…

Sharath talked about how immensely important it is to have your bandhas and Vinyasa correct. He said many people come here to Mysore and know the postures, but they do not know the correct Vinyasa (i.e. when to inhale and when to exhale) throughout the practice.

He said it is very important to know the names of the asanas you are taking…Learn the names of the postures in the series in which you are working! I personally loved this one because often times people don’t bother learning the Sanskrit names of the asanas -

Padangusthasana – NO grabbing hands to waist when entering or exiting the posture – keep your hands by your side. I know this one was really hard for many of my own students to learn (it is very difficult to break a habit you have made)….Try this…Inhale with your arms by your side, jump your feet hip width apart, fold forward grab big toes looking up…Exhale fold forward into the asana. Just and inhale and an exhale – sweet and simple…Same when you exit…after your fifth exhale the Inhale lengthen and look forward, Exhale stand up with arms by your side (no extra breath here – don’t exhale hands to waist and then inhale to lift)….Practice it and you’ll break the old habit in no time – promise ;)

Breath: Inhale should be equal to exhale. The EXACT LENGTH of the breath is not important, but the breath and pace of the breath should always be equal. So don’t worry if you are breathing too fast or too slow – just be sure that whatever your pace your exhale matches the pace of your inhale. Breathing should ALWAYS be with sound – UJJAYI!!!

Once you master the primary series you should be able to do the practice (Sun Salutation A through Setu Bandasana) in an hour and five or hour and ten minutes.

In Marichyasanas – it doesn’t matter which hand grabs/binds – but it is best if the hand that wraps around the leg grabs the opposite wrist….I always say the wrapper is the grabber ;) get it J

No longer necessary to extend the arms when returning to Samasthitih – for example when finishing Prasarita Padottanasana D – once you lift up to stand you don’t need to extend your arms before returning to Samasthitih. Same with Parsvottanasana – after finishing the second side you can remove your hands from behind you and step to Samasthitih without extending your arms out to the side….Personally, it is gonna be EXTREMELY challenging to break from this habit…oh my goodness!!! I am like queen of extending my arms to my side before returning to Samasthitih. But it is part of the practice to help us learn detachment…

Someone asked Sharath, “When you are leading us and you have us hold Utpluthih for forty breaths, what are you thinking?” Sharath smiled real big and said, “I’m thinking you should do!” Sharath went on to explain, “To control the mind – Mula Bandha is the source. If you control Mula Bandha you can control the mind.” He explained that he has us work on Utpluthih so long because it will help us gain control of Mula bandhas, which is a vital aspect of this practice.

Another yoga student expressed concern over her inability to find Mula Bandha during asana practice. Sharath simply stated it is lower pelvic and anus control – he also stated it’s the same for men and women.

An older woman raised her hand and asked about the discomfort of a posture…She said she has been working on Kapotasana for ten years and it is still so difficult – still she feels physical pain and lots of emotional release every time she does this asana. Sharath said it will eventually become easier to practice Kapotasana – but every person is different. He talked about Karma here – “what karma we have done we have to suffer that…when bad things happen we must work through them.” We are human beings that come into this life with past karma. We must work though that karma. Yoga helps us to do that. Each of us is different – different in the karma we bring into this life, and different in how we must deal with our karma. If we speak only of asana practice, we all manifest our “WORK” differently. Some people hold our past and/or present karma in our hips, others the lower back, still others the neck, or shoulders, or feet, etc…When we do asana and we feel the physical and emotional pain in certain areas of the body, or in specific postures, we are facing this karma head on. It is the dedicated, persistent, daily practice that will help us rid ourselves of this karma. The simple act of coming to the mat and doing your practice is important – it is part of the process – but we must be open and humble enough to allow the changes to manifest. This means we must do more than simply ‘do’ yoga postures – we must CONCENTRATE on yoga when we are doing yoga. If we do asana but allow the mind to wonder our practice becomes spoiled and it is of no benefit – this is how one stays stagnant in the practice and sees no growth, no transformation inside or out….So you must do your daily asana practice – but it must be done with concentration, devotion, acceptance, and love!

A middle aged gentleman asked about Pranayama and when it should be performed. Sharath told us that we should begin Pranayama practice once we begin advanced postures, but that we are doing Pranayama in this practice – every breath we take is Ujjayi Pranayama.

There was a question about the proper way to do Padmasana – the right leg should ALWAYS come in first! The Right heel should press into the liver and spleen – for this can heal all liver and spleen problems. The hands – thumb and forefinger should always be STRAIGT – not curled! (Another shocker for me! I’ve never been taught to hold the mudra that way – well well practice, practice, practice….)

When someone raised their hand to ask about Handstands Sharath quickly and sternly said, “DON’T DO HANDSTANDS!” Sharath explains, “We don’t teach handstands until late in the 2nd series for a reason! – You need balance – You must be able to do Kapotasana and backbends correctly first before ever attempting handstands.” He went on to explain that a lot of students want to add fluff to the practice – he smiled when he said that many who can do handstands well can do very little else. If people do lots of handstands between postures they will very quickly tighten their shoulders excessively. You must find a balance from this practice – must work with handstands after you have completely opened the back.

In the final question of asana, a young girl asked Sharath how many times we should rock back and forth in Garbha Pindasana. He said we are to rock five times in five breaths. She explained that it takes her nine – was that ok. He said it can be done in five. With a smile he said that the posture means embryo in the womb, but we don’t need nine rocks, we come out of the womb in only five ;)

At the end of conference Sharath announced that he and Saraswati have decided to have a birthday celebration for Guruji after all! I was a little surprised because they both personally told me they would not – but at the same time I was not surprised because this is the way things work around here ;) Sharath also discussed Guruji’s charitable trust – this year they will be having an auction here in Mysore as well as online – signed pictures of Sharath and Guruji will be up for bidding, along with some of Sharath’s stunning photography work and a list of other things. This year about 30% of the monies raised will go to wildlife and nature conservation, and the rest of the proceeds will go to needy charities here in Mysore.

Sharath leaves for Hong Kong on Tuesday evening and will return to the shala on the 8th of July.

So there is the scoop! Peace out ;)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I’m feeling a little bit pathetic at this moment because I cannot, for the life of me, decide which colors to use in my front room! You see I have purchased four sets of curtains (three of which will be used as actual curtains, and one will be used as ‘door curtains’) One set is yellow, one blue, one green and one orange (yes they are all vibrantly bright happy colors! When I picked these curtains out I thought I’d use the orange set for the windows in my room, the green ones for the second bedroom, the yellow set for the windows in the front room and the blue ones above the two doors in the front room…Now that I have them all here I have NO CLUE as to what to do. PLEASE HELP ME!!! I’m not kidding, I’ve moved these damn things around about 10 times and still I am without an answer – I know this is quite sad! I can make important life altering decisions in the time it takes you to snap your fingers….but something like this….oh my goodness! Now I’m leaning towards the yellow ones above the doors and either the green or the orange ones for the windows in the front room – but I need to decide early tomorrow b/c the curtain guy has to make floor cushions for the front room too and he currently thinks he will make blue ones come Monday – yet I don’t think that is what I want anymore… Ok, now that I have shared my pitiable story with you all I will let it go for tonight. I am hopeful that a good nights sleep with bring clarity to this simple little insignificant decision – that I can’t seem to make!

On a slightly more intellectual note ;) I spent the last day and ½ traveling! Mona and I left early Friday morning and just returned this afternoon from a 40 hour trip tour. We went to Belur, Halebid, Hassan, and Shravanabelagola. I’m gonna leave out ALL the details now b/c I will be going in depth on these historical sites in the following days (along with pictures of course!) – I’m just gonna mention them in passing here. Belur is about three hours from Mysore and is well known for its beautiful, ancient, sacred Hindu temple. Halebid, not far from Belur, is another noteworthy ancient Hindu temple. After our tours of Belur and Halebid we made our way to Hassan where we stayed for the evening. Mona and I enjoyed walking around the town (although truly very little to see or do) – we found a very nice restaurant, close by our hotel, where we parked ourselves for several hours talking, drinking wine, and eating delicious food. When we got back to our hotel Mona was hoping to play Uno with me, but I unfortunately had other plans…After a quick wash of the face and brush of the teeth I quite literally laid down in bed and IMMEDIATELY passed out cold for the evening. Apparently I was worn out! We woke this morning, showered, had a bite to eat and headed towards our last stop on our journey, the town of Shravanabelagola, a very holy place for Jain worshippers. The major attraction in Shravanabelagola is the monumental image of Sri Gomateswara. I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful this statue is – it stands in 57 feet of spendor (some sources say 58 to 59 – who knows who cares – it is gigantic and glorious). It lies at the very very top of the Vindhyagiri – a hill 470 feet above the soils surface. We had to climb over 500 steps to reach the top of the hill and continued trekking upwards towards the entrance of the enclosed area where Sri Gomateswara resides. Utterly breathtaking! Stunning in all his majesty. Peaceful… I’ll fill you in in more detail by Tuesday once I have enough time to upload my pictures and properly write about the glory of these sacred ancient monuments that remain for us to see today!

Once we climbed down the Vindhyagiri hill and got to the car we began our several hour journey home. I slept nearly the whole way back, on poor Mona’s lap to boot! I don’t know what it is, like a new born baby, as soon as I get into a car I am out cold…works like a charm everytime!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Today was by far the most difficult practice I've had since my return to India! Oh my goodness did I feel naucous, tight tight tight, dizzy, sleepy, and unfocused. Not sure why the yucky practice today - could be that yesterday was full moon, could be that I haven't slept well the last few nights, could be the excitement of some great things to come....who knows....all I know is that I was SOOOO grateful to lie down when Shavasana rolled around. I vividly remember silently chanting my closing mantra and as I raised my hands to vinyasa to Shavasana I felt waves of happiness run through me - "Thank Ganesh this practice has finally come to an end!"

So much to tell you.....I just got back online here at my flat this morning - which is ironic as I am shifting to a new place today! Go figure................. And it will certainly take a few days to get the internet connected at my new flat............. Such is India! So you say, "New Flat! Krista what's that all about?" Well, I am taking a space for the year - while I'm not occuyping it my friends will be able to use it. It is a lovely space that will be a little less expensive than where I am now. Plus it is on a very quiet street, and it is closer to the shala. All around a good move!

Tuesday and Wednesday are a bit of a blur....not too much happened aside from working on acquiring the new space. Tuesday Mona and I got a massage with the three sisters - my very first experience with them! They were all very lovely and the massage was quite nice.

Yesterday was full moon day so I slept in and when I got up for the day I was pretty nonstop til almost 10:30pm last night. All day was dedicated to finalizing the new flat, ordering things for the flat (I have to provide beds, fridge, etc...), and packing my stuff here.

I miss you all back home! Hope you are getting a good nights sleep! Tata for now ;)

Monday, June 16, 2008

I’ve been without internet since Friday ;( Still I am without! It comes down to such a small small reason yet it is still not fixed! Oh, patience….a virtue that my father did not have, nor do I! That is the reason for delay in zee blog, and email communication….Hopefully all will be resolved soon!

On a good note, practice was quite lovely! I am progressing day by day; day by day…I feel the internal and external growth. I am so grateful! When I’m back home I may get to practice with a friend every now and then, but most practices are done alone. This is alright for a portion of the year, but I find it necessary to check in with my teacher because this growth I experience in the shala in the presence of Sharath is truly priceless!

It has been a busy day of little….sadly… I have had to wait...wait...wait...wait at my flat for water service, laundry service, internet service…and here in India time is just not as precious to people as it is back home. The internet guys said they would be here at 12pm, then 1pm. After arriving randomly after 1pm and confirming it was not working they fiddle faddled around for a bit before letting me know it would be working inside 4pm. Well 4pm came and went - I was told (after I made several phone calls) that it will be sometime after 5:30 or 6pm before I can hope to have internet. It is now after 8pm as I sit at Anu's typing away.....So now I am supposed to have restored connection sometime after 10:30am tomorrow! Patience….A virtue I wish I’d been given at birth…a virtue I am gaining Slowly through the practice…a virtue I long to have!

So – to all of you out there with tons of patience – ROCK ON! I for one think you are a blessed individual!

Om Shanti

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Today has been a bit of a blah……day. I felt as though 4:30am rolled around far too quickly for my liking this morning and my shower did nothing to pep me up for practice. Even as I walked to the shala I felt heavy and dazed. Once I arrived at the shala I sat and waited outside for Primary Series practice to finish. When it came time for us led second series students to prepare for practice, I found myself hoping for the strength to make it through class. I did…most of practice was a bit uncomfortable – my body was uber tight – but the end of practice made it all worth while – I made more progress in Karandavasa this am, which brought a little sunshine to this not so shiny morning. I was so wiped out from practice though that I didn’t even bother with a coconut– instead I went straight home, had a quick bite to eat, and proceeded to take a nice 1 ½ hour nap! When I woke up Mona and I made way to the Southern Star for an hour of semi-sun before the clouds completely consumed the sky (first day in ages you could really even see the sun – the monsoons haven’t begun – but the season has and it is cloudy all day everyday!)

After our hour in the sun we headed to Anu’s so I could do a bit of emailing – my internet in my flat pooped out on me Friday morning and I’ve yet to be able to get it fixed – hoping that some techs will come out tomorrow and make it all better! Anyway, I spent a good two hours online doing tons of various little things – mainly trying to play a little catch-up with my emails, article writing, pictures, etc……And before I knew it 4:15pm rolled around – it was time to get to the shala for conference!

I scurried over to the shala to find Sharath and Guruji on stage! It was such a pleasure seeing Guruji’s face – it brought a great big ole smile to mine!

Ashley, Sharath didn’t talk about Bandhas today J but everything he said resonated with me so deeply – I hope it resonates with all of you as well!

So here’s the Scoop on Conference:

Sharath’s Words:
- If you have dedication towards your yoga, your guru, you can achieve many things
- It must be good karma from your previous life to come to India and sacrifice life in your country to practice this yoga.
- This dedication that you have, you must make it stronger day by day
- We have to understand what we are, we should keep trying to set our spirit free
- Whatever bad karma you do in this life will carry on in the next life, there is no death of your soul!
- You must practice yoga in this lifetime with DEDICATION – if you do then you will reduce your negative karma for your next life

Guruji’s Words:
- You take practice for long time – good
- You take practice for short time – no good
- Practice, practice, practice

Sharath’s Words:
- Don’t be fickle, you MUST be DEDICATED – Doing asana one year, skipping months or years and resuming is no good – to GROW in your YOGA you MUST BE DEDICATED!
- You must have a GURU!
- Yoga is spreading but many people are spoiling yoga also
- People who change yoga according to their convenience – they are not practicing or teaching YOGA, merely physical movement. These people are spoiling yoga for their own fame.
- The more traditional the yoga is the more benefit you will get
- You must always be a student so that you can share your ongoing knowledge with others
- Worldwide there are hundreds of yoga shalas – they all use the yoga name, but 90% of them don’t know what Yoga is!
- Everyone who learns yoga from a real Guru should teach the yoga of their Guru to keep the tradition alive!
- We cannot stop those people who spoil the traditional yoga, but we must do our part to keep tradition alive by staying connected to our Guru – practice under him and spread his work to others.
- If someone is a serious student and truly wants to learn, they must go to the source!
- It is VERY important to keep the teachings of your Guru pure – that is the only way to keep the tradition alive!

Very good conference today! Sharath leaves soon for two weeks of travel – Saraswati will be here and the shala will be open – but Sharath is offering a credit to people who will be here a while and want to study directly under him (it will be difficult for Saraswati to carry the load of the entire shala alone!) so those who wish to take the credit will do self practice at home while he is gone.

Here’s the Scoop on 2009!
There has been much talk of Sharath taking some time off for his own study and travel. He told me today that he will be doing a world tour beginning in April of next year. He will start in Islamorada and then make his way - ????? - around the world I suppose!! I don’t know much but it seems for sure he will be away April through July and quite possibly longer. From what I understand Saraswati will be here and the shala will be open, but Sharath will not be here teaching. I was personally a little bummed as I’d hoped to be back here next May or early June for my yearly visit, but hey things change and you must gracefully adapt with the change!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh my what a busy day today…It all started at Tina’s breakfast cafĂ© where I gorged myself on oatmeal, eggs, coffee and the best fruit salad this side of the Ganges! Mona and I then headed into town to pick up shirts she had made for her husband, and I picked up some hang tags I had made with a local printer. Despite the monumental size breakfast we had, Mona and I found ourselves famished by lunchtime so we headed to KD road to Casino Park. Yummy! Then off to Meena’s to check out her collection of silver jewelry – no need to be jealous - I am bringing some home with me for everyone to enjoy :) She has an amazing collection of high quality pure silver – bracelets, anklets, necklaces, pendants, earrings, toe rings…..whatever your heart desires ladies! We spent quite a bit of time there looking at jewelry, chatting with Meena and her husband, and of course drinking Chai! Then it was off to Tina’s.

We met with Tina to run errands – the first of which was to buy four school chilren’s uniforms, four pairs or shoes, and four pairs of socks. From there we headed to the Convent to drop off the supplies for the fifty orphan girls. The children there were truly delightful – they were all so very happy and full of radiating energy. I stood amongst these children and felt so blessed to get to see EXACTLY who we are helping. Tonight was really special for me because although you can just donate money to some cause you likely don’t a clue exactly what or for whom the money will be used for – but tonight we not only got to see how the money was used, but also for whom! To me, there is nothing more satisfying! Thanks again to everyone who has helped me help the kids in Mysore – I am truly grateful to you all!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Here's The Scoop:

My quest for finding a bicycle ended a few days back - both Mona and I have found bikes to ride here in Mysore and we have been cycling non-stop. I won't lie - it is uber scary riding a bike in India - at first! The thrill never goes away because you are quite literally taking your chances everytime you get on your bike - but somehow if you just trust that all will be alright it is ;) The key to riding a bike, or driving in India is this: DON'T LOOK BACK! If you realize this truth you are all good - people will swerve in front of, beside, behind, around, and nearly under you but they won't hit you - IF YOU DON'T LOOK BACK! You see there is some sort of natural rhythm to the traffic in India - it seems so chaotic, so dangerous, but the truth is - it is ordered chaos! Traffic flows like the tides of the ocean, as long as you don't disrupt the flow! You must have NO FEAR - if you have fear people will smell it and drive you off the road or into oncoming traffic.

Today's traffic lesson in a nutshell: If you are stupid enough (or daring enough) to ride a bicyle in India, you must follow the rules. No no, not the traffic rules, there are no traffic rules here silly - I mean the rules of the road - HAVE NO FEAR - and - DON'T LOOK BACK!


I have to admit that being my third year in India I feel as though I know my way around pretty well - but I know that riding my bike all over town all the time will tremendously improve my geographical knowledge of Mysore.

So where have we gone - quite literally all over town. Tuesday we spent about three hours on our cycles, yesterday just an hour, but today we were on and off those suckers for nearly five hours. This brings me to the subject of today's post headline "Bike Bum" - you see these bikes have only one gear and have EXTREMELY hard seats. After all the hours I have logged on zee bike, I have acquired bike bum...and what exactly is bike bum? My tuche, my bum, and everything in front of and behind are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sore!

I'd like to leave you with that image so PEACE OUT!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

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

I GUARANTEE you there is amazing truth behind Mrs. Redfield's words. You will always find what you are looking for - the key lies in knowing what it is you want! Never, ever, ever accept less than extraordinary!

More on this truth later :) Today, just plant this seed, and let it grow organically!
Here's The Scoop:

It's late and my asana should be in bed....but I wanted to fill you in on my little shopping excursion with Tina yesterday! I'm happy to report that thanks to your generous donations Tina and I were able to purchase a YEAR SUPPLY of Pencils, Talcom Powder, Body Soap, Tooth Paste, Toothbrushes, Coconut Oil, Combs, Laundry Detergent, Shampoo, and Anti-Lice treatment for 50 ORPHAN GIRLS! YOU ALL ROCK :)

On Friday Tina, Mona, and I will go to Joythi's School and pay her full year tuition for her vocational school.

Thanks to you all we have also raised enough funds to pay for Babita's tuition for the year, and buy another girl's train pass for the year. We will be attending to these items next week so stay tuned!

Today Tina informed me of two little girls in need of school uniforms and shoes. Keep spreading the word to your friends. We ARE making a Big difference here in Mysore - Let's see just how big a difference we can make!!!


Monday, June 09, 2008

Here's The Scoop:

I spent several hours interviewing Anu and Ganesh last night! I'll be writing an article on them for living Mysore Magazine and I'll be sure to give you a sneak preview in the coming days. Boy do they have an amazing story. Anu and Ganesh are wonderful people who have, throughout their entire lives, and against all odds, followed their dreams. And they are some of the most caring and giving individuals I've ever had the pleasure to call my friends. Both in the yoga community, and in the local community, Anu and Ganesh open their doors and their hearts to lend a hand, offer advice, and provide food and shelter. And they aren't short on jokes either, Anu and Ganesh have such a joyful, happy, and humorous outlook on life - they can have you rolling on the floor laughing in sticthes one minute, and holding your tummy satisfied by Anu's tasty meals the next. Needless to say, Anu and Ganesh ROCK!!!!


A Huge Thank you to those of you who continue to help me, Mona and Tina in our quest to help some of the needy Children in Mysore! A big shout out to Mona and her husband who have donated $50.00, Nicole $10.00, and Karen and Shawn $40.00.

Tina and I are going shopping for the orphan girls today to pick up their year supply of toiletry items ;) And we would not be able to do this today if it weren't for your generous donations! THANK YOU!


Spent some time with Sindhu yesterday! Love just hanging out and chatting with her....Just love her ;) I have decided to resume dancing next Monday - was gonna give myself a full month of 'less is more' here in India before jumping into everything I want to do - but I am itching to dance, dance, dance.....It's only gonna be three days per week - so not the intensity of last year for sure. Think this will be good b/c I will be in my third week - and the fourth week I'll start my chanting course and an arts/crafts course - me and my crafty self ;)


Practice was lovely today! I am finally getting back into the groove of second series here in the shala. Back home I was able to lower into and hold Karandavasana (although not lift back up) - haven't been able to lower into and hold the posture since I arrived here (could be excitement, nervousness, who knows...) but today I got back into the groove! I was able to lower into and hold the asana on my first try - when I struggled to lift my ass in the air Sharath rushed over to lift me up ; - ) It's not easy either - I have a heavy lower half - I don't know how he and Saraswati lift my asana everyday! Anyway, I did it over and over and over again a number of times until I was ready for backbends. So while I'm still a while away from lifting out of the posture - it sure was nice as spice to get back to where I was only a few weeks ago back home. Laura, I thought of you fondly this morning as I did Karandavasana! I happily reminisced on my last few weeks back home practicing with you! Miss you lady ;)


Leaving you with this thought:

We will find only what we look for, nothing more and nothing less. - unknown

Sunday, June 08, 2008

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Daisy, I'll be waiting...... (Scroll Down)

Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society

Thanks Beverly! You started my day with a smile ;)
The Monsoon season is defintely approaching...

Every Sunday the Mysore Palace shines in all her beauty - Sunday evenings the Palace lights are turned on for an hour - people come to enjoy the glory of her magical splendor. Yesterday evening Mona and I took part in this weekly tradition. We arrived around 6:45pm to wait in a very long line of locals eager to get inside and enjoy the nights entertainment. We quickly made our way onto the Palace grounds where we waited for about fifteen minutes for the moment to arrive...One second the Palace is there, standing over you in all her powerful beauty...and the next second, she transforms into a mystical enchantress full of grace and majesty. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

I had forewarned Mona of the street peddlers selling their wares - it used to be fericous, especially at the Palace. So, I was shocked when we arrived to find they have, over the last few years, become rather mild in their attempts to sell you jewelry, postcards, flutes, and the like. I almost felt as though Mona wasn't getting the 'whole experience'.

As we headed out of the Palace I told her it would probably be rather difficult to find a Rickshaw that would use his meter or at least quote us a decent price for a ride back to Gokulam. To my complete shock and amazement, we were able to get a ride back to town for a little over what it should have cost - (I remember coming to the Palace in 2006 and getting quoted double and triple the actual cost of a ride back home.)

But that was only the beginning...our rickshaw driver was CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He appeared to be a jolly round old fellow but he ended up being a great deal more than we bargined for. When we first entered the rickshaw he was laughing and rambling in Kananada. Mona and I were in the back bemusing ourselves laughing hysterically about this and that - and everytime we laughed he laughed too - which made us laugh harder.

Mona made me laugh all the way home....As we neared Gokulam the wind had really kicked up into high gear - the night was chilly and the air was almost biting. She looked up at the Rickshaw driver and asked, "Can you roll up the windows?" I nearly wet my pants....

So the point when it started getting weird....We pull up to Mona's house and pay the driver (I planned to walk from her flat to mine) - I give him the money and he laughs and gets out of his rickshaw and tries to put his hands on my face - I pulled away but he wouldn't let me - he laughed and tried again to put each hand on my face - I said, "NO, NO, NO" and literally jumped out of his rickshaw and into the street straightaway towards Mona's gate. I ran inside her gate and up to her front door a little freaked out. Once I got to her door I looked back to see Mona at the gate trying to push the guy away. She was so nice to him - she kindly kept saying goodnight - he kept reaching out his hand for a handshake - he lifted his hands several times towards me and tried again to enter the gate - she just pushed him away again until he finally walked back towards his rickshaw. I couldn't help but laugh at the hilarity of the situtation - OMG what the ?$Y!*!(&%$>???)@(! Once he finally left Mona walked towards me and started laughing too! She looked at me and said, "I think he's gone!" "Oh no," I replied, "I'm not leaving until he is GONE!" We walked to the gate and, yep, he was still out by his rickshaw - I ran back to her front door like a little girl who'd had too much soda and was seconds from peeing herself if she didn't get inside to the bathroom. We laughed for several more minutes and then walked over to the gate to check once more if he had left. He had! She was getting ready to walk me home but I insisted she go inside and get ready for bed - it was nearing 9pm. As I walked home I thought, "hmmm, what an interesting rickshaw ride!"

A man is not old until regrets start taking place of dreams. - unknown
Pursuing your dreams takes a whole lot of guts, determination, belief in yourself, trust in the Universe, love in your heart, and passion for life.
It is hard, hard to save and borrow the money needed to travel, study and live in India, while also paying for the life I still have back home...hard to leave behind projects I've poured my heart and soul into...hard to take time from work...hard to leave behind the ones I love, to miss out on birthdays and anniversary's... It is hard to rearrange my entire life each year to come to India. But I am living my dreams, I am living with no regrets.
I realize this amazing truth each day that I wake up here in Mysore and get ready to head to the shala and practice under the guidance of Sharath. I feel so blessed!
So go ahead - live your passion - follow your heart - pursue thy dreams!

Swami Satchidananda

The Middle Path

Yoga is not for the person who eats too much, or who starves him or herself. Yoga is not for the person who sleeps too much, or who doesn’t sleep at all. The middle path is Yoga. The Yogi knows how much to eat, to sleep, to speak. That is the middle path. It is the Buddha’s teaching also, the golden medium. You should go neither to that extreme, nor to this extreme. So, don’t abruptly cut off your senses. Allow the senses to enjoy the world, but don’t get carried away with them. If we know there is a limitation in everything, then life will be good to us. Everything will be golden. God bless you. Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi.


Thank you Ashley for sharing this with me so I could share it with all my readers ;)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Big Thank you to those of you who keep sending monies for the children here in Mysore! Ashley has generously given $20.00, and Karen $50.00 - which means we have met our initial goal of 10.000 rupees. Spread the word people - YOU can make a difference!


Friday, June 06, 2008

Here's the Scoop:
As most of you probably know, Guruji's birthday is July 18th. This year, it there will not be an all out birthday celebration for Guruji. Saraswati told me they will do a puja and a small small celebration with the family only. It is quite difficult and exhausting to plan and execute the large scale celebration they often do for Guruji - one which all yoga students can partake.

So, Cara and CJ that is the scoop. But I do still hope you ladies will make a trip out to Mysore to see me ;)

Here's The Scoop:

- Thanks to the ever generous contributions of some of my readers, we are VERY close to our goal of 10,000 rupees to help some needy children here in Mysore. There are so many more children to help in this town - if you want to donate please don't hesitate! I'm here three months and can help you help many children during my stay.

I'd like to give a very special thank you to the following people who have given money for this cause:

Tracy and Ray $20.00, Sasha and Frankie $20.00, Melissa $20.00, Thomas $20.00, Red Sun Yoga Studio in Winter Springs Florida $100.00, and my very own mama $50.00. As you can see we have already raised $230.00! Thank you all VERY MUCH!

I spoke to Tina this morning and we will be doing some shopping next week so stay tuned.

A dear friend of mine is sending me a package (I LOVE packages ; - ) Yesterday I sent her an email to thank her.

It SHOULD have gone like this: "You are the BOMB! Thank you so much lady - I so very appreciate." I opened my inbox today and had a reply from her to the email I sent and nearly wet my pants laughing so hard....

"Because you are such a lovely and adorable friend, I will forgive you for saying I am the BOOB.... too funny! I almost rolled off the bed laughing. : )"

HA, did I make you laugh too?

Nicole, you are so cute ;) - for my regular blog readers, I have been very busy here the last few days....Dear Mona is visiting Mysore for the first time so there is much to show her. Yesterday we went into the city for several hours to walk around and do a little shopping, and in the early evening we went up to Chamundi Hill. I've got a few pictures from our day - more awesome photos to come ;)

Ashley, you asked how the monkeys are doing - THEY ARE GREAT :) I love the monkeys here in Mysore and the very best place to see them is Chamundi Hill. This is just a tiny sample of the amazing photos I took yesterday - will add more soon.


I don't know if it is due to the uber busy day I had yesterday but I have done nothing but drag asana all day today. LITERALLY...Practice was HARD. My body felt sooooo stiff - and today's stiff was the not so good kind ;( but I made it through practice ;)

Took Mona to the Southern Star for the first time today - No, not to lay out by the pool today - that would have taken too much energy...We ate the buffet lunch instead ;) Come on, you people know my love of food - as my friend Jake puts it so eloquently, "I have a Healthy Appetite" - HA....You can say that again! Let's just say I ate my rupees worth.