Hmmm… It seems I spoke to soon about the Pranyama. Today I had a shocking Pranyama session… my mind was ok for the first 15 mins and then it was all over the place. THEN…. When doing one of the rounds of breathing I got the giggles. I was busy trying to suppress my giggles and Vinnay (my teacher) saw that I was not concentrating and decided to remind the class that we should be concentrating hard. I opened my eyes and he was smiling at me… that was it – the giggles would not go away… I tried so hard but had to abandon my practice! I tell ya – I am really lucky that Vinnay has a sense of humor and seemed to be amused by my inability to concentrate!
The good news is… I had a cracking yoga class today. I really enjoyed it…. I can’t explain why it went well, it just did. I think things are starting to come together now. Yay!
I am happy to report that my Pranayama practice is still improving. I can now sit for the whole time without needing to move my legs AND I no longer get shooting pains up my back – this is quite an achievement given only 3 weeks ago I wanted to lie down every few mins for a rest! : )
I am also amazed at how I can slow my mind right down and just think about the sitting and breathing – those who know me well will know that my mind generally works ‘a million miles an hour’ often at VERY random tangents. I am now able to calm my mind to the point that when we are supposed to observe our thoughts at the end of Pranayama I can only think about how I have nothing to think about or about how boring my thoughts are (ie if they are about breakfast plans).
So today in an attempt to trigger some more interesting thoughts I decided to look hard at (or with?) my 3rd eye – this is where you look at the gap between your eyebrows with your eyes closed. I find this sometimes stretches my eyes and causes images to appear in the darkness of having my eyes closed – this in turn often leads to interesting thoughts.
Today however… while thinking about consulting my 3rd eye for some interesting thoughts I thought the concept was hilarious – this led to a round of the giggles…. the next 5 mins were spent consentrating (once again) on not laughing in class.
In conclusion I decided that it might not be such a great idea to consult my 3rd eye for more interesting thoughts – I guess I will have to stick to thinking about not thinking about anything interesting.
Speaking of the 3rd eye… I am supposed to be looking at (or with) it during the whole practice… this is something I haven’t been doing, I tend to close my eyes and look down. I really ought to start to concentrate harder on looking at (or with) my 3rd eye.
I stopped updating the blog daily because I realised that everyday is pretty much the same over here with slight variations. This doesn’t lead to overly exciting reading. I will try and start posting more photos over the next week for your view pleasure… nb: easier said than done as the PCs at my local internet cafe are 100 years old and are veeeeery sloow!
So… yoga update:
The last few days have been pretty good. My guts have FINALLY sorted themselves out and while I still have a few episodes of feeling dizzy in the morning class – I am generally feeling a lot better. Hooray, this makes me happy.
I am still sleeping really badly though as I am waking 5-6 times in the night to go loo and drink water (I get stupidly thirsty at night). I am hoping this is a temporary phase because it is really annoying. I am starting to wonder if something is being activated during back bending OR perhaps (more likely) its caused by the change of breathing through my nose during the day (I always used to breath through my mouth) and then breathing through my mouth at night (old habits die hard).
The morning classes are going well. I am still finding them tiring but I am managing to do the whole kibosh (minus a few moves in the middle because I don’t know how to do them properly). I’m still working on my headstand, still miles off but really hoping to do at least one proper one before I leave Mysore.
Back bending is still fantastic… I am REALLY going to miss this class when I go home. I am working on two poses at the mo… back bending on the knees where you drop back and then grab your feet, then somehow (I think) you rest your head on your feet (I’m not there yet). The other one I am trying is going up onto a upward bow/wheel then moving your hands back you do something (I think grab your ankles)… I had my first attempt at this one so I am a while away (about 20-25cm) from grabbing my ankles.
I couldnt find a picture of back bending on the knees but here is what a wheel/upwards bow looks like:
Other than yoga – life is good. Gia and Jennifer have gone to Goa – this is a bit of a bummer (for me) as I really miss hanging out with them. Jennifer comes back on the 3rd Jan for some more yoga but Gia will go back to Oz after Goa. This means I have new neighbors… 2 more yoga students (a couple) from Isreal…. I think they will be living next door for 2 weeks and then Jennifer will move in.
Er… I have paused my cooking lessons in an attempt to watch my funds and practice what I have learnt so far. I had my first attempt of making a lentil salad and rice rotis tonight… it was not an overly fantastic outcome. All I can say – thank goodness I make a good bowl of porridge!
The rotis disintegrated when I cooked them and both salad and roti were screaming for chutney…. But I couldn’t make chutney because I don’t have a blender. So I ended up having a couple of rice rotis and a bowl of porridge for dinner! Will eat the lentil salad for lunch tomorrow.
Today was pretty much just another day for me. Last night we had some nibbles and drinks at Charlie and Jan’s house which was nice and felt rather festive. Today however it was business as usual.
Yoga this morning was pretty good – I was feeling ik but worked through it and ended up having a pretty good practice and made it to the end without any dramas. I even attempted a half headstand again (this time with Charlies help)…. The headstand isn’t coming easily but that’s cool, something to work on before I leave Mysore. : )
After the morning yoga session I had pranyama – it wasn’t fantastic but it wasn’t terrible. My nose is still blocked (left nostril) and I really need to have it looked into… I’ve been doing a netty (where you wash your nose out with a little watering can) but it hasn’t really helped much. Will try and see a doctor this week just to see what is going on.
After pranyama Gia, Rithu and I went for coconuts from our usual coconut guy and then had some Christmas idlys at the Mahesh (Christmas idlys are idlys eaten on Christmas day, there isn’t actually anything special about them!). So it wasn’t quite the champagne breakfast I had last year but it was acceptable! After that I had a power nap (10mins) and then went to my cooking class.
The cooking class went well… we made Chana Masala (Chickpea curry), Aloo Palak (spinach/potato curry), a yuckie veggie soup and some lemon rice. My favourite recipe is the lemon rice… I will definitely attempt to make that one again.
THEN after cooking I had about 1hr to potter in my little flat before going to the evening back bending class. Back bending was good (it always is)…. I managed to do a drop back on my knees (with vinnays help) and then reach back and grab my toes. It was kind of funny because my toes gave me a fright (they were a lot closer than I expected) so I let out a big ‘oh shite’ in the middle of class… ooops, probably not a kosher think to yelp in a yoga class!
After our class a group of us went to The Mahesh for Gias last meal (she is leaving tomorrow) and Christmas dinner. I had a spinach curry and rice, fresh grape juice – and for desert we had cake which was our Christmas treat…. Very lovely but not remotely christmasy!
So…. Terrible Tuesday wasn’t that terrible at all in the end. Although I was still feeling pretty jaded I went to the evening back bending class and did ok. I managed to do my very first drop back (with help from Vinnay of course). .. a drop back is when you are on your knees, you bend backwards and put your hands out then lean/fall back into them. It was pretty exciting stuff (for me) and a good way to finish a pretty rough day.
Even though the Ayurvedic doctor told me not to eat food while having the trots I decided to go to the Mahesh after class and have a ‘gentle’ curry and rice. There is no way I can not eat and still practice the yoga – Vinnay has advised me that even if I am feeling crap it is best to attempt to do an easy/relaxed practice instead of skipping a class. I think its pretty good advice as often I start out feeling crap but the yoga makes me feel much better.
Sometimes though (like today) – I start feeling crap and feel crappier and crappier through out the practice. Yep… This mornings practice was yet another frustrating affair… I started feeling crap and it got worse during the yoga session. I was feeling weak and dizzy and my guts were making a fuss. This made me really frustrated and brought on some tears… it seems my inner body isn’t keeping up with the changes that are happening on my outer body…. I need patience, nourishing food and rest. So I skipped Pranyama, ate 2x coconuts on the way home and the crashed! After some food and a big sleep I felt a lot better…. Just as well really as I had to go to my first cooking class at 12.30.
The cooking class was cool… Ive booked them through the Mandella (a yoga place near my flat) and am being taught by an Auyvedic doctor. She is really lovely and the lesson went well. We made Dahl (a lental soup), cooked vegetables, a yummy lentil salad and some digestive broth. Ive got another lesson tomorrow as we decided to cram them in while we both have time – this will be good to get my confidence up in the kitchen.
Pillow update: Holy crap the soft pillow is LOVELY…. It’s amazing how it is the little things in life that bring me happiness now – it’s a shame that I know this wont last when I get sucked back in the real world. Anyway, when I went to bed last night it was a nice surprise to have my head engulfed by the softness and loveliness of my new pillow (opposed to the hard brick that was my old pillow). As soon as my head hit the pillow a big smile spread across my face…. aaahhhh….. bliss.
Its Christmas tomorrow… I think it will be just another day in India… im going out to a yogi’s house for a little party tonight so that will be fun – but it wont be a big one because sleeeeeeep is much needed if I am to survive this week! Tomorrow I have yoga classes and a cooking class… I think it will be a busy day, hopefully I will find someway to make it a little bit christmasy (ie, put snoopys Christmas on repeat on my ipod and play it all day! Man I love that ‘carol’).
In my excitement of yesterday I didn’t realise that it was MONDAY and not Tuesday. So I pre-empted a terrific Tuesday and its turned out to be a rather average (to below average) Tuesday!!! In fact… I almost went as far as calling it Terrible Tuesday – but in reality, its not really that bad… so I will just stick to ‘Tuesday’.
The bad news about today… my guts are a mess and this meant I needed to make an ‘emergency loo stop’ in the middle of my yoga class this morning. The yoga class sucked because I was tired, grumpy and feeling sick. Also my left nostril is more blocked than usual today – so that combined with yesterdays mild asthma attack made Pranyama near impossible. Sigh….
But its ok – you’ve got to have the bad days to appreciate the good ones!
Ive had a big sleep but I am still lacking energy… will get another coconut and then go home for a nap before my afternoon back bending class (which I will take very easy).
THE GOOD NEWS for today:
I had a consultation with an Auyrvardic doctor this afternoon who does cooking classes. I will be seeing her 3x a week for personalised cooking classes…. She is going to teach me how to make nice healthy food which will be good for my (rather annoying) digestive system. YAY – I am looking forward to that.
Also…. I bought myself a SOFT pillow for Christmas… I’ve been sleeping on a brick and Im really really really looking forward to sleeping on a nice soft pillow. With a bit of luck I might even sleep through the whole night – now that would be a treat! : )
Ok, so now the blog is FINALLY up to date I figured its best i make a good effort to keep it that way. Especially now I have stopped writing in my travel journal. This morning Jennifer and I declared it Terrific Tuesday… and by golly, so far it is a great continuation of my awesome week of yoga. Its amazing what a positive mindset can do!
Class this morning was (as usual) very hard. Sundays are a led class so Vinnay tells us exactly what to do and when, usually its quite fast – and is pretty hard going. I like the led classes because that this stage I haven’t memorised all the moves. Mondays are not led, we have a book to follow and can ask for help…. this is a bit nicer because we can take our time when needed. So I did the whole kibosh (minus a few tricky moves) and made a 2nd attempt at the headstand. My headstand wasn’t great today because I freaked out…. tomorrow I need to be more calm and trust my body (and Vinnay who is helping me).
Pranayama was great today… I m really starting to get the hang of being still, quiet and concentrating on breathing.. Dont get me wrong, I still have a LONG way to go… but at the start of the course I thought it was all mumbo jumbo… now I can see the benefits of it. This is big progress.
The only problem with Pranyama today was the bit at the end where I was allowed to relax (in the sitting lotus position) and be conscious of my thoughts. My thoughts at the end of pranyama are usually about how hungry I am, but today I wasn’t that hungry and I didn’t really have much going on in my mind… so my thoughts were about how little I had to think about. For some reason I thought this was quite funny – and then things went from bad to worse!
I tell ya, it is very hard to control a giggling episode in a totally silent (and serious) class. Things got worse when I started thinking the situation reminded me a lot of school [I got told off a lot in school for giggling]…. and I thought was funny too …. then it was all over! I gave up on sitting and tried to do Shivasana (sp?) the position where you lie down and pretend to be a corpse (relaxing your whole body) but the giggles had well and truly taken over by then and I even found the corpse position was funny! So I put a towel over my head, smiled away like a mad woman and tried to concentrate on breathing again…. Usually I love Shivasana but this time I was very relived when it was time to come up for prayer!
Today I had to visit the travel again to sort my airline ticket out (its turning out to be a long drawn out process), so Jennifer and I went for a mission. We went to the travel agent, the gas cooker fix it man (mine broke last night) and then to the Mandela for lunch. We thought it was rather amusing while going to all these places (all within one block) we saw a cow, a few chickens, petted a rabbit, a dog (Dalmatian) and a sheep/ram AND I had a cat (and several fleas) sitting on my knee while drinking my tea! Man I love India… its a crazy place where the animals live quite contentedly in the city!