Stocking up on Fruit

Another great thing about living in Mysore is the high quality but inexpensive fruit (esp compared to NZ). One of my first jobs was to stock the pantry with heaps of yummy fruit from the local fruit stall. The fruit here tastes so good, my favourite is the grapes (well washed) and pomegranates. I think next time I come to stay in Mysore I might bring a ‘whiz stick’ with me so I can make fruit smoothies at home. Yum!

First Day of Yoga

Here is a picture of me just before my 1st day of yoga. As you can see I was very excited, a little anxious and very sleep deprived. The first day went well, it was a led pranayama class and then in the evening it was all about establishing the starting point with my hip. That night it was off to Mahesh Prasad for my favourite curry (Palack Paneer) and some Masala PadPad (aka indian pizza). All this good food cost me approx $3 nzd

Settling in

Once again woke early, poor Gia who is doing teachers training has to leave for class at some crazy hour. I think her class is at 5am or something crazy. After she left (it was still dark) I dozed a little and waited for the sun to come up, I tried to do some meditation in bed, but it was a bit half arsed so I got up got up around 7am and kick started my day. I had my first bucket shower, did my gentle yoga practice + a proper seated guided meditation from my iPod. This was followed by my first load of washing ala bucket. A yummy breakfast of milkless porridge (which oddly always tastes better in India). A bit of pottering around and then around 10am I wandered up to check out the new shala (yoga school).

Today I went to meet with my yoga teacher (Vinay Kumar) to talk about the hip situation and the plan for the month. I was really nervous for some reason so it was a relief to see his smiley, friendly face and I totally trust that everything is going to be ok. Its quite hard as usually when I come here I am in better condition and its about the yoga. It will be quite a different visit this year. I am going to have to be OK with not being able to play with the other kids!

The plan for the trip is for me to pranyama in the mornings and one yoga asana class a day. I will do a special sequence in the evening back bending class. When I am not in class I have to ensure I get lots of rest and don’t over do it. So, its another dose of patience and taking it easy. Given I was on bedrest for over a month only 2 months ago… I think this is a realistic plan!

So, I am feeling really happy. Its lovely, warm and sunny and there are lots of friendly familiar faces at the yoga school.

My only biggish challenge at the moment is the squat toilet! Anyone who has hip issues will agree – squat toilets are freekn painful and less than ideal if you’ve got hip pain. It’s already getting easier though and the pain usually settles down within 5-10 mins so I am not too concerned. I think once I start the yoga the squat will be less of a problem.

An article about my teacher (Vinay Kumar) who is obviously very flexible!
Front door to the shala (yoga school). Its a lot stricter here than in NZ yoga schools.

Oops!

Ooops! It appears in my excitement I’ve flared up my hip already. Silly me. So I’m back on the crutches and the stare factor is MUCH higher than yesterday. The pavements here are not very flat so off roading on crutches has been an experience and a half, it takes a lot of concentration. Walking around here is a lot of work for the hip stabalises so I am glad I’ve brought them. I can’t believe I was considering leaving them at home!!!

Luckily I have given myself a couple of days to get sorted before starting the yoga course. This will give me time rest as well as sort stuff out (ie, convert bahts to rupees which is proving to be difficult).

Tonight I did my gentle yoga sequence given to me by my New Zealand yoga teachers (Lynda and Ruth) which really helped with the pain (and will help me sleep). Tomorrow I will go and visit my teacher Vinay to discuss the plan for my month of yoga therapy. I am excited and a little nervous… its going to be a challenging month given I am still on crutches!

I am feeling very happy and contented with a dose of excited nervousness.

Krishnamurtypurum and Paneer 65

For my last two visits to Mysore I stayed in Lakshmipurum, a little suburb about 10-15min walk to the yoga slaha. This time I am staying somewhere new, I am staying in a little suburb called Krishnamurtypurum. This place is conveniently close to everything including the yoga shala, the coconut man and my favourite local restaurant. We are close to the main road yet it is still very quiet and there are lots of trees and all day you can hear the birds tweeting away in harmony with the traffic.

Usually I stay in a little studio apartment but this time I am staying in a REAL apartment (Indian styles) with my friend Gia who I met when I first came to Mysore 4 years ago. We each have a nice room with a lovely big hard bed, a simple kitchen, a living area and even a little dining room. There is a squat toilet which presented a challenge at first (due to the hip) and a large bathroom with hot water. The shower isn’t hooked up to the hot water but that doesn’t matter, I don’t mind having a bucket shower if the water is hot. We also have a little private balcony area and upstairs there is a rooftop that everyone can use.

I gave myself some a couple of days to get sorted before starting my yoga classes. This meant a trip into town which was fun. I was walking around with a big silly smile on my face and totally enjoyed the chaos in the centre of town. My mission was to change some money into rupees, buy some suitable yoga clothes and some groceries. By golly it was a mission… changing baht to rupees was a challenge and involved visiting 3 banks and 2 foreign currency exchange places! I must have looked fresh off the boat as one guy was going to give me 1rupee to the baht when it is at least 1.5 rupees to the baht!

On my first night here I went to Mahesh Prasad with Gia to celebrate and got Paneer 65 (deep fried paneer cheese) and my favourite curry (Palack Paneer). Good times!!!

Paneer 65 (deep fried goodness)

The drive to Mysore

Because of the hip injury I had arranged for a driver to take me to Mysore. I was told he would arrive at 11am, so being in India I guessed he would come anytime between 11am and noon. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call at 10.30 saying he was here. Luckily my bags were packed and I was more than ready to go.

My driver didn’t appear to speak much English and wasn’t overly talkative, so conversation was minimal. The drive to Mysore is 3-4 hours and most of it was spent gazing outside the window watching life in India go by. I didn’t have any real near death experiences; just a couple of close calls which I think is fairly average.

I’ve started to suss out the road rules here:
– Bigger vehicle always has right of way
– Toot if you want to overtake (even on 2 lane highways)
– Toot if you are about to hit something
– Toot if something is about to hit you
– Toot if you want to be seen
– Toot if someone is in your way

As you can imagine, it’s very noisy and often chaotic on the roads!

I did enjoy watching the world go by though; India is a very lively colourful place. I saw beautiful women in saris, kids in uniform, men milling round, people selling their goods at the roadside and of course cows wandering around like they own the place. On the road were motorcycles, cars, trucks, auto rickshaws and even the occasional cart being led by oxen.

All and all I arrived in Mysore safely which is the most important thing. And when I arrived there was a nice familiarity about the place. The driver had no idea where to go and I was rather surprised that I could help give directions even though it’s been 2 years since I was last here and I am staying in a different part of town!

I am staying in a little 2 bedroom apartment with my friend Gia (who I’ve met in Mysore on other trips), then when she heads off to Goa for a holiday I will be sharing with a lovely Irish lass (Deirdre) who is studying with Vinay the first time. Gia and Deirdre were at the apartment when I arrived so a cup of tea and a catch-up was had. It felt so nice to be ‘home’ in Mysore. It really does feel like a 3rd home now.

Arriving in Bangalore

Ok, so I’ve given the quick rundown of my arrival in India above because I wanted friends and family to know I have arrived safely. This is an elaboration of the previous post, so feel free to skip ahead to the next one.

So I arrived very late on Christmas evening, around midnight. Being one of only two westerners on the flight and because I was on crutches, the stare factor was very high. Luckily this meant I was easily spotted by the driver who picked me up in a van and took me to a nearby hotel. I quickly fell asleep but woke up around 2am thinking something was crawling on me, turned on the light… it was a cockroach. I couldn’t help but smile… hello India!

The next morning I woke up well before dawn. I was over tired, over excited and a little jetlagged (not much as Bangalore is only 1.5 hours behind Thailand). I tried to wait patiently for dawn and then watched the sun rise from my room. After chilling for a few hours I had what I expect to be my last proper hot shower of my visit to India. Then it was off to breakfast (iddlies, yum) and before long it was time to pack up, say good bye to Santa and head to Mysore!

Santa hanging out in the hotel loby