MYSORE, Karnataka — My first meditation of the year! Sixty beautiful minutes spent on the rooftop of the building where I’m staying — followed by a lovely Indian breakfast of upma and chutney, along with the perfect cup of chai.
About this set-up: I found the perfect little rug for meditation at the local Loyal World Super Market. (I guess it’s supposed to be used as a welcome mat for the home?) It’s got enough thickness so that I don’t mind being on a hard surface. It cost 255 rupees, or about $4.11. (As a side note, for anyone with kids or a yoga-inclined pooch, I think this would triple as the cutest Mysore rug for yoga practice.)
Because I couldn’t fit my meditation cushion or meditation bench in my suitcase without going over the weight limit, I decided I would rely on folding my yoga rug over my two “whatever” cushions to make the perfect cushion for the way I like to sit in meditation. (I’ve found that sitting in virasana pose is the way that’s happiest for my pelvis and low back.)
I’m looking forward to my month spent studying at the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute — and to my month of a mini-meditation retreat. I was talking to my friend Karen last night about how New Year’s is, hands down, my favorite holiday of the year — a way to revel in a cross-cultural celebration focused on new beginnings and boundless possibilities.
In my reflections today, I decided to try, in the spirit of noting arisings and passings in all things, to see if I can start each new day this year with the type of intention that I start New Year’s Day with each and every year. Toward that end, I’m quite grateful to get to start each day with the ashtanga yoga practice — that makes such a difference in being able to enter the rough and tumble with some equanimity.
When the challenges start to roll, remind me of this post, will ya?
>>More Mysore dispatches:
‘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.’
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.
What I figuratively and literally packed, or didn’t, for my first journey to India.