Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To The Left, To The Left

This morning J #1 and went to the lake to run.  Actually J #1 ran and I dilly dallied.  Towards the end of our run/dilly dally we passed a group of young men.  There were about 6 of them in this group and when J #1 passed them, I could see that they were saying something about her.  I don't understand their language, but it is pretty obvious.  The people here have no subtlety.  When I saw they were analyzing her, I was a bit hesitant to pass them.  One of the guys noticed me and gestured for me to pass.  I walked as fast as I could to pass them and once they were behind me, they started yelling at me.  I didn't turn around, shook my head and put my hand up acknowledging that I heard them.  My headphones were pretty loud and through the music I could hear them telling me to run and keep running.  I turned around and one of the guys was gesturing with his hands for me to get away from them as if I insulted them by passing through.  I could feel myself getting upset and yelled at them to "shut up".  From there things just got worse and their insults kept flying.  I could feel the anger rising in me and at this point, I turned around again and yelled "shut the hell up you ignorant bastards".  I'm not sure if they understood me, but I took off and ran and ran like Forrest Gump.

When I was finally far enough from them, the adrenaline was wearing off and I began to question my reaction.  That was actually the 2nd thing that went through my head.  The first thing that went through my head was a Fraggle Rock episode.  Not sure which character it was, but I remember vaguely that the character had to leave Fraggle Rock because he was so fed up with people pushing him around.  He told his family/friends that he "had it up to here" and that was over the limit the Fraggles were allowed.

It has been a while since I've been that angry and lashed out at anyone.  If you asked any of my friends to describe my demeanor, most of them would probably say that I'm pretty mellow.  I wouldn't describe myself as "mellow", more like quiet.  Earlier today someone told me I was "kind" and it took everything in me to not roll my eyes and argue.  A "kind", "mellow" person who is learning and trying to practice the Eight Limbs would of reacted differently.  I could attribute my reaction to not feeling well (which I'm so over), lady's holiday, lack of sleep, etc.  In the end these are just excuses that might make me feel better for about 2.31 seconds.

On the lighter side of things, my obsession for the game Bejeweled is getting a little out of control.  Here are signs when you know you have a problem:
1. you close your eyes and can see the different colored gems
2. you close your eyes and not only can you see the gems, but strategize to place them 
3. in your sleep you can hear the sound of the game
4. staying up too late and losing sleep
5. playing in secrecy and lying about the amount of time you are playing from your roommate
6. turning off the sound so no one can hear the activity on your computer
7. pretending to be napping, but really playing
8. reading tips on line to get a higher score
9. envying your cousin's mad skills
10. you sit and ponder how it is possible that your friends score 3x more than your highest score
11. video chatting with a friend and playing at the same time

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

Yesterday morning, Jonah, a new friend and I took a day trip to the town of Bylakuppe.  Bylakuppe is the 2nd largest Tibetan settlement in India about 2 hours from Mysore.  Between the 3 of us, renting a car with a driver as oppose to taking the bus was worth the money.  We didn't see as much as I expected, but it was nothing like I've ever seen before.  The main tourist spot is the Golden Temple and it is absolutely stunning.  The temple houses three huge beautiful, gold Buddha statues.  Words cannot describe everything else inside the temple so I will leave it at that.  Anything I say would be an injustice to the beauty of the place.

Today was our last practice before another break, which I missed.  I'm going through another bout of stomach issues accentuated with flu like symptoms.  As much as my body needs this break, I'm unhappy about it.  We will be off for 5 days and return the first week of October.  The last break we had threw me off and I've been a bit out of sorts since.  After this break, the shala should be open till the 3rd week of November with the exception of moon days and our Saturdays off.  My goal is to refocus and recommit to my purpose (whatever that is).  I've been going back and forth about staying in Mysore for an extra week or two to get in another full month at the shala.  I may even consider staying till the next break in November.  It all depends on my patience and tolerance level.

10 Things I Learned
1. never leave home without an electric razor
2. bring toilet paper EVERYWHERE
3. if you are wearing long pants, fold them before entering a public restroom
4. when getting on a bus or train, always bring a copy of your receipt.  otherwise, you will have to pay  twice  
5. it's not funny to joke about being attacked with a machete when there is crazy people around.  it's possible that they are carrying one around
6. be careful what you wish for.  you might regret it
7. do not assume men walking around holding each others' hands are gay. heterosexual men here like to hold each others' hands too
8. you know you have a problem when you close your eyes and all you can see are the gems from the game Bejeweled
9. when you hear a doorbell, don't bother getting up.  it's probably your neighbor's 10. if your room is on the first floor, it is not a good idea to walk around naked with the curtains open

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Waging Wars to Shake the Poet and the Beat

I've been pathetically laying in bed for the past few hours playing this game that I'm addicted to.  I feel horrible and that is my excuse.  I'm going through another bout of stomach issues, with headaches and nausea.  My trip to Hampi screwed up the immunity I have built the past few weeks.  Now I am back to sqaure one going through the process all over again.  Emotionally, there is also something that is not right about me and I have yet to figure that out.  I have a few ideas and it is probably a combination of everything going on in my head.  Since I've been gone, I have missed a lot of birthdays and with the upcoming months I am going to miss more.  Tomorrow is my dad's and best friend's birthday.  I feel a bit guilty not being there for my dad.  I haven't seen him since June and talking to him is impossible.  Since his stroke, my relationship with him hasn't been the same.  He is physically here, but I often wonder if he is mentally.  It is hard for me to see him struggle and the suffering he is going through is unfair.  I've purposely stayed away and for months subconsciously didn't tell any of my friends that he was back living in Los Angeles.  It's not the proper way to handle things, but for the mean time, it is, what it is.   

Today's practice was our first day back from holiday.  We have 2 more classes, then the shala is closed again for another 4 days.  My practice this morning was actually good.  I wasn't sure how I would do with the stomach issues and was worried that I would be unfocused from the long break.  There is this one asana I'm working on and I usually end up with my forehead crashing into the mat with my legs crossed over my arms stuck.  My forehead didn't slam into the mat today, but I still need to work on getting out of the pose. 

Not much going on today.  Christian is leaving tomorrow so I plan on spending sometime with him.  Since Jonah arrived, I haven't seen much of Christian.  One of my friends mentioned that Christian might feel like a bit casted out which in truth weren't my intentions.  I'm sure I would have struggled more my first month here if he weren't my flatmate.  I had a lot of fun with him and he has helped me in so many ways he will never know.  I'm fortunate to have met him and will miss him greatly.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In the Land of Hampi (Hump - e)

Jonah and I returned this morning from an amazing trip to Hampi.  Getting there was an adventure in itself.  We took the bus Tuesday evening from Mysore to Bangalore, then caught another bus from Bangalore to Mysore.  The bus ride was about 12 hours, which wasn't too bad considering we were on sleepers on the second leg of our trip.  We arrived in Bangalore a little early and had a few hours to kill before our bus arrived.  Bangalore is a city that I would prefer to stay away from if possible.  The city is filled with chaos, rats, noise, etc.  I'm sure not every part of the city is like that, but it seems every part I visit is. 

We arrive in Hospet around 7 the following morning and take a rickshaw to Hampi.  Hospet is the closest major city to Hampi which is about 15 kilometers away.  Just like any major city, it is also noisy, dirty, chaos, etc.  We go through a few small and see people standing in front of their houses brushing their teeth and children pooping on the side of the road.  Not a pretty picture.  As we approach Hampi there is a dramatic change in scenery.  For miles you can see boulders that seem to go on forever.  The air and roads are a bit cleaner and less noise.  I had a bit of knowledge on Hampi from various reading sources and a climbing video I saw a few years back.  The pictures and video that I saw is an injustice to the beauty of the town.  Maybe I'm a little biased because of all the bouldering possibilities, but there were ruins and granite boulders everywhere.  Granite is a strong material and it was fascinating to see how an empire was built using the stone.  The city is very tourist based and since it was the slow season, business is hard to come by.  The only annoyance was dealing with merchants/beggars trying to sell their services or asking for money.    All day we would hear "need a rickshaw", "hah-low! come into my store.  it's free to look". 

Aside from the major transportation services, the trip was unplanned.  I didn't make reservations for a place to stay and left it all to the moment of our necessity.  The main area of Hampi is divided by a river.  The other side of the river is an ideal place to stay.  It is much quieter than the bazaar area, less beggars and merchants and also more bouldering.  When we arrived, we were told by the rickshaw driver the water level was too high for us to safely cross, so we were stuck on the bazaar side.  I think the driver was partly lying due to the fact that we were able to cross the following day and we later found out he earned a commission for taking us to the guest house we stayed at even though I requested for him to take us there.  In the end, it worked out.  Thanks to the Lonely Planet guide I was able to find us accommodations that were decent and fairly priced.

Everyone in Hampi assumed Jonah and I were a married couple.  When we checked into our guest house they gave us a room with a double bed.  The people that would stop to talk to us would ask if we were married and we agreed.  It was just easier that way.  The other question we were poised with is where we were from.  Being from the United States is a huge deal and there is this assumption that you are rich.  Jonah and I started making up countries that we could be from.  One day I was from Singapore and Jonah was from Germany.  On our last day we decided to be Kiwi's.  Jonah is of British origin and I was Maori.    

Jonah and I came home sick and we are both having stomach issues.  I'll write more about the trip when I'm feeling better.      

Here are some Hampi Highlights:

Day 1
bus ride from Mysore to Bangalore - 3 hours
bus ride from Bangalore to Hospet - 9 hours
rickshaw from Hospet to Hampi
guest house check in
explored area
found boulders to climb and ruins

Day 2
tried climbing near temple. kicked out by security
crossed river and found boulders to climb
saw crazy lady with machete
almost didn't make it across river.  water level too high and strong current
shopping at the bazaar

Day 3
early morning climbing session
toured ancient ruins
check out of guest house
ripped off by train.  made us pay twice

The trip isn't as boring as described above.  I would go back if I could and spend a few days climbing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Woke up at 3 am this morning to go on a safari at Nagarhole National Park.  I didn't get very much sleep again.  Went to bed at 1 and woke up 2 hours later.  The park is 2 hours away from Mysore so I was able to nap for a bit in the car. 

The safari was a last minute decision and I am glad we went.  Coordinating this trip was not fun at all.  We had a misunderstanding with the agent and almost didn't make the trip.  In the end, it all worked out.  I just hate looking like an ass when I have 2 other people making decisions.  Our safari was great.  We had a private jeep and saw elephants, some type of monkey, deer, peacocks, wild boar, and eagles.  No sightings of leopards or tigers which we were all hoping for.  The resort that organized the safari is tucked away in the rain forest on a lake.  Our driver got lost which is understandable considering that there are no road signs and the driveway is a turnoff to some random dirt road. 

Tonight, Jonah and I go on our bus adventure to Hampi.  Our first leg of the trip is the bus ride from Mysore to Bangalore which is about 3 hours.  From there we rickshaw to another bus station to catch our bus to Hospet which is about 8 hours.  From Hospet we take another rickshaw to Hampi.  We originally had plans to take the train, but our plans were delayed a day.  The bus supposedly has sleepers, but no air conditioning.  It will be interesting to see how everything works out.  Nothing is really planned, so we will figure things out once we get there. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

One Month Down, ???? To Go!

Exactly one month to this day I was sitting on the plane to Singapore having doubts about my departure.  I remember having so much anxiety after the plane boarded and had to call Palindrome and Rainbow to talk me down.  I can't believe it has been month.  The month flew by and I feel like I'm finally settled in.  I remember sitting on the plane and thinking about the amount of days I would be away from home.  Seventy days seemed like a huge number and if I told myself 2 months and a few plus days, it didn't seem as bad. 

So much has happened in the past month that I would have never experienced being home.  I immensely miss my friends and family and at times get teary eyed thinking about all of them.  With every person in my life, I've made a conscious decision to have a relationship with that particular person.  Each individual is truly a special person to me. 

Coming here was something I had to do for myself and it has been one of the best decisions I've made.  For me, it sometimes takes being by myself to branch out and experience different things.  Recently I've noticed subtle changes within me that take me by surprise.  Yesterday, I was telling my sister how I left the house with wrinkly pants and how it took me all morning to get used to the idea that it was okay.  Leaving home with wrinkly pants is not a huge deal, but there were times when I would be late for work and couldn't leave with unpressed clothes.  Lately when people invite me to go out, I actually go.  I went to my first puja yesterday and that was something I've never seen before.  The ceremony was incredible and I'm glad to have partook in it.  For me it is the little things that make a difference.

My friend Jonah arrived yesterday and he will be joining me for the second half of my trip.  We moved into our new apartment and spent most of today cleaning and setting everything up.  I'm excited to have a piece of home here with me and look forward to the journey ahead of us.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thinking About Tomorrow

No practice today, moon day.  Christian and I had a late dinner last night and we stayed up too late eating junk and watching South Park.  On our way home from dinner, the rain started pouring.  I thought walking in the rain was fun, riding on the scooter in the rain is even better. We had to make a cookie and beer (not for me) run before heading home prolonging the ride which I was ecstatic about. 

This blog has turned into the adventures of Christian and MC and for a second I thought about changing the name.  That will soon change as he is going home at the end of the month and my friend Jonah will be filling the role of sidekick.  Yes, we spend a lot of time together and it's not my fault he thinks I'm nice and fun to hang around with.  I'm actually surprised that he isn't sick and tired of me yet.  I must say that I appreciate the fact that he spends a lot of time in his head thinking like I do and speaks only when necessary. 

Earlier this afternoon, J#1, who by the way is Johanne, took a walk around the lake again.  Johanne said I could refer to her by her real name which is fine since J#2 has left and distinction between the two J's is no longer necessary.  However, there is less to type if I refer to her as J#1.  Towards the end of our walk, one of the locals pointed out a crocodile in the water.  This wasn't like a "Reggie" in the lake situation.  This was a real crocodile, not that Reggie wasn't, but this thing was bigger and wild.  I was excited and fearful at the same time.  On both sides of the trail is swamp and a crocodile or snake could easily hide and come out of nowhere.  In the beginning of our walk,  J#1 was wondering if it was safe to run around the lake by herself.  After seeing the crocodile, don't think she will be doing that anytime soon.  On our way out of the lake, this guy trying to show off on his motorcycle by speeding through the speed bump, completely eats it.  He was unhurt, but when anyone tried to help him he was interested.  I don't know how he was unhurt with that spill.  His motorcycle fell on him and he hit the asphalt pretty hard.         

**can't come up with a title, so i'll use the title of the song currently on my iPod

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Going Postal

Today was the last day of practice till the 27th.  The shala recently posted additional closure dates starting on the 30th of September till the 4th of October.  Haven't made any travel plans for those dates yet, but I'm sure I will find somewhere to go.  I'm glad to have made it through this weeks' practice.  The lack of sleep and poor diet has been brutal and my body is currently paying the price.  I had a few moments during this mornings' practice when I wanted to lie face down and stay there.  It's my karma!  Back home I've taken some of my friends to one of my regular yoga classes and some of them literally end up exactly how I felt this morning.  Every time this would happen, I would laugh and think it was funny.  Now I know exactly how it feels and as painful as it is, it's still funny.

I had to run a few errands this morning and my first stop was the post office.  My primary purpose was to mail a few postcards that have been sitting in my room for the past few weeks.  I also wanted to go there and demand my package that my sister sent me.  My sister sent the package priority mail and the scheduled delivery was 6-10 days.  It's been longer than 10 days and I want my package now!  There is food in this care package that I am after.  I was able to get postage, but wasn't able to ask about my package.  The Indian post office is conducted a little differently than our system in the US.  Needless to say, I will never complain about the line at the post office.  The lady that sold me the stamps took the stamps out of a folder in a plastic bag sitting on her desk.  There were papers and mail everywhere in this office.  The office looked like a guest house that is attached to the neighbors property.  I had no clue it was there until the rickshaw driver showed it to me yesterday.  I have been walking past it every day for the past few weeks.  The cost to mail the postcards is Rs 12 (rupees).  The post lady then had to count postage for 6 postcards and that pretty much took all morning.  I then had to lick each and every stamp and don't remember the last time I had to do something like that.  After I was done applying the stamps, I had no clue where to drop the postcards.  The didn't want to wait in line again and found this lunch pail looking thing that read "Indian Post".  I threw the postcards in it and everyone in line looked at me when I did this.  Apparently, the cow for the cow mail train hasn't been born yet, so I'm not sure if the postcards will end up at their addressed destinations. 

My next stop was to the local grocery store.  Walking to the store or anywhere in town is always fascinating.  Some of the locals look at you like a leper and sometimes from their body language you can tell the things they say could be inappropriate.  I've never left the house without my iPod and if I turn the music loud enough I can't hear anything.  My ignoring skills have definitely improved since I've been here. 

I arrive at the store and one of the sales clerks spots me walking to the back.  I find the yogurt section and like clock work she is there staring at me.  She doesn't say a word so I ignore her.  I walk over to another aisle and she follows me.  I stop to look at an item and from the corner of my eye I can see she is standing about 3 feet away.  Thought I would have a little fun with her, so I kept walking around the different aisles, stopping to look at various items.  When she would catch up, I would walk to another section and pretend I was looking at something else.  I think she got tired of following me so she positioned herself at the opposite end of the aisle.  I could see her walking from aisle to aisle as I moved.   At some point, I started walking faster and sliding around in my flip flops.  I would stop in between sections to see how persistent she was. When she would miss me, she would go back to the previous aisle to see where I was.  The store is pretty small and after my 3rd or 4th lap, I finally stopped and checked out.  Yogurt was the only item I  came to buy, but got so much more than what I paid for.         

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If I Fell and Nobody Was Around, Would I Make a Sound?

A storm hit last night that lasted till mid-morning.  I enjoy the change in weather and love walking in the rain listening to music.  Lately, I've been listening to the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.  There is something about the song "Zero" and "Y Control" that gets me psyched.  The songs are upbeat compared to the melancholy music that I usually listen to.  On my way out of the shala, I ran into this girl that I met my first few days here.  She commented on how I seemed much more at ease and seemed like I've settled in.  She was right.  I'm still slightly bored, but don't feel so antsy.  There is stuff back home that causes me stress, but for the most part being here makes me happy.  Happy to the point that I'm considering a longer stay.  We'll see how the next month develops.  At the moment considering a longer stay might be a bit premature.

This mornings practice was another close call to a disastrous end.  To save myself from embarrassment, I now wait till Sarashwathi can assist me with my headstand.  Like today, it can sometimes be a long wait.  I was tempted to go up on my own, but since the blind crashing incident, I knew better than to allow my impatience to overcome me.  By the time she came over, I was over the whole headstand thing.  I debated for a few minutes if I should just skip it, but I wouldn't be honoring my commitment if I chose to do that.  When I was finally up and steady, she let me go.  I was balancing for a bit on my own and suddenly begin to over rotate.  I wasn't sure where she was, but she caught my leg right as I was about to kick her in the face.  Me falling caught her by surprise.  It wasn't anything new to me as I fall over everyday when I practice my headstands.  As she caught my leg, I hear her gasp.  A sudden rush of fear arises in me to be prevailed with Saraswathi's laughter.  I was so scared she was going to be upset and yell at me.  With my one leg still in her hand, I flip over and see her laughing.  When I see her laughing, I start to laugh with her.

Yet again, another precious moment when I'm face down on my mat, laughing at myself.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Wasn't Kidding About the Asperger's

The test assesses five different areas. Autistic-like responses will show poor social skill, attention switching, communication and imagination, and an exaggerated attention to detail. In other words, geekiness. You scored 34. The ranking below provides some idea of where that AQ fits in.


32 - 50 Scores over 32 are generally taken to indicate Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning autism, with more than 34 an "extreme" score.
   24 Average math contest winner
   21 Average male or female computer scientist
   19 Average male scientist, and average male or female physicist
   18 Average man
   17 Average female scientist
   15 Average woman, and average male or female biologist

0 - 12

I took the test again to see if I missed anything.  I was actually hoping for a lower score and got a 35.  No comment!!

Lemon Party and Lady's Holiday

This is the last full week of practice as the shala will be closing from the 18th-29th.  Sleep has been my enemy this past week and I'm getting a maximum of 4 hours of sleep a day.  Regardless of the lack of sleep, I'm still getting up to practice.  I cannot miss another practice this week so J #1 has been calling me every morning to help me get up.  I've been forcing myself to get up and it hasn't been easy.  Not sure how I will survive the 10 day break without practicing in the shala.  Practicing on my own isn't the same.  I'm not as focused and disciplined.  Back home when I was practicing on my own, I start doing things half-assed when I would get tired.  Things might be different now that I am here and I might as well try. 

During the break my plan is travel to Hampi with the boys to climb.  There is so much bouldering and sightseeing to do.  Hampi is filled with ancient ruins and from what I've seen in pictures, the bouldering is impeccable.  I also plan on moving next weekend to the new place.  I'm a bit excited to have my own place with my friend, but will miss the nightly episodes of South Park with Christian.  

When I missed practice on Sunday, J #1 concerned of my whereabouts asked if it was a "lady's holiday".  I had not clue what that meant and said no.  When a few other people found out I missed practice, they asked me the same thing.  To some I would say yes and nod, but had no clue as to what I was agreeing to.  One of our friends also missed practice on Sunday and J #1 said the same thing about the "lady's holiday" so I assumed it was some sort of a floating holiday that we individually observe. Yesterday when I was at J #1's place, she mentioned the "lady's holiday" again.  It wasn't until she made a comment about her "lady's holiday" coming soon that I fully understood what she meant.  At first I didn't understand why she planned it.  I thought it was something you decide the morning of if you want to get up and attend practice.  Once I figured it out, I never felt more stupid.  Apparently the holiday is observed monthly or every 28 days or whenever it comes for the individual.  Girls usually take a few days off from practice or tailor their practice to accommodate their symptoms.  So the fact that I told some people I was observing the "lady's holiday" was false information and an over share on my part.

Title footnote:
"30 Rock" has made a few Lemon Party references.  When my friend told me what it was, I was shocked.....  The things we sometimes learn never fails to surprise me

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Goodbye Horses

There are horses roaming the streets of Gokulam and I've developed this obsession with them.  It's rather strange to see horses here.  I can understand seeing cows, the other animals that look like cows, sheep or maybe they are goats, etc.  Just didn't expect horses.  My first week I had an encounter with a set of horses, but didn't have my camera.  I saw them again and still no camera.  Yesterday I actually saw one, had my camera in hand and was too dumbfounded to take the photo.  This morning we walked down to the local breakfast place and it just so happened that I walked out the door with my camera bag.  I saw not one, not two, but 5.  Except one of them looked funny so maybe he doesn't count.  That would be 4 horses then and a weird one.  I took photos and got my fix.  Now I need something new to obsess over.  My day goes by a little faster when I occupy my head with nonsense.   

The neighbors are fighting again.  There has been a lack of activity the past week and the silence didn't last very long.  They only fight on the weekends so maybe it's when they spend too much time together they fight.  The husband is actually yelling back today and I'm putting my money on him.  Maybe he is tired of being bossed around and is finally standing up for himself.  The wife sounds scary and mean.  I would be not want to be on her bad side.  Definitely won't be knocking on their door to borrow some sugar.     

Practice today was another LED class.  I'm sure it would have been just dandy, but I chose to sleep in.  My little excursion yesterday was exhausting and after not sleeping all week, my body needed the rest.  Christian and I went on a day trip to this place called Melkote.  We had a hand written map from the guy that runs the breakfast place and what was an hour scooter ride, turned into 2.5 hours.  We missed a turn and did this huge loop and ended up right where we started.  Along the way we asked several people for directions and most of them were giving us the correct directions except Christian thought we were going to another city.  So with every direction he would get, he would go the opposite way.  We didn't figure this out until an hour and a half into the ride.  I obviously wasn't paying much attention.  The ride home wasn't bad.  It took us exactly an hour and by the time we got back, we were both beat.  I thoroughly enjoy being on the scooter.  I know it's dangerous that we ride without helmets, but I think that is part of the allure.  Earlier this week I finally bought a pair of sunglasses and that has made the ride more pleasurable.   

Melkote is a cute little town.  We went to the top of the temple and again, it was another one of those situations that shoes weren't allowed.  Didn't freak out too much and this time we stuck our shoes in the bag we had with us.  We had to hike up the stairs carefully avoiding monkey poop and who knows what else.  On our way to the top there were people sitting on the steps begging for money.  The elderly people were on the bottom and the children closer to the top.  At first I was trying to ignore them and that didn't work very well.  The children were so cute and they kept asking for our names in English.  Seeing children begging is something I will never get accustomed to, but this time I was armed with rupees and had enough for each of them.   

We get to the top of the temple and by then I was sucking wind.  I'm so out of shape and my fat was starting to hurt.  The architecture and stone carvings had so much detail and was amazing.  We sat up on top for a while to enjoy the view and eat our picnic which consisted of cookies and Gatorade (nothing but the best for us).  Christian was eating cookies and I was preoccupied with taking pictures of monkeys.  He calls my name and I hear the sense of urgency in his voice.  I turn around and there is this adult monkey sitting a foot from him wanting some cookies.  The monkey was hissing and was getting upset.  I immediately stood up and walked away.  Christian is still sitting in the same spot and the monkey eventually goes away.  I walk back to our spot and as I sit down the monkeys surround us.  I get up again and this baby eating a banana came and sat next to Christian.  The baby finishes it's banana, walks over to Christian and puts it's palm on his leg.  It was so cute.  If that would have happened to me, I would have been screaming.  I take that back.  I'm not a screaming kind of person.  I would have most likely flinched scaring the monkey and moving as fast as I could to get away. 

This summer I had my first shark encounter.  My friends and I were surfing Sunset Beach and my friend Donna and I spot this grey fish with a white underbelly.  I look at her and before my other friend could confirm if it was a shark, I was gone.  I paddled so fast to shore and wasn't waiting to find out if it was indeed a shark.  We all finally make it to shore and we see this seal pup darting out of the water.  The poor thing looked so scared and I assumed it's fear was from being hunted in the water.  Donna goes running towards the pup with her arms stretched out like a mother would to protect a child.  The pup sees her, freaks out and goes back into the water.  The pup was more scared of her than the shark.

Seeing animals in the ocean is a great motivator.  There have been countless times when seals would follow me while paddling.  I'd see them and would start paddling faster forgetting all the pain in my body.  Like I've said before, I like all animals, just from a distance.  I think this all started when my sister got bit by a dog.  I was around 4 at the time and I remember my mom telling me that my sister got bit.  She was over at a friend's house and her friend was teasing and antagonizing the dog.  My mom was telling me the story to instill fear and as a lesson to be learned.  Just like if I were bad, the weird people in the street would take me or if I stuck my hand or head out of the car window it would get cut off.  My favorite one is if I make a strange or ugly looking face, a certain wind would blow and my face would permanently stay that way.  It's funny how adults would say anything to make a child listen and how we grow up believing the things that we do.  My nephew was in a nose picking phase and it grossed me out.  I told him that if he stuck his finger up his nose, the monster would bite it off.  So for a while he would make me look up his nostrils to check if the monster was still there.  I would always tell him, it was sleeping, but the moment he sticks his finger up his nose, it would awaken and be hungry for his finger.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mannequins Are Real People Too

LED class this morning and I actually made it. There was no way I would have missed today's class anyway. It is Saraswathi's birthday today.  After class Joseph was bringing a cake and we were presenting her with flowers. Class went well. Didn't break or run into any windows or people. I got a new asana added to my practice which I am always excited about. Now I know how my nephew feels when he unlocks a new character on his Wii game. He gets so excited when he is trying to tell you that you can't understand a thing he is saying.

Bella, Vel and I went to town this afternoon to shop. We weren't quite sure where to go, but we heard a few people raving about this store called Fab India. We found a rickshaw driver that I knew and he would be our driver for the rest of the afternoon. There were a lot of cute items in Fab India and I picked a few things for myself and also presents for my nephew. I figured I would start shopping for gifts as I see things and not wait till the last minute. Right next to Fab India is a Walmart like store called Big Bazaar. We head over to Big Bazaar and the three of us separate to find our various items. The sales employees at this store try to be very, very helpful. Once you step into their department they start following you around to help you find your item. When this happens I just start walking around in circles till they stop. It's one thing if they were to ask if I need help, but they follow me around in silence and it's a little annoying. Speaking of annoying. Yesterday a few of the girls and I were at another part of town shopping for flowers and a card. This little drummer boy with a basket on his head starts following us around. We kept telling him 'no' to whatever he was asking for, but he was very persistent. I asked one of the girls what he wanted and she said she didn't know. She thought that a snake came out of the basket when he plays the drums. I couldn't see well enough in the basket, but that was enough for me to walk far away from him. We start walking towards the optical store and the boy, still beating on his drums, follows us over. We go into the store thinking we could get rid of him and he stood in front of the door and kept beating his drums. The shop keeper had to come out and threaten him before he finally stopped.

At Big Bazaar I didn't have any luck finding my item so I started walking around the store to find the girls. I see Bella at the saree department talking to a few of the employees and she waves for me to come over. Bella is trying to purchase a saree for her sister-in-law and needed help communicating with the employees. She had been trying to tell the sales lady that she didn't know how to wear a saree and where to get the undergarments. My attempt to communicate with the sales person was useless . They end up calling the manager over and I explained to him that Bella is interested in purchasing a saree, but we weren't sure how to put it on. The manager then tells the sales girl in Hindi to demonstrate on a mannequin. The sales girl starts laughing and off course I'm laughing too. The situation got past ridiculous when Bella called me over. What happens next is something I've never seen before and people would think I were lying if I told the story. The sales girl walks over to two mannequins and tells one of the guys about the saree demonstration. The guy then picks up the mannequin and tells us to follow him. I thought he was taking us to another mannequin that wasn't clothed and was carrying the other one to switch it. Instead he walks over to the dressing room and sticks the mannequin in one of the rooms. Bella then tells them that she didn't want to put the saree on, she just wanted to see it demonstrated on the mannequin. The sales people tell us they understood. The sales girl then begins to undress the mannequin and Bella and I start laughing. We didn't understand why this had to be conducted in a dressing room and not the sales floor. They treated the mannequin as if it were a real person that needed privacy to be undressed. The sales girl starts to put the saree on the mannequin and I lose it. They literally had the mannequin inside its own room and the sales person was standing in front of it like a mother would helping a child undress. I tried to take a picture, but it didn't turn out so well. Photos aren't allowed in the store and one of the sales people reprimanded me for taking it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the 6th day of yoga my body said to me
Six I'm too tired
Fiiiive get some sleep
Four it's too early
Three shoulders hurt
Two knees are sore
and too many injuries that won't heal

Crabby Cassie's Sister, Unbalanced Uma

Today in practice I had a moment when I had to make a decision to stop and quit while I was ahead or push it and try again. I obviously chose the latter and should of stopped while I was ahead. I've had my fair share of injuries and the major ones could of all been prevented if I would have just stopped.

When I was 3 my sister and I were having this competition of who can jump from one bed to the next. The room we had had two beds set fairly close to each other. My mom was folding laundry on one of the beds and told us she didn't want us to get hurt so we needed to stop. I remember my sister and I pleading with her to jump one last time and she broke down and agreed. When I jumped, I missed the bed and my mouth got caught on the bed's wooden frame. The side of my mouth ripped open and I was taken to the hospital for stitches.

In 2nd grade I had this idea that if I run to the volleyball net I would bounce back and spring on my feet like I saw in the cartoons. What I didn't know was that a volleyball net is not like a trampoline. The bell rang and recess was over. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to attempt my stunt. The volleyball nets were on the way back to my classroom and there wouldn't be any witnesses as everyone is rushing back to class. I ran full force to the net and instead of bouncing back on my feet, my face caught the net and I fell back and hit my head on the asphalt. I was crying and to make things worse, the recess lady that I feared was the one who came over to see if I was okay.

Same situation when I broke my collarbone, my ankle and my arm. I had a decision to either stop or push forward and I pushed. When I broke my collarbone my boyfriend and I were trying this bmx course by our apartment. I was doing well on the course and then he showed me this steep hill that had a crazy drop. It was getting dark and he didn't think I was ready for the hill. I finally convinced him that I was ready and I walked my bike up the scree and got ready to ride down. Right before I rode down he reminded me that at the bottom I need to hit my brakes and go left. The trail on the left was flat and clear. I rode down the hill and completely forget to brake and go left. I went straight, hit a few moguls and eventually flew over the handlebars. We should of just gone home.

The day I broke my ankle I wasn't feeling quite right and decided to go climb anyway. It was the end of the day and one of the guys we were climbing with couldn't finish the route and he needed someone to take his gear down. I had a bad climbing day and was done climbing at that point. I was too impatient to wait for someone else to take the gear down so I got my gear on and went up. About halfway up the route, I started to feel funny and kept climbing. Next thing I know I'm falling and instead of going straight down I pendulum and my ankle catches the wall. I ended up breaking my ankle and tearing two ligaments. Getting out of the climbing area proved to be a nightmare. The climbing area is 2 miles from the parking lot trailhead and it was dark.

The last major injury turned out to be the worst. I was up in Mammoth with my friends snowboarding for the weekend. All of them being advanced, I was going down the easy runs by myself. We all decided that we would reconvene at one of the lodges around 4:30. It was getting late and for my 2nd time being out, I has having such a great day and felt like I got the hang of things. I went up one last time and on my last run of the day, I fell and broke my arm. Breaking my arm was the worst injury out of them all. Again, easily could of been prevented. To make a long story longer, I had a broken arm for over 13 months, had 3 surgeries, 3 nerve block procedures, a nerve transposition, and lost my job.

Today's incident wasn't anything tragic, more embarrassing than anything else. Anything that has to do with balancing isn't my thing. With that being said, the things I love to do the most all require great balance. Since I've been here, I have been working on my headstands. On my first day of practice I specifically told Saraswathi that this was a problem area for me and needed assistance. So at the end of every practice I would wait for her and she helps me get up. Today, I was being impatient and didn't want to wait for her. I see this girl position herself near the wall and does a headstand on her own. I figured I could just do that instead of waiting. I moved to the back of the room and positioned my mat in the corner. Facing the wall I was to perform my headstand, to my left (back wall) there are windows with blinds and the wall I was facing had light switches to the right. I didn't want to do my headstand on the back wall in case I over rotate and hit the blinds. Moving right wasn't an option either for fear of hitting the light switch. The little area was ample room to prevent me from over rotating. I got ready to do my headstand and go up no problem. I was able to hold the position and didn't use the wall at all. Me being me, I decide that I should try it again to see if I can hold it longer. I try to go up and have no clue what happened next. I end up tipping to my left and crashing into the blinds. Being in the corner, my feet come down and I end up in a ball with my head tweaked and my legs in my chest. That was the point I lost it and could not stop laughing. The guy next to me was smirking and was trying hard not to laugh. After I unwrapped myself I quickly sat down on my mat and kept my head down.

It's interesting how when you are trying to be as quiet as possible is when you make the most amount of noise. Ironically, on my walk home from the shala, the song "No One Sleeps While I'm Awake" came on my iPod. Typical!

My lesson learned for today is to never trust a corner. They are not as safe as one would like to think.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Negative Nancy's Relative, Crabby Cassie

CAUTION:  For what your about to read may be inappropriate for children underage and for those who are having a good day.  If you don't want your day ruined, stop here and exit the page now.  If your curiosity is peaked, keep reading.   

No sleep again.  Maybe I also need to write the sleep fairy a love letter.  My stomach has calmed down slightly since I stopped eating the questionable food and modified my eating habits.  Amidst being sleep deprived, practice was great.  There is an energy in the shala that is indescribable and there are no words to describe it.  

Today was the first day that I walked into my little town area by myself.  I had errands to run and was tired of depending on someone to get them done.  I had to put a deposit down for the new place that I will be moving into when my friend arrives.  The mansion, as it's called, is setup like an apartment and houses many of the yoga students.  I'm excited to have my own space and have my own bathroom.  I have my own bathroom now, but I have to walk to Bangladesh to get to it.  There will be no maid service at the new place, but I think I can manage cleaning up after myself.  There a few cool things about moving into this place: J #1 lives upstairs, the first time I looked at the apartment I saw monkeys on the neighbors property (far enough for me to like them), and the owner's driver is giving me new music I can listen to.  Perks all around.  On my way there, I was looking around the neighborhood and the thought crossed my mind about possibly moving here.  Nothing to get your panties in a bunch over.  Just a thought.  I often lose my train of thought and I'm sure this particular thought would be forgotten by tomorrow. 

Last night I had dinner with J #2 and one of her friends as a farewell for J's departure later that evening. 
During the course of dinner we were discussing the division among some of the yoga students here.  There are several teachers that teach the practice and there is somewhat a pettiness of my teacher is better than your teacher kind of a thing.  For me being new to the practice and never been here before, it's a little disconcerting.  I'm too old to be involved in this type of behavior and these are adults participating in this kind of crap.  Being here to study is a blessing and an honor.  There are people from all over the world that want to be here, but don't have the time or the means.  Living here is like living in a small village with the population of 50 and I guess drama is to be expected.  The thing that irks me the most about this whole thing is the disrespect towards my teacher.  We are all students and I would think that the purpose is to learn.  Otherwise, why be here.

Since everyone is entitled to their opinion, here's mine.....  Some people just need to shut their trap and shut the f*ck up.  That's all!  No one's asked me yet, so until then I'll say it to the universe.  I don't like to use profanity, but this situation is deserving of it.  

I swear on sweet baby jesus that no one pooped in my porridge this morning.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Smoothies Are My New Love

The night before last I was unable to sleep and was pretty miserable.  I finally fell asleep sometime around midnight (apparently that is when you lose yourself for a minute or two) and  had a lot of weird dreams.  I get up at 4:15 every morning and there is no reason why I should be wide awake after 9.  Christian and I watched a few South Park episodes before I went to bed and that might be my problem.  I have to admit, I enjoy watching the show.  I think it's funny and some of the stuff the characters say is classic.  Up until this trip, it has been years since I watched a full episode.  During it's first two seasons I watched the show religiously, but that was more than 10 years ago and was sooo immature then.  Not that I'm more mature today, just older with age.  Maybe I should try something more calming and soothing like Norah Jones or perhaps Barry Manilow instead of watching a show about 8 year old boys saying the most inappropriate things. 

Got another massage and it wasn't traumatizing like the first massage I got here.  The masseuse is an American and she abides by American culture standards.  Subconsciously I must of been worried about the session.  I had a bizarre dream about this weird looking masseuse yanking on my hip and pulling my leg in all sorts of directions .  Part of that could be that when I went to bed the night before my hip joints were aching.  My shoulders and knees have been hurting too and ice doesn't exist here.  If it's not one thing, it is the other.  I should of taken better care of my body 10 years ago during my immature South Park days.       

The massage was great and just what I needed.  My new conquest is to be a massage whore and get a massage from this lady at least a minimum of once a week till I leave.  During the massage I had a moment of slight panic.  I couldn't remember the type of underwear I was wearing and if it was appropriate.  For some reason I kept thinking I was wearing a pair that I wore the day before.  For the life of me, I could not remember and eventually gave up.  There was nothing I could do anyway.  I couldn't excuse myself and ask her to leave the room to check or apologize for something that I was unsure of.  I reassured myself that it was going to be okay. 

Here is a snippet of how my little brain works:

Start of thought process: 
should of paid more attention instead of moping around today
good thing i shaved
it doesn't matter, but it really does
wonder if normal people think about this  
Rainbow would be laughing
it's not a big deal she (masseuse) doesn't care
there is a sheet
at least my underwear is on and not a piece of rope with the paper thing
she is not going to do the funny circle things on your boobs like those girls did at the ayuervedic place... 
what happens in India, stays in India.... 
shoot! i'm going to have to write about this
End of thought process 

When the masseuse left the room, I checked to see what I had on and it was fine.

Start of thought process as I'm laughing to myself: 
so stupid......
End of thought process. Still laughing

After thought:
Thinking about this whole situation, I kind of get why I get teased so much.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Union Strike

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be closed today.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Have a great day!

There Are Ants In My Bed

It's a "Delicate Sound of Thunder" kind of day here in Mysore.... 

If gold star stickers were handed out in class, I would have wanted one today.  With assistance I was able to bind this asana that I have been working on.  Last week I couldn't touch my fingers at all and today I was able to hold it.  However, there will be a price to pay for this little accomplishment of mine.  My shoulders and knees started hurting at the end of my practice and they are sore now.  I don't mean to sound ego driven, by posting these little things about my practice.  My purpose of studying here is not to attract attention or brag to my friends that I can do this pose or that pose.  With the hell I have been through with my arm and shoulder, I'm lucky to have a fully functioning left arm and I'm just happy to have this opportunity to be here. 

As I meet new people I get the standard set of questions of how did you end up in Mysore, India? How long have you been practicing? Where are you from? etc.  The more people I talk to it is becoming apparent that a trip like this is something that is planned more than 2 months in advance and most people come here have years of experience practicing Ashtanga.  I must say that my situation is unique and I wouldn't have done it any other way.  I was having a conversation with someone yesterday and when they asked me my story, he told me "oh, you are one of those people".  I'm not quite sure what he meant by that statement and I didn't question him further.  So what if I woke up one morning and decided I should go to India.  If it's possible for anyone to go and they have the means, then why not.  Life is too short to sit around and wait for something better to come around.  It may seem like I'm a bum now, but it wasn't always this way.  I worked my butt off and at times had multiple jobs to stay afloat.  One of my friends said that I reminded her of a Jamaican having multiple jobs (sorry about the stereotype - just repeating what she said) .  I actually didn't know what that meant, but okay.  Jamaican it is.  I didn't know about the chicken and watermelon thing until 2 years ago and thought porch monkeys would be a cool name for my rock climbing team until I found out what it really is.  Two of my favorite things that I learned this summer was "still water runs deep" and "tea party".  I admit I'm pretty naive and oblivious, which is not a good combination.  Hence all of the "mix tapes" I have given out.  I'm giving Christian my entire music collection on iTunes, so now I guess that means I will be moving to Austria and we are to be married next month.  That is a lot of "mix tapes"... 

This morning's Sanskrit class was horrible.  Definitely not a sticker moment there.  If they paddled people here like they do in Catholic school, I would have been hit a few times.  My synapse was misfiring and couldn't focus.  On my way walk home from the shala, I saw the guy that gets beaten by his wife.  My heart sank when I saw him and I wish there was something I could do to help him.  It's an unfortunate situation, also none of my business.  The houses here are like soup cans in the store and no one closes their window.      

10.5 Things I Learned
1. not everyone named Krishna is a Hare Krishna
2. ice is not to be found - there is a water shortage
3. you can't tell if you are being harassed if you turn up the music on your headphones
4. bring tissue everywhere you go
5. it's not nice to ask every Kumar you meet if he is friends with Harold and knows of White Castle
6. don't get too close to the cows.  they have unpredictable bowel movements and it splatters
7. it's not considered camping for those living on the side of the road in tents
8. best not to assume the sex of a child, otherwise you will have an insert foot in mouth moment
9. when riding on the back of a scooter/motorcycle, secure your belongings.  stuff flies out and if the driver speeds through bumps consider anything in your pocket gone
10. don't get frustrated if you can't understand someone.  they probably don't understand you either.  imitating their accent doesn't help!
10.5 research the type of massage, before getting a massage (this one needs to be embedded in my head)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

If It Walks Like a Girl and Looks Like a Girl, Still Might Not Be A Girl

Woke up feeling good today.  As I was walking in the dark to the shala a smile came over my face and it surprised me.  Most of the time when this happens I usually have some smart ass thing going through my head.  I was happy to be awake and going to practice even though it was 4:30 in the morning.   I would prefer to be sleeping during these hours of the morning.  When we were chanting the opening mantra I got goosebumps and that was the moment I knew I'm meant to be here.  Seeing and knowing some of the people in the class has definitely helped with my comfort level.

Yesterday Christian and I hired a driver to take us to Bangalore to go shopping.  I didn't have anything to buy and went along for the ride.  Bangalore is a 3 hour drive and sitting in the car for that amount of time was a perfect opportunity to catch up on much needed sleep.  I've mentioned before that the drivers here are a little insane and don't abide by any rules.  Everyone constantly honks for you to move whether they are near you or not.  I kept going in and out of sleep and I think that made me more tired.  When we arrived in the vicinity of Bangalore the traffic was bumper to bumper.  Horns blaring, smog in the air and a ton of people everywhere.  We had no idea where we were going and the only direction we gave the driver was to go to an area for shopping.  Driving there seemed like it took forever.  I was getting so impatient and not feeling well made me more grumpy.  I consider myself pretty mellow, but when I lack sleep, have low blood sugar and need food I can be unpleasant to be with. 

When we finally arrived at the shopping area, I could not have been any happier to get out of the car.  Christian had no idea where he wanted to go so we just started walking towards the crowd of people until he found a store he wanted to stop at.  One thing I noticed about the beggars and the street vendors in Bangalore is that they are not as persistent as the beggars here in Mysore.  If you say 'no' one or twice they go away unlike the beggars here where they are hanging on to your pant leg and you are literally dragging them along.  A group of peculiar "girls" came up to us asking for rupees.  Christian being the sweet sucker that he is, was surrounded by them and gave them all change.  I wish I would have been able to take a picture of this group.  There was about 5 or 6 of them dressed in saris, age varying from 20's - 50's.  Two of them weren't anatomically born as females, but if you told them otherwise they would tell you were wrong.  After Christian gave them all rupees, he walks up to me and tells me that they were ugly and he just wanted to make them go away.  I couldn't stop laughing when he said this.  Christian is a very mild manner guy, sweet and not the type to be judgmental.  So coming from him those "women" must of made quite an impression.

My Love Letter

dear stomach,
how you hurt me so
lately i don't understand why you've turned from a friend to a foe
please be patient and give me some time
eating palak paneer isn't a crime
I promise to be good and stay away from the spice 
if you promise to be nice if I only eat rice


Friday, September 4, 2009

Is it Considered Cheating to Hunt Birds in a Bird Sanctuary?

Full moon today so no practice and tomorrow is our scheduled day off.  I did something yesterday afternoon that has me torn about my practice.  It is not life or death, but enough to mess with my head.  More on the subject when I sort things out.

For our day off today Christian and I went to Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary.  Our excursion was a bit disappointing and getting rained on on our way back home was the most exciting part of the trip.  We saw only two different types of birds and the rest were no where to be found.  We actually saw more monkeys than birds.  I decided that the monkeys are only cute from a distance.  I try not to get too close for fear of them spitting or biting me.  When my sister was in elementary school she went on a field trip to the zoo and a monkey spit on her.  Her teacher gave her some perfume to hide the smell and for some reason that kind of grossed me out more than the monkey spitting on her.   Don't ask why, but my reasoning works in funny ways.  It's the Aspergers I tell ya.. 

On the way to the bird sanctuary I lost a little momento that my sister gave me and I was a little bit bummed about that.  Sometimes Christian does not see the speed bumps and things have a tendency to fly out of my pocket when he flies through them.  I end up going airborne and landing on the metal bar of the rail.  On the way back I would have lost my keys if we hadn't heard them fall out.  I would have actually preferred to lose my keys than the thing my sister gave me. 

The past few days, I have been trying to make climbing plans.  There is a place north of Bangalore called Hampi that has the best bouldering in India.  A few years ago Chris Sharma, this awesome climber from Santa Cruz documented his climbing trip to Hampi.  In the video Chris Sharma would be climbing these cool looking boulders and in the background you could see beautiful ancient temple ruins.  When I saw the video I thought it would be a nice place to climb, but it wasn't enough for me to make a special trip for.  Well now that I am here and it's fairly close, I would regret not going.  Hampi is about 10 hours from Mysore so it would be a multi-day trip.

There are also a few local climbing areas that I've seen online.  I emailed this guy that runs the Bangalore Meetup group and he was kind enough to invite me to climb with his family this Sunday.  He even offered me his guest room if I wanted to come up Saturday night.  I won't be able to make it this Sunday, but look forward to future dates.  Christian needs shoes and finding shoes here is like searching for a highlighter.  Both items are a rare commodity and they charge up the wazoo.  If there is one thing I did right when it came to packing for this trip, would be packing my climbing shoes and chalk bag.  I may not have enough clothes for yoga or any other type of clothes for that matter, but I do have my rock climbing shoes and yoga mat (which I almost forgot). 

this is a rare bird breed at the sanctuary

Quick update on my stomach issues.  Went to see the quack doctor and my diagnosis is my stomach can't handle the food.  The doctor gave me herbs to take for the next 7 days and a list of things I can't eat.  The list for the things I can eat is much shorter than the list I can't eat.  I will do as recommended and followup with the doctor next week.  

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Shelby's Cousin Wally

Another rainy day here in Mysore.  Today is definitely one of those days that I want to stay underneath the covers.  Practice was a LED class today and would of been great except for the fact that I didn't go.  I had to be in the shala on my mat by 4:30 and my body wasn't interested in participating today.  I set my alarm at 4 and subconsciously turned it off.  Mind you my alarm are my two phones and my iPhone is set in increments of 10 minutes from 4:00 to 4:30.  Usually that would be enough to get me out of bed, but this morning I was exhausted (notice I didn't say "tired") and with the stomach ailments I have been going through, it was best to stay in bed.  This is something that I am not proud of and have spent the whole morning feeling guilty about.  It's the recovering Catholic in me and simply the type of person that I am.  When I finally got out of bed, my head was pounding.  I swear I'm not a hypochondriac and have real symptoms.  I will call the doctor tomorrow and make an appointment. 

Since I ditched yoga this morning, the least I could do was attend my Sanskrit class.  Today my Sanskrit lesson was to break words down and write it in Sanskrit.  Learning this language is a struggle for me.  I appreciate my teacher's patience and willingness to keep trying.  Don't think I've mentioned him before.  He is truly a fascinating guy.  He is a scholar and Brahmin that performs puja's at the shala every morning.  Today he invited me to his hometown for a holy festival in mid September.  He said that I can invite anyone with the exception of them being open minded.  He said that his parents are very traditional, but open minded to westerners.  I felt very honored to be invited to his home to celebrate with him and his family..

footnote about the title:
"Shelby" was a growth on the side of my left rib that I had removed last October.  At the time I was living alone and going through the motions of my breakup.  Shelby was my Wilson the Volleyball.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Where is the cave?

Haven't been in the mood to write these past two days. My energy shifted recently and I found myself a bit withdrawn. Interestingly enough as I'm transitioning into this funk, I met two very lively, social people. The two J's as I like to call them. Both from opposite sides of the world. J #1 is from Norway and she stayed at the house for 2 days until she found an apartment. J #2 is a friend of a friend's from Australia, but works in New York. The J's have been to Mysore before and know the layout of the town. Both of them are very helpful and really insightful. J #1 took me on a my first rickshaw ride yesterday and seeing how confident she is being here makes me more comfortable. J #2 is very sweet and kind.  She has the same cleanliness, smell, food and stomach issues that I have so she has been great with giving me tips to adjust. My stomach is still bothering me and I may have to see a doctor if the issue doesn't clear up in the next day or so. Someone suggested that I may have a parasite. If that is the case, I think I'll call him "Wally".

Practice is getting better, nothing really new. My breathing is still off, but everyday it is improving. Since Saraswathi is helping me with Marichyasana D, I asked her today if I can move into the next asana which is Navasana. She said yes and that is where I am at. If it sounds like I'm speaking in tongue, here is a link to the Primary Series.  The series is to be followed in order and each individual practices at their own pace. At least how I am taught the teacher adds a new asana with the students progression.

I also bought a new yoga rug yesterday and using it this morning reminded me why I purposely left my rug at home. My hands and feet were slipping and sliding and as annoying as it was for me, I was thoroughly entertained. Practicing in India hasn't hardened me yet, but it is breaking me.