Friday, July 21, 2006


Today's Vocabulary Words:

Member = person
Sport = sports
Maths = math
Math = religious institution

Sometimes in India you have a bad day or even a not-so-bad day and think, “What am I doing here?”

Actually it happens quite often.

During my last several days in Mysore the question was more along the lines of “What am I doing THERE.” As in, back home.

I also was weepy -- to the point where the smallest thing would set me off. I was homesick for Mysore even before I left.

I haven't felt quite like that since I left Madrid in 1985, and that was due to my infatuation with a Basque architecture student named Pedro.

These crying jags are about leaving the place itself. And its members....

On Monday I slacked off in backbends. My wrist, knee and lower back did not feel great, so after some attempts to come up I gave up and went into the forward bend counterpose. Later I couldn’t decide if this made me a loser (for laziness) or a winner (for listening to my body).

On Tuesday Saraswati helped me and I had the breakthrough where I stood up a couple of times with very little effort (as described ad nauseum in an earlier post).

On Wednesday I arrived at the shala a little late (around 6:55 AM shala time, which is 12 minutes ahead of the rest of Mysore) and waited while a bunch of unfamiliar people went in ahead of me. After several minutes of this Sharath looked into the waiting room and said, “Caca! You come.” So in I went.

Practice was OK, but I was tired due to late nights trying to make the most of my last days in Mysore. When it came time for backbends I took my time. I’ve decided that I need to do at least five before trying to come up. And I’ve been taking Sharath’s advice to take a few extra breaths and “relax” in the pose. At least I try to do… After the fifth backbend (you're only supposed to do three), Sharath stood in front of me. I tried to come up and failed. I tried again and failed. But this time I remembered that I *really* need to walk my hands in as far as I can and tilt the pelvis forward and use my bandhas and move with my breath. I also remembered that it used to work best on the third attempt. And then I stopped thinking about it, and came up with relative ease and took a step back. Sharath gave a little smile and held up three fingers. “Muru?” I asked, and he nodded. So three times I dropped back and stood up. Three times in a rather graceful (for me) and controlled manner. In between each I had to stand there and take a few seconds to catch my breath. But it actually felt good – like how I would imagine flying might feel.

The next day I arrived at the shala around 6AM and sat down among all the other students waiting to go in. I was putting my keys away less than a minute later when Sharath, who was on the other side of the large practice room, looked over and said, “Caca! You come.” So I did.

Guruji got to me before I could make my second attempt to stand up. I’ve seen Nori-the-Japanese guy wave him off and say, “Not finish” so he could drop back on his own first. Not me. My back was tweaking a tiny bit so I let him work his magic. On the first one I came up with such momentum (with his help) that I took a step back and he said, “No dancing.” Then I rocked back three times, putting my hands down on the fourth. When I stood up, in the midst of our post-BB hug (during which he counts off five of your breaths), I told him “Leaving today, Guruji.”

He replied, very loudly so that people looked, “Today leaving? Bad lady!!!” And then he laughed.

“Poor lady,” I replied, in patronizing-but-effective pigeon English. “Ticket was free, so airline decides when I fly.”

“You come back?” he asked.

“Yes, yes Guruji. Coming back next year.”

“Good, good.”

And then he gave me that fabulous forward bend adjustment of his where he lays on top of your mat, which is covering your back. When he finished, just before he stood up, he said his usual, “Yes!” which always makes me think of Yoko Ono's fammous conceptual piece with the ladder, magnifying glass and ceiling with the word "yes" painted on it.

It was quite sweet, and a lovely, positive way to end my last day at the shala.

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