Interesting things that happened this week in particular:
I started binding Marichyasana D by myself on… Wednesday! Hooray! Which means I have gotten to progress on to Navasana, Bhujapidasana (shoulder pressure pose), Kurmasana (tortoise pose), and Supta Kurmasana (reclining tortoise pose). Saraswathi hasn’t given me Garbha Pindasana (Embryo in the Womb pose), but I think I’ll get to start it next week.
Navasana: boat pose. Core strengthening. Balancing on your sit bones, bend your hips at 90 degrees, point your toes and squeeze your legs together, keep your spine long and chest broad. Hold for five breaths, then plant your hands by your hips, cross your feet, and lift your hips up. Set them down and do it again for five navasana holds.
Bhujapidasana: plant your hands shoulder width apart, jump your legs around your arms, squeezing your upper arms with your thighs, cross your feet in front of your chest and pull your heels towards your hips, lowering your forehead or chin to the mat. After five breaths, lift your chin up, release your feet, and swing them back around the outside of your arms into bakasana (crow pose). Stay for a breath and jump back to chaturanga dandasana.
Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana: Jump for feet forward to the outside of your arms again. Release your hips back to the mat and reach through your arms and legs to press your chest to the mat. Keep your thighs against your ribs, point your toes, and send your arms straight out to the sides. Spend five breaths here. Then exhale and bind your hands behind your back. Then cross your legs behind your head, right foot on top of left, either with assistance or by yourself. Five breaths there, then plant your hands and lift up so your torso is vertical and only your hands touch the ground. Uncross your legs and lengthen them into Tittibhasana (firefly/insect pose). Then lift your hips up, swing your feet back to bakasana again and jump back to chaturanga dandasana. It is an intense series. But I can wait to get to start trying Garbha Pindasana, but it’ll be hard for me because its in Padmasana (lotus).
Other things that happened this week include plenty more good food times. As I believe I mentioned last week, food is a big hobby here. It is the main activity outside of yoga as near as I can tell. What Sharath suggests, and really I’m finding kind of best, is one meal a day. You don’t want to eat before you practice in the morning because it makes it way more difficult to engage your bandhas, and really a lot of abdominal engagement after eating is never fun. So, then you finish an extremely intense practice, have a coconut or two (or five), clean up enough, hang up your wet things, and go feast. And there are plenty of opportunities to feast around Mysore. As many people have pointed out, and I’m finding has to be the case based on other stories I’ve heard of other parts of India, is that Mysore is India-Lite. Especially the Gokulam 3rd Stage neighborhood which is pretty much devoted to serving the yoga community (not entirely, but pretty much). Its quite “posh”. So, we have Indian food, we have Western food, there are coconuts and fruits for sale everywhere, and rikshaw drivers by the truck load, but a surprisingly amount of space to walk around. And, many of the restaurants/cafes/”hotels”/people’s homes in which they serve food have elected to go vegan, or at least vegetarian to serve the tourist community which comes through every winter (Yoga Season is generally October – March).
So far still have several restaurants to hit, so that’s good, and, even better, the ones we’ve gone to so far are delicious! Highlights so far are … everything. Its all great! Ragi (some sort of grain) is used a lot for breads and pancakes, which are great. Tomatoes and spinach are common additions, and the tomatoes are super tasty. Bananas are great, especially with pancakes. Then lunch stuff… my Ashtanga teacher from Columbus, had me come along to a Punjabi place on Thursday, which was spicy and delicious. Paris, Mexico, and I have gone to a banana leaf joint which is very inexpensive and tasty enough that its more than worth it – as long as you show up early in serving session before the really good stuff is all gone.
This week, I also started Sanskrit classes at the shala, studying how to write, read, and speak it while studying the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Only two classes down so far, but its starting well. And I signed up for a three day intro to Thai Massage workshop next weekend, which I am REALLY excited about! We’re going to learn how to give a 1 hour Thai massage, at least that is the intention.
Talk to you all in a week!