Wednesday, July 30, 2008


After lunch on Monday I went down for a nap - and ended up sleeping until 7PM. I dragged myself out of bed, and realized the body felt like crap; there was no energy, and something was going on with the stomach. I organized my things and ate something; there was gurgling in the stomach, which became bloated (never a good sign); that was followed by some foul, eggy loose motions that reminded me of the amoeba I once had. Or was that the giardia? While flipping through the channels I noticed there was a Seinfeld episode on TV. In Inda. Kind of like a ?Seinfeld episode. I ended up I watching a bit of Aishwarya Rai and the guy from "Lost" in Bride and Prejudice (in Hindi, no subtitles) and was asleep again by 10.

Just before waking at 6, I had a dream in which I was in Florida, enjoying the sun with a group of other people. Suddenly some scary dark clouds appeared. "We have to get inside - fast," I said, urging everyone to get away from the water. But the storm came so quickly there wasn't time to make it to shelter We hugged the ground and crawled towards the nearby building as the storm engulfed us. The wind kept pulling us away from the ground, but we held on, and finally made it into the building. We went to the open end of the basement, but it was at ground level and the storm was bursting through the broken windows. We ran towards the other side of the building, where a yoga class was in progress. The students were all doing Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana (a difficult balance pose) and did not want to interrupt their practice. I told them to stop, so that we could escape the storm. "Ahimsa is higher than Asana.," I explained, referring to the yoga sutras. That did it; they stopped the class, we all took shelter and everyone survived the storm. End of dream.

After sitting practice this morning (there was no hot water for a bath), I tried to start the web scooter. It took several tries and some pulling of the choke before it finally it sputtered to life. There was light drizzle on the way to class but it was nothing like yesterday. Bick was there with his coconuts outside the shala and said a hearty hello.

There was a long wait in the lobby, and I did some "shusshing" of other students who were talking their heads off. They did not like it; I felt their daggers boring into my back. Not only is it disrespectful, but you can hear these people when you're practicing near the door, Plus, part of the ashtanga or eight-limbed yoga practice is Pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses - which includes controlling the mouth. I think it's OK to exchange (in a whisper) some short, relevant bits of info while waiting - such as, "Are you starting at 8:00?" or : You should go next: or "I"ll call you later." It is not the time to catch up or gossip; that should be done outside, over coconuts or breakfast or chai (actually, real yogis don't gossip). I made a lot of enemies shusshing people back at the old shala in 2002, and apparently I still haven't learned my lesson. I suppose someone has to do it, and it may as well be me.

Asana practice was so much better today; the body was the fairly flexible one I'm familiar with. Plus I was in the front row, a foot from the stage, which meant very few distractions. All students do primary series during their first week at the shala, and since it consists almost entirely of forward bends I worked hard in each upward-facing dog (a backbend done during vinyasa, or sun saluations). It paid off; during backbends there was little to no pain. I did five, going deeper each time. During the last one, Sharath came over to adjust the person next to me in Supta Kurmasana (a leg-behind-the-head pose). I thought, "Now's the time," and tested the waters; I did three bounces and the back felt fine. The next time I tried it, I stood up. Then I did three fairly smooth (for me) dropbacks without hurting anyone - including myself. Next thing I knew, Sharath was standing in front of me, helping me with the final backbending sequence. It was wonderful.

After doing the closing sequence on the stage (which is far warmer than the dressing room), I changed clothes, gathered my things, had two tender coconuts that consisted mostly of juice and very little gungy (meat). -Beck says there are 200 people here; Zoe says about 50 left in the past week. Afterwards I got a newspaper and had lunch up the street at Sutra House. There I saw our old friend Deepak, who still looks likes a star of stage and screen. Then I went to Anu's to look for Ursula-from-Munich, who was there updating her blog ("My Yoga Blog"). We rode the scooter to Green Leaf for a cup of tea, then around Gokulam.

Later I did some final shopping at Loyal World - where I fell while going up the stairs, which is a typical jetlagged westerner maneuver - and managed to avoid the police on the way home. I had a cold bath, washed some clothes (which are still not dry, since it seemed to drizzle every 20 minutes today) and rested. I must remember to slow down here - especially during Jet Lag Week.

Later I walked over to Three Sisters (two doors away) and showed them pictures of Guruji opening the new shala in Florida over Memorial Day Weekend. We chatted and laughed about a variety of things. We were having a gay old time when the youngest sister dropped one of her bombs.

"Forgive me for asking, but if you are single and have no children- who will take care of you when you grow old?"

I thought of Anne, my former neighbor (the one who is now in a nursing home - whose things were piled outside the dumpster last week).

The sister suggested I marry, and have just one child.

"But I'm too old," I protested.

"A woman who is 64 just gave birth. You can too."

Her sister chimed in, "Madonna had hers at 44, 45."

I love India.

Here, anything is possible.

What I didn't say was that on this path, an unsuitable partner is a distraction.


Photo on left = one of the greatest chemical-y products ever made (and discontinued, I think): Coppertone Bug & Sun - which covers just about everything here in monsoon Mysore. Photo on the right is of Chakra House, with the lovely, mellow breakfast.

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