Monday, June 05, 2006


Today's Vocabulary Words:

peg - shot (of whiskey or gin or whatever)
slush - mud
member - person

I'm writing this in a bamboo hut on the roof of Anu's cafe, which is near the shala and has wireless internet as well as a 5:30 PM dinner buffet. The only drawbacks are the mosquitoes and permeable roof.... and long drive from my hotel

My how times have changed in Mysore.

In addition to wireless internet -- which some students have in their homes, which are now renting upwards of 9,000 a month (why, back in my day 5,000 was considered a lot) -- there are more cars and more two-wheelers and hence more pollution.... All but two of the hooks in the shala's ladies dressing room have broken off (perhaps it's better to call it a cooling room; it's frigid as hell and is where the early group does their cooling or closing postures). The new shala rugs are starting to look like the old ones but so far no bad smell. The Kaveri Lodge now has an extra two outlets plus a cable TV hookup (but no TV) in each room. Prices there have actually gone down. They moved the front door several feet down in order to make way for the dry cleaner that moved next door from up the street. The internet place, though, is still using Windows 98 and so far I've seen no place to plug in the new thumb drive. So instead I schlepped the laptop the 6K to Gokulam -- no small thing on a scooter in what to me is heavy traffic.

Yesterday after leading the primary series class (which is immediately followed by an intermediate led class) Sharath said, "Thankyouverymuch. You go home, take rest."

A few highlights from yesterday's conference, which had Guruji talking for quite some time thanks to Matrika's opening question about age and yoga.... Ladies do not take nauli. They do take babies. Ten babies. Eleven babies. There was a long talk on doing a proper practice with proper breath and bending. If not done properly there will be sickness. Ladies should take a castor oil bath on Fridays and Tuesdays, starting with five minutes and working towards half an hour. For ladies marriage is important. Guruji has four brothers and five sisters, many of whom are living. His sister is 108. The secret to old age is good food habits. Also one should not waste time; Take god. Think god.

During this Sharath's daughter was in the office, reciting the ABC's to herself and occasionally yelling, "Appa!" When someone suggested Shrarath have nine more children he said, "She is like 100 babies."

Today I was weak and my back hurt and I overslept but somehow arrived to the shala on time. Of course I dreaded backbending. On the 5th BB I walked my hands in and bounced and on the second bounce I suddenly found myself standing -- surprise! I was standing at the front of my mat panting when Saraswati came over. "Finished?" I thought about it for a moment. No, I admitted. And I very slowly dropped back on my own and did not land on my head -- for the first time in months. Apparently Sunday afternoon's remedial home backbending workshop is already paying off. As I was trying to come back up to standing I saw Sharath's feet walk by. He maneuvered to the front of my mat. He is like a magnet, and I immediately stood up --rather sloppily though. "Not pretty." I said. "One more?" He nodded. I dropped back and came up again; still not pretty. "One more?" I asked. "How many?" He said. I thought about it for a moment before replying, "Two." Somehow I did it again. Then he held my waist and rocked me halfway back three times; on the fourth one he had me go all the way down and walk in my hands. The landing was not soft. Apparently this is how they're doing it these days. No chakra bandasana. Only three rocks and then down. Does that mean I can get away with not doing dropbacks and chakra-b with big stiff men when I'm teaching back home? If so I'm all for it -- and so is my poor back. (Sharath has been suffering some major back problems of late and wasn't scheduled to be teaching at this time. And my back went out last year after helping a big stiff man drop back onto his head. It was followed by many months of pain and chiropractic half-assed practices and still ain't right; hence reliving the Backbending Freakout of 2004).

This morning I breakfasted -- yes, it is a verb here -- at Shakti House (the pleasant backyard cafe-cum-rooming house formerly known as Tony and Holly's and The Kev Inn) with Matrika and Krista from Manju's teacher training and her boyfriend and their roommates. Lovely conversation, and the food was like days of old. Joey was there at another table, which upped the blogger quotient to four -- that we know of anyway....


Regarding Brahmin privilege and cutting in line: I don't know why people here cut in line, maybe it's "cultural." What I do know is that Brahmin entitlement does not account for the several EU citizens who brazenly cut in front of a severely jetlagged Caca in Indian dress at the Lufthansa ticket counter in Frankfurt. Aryan entitlement perhaps, but certainly not Brahmin.

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