Moon day, jewellery store, Diwali and a conference that ended with 5000 firecrackers

The past week has been quiet in the sense that it feels like not much has happened. The moon day probably contributed to this feeling as it was a day with very low-energy. But in the sense of sound it has been a loud week. This week has led up to Diwali with each night being more loud than the previous. So far last night was the worst so maybe that was the main Diwali day. Many shops and restaurants were also closed yesterday. Hopefully tonight will be more quiet. Last years neighbourhood was, however, much louder when it comes to Diwali, with a lot more boys blowing up their seemingly never-ending store of firecrackers. So in that sense we’re lucky, but we have a few firecracker-crazy youngsters across the street here too and boy are some of those firecrackers loud. Ear plugs were needed last night already before going to sleep, just to protect my hearing. Some families mainly light small oil lamps, I prefer that. But the loud noise of the firecrackers is supposedly meant to scare away any evil spirits. If there were any around I think they will have fled by now.

Even if the week has felt very slow and quiet we did do a trip into the center to a jewellery store on Wednesday. Heidi and Subbu took us in their car to a relative of Subbu’s who has a small store on Ashoka road where he sells gold and silver jewellery. I mainly went along to watch and enjoy this huge happening of us getting out of Gokulam ;) but I did make a small purchase as I found the perfect souvenir for a friend. No gold though. Anni found a pair of beautiful earrings and Heidi found a lovely nose button thingy.

Thursday was new moon so no practice. But Anni and I did take a walk around the lake and Sportstracker told me that it’s 3.8 km around. So now we know that.

During Friday’s practice Sharath finally told me to split primary next week. I am to do the first part of primary up to Navasana every second day and from Bhujapidasana to the end of primary on the other days. And intermediate up to Eka Pada after that. Doing only the latter part of primary is something I have never done before and will be a bit odd. I wonder if Supta Kurma is even possible to do so soon in the practice. I’ll find out next week.

Today a led primary ended the practice week and conference was already at 9.30 am shala time. That and a lot of rain and a long power outage made this day pretty long. Usually conference is in the afternoon and is, at that time, a welcomed brake to lying on my bed. Anyway, Sharath talked a lot about the importance of mula bandha and of the practice. He quoted his wife who says that “Practice makes man perfect, but women are already perfect”. This of course yielded a lot of laughter. But Sharath stressed that practice is important, that practice does make perfect and only with practice can we progress in our asana practice. But this is of course not the main focus for the practice. Progress happens also on other levels. Practice should reduce the ego and increase understanding, clarity. Again, more detailed notes can be found elsewhere.

Sharath’s son Sambhav was also present throughout the conference. He’s very cute and wants to do everything that Sharath does, like for example sit the way that Sharath does. Sharath was teasing him, changing the way he was sitting and Sambhav was copying him until Sharath drew his feet up into his chest in that way that looks pretty nasty, maybe you’ve seen a poster of Sharath doing it. At that point Sambhav couldn’t follow anymore. Maybe in ten years he can do it, Sharath laughed. Sambhav also had a surprise for all of us. After conference, as we all gathered around, Sharath and Prakash with a little help from a few hyoga students fired off Sambhav’s surprise, a long “rope” with 5000 small red firecrackers! bild (26) bild (24) bild (25)

Cooking class

There seems to always be something or someone keeping me awake, be it day or night. If it’s not my neighbours making  lots of noises then it’s something else. Last night it was barking dogs, this morning some annoying birds woke me up from my nap and later in the week it’ll be Diwali with all the firecrackers. I think Thursday is the main Diwali holiday. At least our landlord is Christian so I suppose they won’t be celebrating Diwali but who knows what the neighbours will be up to.

Thinking about where we lived last year, which was a very lovely but a pretty loud street, made me think about the time I woke up in the middle of the night to this odd sound. I don’t remember if I ever wrote about it last year. For a while I lay awake, wondering what on earth was going on as it sounded like someone was yelling or arguing. Finally I got up and went out on the balcony to see if I could see where the noise was coming from as sleeping was impossible. Right there on the street, just opposite our house, was a small gathering of people. A man lay on a mattress on the ground. He had passed away. The sound was of a woman, maybe his wife, crying loudly in the street. The people around her were neighbours and I suppose family and friends trying to console her. Some time later the crying stopped. The man had been moved away somewhere. Just something I came to think about. I remember thinking then that here everything comes so close upon you, life and death and everything in between. Much more so than what we are used to from back home. It’s in your face and it gets under your skin, like it or not. Sometimes it’s very easy to get offended by some things or to feel uncomfortable with the bluntness. But that’s the way things are here. Kind of refreshing really if you think about it.

Anyway, I kind of got off track there a little as I was really about to write about Anu’s cooking class that I joined today. Anu is this lovely woman who serves a lovely lunch at her house, but also smoothies and and other small stuff in the evenings. In additions she gives the occasional Indian cooking class. Today we learned how to make dosa (rice and ragi), the potato filling for masala dosa, tomato chutney, mint chutney and masala chai. For those of you who don’t know what a dosa is it is basically a thin crepe or pancake that is made from gluten-free flour (rice, ragi, chickpea, lentil) or soaked rice and lentils. Anu showed us how to make two kinds of dosa batters. Once the batter is made, either by mixing flour with water or by soaking rice and lentils in water and then blending them to make a smooth batter, the batter needs to be fermented, usually over-night. Only then is the batter ready to be used. So preparation takes some time.

Spices used for making of masala chai: cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Blend to a fine powder and add a little to the chai (milk, water and black tea). bild (18)

Brown rice, parboiled rice, ragi flour, fenugreek seeds (bockhornsört), fenugreek flour and lentils for the dosa batters, ginger, garlic, herbs, chilis and spices for chutneys and potato stuffing.

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Anu’s masala box with turmeric, chili, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and something I can’t remember.

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Anu preparing dosa.bild (17)bild (21)

So much delicious food: dal, tomato chutney, mint chutney, upma (made from semolina), carrot salad and cucumber salad.

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Now, doesn’t that look amazing?

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P.S. I can definitely feel yesterdays led class in my body. Yes, every time I do something “new”, even if nothing really was new, just different from what I’ve been doing since being here, I feel it. But it’s fine, it’ll pass and the body will get used to this too. And a few sore muscles just shows that I’ve done something :)

Sunday rest and Monday with my first led intermediate class

Between Saturday and Sunday I slept for nine whole hours. How lovely it is to get enough sleep. Equally lovely was the brisk walk around the lake in the morning with Anni. A day without practice usually feels really long and yesterday felt especially long as it started raining around lunch time and so we had to have lunch at home. Just to get out for a while we went to Depth ‘n’ Green on Main Street for chai in the afternoon. I do not particularly like this place, it tries too much to be hip and fresh and green and for the yogis and Westerners in general and they even played Deva Premal yesterday. Sorry Deva, nothing personal but it was just too much. Also I can’t get over that this place replaced that local lunch place with crappy service but good food and genuine people that I loved to visit. But it’s close and just opposite to our favorite fruit stall and they do serve a decent chai.

Kukkarahalli Lake

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Today was the day for my first led intermediate class here in Mysore. Starting only at 7.30 am could have meant a nice sleep in today also but I was too nervous to really sleep very well and finally decided to get up at 4.30. Compared to led primary there’s a lot of space in the shala but still there were more students in the class than I had expected. But that’s a really good thing as one might stand out less in a big group ;) I scored a good spot in the third row. Although Sharath’s count is pretty slow the practice went well. Some asanas are really hard with the slow count, such as Dhanurasana, Parsva Dhanurasana, Bakasana and Dwi Pada. Yes, he let me go on until Dwi Pada, but I don’t think that means that I can do Dwi Pada tomorrow during self-practice. On the other hand a slow count in Kapotasana is good for me because I need some time to get in to it. A tough but in the end a pretty fun experience. And I did my best to try to ignore those sitting in the entrance watching. After Dwi Pada I took my mat to the changing room and finished there along with a few others. The best part of the practice was that it’s short enough to leave me with much more energy than the crazy full primary plus part of intermediate practice that I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. The bad thing was that there was not enough time for a nap before chanting class :)

After chanting Maija and I took a rickshaw to Rashinkar’s in the centre. Rashinkar’s sell saris and scarves and yoga rugs and bags and fabric and also custom makes about anything you might want. We went there last week also to but some yoga rugs and scarves and Maija had two dresses made that she needed to pick up today. I wanted to have a pair of pants made so I went along to leave the pants and pick out the fabric. I’m not sure  that the end result will convince me but with the fabric and the work costing a total of 540 Rs (6,80 euros) I’m willing to give it a shot.

Thali lunch at The Sixth Main with the girls. This is a North Indian thali with puri (round puffed breads ordered instead of the roti that is usually served with this thali), rice vegetable pulao, curd (yoghurt) rice, curry, dhal, tomato soup and a sweet dessert.bild (8)

These past two days have been cool and rainy, maybe 20-25 degrees. Quite nice weather but I’m hoping for a sunny day soon as I do want to get som pool time in soon.

Saturday

A tired led primary after too little sleep. The early group has gotten bigger and is pretty crowded now. I ended up practicing in the changing room and there was at least one person upstairs. Sharath seemed to enjoy seeing us ladies in the changing room suffer through his slow count to ten in Utplutih as he did not only check us but remained standing in the doorway until the final count, quietly laughing at us. No cheating under his watchful eye and so you suffer through it even though the muscles in your arms, shoulders and stomach are burning.

A three-hour nap and another mug of coffee later and I’m starting to feel human again. A bored human. Yes, now I’m bored. Can’t wait for some more friends from back home to arrive here next month with some new enthusiasm and news from home.

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In the afternoon it was time for conference again. Sharath talked about a lot of things; about that yoga has no age, about the importance of the breath and how we, by prolonging the breath, can prolong our lives, and about how yoga is not something you do on your mat for 2 hours every day but how it is a 24 hour practice. There was a lot more and of course questions and answers as well but I’m sure someone else will post more detailed notes in a few days if you’re interested, once again a was too lazy to take notes. And also I’m starting to feel like I’ve heard most of it before. Still going to conference is always nice. And what I hadn’t heard before what when Sharath told us that when he is not teaching his wife asks him when he will be teaching again, saying that he becomes so irritated when he is not teaching. Also he said that even though everybody wants to talk to him and tell him everything he doesn’t care to hear everything or to get involved in the “politics” of yoga. And that what’s the point of doing yoga if people feel the need to fight about it.

Post-conference paper masala dosa with Maija accompanied by a little rain. It’s good to get out of the house. It was a much cooler day also, which was nice after all the hot days.

On practice, sleep, puppies, food and drinks

One more led class tomorrow before the well deserved day of rest. It’s the first six-day practice week here and it takes its toll on all of us. Especially as this week has been so hot. I don’t know if I could survive here in March or April when its even hotter. My practice also got longer again. Yesterday Sharath told me to do Eka Pada but he didn’t tell me to split primary yet so I’m doing a pretty long practice at the moment. He also told me to come to led intermediate class on Monday. I was hoping to avoid this for a few more weeks but what Sharath says you do and so I just replied “okay”. At least I get to sleep a bit longer on Monday as led intermediate isn’t until 7.30 am. And the practice will be shorter, although not necessarily any lighter.

I’ve been pretty tired this past week as I haven’t been sleeping too well. It’s too hot in the evenings. Finally I got a good nights sleep last night but now I’m again wide awake and it’s almost 10 pm.  Tired but not sleepy. The alarm will go off in less than five hours… Why is it so difficult to fall asleep in the evenings? I sleep like a baby in the morning after practice and even have to put my alarm on so that I won’t sleep too long. I could easily fall asleep every single afternoon if I allowed myself to do that. But when it’s time to sleep I can’t sleep even though I’m tired. It’s so frustrating.

Last night there were the cutest little puppies outside our house. Probably after some stray dog. Our landlord got all excited when he heard about the puppies, he likes dogs and said he’d been wanting another one. So he took in one of the puppies. The male one. Too much trouble with a female was the reasoning. So the female one was left to her own on the street. What were we to do? We couldn’t take the female puppy in because what would happen to it after we leave? But it broke my heart a little to leave the puppy there in the street. It was sweet that our landlord took at least one of the puppies in but somehow it made me think about how girls are considered less valuable than boys in so many parts of the world. Female puppy or girl, not much difference?

I suddenly crave a glass of cold white wine. I might not be able to completely stay off chocolate or ice cream while here and avoiding sugar is almost impossible as it is everywhere. I also have my stash of salmiakki brought from home that gets smaller in a worryingly fast pace. But even if I enjoy having a glass of wine now and again back home being here always turns into an alcohol-free period. Some people back home do a “tipaton tammikuu”, that means no alcohol during the month of January. I guess this is my yearly detox. Not planned, not enforced, it just happens. Some other things are certainly enforced upon us. Like the lack of rye bread. Or good cheese. Oh, I miss rye bread and good cheese. But on the other hand we get to eat as much delicious papaya as we want and drink liters of coconut water to a price of 20 Rs. per coconut. And it tastes so much better than that ridiculously expensive boxed stuff you can buy back home. I won’t say no to a glass of wine once I return home but for now I’ll stick to coconut water. And lime soda (plain, no sugar, no salt). And chai. And coffee. Of course coffee. Yes, that’s my one true addiction.

 

Hot days

Okay, now I miss the rains already. It’s been two very hot days and the heat is definitely taking its toll on me. There’s no energy to do anything more than the bare essentials. The shala was ridiculously hot this morning and I somehow managed to do my practice around 10 minutes faster than usual as I so wanted to get out of that sauna. Definitely two coconuts needed after. The apartment is of decent temperature in the morning but heats up during the day, making the afternoon, evening and night quite uncomfortable. The fan doesn’t help much, it just moves the air around.

Not much else is going on. As it turned out there is no level 3 Sanskrit, at least not this month. I don’t know where the others who asked about classes disappeared to. Maybe next month but I fear I might not have the energy for it anymore by then.

I kind of miss… something. Not really my current life back home but maybe life back home with some added content. There’s a restlessness growing within me. I need to do something. I need some purpose with my life.

The weekend

I’m having a somewhat difficult time wrapping my head around this new schedule. Yesterday was Friday to me and I keep thinking that today is Saturday. Sharath also seems to have some trouble overcoming years of a the “old” schedule. Yesterday after the led class he asked those who have practiced led intermediate with him before here in Mysore to come to led intermediate on Sunday  (it always used to be on Sundays). Someone corrected him, yes on Monday. Maybe led primary will be a little less crowded tomorrow now that there is a third led class on Mondays.

Yesterday Sharath gave his first conference. Many, me included, thought it was to start at 4 pm shala time but when Anni, Maija and I arrived 13 minutes to 4 the conference had already started. Clearly we’d missed something. A lot of people arrived after us and this seemed to make Sharath a bit irritated. Well, what can you do except make sure to be extra early next time. Sharath talked about the practice and the breath and then there were some questions. I didn´t take any notes but if your interested someone already posted some notes on Facebook that I can find for you.

As the conference ended the heaven opened up once more and the rain started pouring down. Dinner was a must after a very light and early lunch so Anni, sitting behind me, held my umbrella as we drove towards Gokul Chat for our Saturday dosa. My pants were the most wet and luckily it really started pouring down only after we were safely under the roof at Gokul Chat. There we sat with some locals, watching the water flow down the street, the lightning lighting up the heaven now and then and listening to the thunder while having our dosas (see my Instagram for a short video clip). Our landlord, who is this really nice man, said the heavy rains are due to the cyclone in the east and should be over by next week. The rain kept coming for quite som time but after a while it rained less and we headed home. Can’t say we were dry once we reached home but a little rain is mostly refreshing.

Today I took the opportunity to sleep in. I told my friend last week that I don’t feel that tired, not even after not sleeping very much here, but I guess I still had some sleep to catch up on because I slept til after 8 am. Some evenings I fall asleep early enough but around 9 or 10 pm the neighbours usually make a lot of noise in their yard, just under my window, and that often wakes me up and keeps me awake until 11 pm. Or then I just don’t fall asleep until 10 or 11 pm. Which, if the alarms rings at 3 or 4 am, makes for a pretty short night. Usually I catch up on some sleep after practice, sleeping 1-1.5 hours after breakfast, but sometimes a nice long sleep in is necessary.

After a late brekkie I did some reading and finished watching the Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom movie, had lunch at Dhatu with Maija and Anni, where we might have over-eaten a bit, and in the evening the landlord and an electrician came over to fix our water filter system and change some light bulbs. That was pretty much my day. Sometimes I feel somewhat boring. I imagine that all the other students here go out for breakfast every morning, do a lot of courses or other stuff and make a lot of new friends while I stick mostly to my room and my friends from back home. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe everyone aren’t super social or have a lot of things going on all the time. And it’s not that I am bored. I really do like being at home. I like to read a good book or watch a movie and do some knitting. And I like hanging out with friends that I can have actual conversations with, not just talk about yoga with. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t mind making some new friends. So if your here, come by and say hi! :)

As to the housing situation Anni and I settled for a house for next month. And after making sure that we can also keep the scooters for next month everything should be in order for the rest of our stay here.

Time to sleep. Or at least try to sleep. Good night!

It’s a small world

Practice: hot and sweaty and with Sharath trying to take my hands higher than the ankles in backbend. How do you hold on if you don’t have sticks for legs?

It’s been a rainy day today. It rained a lot in the afternoon and again in the evening. The laundry is soaking wet again, no point taking it inside.

Today we ha lunch at the new café by Guru and Sons at Mystic School. It’s the guys with the coconut stand and Khushi café (I think, corect m if I’m wrong). It was a really nice Indian buffet lunch with a lot of different dishes and to a very reasonable price (150 Rs). The place itself is also nice but a bit on the hot side as the air doesn’t really move around in the restaurant due to closed off walls. Anyway, check it out if you get the possibility. As me and my friends were leaving this one guy (not Finnish) just walked in. He asked what language we were speaking as he thought that he recognized the accent. Turned out that previously he had been living in Helsinki for one year, working in a research group at Biomedicum, that is the building for biomedical sciences where I did my PhD. After he said that I realized that he did look somewhat familiar, I’ve probably seen him in Biomedicum.

I had two Skype-dates today, one with my sis and one with mum and dad. So nice to hear from you all, love you and miss you ♡

 

Self-practice, moon day and apartment hunting

Tuesday came and with that started the self-practice. Anni and I have a start time at 5.30 shala time, that means 5.15 normal time. And since you should be there around 10 minutes before your time it means we should be at the shala at around 5.05 am. Still we get to sleep one hour more compared to Saturdays and Mondays. On Tuesday I got the spot just next to the door to the entrance. Somehow it’s always a bit of a nervousness-inducing spot as everyone sitting in the entrance waiting for their turn seems to be watching you. Plus that someone is always walking over the back of your mat and you do your best not to jump on anybody. Anyway, I tried to ignore everybody and had a nice practice but had to abort Garbha Pindasana in the middle or I would have hit my head on the door. Sharath came to do backbending with me and after asking me up to where I did told me to do Bhairavasana and Ardha Matsyendrasana on Thursday. One never starts anything new on a Tuesday here, it’s not an auspicious day. Overdosed on pizza at Pascucci for lunch, don’t think I’ll be having any more pizza on this trip.

Yesterday was full moon and no practice. I could feel the moon already on Tuesday evening, making me somewhat hyper. Then again yesterday I felt so slow and lazy all day. Today is back to normal. Funny with the moon, sometimes it seems to affect me a lot and sometimes not at all. Maybe it’s just in my head. Or then maybe not.

Back on the mat today. Got a great spot in the second row, next to the wall with all the pictures and with Anni on the other side of me. Lot’s of space and good vibes. Can’t deny that practice is quite long now with full primary and intermediate up to Ardha Matsyendrasana. But it’s all good, just have to remind myself at times not to overdo it.

I spent the forenoon writing a few job applications and taking care of some other stuff that needed to be taken care of. Later I headed to Sixth Main for lunch. Almost made it there before my scooter ran out of gas. The meter that should show how much gas is left is not working and even though I’ve been thinking for days that I should check the gas I haven’t gotten around to doing just that. No one to blame but myself. So what do you do? Get an empty water bottle and text a friend to come pick you up and take you to the gas station. In addition I got company for lunch so it turned out pretty well after all. Now I just need to remember (and actually do it) to go fill up the tank with more gas.

Anni and I are looking for somewhere to stay during next month. We saw two places today but one is probably taken until November 6th and the other was so dark and small that we didn’t want to take it, at least not if we can find something else. No panic yet but seems most places are taken already. Also the prices have gone up so much. It’s really getting crazy expensive to stay here if you’re not very lucky to find something cheap.

This is our current home where we like it very much. But one room is taken from next month on so we need to find somewhere where we both can live as we prefer to stay together.

View from the streetIMG_5789

Door and entrance hallIMG_5790

Big hall with dining areaIMG_5778

Hall with kithchen in the back and two bedrooms with individual bathroons to the rightIMG_5771

BedroomsIMG_5791

My roomIMG_5772

IMG_5774 IMG_5773KitchenIMG_5776

IMG_5777View from the balconyIMG_5780

IMG_5781ScooterIMG_5787

Third level Sanskrit was supposed to start on Tuesday but nobody but me showed up. Will go see again today what the situation is. If nobody turns up today either I guess Laksmish will be asking people tomorrow after chanting if they want to take part in the class or not. I hope someone else will sign up. I don’t want to repeat the second level so it’s either third level or no Sanskrit at all.

A day off and the start of the second week

As Sunday is rest day there was no practice yesterday. It still feels a bit confusing with practice on Saturday and a day off on Sunday. Not to mention the fact that on Friday we’ll be doing intermediate series. It will take some time getting used to I suppose. In the morning after sleeping in a few hours (normal wake-up is just before 3 am before days with led class and just before 4 am on days with self-practice) Anni and I instead headed for Kukkarahalli lake for a short run. I did run a few times back home during the fall so I thought it would be nice to try to keep it up here. One round around the lake is just perfect. I don’t really know how far it is. One website says 4.5 km but I think it’s more like 3-3.5 km. Anyway, the run felt nice and it was especially nice to have someone to run with. But my legs are a bit sore today and I blame the shoes. I didn’t bring my ordinary running shoes but instead I have a pair of Merrell barefoot shoes. They are really light and nice but I guess it will take some time to get used to running with them. After a quick shower we headed to Anokhi’s for breakfast with Maija. The rest of the day was spent at home but that was a bit too much of staying in one place, I almost started climbing the walls at one point. Also it was a very hot day yesterday and our flat gets really warm so it was quite uncomfortable to stay inside all day.

Another led class today as the practice week always starts with led class here. More people have arrived over the past days and the shala is now pretty full with people practicing both in the entrance hall and the changing rooms. I had a nice practice except that the quads there were a little sore. I even had the energy to hold Utplutih til the end and that always feels like a major accomplishment. Nowadays I can hold it pretty often, although it’s always a struggle, but I don’t think I held it for the whole ten counts even once when I was here two years ago. Things happen with time and practice. After chanting I went with Maija to have first a pedicure and then lunch at Anima Madha Bhavan. I love the thalis at this place, which you eat of a banana leaf while sitting on cushions on the floor.

Later in the afternoon we had a pretty amazing thunderstorm hit us. Suddenly the wind started blowing and I barely had time to move my scooter in from the street and take down the laundry before rain was spilling over us. I sat on the balcony watching the rain while it lasted, it felt nice and soothing and very refreshing, cooling the air so much that I even needed to put on a long-sleeved shirt.