[Mysore dispatch] Emptying the cup

On Transmission, Jack Kornfield says he once asked Ajahn Chah, “What is the biggest problem with the new disciples?”

Ajanh Chah responded, ‘Opinions. Views and ideas about all kinds of things — about themselves, about practice, about the teachings of the Buddha.’
. . .
It’s like water in a cup. If a cup is filled with dirty, stale water, it’s useless. Only when the old water is thrown out can the cup become useful. You must empty your minds of opinions — and then you will learn.

Happy New Year, dear readers! May your cup runneth over in 2014.

Now, I’m off to find some breakfast chai. :-)

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Fresh coconut juice (sipped through a stainless steel straw, of course!) before my first practice at KPJAYI.

>>More Mysore dispatches:

#235, 8th Cross, an eternity and a blink of eye from my first ashtanga practice

Mysore is 10.5 hours off from home (9.5 hours without daylight savings). But that’s not the time that really matters, because the time that really matters is shala time, which is set 15 minutes ahead of local time.

Checked baggage for DTW –> CDG –> BLR

What I figuratively and literally packed, or didn’t, for my first journey to India.

[Mysore dispatch] #235, 8th Cross, an eternity and a blink of eye from my first ashtanga practice

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Life is only two minutes long: one minute you are born, the next minute, you die. In between, only a flash of lightening.” — Pattabhi Jois

MYSORE, Karnataka — I never post datelines for my blog posts, but since I’m halfway around the world, I thought it might be a fine occasion to do so. Back in my journalism days, when I was working in New England, it was a treat to file stories from places like New York since it meant that I was somewhere reporting on something out of my ordinary pace.

And man, talk about pace. So here I am, Tuesday, Dec. 31, the last day of 2013, and I find myself in the midst of my third day in Mysore. For someone whose daily life works only if calendar appointments are precisely inputed and rigorously adhered to — as I juggle my full-time job, my six-day-a-week practice, my apprenticeship at Ashtanga Yoga: Ann Arbor, my yoga teaching schedule in Lansing, Mich., and carving out quality time with my husband — it’s a bit surreal being here, barely knowing what day and what time it is.

I started my journey from Michigan on a Friday and landed here on a Sunday, a place that is 10.5 hours off from home (9.5 hours without daylight savings). But that’s not the time that really matters, because the time that really matters is shala time, which is set 15 minutes ahead of local time. If your practice start time is 9:45 a.m., like mine is, that really means be at #235 8th Cross at 9:30 a.m. So ironically, for a place that on the surface seems much more chill — no Type-A vibes here! — I have, for the first time, had to override my iPhone date and time setting to set it to shala time.

Here’s the time travel that I am feeling most viscerally, though: A time that started somewhere around 1999, when I was a reporter living in Northampton, Mass., having discovered my love for this practice but, without having a teacher and without the tools to cultivate the discipline of daily practice, only having limited access to the potentially transformative effects of the endeavor. Fast forward to today, when I have a teacher I see each morning before the day starts to throw challenges my way, a teacher who holds space for my practice and holds me accountable.

I definitely feel like a different incarnation of the Rose circa 1999; so much of that Rose’s perspective and outlook and habits are unrecognizable to me — except for that love of the practice piece. I loved the practice even when I didn’t know which way to turn in marichyasana B and even when I couldn’t watch YouTube snippets of Sharath talking theory during Conference sessions.

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Yesterday, as I was on my mat doing my first set of sun salutations in the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute — holy holy, the one and only KPJAYI, the place I never thought I’d be able to make a pilgrimage for a decade or more to come! And with Sharath! — I worked on tristhana.

Not too surpsingly, some thoughts leaked through, and I was surprised that one piece of internal monologue I caught was:

I am at The Shala! And. . .this feels like my normal practice.

Coordinates

This year, I’ve practiced plenty at the shala in Ann Arbor. I’ve practiced at home. I’ve practiced on retreat in lush Mexico. I’ve practiced in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in sub-zero weather, with stuffed snowmen watching over me. The practice has felt like the practice in all those places. I’m not saying the electricity of a place like KPJAYI doesn’t offer unique opportunities for learning and transforming, but it no longer feels like potential for insight is reliant on the coordinates of my mat.

So there, in the middle of the place I have longed to experience for so long, I felt a deep connection to all the home ashtanga yoga practitioners out there who struggle with finding consistency in the practice and who feel as lost as I did without a teacher. 1999 to 2013 is a long time, and at the same time, it’s gone by in a heartbeat. And faith in the practice eventually led me find a teacher.

Parampara

Here, under Sharath’s watchful gaze, here, with my teacher practicing in the same room, here, where the practice was started, here, where thousands have sweated through the years, and laughed, and cried, and made profound and not-so-profound observations, I can feel the transcendence of parampara. It was my journey — my karma, if like that language — to have to search for so long (and my karma, even now, to live an hour away from my home shala). But I am grateful for all of it, because it has made me that much more resonant with the vibration of teachers who have the boundless wealth of parampara to share.

Ordinary

It has been such a long journey to get here. I have such appreciation for everyone I’ve met along the way, and I’m looking forward to the people I have yet to meet. And after all those years of longing and searching for a teacher and a community, trying to figure out the password to the transformative effects of the practice that I had some sense, deep down, were there . . . after everything it has taken to get to the point, there was a glistening moment on my mat yesterday when I realized that all that effort can culminate in making each practice . . . simply ordinary.

And that is about as magical as anything.

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Checked baggage for DTW –> CDG –> BLR

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I love seeing the blog posts and Facebook status updates of the Mysore veterans — the ashtangis who are old hands at making the long journey to study at the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI). Pack, schmack — grab a suitcase the day of, retrieve the passport and the acceptance letter, toss a smattering of things together, and it’s all good.

As a serial over-packer and a first-timer to KPJAYI, I don’t even want to estimate how many hours I’ve spent over the past few weeks working with baggage of various stripes. For this post, I thought I’d lay out some of what I figuratively and literally packed, or didn’t, for my first journey to India.

==What I packed==

A narrative

You might say the overarching narrative that I’ve brought with me is one of gratitude to the people who have helped make this trip a reality.

After my miscarriage this past summer, I tried to be present and receptive to the experience for what it had to teach me. But I also knew that I had a choice in how I came to terms with it. So I deliberately chose a narrative that would offer me the most opportunities for transformation. What could I do that I couldn’t have done had I given birth in January 2014?

I’ve wanted to make this trek to Mysore for years, but I currently work at a firm of about 10, and figured this would be the last place I could get away with checking a trip to the shala off my bucket list. After miscarrying, though, I realized my bosses, coworkers and clients would have had to live without me for six weeks of maternity, so by comparison, four weeks of an absence should be doable, right?

Still, I second-guessed myself. No way would they go for it. It was my husband, who has been incredibly supportive of the practices that have changed me most, who convinced me that I was wrong to assume. So I thought about it, and presented my bosses with a deal I hoped they couldn’t refuse — four weeks of unpaid leave in January, our slowest month of the year, and for the two middle weeks, I would be online for a couple hours a day to handle any client work that needed handling. I’m grateful to work for two men willing to support a journey that means so much to me.

And there are many more, including friends Karen and Jade for navigating me through the visa process — fun!

Shinzen Young, Jack Kornfield, Daniel Ingram

I’ve stashed away the wisdom of some heavy hitters for this trip.

My iPod is loaded up with Shinzen Young’s Science of Enlightenment audio course, which is quite possibly the single best course of any kind that I have ever experienced — and it’s simply a collection of dharma talks. Thanks to the number of miles I drive each week, I’ve had ample opportunity to listen to most of the sessions on the 14-CD audio program three or four times, and they never get old. It’s actually sort of like watching a good movie — rather than be bummed that you know the dialogue that’s coming, you’re psyched about what’s ahead. (“Can’t wait for the stone Buddha dancing part!”) Some day, I picture a marathon session when I’m listening while on a couch rather than in a driver’s seat, and maybe enjoying some ghee-covered popcorn to boot.

The iPod also has Jack Kornfield’s Transmission, which is lovely. I started listening to it as part of my apprenticeship and can’t wait to finish it.

Daniel Ingram’s cult classic (among the Buddhist Geeks set anyway), Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book, is taking up a good chunk of space in my carry-on backpack. I’ve made a good dent in it over the past year, but I am looking forward to finishing it so that I can start it all over again.

Apps

Tango, Skype, Google+ Hangout — to stay in touch with family and friends.

I plan on getting a local phone as all the ashtangis who don’t or can’t jailbreak their phones seem to do.

Despite all this, because I have two-step verification on all my accounts (which means I can’t log into gmail, say, on a new browser until I type in the code sent to my phone), I also paid for 200 international text messages for my mobile.

Para Cleanse, ginger honey lemon tea and the like

Kate O’Donnell has a lovely article titled “How not to get sick in India” in which she gives great advice, including lay off the sugar (bug love it!) and pack Para Cleanse.

She also says to stay positive. I’d like to, but . . .

. . .as I write this, I am on an eight-hour flight from Detroit to Paris, where I’ll have a short layover before the nine-plus-hour flight to Bangalore. I’m at one end of a three-person row and the woman on the other side has been hacking (and I mean hacking) and coughing and sneezing for 2.5 hours (just five hours of this to go!).

With the kind of germ fest going on so far, as much as I’ll try to stay positive, I’m going to be realistic in assuming something will get me on this trip — either the contagion rolling in row 18 or the parasites ready to spring into action upon my arrival in India.

In any case, my carry-on luggage has some stuff designed to help me maximize my defenses. I have ginger tea bags and little packets of lemon juice and honey because I’ve traveled enough to know that even harder than finding nourishing food at an airport or on a plane is finding nourishing beverages. When I get to the airport, I find a coffee shop and ask for hot water, which I plunk my ginger tea into and then add the lemon juice and honey. While it pales in comparison to the fresh ginger honey lemon tea that I credit with saving with these past of winters (that, along with ecinachea tincture), it’s better than the alternative. I also have a roll of Airborne tablets . . . which I just took.

This morning, I paid more attention to my abyangha, and my checked suitcase includes travel almond oil because Kate said it would take me a minute to find the spots that carry everything I want. I have my net pot, neti salt, tongue scraper and dry brush.

What else . . . I went to my acupuncturist this morning for an immune-boosting session, and I slept and slept and slept over the Christmas holidays. Will any of this help my my immune system withstand what’s floating around in this cabin, for starters? Who knows — but I’m glad I at least tried.

A stainless steel straw

I have OvO to thank for this one. Among the myriad of things I would have never given a second thought to, coming from the U.S., is the level of hygiene of straws in India. Apparently, it is common for them to be reused. So a sturdy, non-plastic straw is a good idea!

This reminds me of when I was a kid visiting my parents’ home country of Thailand. I loved that vendors would — so they could get money for the cans — sell you soda out of a sandwich bag with a rubber band tied around one corner as a handle and give you a straw to drink it with. My parents got a kick out of the fact that I was giddy about this way of drinking soda.

Happily, it’s not too late for me to pack more of that child-like wonder and excitement that things aren’t like the way they are at home. As adults, we can hold on so tightly to what we know and what we want.

I was thinking about clinging and attachment after my husband dropped me off at the airport. He hadn’t been gone for five minutes and I was already wondering what I’m doing, and how being apart from him for a month will go. I used to view the requirement to spend a minimum of a month at the shala as being about ensuring that students have enough time to get acclimated to the place and to let their bodies and minds settle enough to receive the lessons of the practice and the lineage.

In that moment of looking at my passport wondering how this internal journey of missing my husband would go, I realized that this minimum requirement probably has as much to do about asking you to observe and calibrate your relationship with every aspect of the current life you hold so tightly to.

==What I didn’t pack==

Sherlock

I watch virtually no TV and I don’t watch movies either. But I recently fell victim to a Sherlock addiction, and in a moment of weakness, I seriously considered (?!) taking Sherlock DVDs with me.

I didn’t leave the addiction at home though. I am so taken by Benedict Cumberbatch’s character that I’m not-so-secretly hoping to catch the January season premiere live in Mysore.

Stickiness from my car accident

At least I hope I’m not carrying repressed issues halfway around the world…

I had this holy-shit-I-am-alive?! rollover in early December that left me uninjured in any concrete way, though I knew better than to assume I hadn’t been affected. I met up with a few members of what I affectionately and seriously call the Rose Wellness Team (because it takes a village…) to try to release anything about the accident I was holding on to. I didn’t want to repress it, period, and I certainly didn’t want to carry it to Mysore. I wanted to help ensure that any healing and cleansing effects, if they happen to happen while on this pilgrimage, would have a shot at working on deeply held samskaras without new issues getting the way.

So I had a yoga-and-meditation private session with my ashtanga teacher, an acupuncture appointment, and a cranial-sacral therapy appointment. Each of these modalities was critical in releasing some physical and emotional blocked energy that I could feel I experienced from the rollover.

Meditation cushion

I’m hoping to use my 33 days in Mysore as a mini-meditation retreat. The idea is that I’ll do what I don’t have time to do in my workaday life at home — a long-ish sit each morning before my asana practice. Back in November when I first pulled out my suitcase, I had given prime real estate for my cushion as a down payment on this investment, but after about 5 rounds of dumping stuff and shifting things around, the cushion kept putting the weight of my suitcase over the 50-pound limit.

This matters because I only this year found the one meditation pose that I don’t fidget in. So I need a cushion that allows me to sit this way.

In rooting around an old tote I was stashing away, I found a little fortune cookie slip last night that said something like, “You will find solutions in unexpected ways.” And lo and behold, this morning, I realized I could fashion an acceptable cushion by creatively folding two under-the-knee small square cushions into my Mysore rug.

Whew. That brought my suitcase to 47 pounds. Relief and victory! :-)

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‘Surrender to the count’

icepocalypseEkam inhale…

On the first and third Sundays of each month at Ashtanga Yoga: Ann Arbor, Mysore is replaced by an 8 a.m. full led primary series class and a 9:30 a.m. half led primary class. Sometimes Angela starts out by going over a specific topic or theme, and the other week, the message at the start of the half-led primary class was:

Surrender to the count.

We’ve all been there — wanting to spend a few more breaths in this pose, or wanting to quicken the breath in that pose to have it over with sooner. Interesting what happens when you let the rhythm take you through the practice.

…dve exhale…

Surrender to the count: I’ve sort of used this phrase as a mantra in the weeks since. I’ve been trying, in other words, to surrender to all the counts of life, not just the counts I like.

A week after those led classes, I totaled my car in an accident and, just six months after finishing paying off my last used car, faced having to buy a new car just before going on four weeks of unpaid leave to travel to India. Can’t I have just another year without car payments?  

It will all work itself out, my husband keeps reminding me. Surrender to the count. 

…trini inhale…

As part of surrendering, I dropped my usual resistance to dealing with everything that I typically have such aversions to: Financing paperwork, calls with insurance companies, hospital bills. Because every so often in my life (I think my last big car accident was roughly a decade ago), this is the count I have to deal with. And you know what? I haven’t been nearly as stressed out or as annoyed as I usually am by all the hoops. That is not to say that it’s been 100 percent smooth sailing either, because I’ve had my moments, but the journey has been better than normal.

…catvari exhale…

This morning was supposed to be the last time I assisted at the shala until mid-February; I was really looking forward to it. But an ice storm — or Icepocalyse, depending on who you ask — rained down overnight over the greater Lansing area, and it would have been an extremely bad idea for me to try to make the drive to Ann Arbor.

So I practiced at home. That was the count for my practice today — samastitihi on my mat in my home shala instead of at AY:A2. While I missed the breath and energy of my fellow AY:A2 practitioners, and while I missed assisted dropbacks with my teacher, my overall experience with the practice itself didn’t feel dependent on external conditions such as who is practicing around me and how well is the room heated?

There was a time not too long ago when practicing at home would have meant a practice with less intensity, less (subjective experience of) internal heat, less seeming potential for wringing out. Things started to change when I surrendered to the count of practicing six days a week. Can’t I take today off? I have an early-morning news conference and, oh right, a wedding to plan after I get home from work. OK then, how about taking today? I’m traveling for the holidays.

Surrender to the count.

…panca inhale…

Speaking of self-practice, I know many practitioners who have been very grateful for this recent AY:A2 blog post on practicing alone that includes this advice:

Create a tight container. In the words of Iyengar teacher Paul Cabanis, the mind loves to be bound. Give yourself 90% of the time you think you need, and 90% of the space you think you need. Use these constraints to press your energy into a more concentrated stream.

Now, do not faff around. You don’t have the time and you don’t have the space. If you’re noticing the dry skin on your toes, you still have too much time and too much space. Also, do abhyanga later.

Ask companions or family to respect the bounded time-space of your practice.

Here’s the entire “How to practice by yourself” piece.

…sat exhale…

There was a time — again, not too long ago –when the entire season of winter was a total bummer for me. Resistance to the cold, to the snow, to the dreary skies and to the dark started around the beginning of fall and lasted through early spring. I’ve made a concerted effort this winter to try to see the silver lining of the season.

mooncyclesAyurveda, with its emphasis on flowing with the seasons, has helped. I’ve started to look forward to my cooked root vegetables in the fall and winter, and while I still cannot bring myself to enjoy driving in wintry conditions, I am at least more calm about it because I don’t resist it so damn much.

Being receptive to lunar cycles has helped. (For a radiant piece on that, check out OvO’s “Moon Swings.”)

 

…sapta inhale…

There are at least three more topics I’d like to write about just today, but the various digital clocks that rule my life have a thing or two to say about that. I’ve got to pack for our holiday trip to visit my in-laws (low of -1 degree tomorrow night in the Upper Peninsula!), and immediately after that, for my trip to Mysore (88 degrees next weekend!).

Surrender. To. The. Count.

© YogaRose.net and Rose Tantraphol, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to YogaRose.net with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The art and science of surrender (car accident edition)

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Look at that photo. It’s something else, isn’t it? Somehow, I managed to step right up out of the driver-side door without so much as a cut. I’m saving this photo to my phone and my work desktop as an inspiring memento of three instructive reminders from yesterday’s rollover:

1. While an accident can pin you down, it’s the kindness of strangers that will really floor you.

A woman whom I’ll just call V. hugged me — hugged me tight, wrapping my entire short frame in her radiant maternal embrace — as soon as I stepped out of the car. She hugged me and asked if I was OK for quite some time as other kind strangers offered other ways of help, starting with the cool guy who opened up the car door that allowed me to get out the first place.

I accepted a ride to the hospital for tests because I was most concerned that I felt fine but could have a hairline fracture. I just kept thinking about the angle I stepped out of the car from, and about how many times I had rolled over. (Surprisingly, the air bags did not deploy.) Anyway, the paramedic and his crew? Fantastic in every way. The trauma team that ran a battery of tests to make sure there wasn’t deeper damage? Awesome. (They also thought they were comedians, which I appreciated. They said that had I been wearing Lululemon, they would have spared cutting my clothes. Luckily, I have other panopticon-branded AY:A2 tanks.)

This tank would have been spared the shears in the trauma room 3 if only they had been Lululemon. ;-)

This tank would have been spared the shears in trauma room 3 if only they’d been Lululemon. ;-)

The police officer who showed up? Sweet — down to accommodating my request that when the tow truck show up, he rescue not only my mobile and wallet, but also my Mysore rug (what can I say — it’s a security blanket). He totally came through.

2. You never know.

Really, you never know. So you might as well not sweat the small stuff. (More on this in a bit.)

We all tell ourselves this and I’m convinced we all believe it, deep down. But we tend to believe it most when Big Life Events happen — not during the day-to-day. This helped me recommit big-time to keeping my eyes on the prize as moments as possible every day, not just on days like this.

3. Relaxing, rather than resisting, helps in any kind of situation.

Anyone who has struggled to learn how to go up into a yoga headstand has probably at one time or another heard the instruction to relax while falling out of it.

Let me be clear: I think I wasn’t harmed because of my guardian angels, pure and simple. But, more than 24 hours later, I am still stunned that I walked away untouched, and it was a reminder that the tremendous relaxation you can feel when in something like a multiple-roll spill like this comes in handy. Had I tensed up and locked my arms on the steering wheel, for instance, who knows what might have happened.

As meditation teacher Shinzen Young formulates it:

Pain x Resistance = Suffering

Post-accident, I’m going to take this to heart and not let myself get freaked out about the expense — especially given that it’s coming just ahead of when I’m looking at taking four weeks of unpaid leave to go study in Mysore. I could do the math, or I could look back at the rollover photo and shake my head again at how I was not hurt and no one else was either.

Shinzen offers this related formulation too:

Taste of Purification = Pain x Equanimity

Trying to avoid suffering is one thing. Can I reach this level? That’s a tall order but I think it’s possibly within reach, if it stare at the rollover photo enough. And if that doesn’t work, I can look at my tiny little rental, which somehow makes me laugh. I think my huge Saka cargo mat bag fits in the trunk . . .

Fiat rental

Back to sweating the small stuff

For anyone willing to read past the list portion of this post, I’ll say that the feeling I had yesterday was similar to the feeling I had during the accident I experienced maybe a decade ago now, when a guard rail saved me from going over a mountainside in northern Vermont after I had skid on black ice. The same time-slows-incredibly-dooooown phenomenon happened yesterday when I couldn’t correct out of the median: I quite calmly observed what was happening and figured that one of two things — both out of my control — would happen. I would either die or be severely injured, or I would be protected and would be fine.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t on some level want to work on not sweating the things that don’t matter. To different degrees, we all want to stay out of the fray when it comes to getting worked up over things we know — we know! — just don’t matter in the end. But dammit if the small things just have a tremendous capacity to gnaw, goad, get under the skin. For me, the most recent big little problem that I got truly pissed over just happened this past Friday — and this is at a time in my life when I have learned to surrender more than I ever have.

Equanimity via different paths

In my world informed by the discipline of ashtanga yoga and by meditative technologies, it seems to me that there are three pretty reliable ways to make progress on keeping it together in the face of life’s really annoying agitations:

1. Go through a tough experience.  

This year has been an interesting one. I witnessed my husband in more pain than I had ever seen him, as I watched helplessly in the ER as he tried to pass a kidney stone. I was back in the same hospital’s operating room (OR) not too long after that for my D & C after my miscarriage. I was back yesterday in the ER — with the same nurse who helped my husband! — for the tests to make sure I wasn’t hurt.

2. Get on your mat six days a week to practice a series that at first seems impossible, then seems doable, then eventually seems impossible again, and so on.

As OvO has so eloquently put it, put yourself on the mat to undertake a systemic series of constraints on the ego.

During the ambulance ride to get the tests that would confirm that I am indeed OK, despite what my mental images of the accident scene would have me believe, I was talking to a paramedic-in-training who said, “I’m just not flexible enough to do yoga.” It was a little awkward to talk to this student, with my neck in a restraint and my body secured to a long spine board per standard operating procedures when being taken to a trauma unit (with a rollover at 70 miles per hour, which is what the speed limit is in Michigan, an accident like this one is considered a trauma, even if you can talk and walk and attest you feel fine).

I started to try to explain that that isn’t what yoga is all about, but instead it out something like, “You don’t need to be flexible to start yoga. You gain that flexibility as you go.” Finally, realizing my words were being garbled by the fact that I couldn’t really move my jaw too much, I said, “You should give yoga another shot.”

It wasn’t my most persuasive elevator pitch for yoga, which last year I decided might go along these lines: “Using the body to get beyond the body, a 6-day-a-week Ashtanga practice rewires us to experience life without filters created by illusion.” Aka neuroplasticity ftw!

3. Get on a meditation cushion every day

I’m going to give embarrassingly short shrift to this one because I technically should be getting back to dealing with my insurance company. But I’ve been truly amazed at the results this past year of keeping at meditation.

Why meditate?

And a fourth?

In any case, having tried these three paths, I’ve found that each contributes a different type of instruction/reminder, and the lasting effects vary. It does seem like the synergistic effects are most powerful when all three are experienced together.

Interestingly, I had spent the earlier part of yesterday afternoon engaged in fun conversations with other area yogis are planning on studying at the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India, and the theme that kept coming up again and again was: To truly experience Mysore, you have to surrender to the experience.

So by the end of the month when I travel to Mysore, perhaps I’ll understand first-hand that I can add another sure-fire way of learning to surrender? That one would be labeled as: Make the sacrifices you need to make to get to the shala in Mysore. 

!

© YogaRose.net and Rose Tantraphol, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to YogaRose.net with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.