I had told Ben that I was going to meet him at the Mysore train station at 4:45, but it had taken me longer to get to the Bangalore train station from the Airport than I had expected and I arrived an hourish later. Ben wasn’t there, I ended up waiting about 1-2 hours afterwards before I started to venture out and then promptly turned around as I was very unsure of where I was or how to get where I needed to go. The words of my amazing girlfriend echoed in my head, prompting me to stay put upon arrival, because two people moving and trying to find one another is incredibly difficult. After getting back to the train station, I hear a loud, quick prompt: “Evan!” “Evan!” Turning instantly I find the most familiar friendly face I’ve seen in a while: Ben Little. God it was good to see him. Hadn’t seen him in a year, and we were both in a foreign country. Huge hug later, and we are off onto my first Auto Rikshaw ride. These things are crazy. We ride up to Gokulam, recounting our traveling experience, and then make it up to Ganesh’s, who is incredibly nice and has a big smile (all the time). We drop our stuff off and then go out for some really good Indian food that costs about 50¢. It turns out that Indian food is my favorite food. Seriously, I’m LOVING IT. I haven’t eaten meat yet (10ish days here). Not because I’m trying not too, but because I just haven’t. Our Apt in India The next day, Sunday, Ben and I do a full Primary Series in our room, and it all goes solidly well. I get into all the right poses, nothings bugging me, but I could be deeper in all of them. Perfect start. We go and register at the Shala, meeting Sharath for the first time, he’s tired and nice. Gets up at 1am to practice before the first class at 4:45am. Wow. I latter find out he’s hurt his back (from dropping others into backbends) and isn’t quite able to be doing the later series. At the end of chatting I mention that I’m a computer fixer and would love to help out with anything. He mentions that he has an iPhone that he’s trying to unlock and get on the local Indian carrier, AirTel. I tell him I can help him and we decide to chat later. Afterwards, there is a conference (which is just Sharath talking for about 45 minutes about miscellaneous topics loosely tied together). Here are a couple quick notes from the talk:
  • 1 spoon of Gi a day (I have no idea what Gi is, nor if I spelt it right)
  • If you eat meat, you get meat on your body, nothing else. Vegetarians live longer.
  • Potatoes good, garlic and mushrooms bad.
  • Utpluthih (last pose, lotus then lift with hands) is the best pose for bandhas.
  • Mula Bandha should be done all the time, it controls the mind, and is very difficult. It is the root of yogic growth.
  • Exhale, Exhale, Exhale, engage Mula Bandha, Inhale engaging Jalandhara Bandha.
  • Don’t talk too much, you lose your energy and get distracted (This is where I was like “crap!”).
  • When a student asked if coffee was bad, it got the quickest reaction out of Sharath, a quick and decisive “No.” He mentioned that he drinks after but then recounted a story where Guruji insisited that he come for coffee before practice for 8 years (funnier from him). He also mentioned that American coffee was MUCH stronger than Indian coffee, again recounting a story where he drank our coffee and was up for 2 days.
  • If you aren’t sweating, do yoga faster.
  • Too sweaty? Put coconut oil on your head. He also mentioned almond and sesame oil.
  • He said that oil is very good for body pain from Asana. He does it every morning and it’s good for your skin.
The next day we had practice at 7:45am, and it was Mysore style (of course) meaning un-lead. I was surprised to see how it works: It’s not like at 7:30, the previous class gets let out, there’s 15 minutes of people moving and settling in, then at 7:45 the teacher welcomes you, you do a quick chant, then everybody starts off progressing at their own pace with the teachers moving around, adjusting you, and giving you tips. It’s different. I noticed that when I got there, everybody was in a different pose, not just a bit off from each other, but ALL OVER THE PLACE. We’ve got people in Sun Salutation, Backbend, Standanding Asanas, Sitting poses of the Primary Series, poses from other series that I’ve never seen before. Everywhere. Then it all comes together and I see why: Sharath sticks his head in the entrance and asks for one more. The next student comes in, taking the person who’s spot is now available. It just keeps rotating through all morning from 4:45 - 10 am (I’m guessing that’s when it all clears out). I later find out there are easily over 100 students in Mysore right now.