When I first heard the word “Mysore”, I thought, “How strange!” This was two and half years ago, when I began to venture into my first Mysore practice after taking a few Led Beginner classes at the studio. Mysore class was very intimidating! I walked into a huge sweaty room, filled with yogis in various stages of their practice and in various poses, twisting their bodies, legs behind the head, doing impossible back bends. I barely got through the standing poses before Andrew or David said “Enough,” and had me finish with Padmasana.
Mysore, alright. My sore body! My sore back! My sore legs! But I loved how my mind felt, the sense of steadiness in my awareness. So I kept coming back.
I eventually learned that Mysore was actually a place in India where Ashtanga was born. That my teachers studied there with Guruji and Sharath, and that a fair number of folks from the shala would go there, every year, or every other year. For a month at a time, at the very least.
“Not me,” I thought. That was for hard-core, crazy yogis! I had a family, children, and career. I could barely get through the Primary Series and dropping back scared the crap out of me. I wondered what would possess people to travel halfway around the world to do yoga, when they had so many wonderful Ashtanga yoga studios to chose from, in the comfort and safety of the U.S.
Ha. The universe has a funny sense of humor.
I don’t know when my perspective began to change. I knew I was hooked on Ashtanga after my first workshop with Saraswathi in August of 2011 and Sharath in April of 2012. But maybe it was after this year in April, after my second workshop with Sharath, that I suddenly found myself feeling quite curious about going to Mysore. Was it the intensity I saw in Sharath or Saraswathi? Was it the energy of the students who came from around the world to practice with Sharath in this past April’s workshop? Maybe it was hearing stories of how some of my friends found their way there, and what a neat experience it was…
Kino MacGregor wrote an awesome blog about wanting to go to Mysore, and I think that describes my experience. Many Ashtangis know that going to Mysore and studying with Sharath is the only way to gain “authorization” (or “certification” which is much harder) to teach Ashtanga yoga, but I don’t really want become an authorized Ashtanga teacher right now. I think practicing is much easier than teaching, and I still feel that I have so much to learn before even entertaining the idea of becoming a teacher. There really is no specific reason, but just a sudden yearning to know yoga, to examine and experience it from the deepest source.
So I don’t know what happened. It’s like something possessed me this summer. I began looking up how to get an Indian visa in early May, and found myself applying for one later that month. Then I applied to study with Sharath in KPJAYI, feeling quite certain that I won’t get in, and that will be that. I applied on the first day that registration opened for his October class (in June) — and received an email the next day that I was IN. That felt like a sure sign from the universe, especially hearing how registration closed after only 4 days, and many folks were not able to get in. My family knew that I was going, and accepted it. Booked a hotel for the first few nights, and will plan on finding cheaper housing for my remaining month there. Four of my friends from the shala are going, so that will help too. Got the air tickets. Was recently given a job offer despite the employer knowing about the trip to India.
This may be the only time I go to Mysore. That’s OK. I just want to experience it once. But more is OK, too, if fate allows it. All I know is that, in less than two months, I will be there. The countdown begins!!