It’s time for another yoga field trip, this time to see Amma, the “hugging saint” who will be in Castro Valley next week. Please let me know if you want to go as we will be carpooling.
* Monday June 3rd 8:00 – meet at YiY
* Drive to 10200 Crow Canyon Road, CA 94552 (about 45 min)
Vimala will be there to give us a tour.
* Get a hug, get served lunch, get back (ends latest 3pm).
Here’s a link:
Also Amma was on the front page of the Sunday NYTimes yesterday:
Does anyone have a link to Alex’s blog?
Check it out, photos and all:
Dear YIY Community at Large:
As most of you have already seen on the YIY home page, Mr. Chuck Miller, a certified Ashtanga Yoga Teacher, will be at our studio for 9 days to conduct morning practice sessions, workshops, and a 5-day teacher intensive from June 22 through June 29th. The registration is now open. I hope you all can take advantage of this rare opportunity and participate in this all inclusive workshop.
Over the years YIY has been hosting many amazing Ashtanga Yoga Teachers. While, once they are here, we participate and enjoy their presence, and become inspired by the wisdom they offer, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes that we do not quite see. I have known Mr. Chuck Miller since 2003 and have studied with him any chance I have gotten and started asking him if we can host him at YIY. Finally, in the fall of 2011 he came here and we pencilled in a date. I still cannot believe that he is going to be here. I would like to invite all of you, not only those who practice Ashtanga Vinyasa, but the practitioners of other styles as well to participate. Here is a YouTube video about his recent workshop at Ashtanga Yoga Paris. I hope you enjoy:
I would like to say what an amazing, strong, and loyal community of practitioners (both teachers and students) we have here. I love the fact that I learn and share with you all in so many ways on an almost daily basis. If you have any questions about the workshop please let me know.
Blessings To You All
A few words on asana practice in Mysore. As some of you know, your start time for Mysore-style practice at the Shala with Sharath depends on how long you’ve been in Mysore. When I first arrived my start time was 8:30, and now it’s moved to 6:30.
I have been hearing stories about the crowds in January and February – someone told me there were 380 students at the peak of the season. What this means is that newcomers would begin practice at 10:30 and finish after noon, when the Shala was being cleaned up. That also means that Sharath and Saraswati were teaching from 4:15 to 12:00 every day. Thankfully many students have left and today in conference we must have been “just” 150.
There are now assistants in the practice room, about 5 or 6, all authorized teachers. They help out with postures when Sharath is busy adjusting advanced series or backends. The assistants adjust most postures but don’t talk much to the students. They also do backbends. I was told it was a way for Sharath to evaluate their teaching skills.
Another change has been the (compulsory) chanting classes, taught by Lakshmish. He chants the shanti mantras, the prayer to Ganesh and the like.
The conference, when Sharath takes questions for an hour on Sundays, is always interesting. He talks about the meaning of yoga, Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois. He often says “Yoga is not just asana!”. Today he even did a short but impressive asana demo – padmasana to handstand padmasana to mayurasana padmasana if you see what I mean…
I am impressed by the level of the students here. In the lead primary class, I only noticed at most 10 who stopped after supta kurmasana. The led second series class almost fills the room with more than 60 students taking part. It’s rare to see a student not binding in marichyasana D. It feels as if it’s become more serious from 3 years ago.
The place I am staying at is great! My landlord Guruprasad has the rare (in India) job of coaching diving. His place is known as the pink house and has a special pyramid meditation room.
I also went to visit the swami on Chamundhi Hill and Tamchos the Tibetan monk at the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe. But I will save these stories for another time…
I have now been in Mysore 10 days and it feels like a month. There are some many new experiences every day that time goes by differently.
Mysore has been a center of learning for centuries, and there are numerous universities and learning centers scattered around the town. There are also wonderful teachers with decades of experience. Apart from asana practice in the morning at the shala, I go to chanting, philosophy and meditation classes – so spending many hours a day learning about the different aspects of yoga, each from a master teacher.
Yesterday we gathered outside Mysore Palace to do 27 Sun Salutations for Yoga Stops Traffic, a worldwide yoga event to raise awareness about human trafficking:
Culinary adventures continue, with the added bonus that my landlord is a chef and has given me a list of restaurant to explore outside Gokulam, the suburb where all the yoga students hangout. He is also involved with the Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala, a huge compound with coconut groves, student accommodations, and a “Harmony of Religions” museum. The place is so big it feels as if you’re in the countryside instead of the middle of town.
There are people from all over the world. The other day I met two guys at the coconut stand and asked where they were from – they said would give me a guess: “Pirates!”. It was Somalia but they lived in Qatar and were studying in Mysore. This morning I met a couple from a place I did not know existed – the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands, 1000km south of Tokyo and part of Tokyo prefecture…
Getting here was quite an adventure. I had a layover in Hong Kong, where I managed to go to the Mandarin Hotel Mysore class straight after landing at 6:30. At around $33 it was my most expensive class so far but with towel, slippers and hot shower included it was worth it.
Then I had the opportunity to spend some time with a High School friend from Greece, Martin, who happened to be moving apartments on the Peak on this very day, so I joined in carrying suits and clothes from one place to the other. His company was sponsoring the black tie Sailor’s Society Shipping Dinner, and he found me a tuxedo so off we went to socialize with Hong Kong’s ship broking community. It’s a charitable organization which helps sailors around the world. I was not able to eat dessert because I had to catch a plane to Bangalore.
Arriving in Mysore I stayed at Marie’s friendly B&B Anhoki Garden, and was reminded immediately about how good the food is here:
First practice was led class in a packed room with at least 80 sweaty yogis. Sharath is in good form – at one point during the standing postures the electricity went out and it was pitch black for a few minutes; so he said “Changing bulb.” He is having a new house built next to the shala for him and his family. He goes and inspects the construction regularly – once he shouted out from the roof: “This wil be my practice room!”.
There are maybe 300 students here right now. I met up with Michelle who used to practice at YiY a couple of years ago. Now she lives in Bangalore but is studying in Mysore for the month. Michelle is also in good form:
It’s wonderful to be here – on top of practice I am attending the chanting and yoga sutra philosophy classes.
Will post more news later!
I leave Purple Valley on the 20th then on to practice with Rolf & Marci. I was fortunate to have found a room near their shala as I understand places to stay are getting hard to find. I guess I could have stayed on the beach with the dogs, cows and hippies!
We have mysore practice in the morning then workshops in the afternoon. The workshops have so far been about pranayama and chanting. Breathing is not my strongest thing but I’m trying to make the most of it. Dena and Jack and their assistant Annetta, are positive, encouraging and Dena asked me to take ‘can’t’ out of my vocabulary when she assisted me in doing a handstand. The people doing Mysore begin at 6:30 am, we all start together after a little chanting, then do our practice. We need to be done by 8:30 so the lead class for beginners can start. That’s not giving me enough time to practice so today I cut out a couple of my not so favorite poses and did my finishing postures in about 5 breaths total.
I’ve met a woman practicing at purple valley who teaches in Costa Rica – Mariela. I am already thinking about taking a trip to practice with her and study Spanish as well.
The shala is chillier than I’m used to but the humidity makes it a little easier to be bendy. It’s a very nice place to practice with the background sounds of birds singing, roosters crowing and cows mooing.
A couple of weeks ago a teacher from London – not sure of her name (Os or Oz?) had a brain hemorrage (sp?) and died suddenly. She had been in India practicing at the time and her loss has affected the Londoners practicing at purple valley. Dena guided us in a chant to honor her. It was beautiful and I cried.
I miss home, my husband, my cats and YIY! But this is such a good experience for me. Dena has been talking to us about finding space in our bodies to help us move more deeply, breathe more deeply. Being here has encouraged me to allow more space in my life – to try and do different things – like walking around the streets of India by myself, by introducing myself to new people and to try to be okay (not there yet) without all the comforts of home. Ahhh…the wonders of yoga!
I have a picture of Walter on my nightstand by my bed. It’s one of him with a huge smile on his face looking so happy and adorable! I don’t need to tell you how his photo makes me feel! Hi Walter! Don’t forget your Auntie Karen!
Please write and tell me how you are and any YIY news. Any news about when Beata will return?