I was planning to write about something else next, it was gonna be my list on what to bring to Mysore but I have not finished that one yet. I feel strongly about another topic now. One that I was made aware of was the talk of the town in the Ashtanga Community. Even though I was in Mysore since I have been mostly alone, I was not aware of this. My friend has asked me three days ago, did you read about what was posted, I checked my Instagram hoping to find some news there. When I couldn't find it I asked my friend what I was supposed to be looking for, she gave me the lowdown.
Mostly I feel sad about the community divide.
People like t make lists, grocery list, bucket lists, packing list, to do list, this list.. it goes on. We use lists to guide us but not to limit us. Take for example grocery lists. We put time and effort to make this list so that 1 we wouldn't forget what we need from the store 2 not to overbuy when we are on the store. But our normal tendencies are to forget the list at home and remember we left it once we are at the grocery store or buy something off the list. Because in the end, a list is just a list.
When I was newer to this method, I would check the list when I see names in my local yoga shala or if I'm travelling to somewhere else and wanted to see where I can practice. After travelling to the source, I noticed that the list is not all encompassing. Having the experience of going to Mysore and meeting these people on the list, made me realize, like me they are also people, they have more advance practices than me and more experienced but also they are having their own journeys. For me the list is a guide, I hope it does not divide, atleast I do not think it is meant to do that. What is very sad now is like, shit is being thrown all around. I really do not see any reason for this. Throwing around shit would also mean picking it up and mostly stinking up yourself with this shit.
I practice because it makes me feel good, physically and mentally and it just makes me happy. I practice everyday because I feel the benefits of this practice. I went to the source because in me, there was a thirst of knowing, of understanding and I was hoping I can get it from there. I came to Mysore with the hope to discover or at least find out a bit more of myself with the help of this practice. I was curious what was out there and what it would mean to me, how it can benefit me. To me, it did not disappoint. It showed me and is still showing me a lot about this method, the other practitioners and mostly me.
It took me three years to get back to the source. Not because I didn't want to. I had excuses and I think I just was not ready at that time. Now I am here, I feel very lucky and I am very happy to be back. On my first year here of studying with Sharath, coming back home I couldn't say I have accepted him as my teacher, I came here to check it out. But to say at that time I am a student of Sharath was something I felt was premature. Now, I feel a bit more connection with him but slowly.
He is human and his job is not easy. The other day he made a comment of "who wants my job" jokingly but I think it has a slight meaning to it. Everyone seems to be on him lately. All eyes are on him. He teaches 300+ students right now, starting at 4 am to teach and 11 am to finish. He practices before that. He teaches in the afternoon. He has a family. A whole yoga community is on his back because of the list and because of plenty of other issues. We run our own programs and we are tired after 2 hours of teaching. Give the guy a break. Do we really want his job?
I'm happy Sharath is there. From my small bit of experience. I see that he puts love in his job and dedication to this practice. He gives students like me the time and space to learn, a place to connect, a safe place to let go and process my journey, a place to find myself.
We may have differences in opinions but let's not something like this break this community or this practice or method because we feel hurt. This practice has benefited us, let us not keep our personal egos and hurts and pains from blocking our views. This practice will and can help a lot of people. Us throwing dirt around each other is not really helping that. Let the list guide us, not control us. Shanti. <3
This season is closing in to the end. I learned a lot and there is still a lot to learn. But it’s good to have the time to write about what I learned, to be able to look back and benefit from it. It will always be in my heart, but the mind is weak and will forget.
At the start of the season I came to Mysore with a lot of goals. Not only asana-wise. I came with writing and drawing materials. I wanted to work on my lettering, my journaling. I had colouring materials too. It was also my goal to learn Italian and French. I wanted to work on my website too. Seems like a lot? That’s not the end of it. My boyfriend gifted me video making accessories (for my birthday) to make vlogs and interviews. I knew in my mind that was not my priority but I thought, hey, let’s bring it just in case I would have the time.
To top that I am also running a yoga school with Teune. Before I left he said, in Mysore you will have time. We can call every day. I was thinking, this guy has been in Mysore more times than me, is he kidding me, calling everyday. But I knew I had duties to the school. So yes we will do that too.
Before I left, I have just lost a consulting project. I saw it coming, its been months that I was not so busy and I could start the yoga school. But one week before I left Belgium, I was told that I would not be extended for my SAP consulting job. It broke my heart of course. That was my way of earning money, my safe place, so I can have the yoga as a thing I did because I wanted to do it, without expectations of earning. It kept me free from some responsibilities. My boyfriend Greg, (best boyfriend I can ask for may I add) told me I can use Mysore to apply for new jobs, refresh my CV so I can send it while I’m here.
Asana-wise, I also wanted a lot. I wanted to be in Led Second. Truthfully, I was hoping to be where I was in my practice back home.
I came with my bags full and my head even more full.
Today, 16 January 2018, Sharathji lets me practice until supta vajrasana and that’s two poses after laghu vajrasana, the pose I left with in end of November 2014.. So. I think Led Second is far. The first week, we practiced Primary Led to start the season. In the second week, on the first days of mysore practice, Sharathji already gave me kapotasana after backbends with him. It goaded my asana goals, I thought I was going somewhere. I should have known better. My kapotasana is pretty good, so I thought I will progress fast. I kept on the lookout for him, wanting the next and hoping I will get it. Third, fourth week nothing. Greg came for Christmas and New Year, which distracted me from my asana wanting but I was still very anxious and frustrated. The week before new year came, and it was filled of deep backbending and catching, I came home, one day very frustrated and crying. Naturally Greg asks what's wrong, I told him I didn’t want to talk. It was one of those days, after a backbend you cannot stop crying. I cried the whole time in the changing room for the finishing postures. I cried walking from the shala al the way up to my house and I cried falling in the bed and hugging myself tight in fetal position.
That day Greg told me, 'That’s it, your practice will end here this season. You will not go further. You have to accept it, it is the way it is.' He told me the way to survive it is to think that Sharath is angry with me, and that’s it. I will not go further. I was trying to convince him (and maybe more importantly me) and that it did not matter to me. We both knew that was not true. Ofcourse I went here to learn and I had my bag full of expectations. But yeah, the way to survive this is to think I will not get further, otherwise it will just bring me more frustration. A few days after this, just before the end of the year, Sharathji gave me supta vajrasana. I would not say I don’t have any more asana dreams, it is normal, I am human. But it helps to think I am nothing in this vast sea of things. I don’t have to be anywhere. Of 3000+ registrations, I am here and that is more than enough.
Consulting-wise, I have touched my CV and I have sent it to one recruiter. I have emailed back another one regarding a job opening. I have not been looking for opportunities or beefing up my CV for it to look good. I know if I have to take on a consulting role, I will not have time to teach when I get back. A start of a project is crucial and the client always wants a lot of input at that time and if I’m honest to myself I know I cannot do start the mysore morning program and start on a new project as well.
Working for the shala is bittersweet. It made me aware who were there, when I was not. We only started in September and it was not an easy journey but it was beautiful. We were barely making ends meet when I left in the end of November. And now I see the community is growing and I am very happy. The insecure Asian girl in me is thinking though, they don’t need me there because I was not physically part of the last few months process. I do know it’s not about me, it’s the seeds we plant hoping they grow. Sometimes I make it all about me.
I am almost finishing the Italian part of duolingo. I listen to a teacher every day on youtube, I tried two, Manu and Claudio. For Manu, I learned a lot but I didn’t find a way of methodologically learning from him or atleast his videos. Claudio I hate his voice and the tick smack sound he keeps doing in his videos. And I’m telling myself he has an approach but I’m also not sure. Maybe I just have to go to Italian language school. I have improved a lot though but I want to be better. French I dropped while Greg was here. I was also doing duolingo for that but he was teasing me that I should not do it. I think it’s easier to learn one at a time. So I will pick it up after I finish Italian but for now it’s on hold. I did have some practice since my housemate is French. I had to talk to her partly in Italian and partly in bastardized French.
Writing. I started a journal every day from the new year, just a small recording of my day to look back on my mysore memories. My website, this is the first blog I am really thinking of putting there. I have another inspiration of a blog to put up but let’s see how that goes. Drawing zero. Lettering one.. out of a hundred. Colouring also one. Video making.. zero.
I have been reading. Books in Mysore are cheap. I’ve bought a lot and I hope I can carry them all home. I started on an easy version of the Gita and I’m almost finished with that. Another reading I have been doing while waiting for my turn in the mysore room is on Creative Confidence. Love it.
I guess this is where I am at now. It’s not a good or bad place to be in. It is what it is.