Everyone seems to be in a festive mood here in the Gokulam section of Mysore — and indeed, across the region, with a number of different holidays being celebrated. (This means, of course, that Bollywood stars have hit to their social media accounts with well wishes for their fans.)
Today around the neighborhood, everyone has a “Happy Sankranti” for you. Sankranti is one of the few Hindu harvest festivals celebrated in India that’s tied to the solar calendar. And it’s a celebration of a new year! According to one news site:
Also called the festival of prosperity and positivity, Makar Sankaranti heralds the beginning of an auspicious start to the new year. Rising amidst foggy and dark clouds, the sun serenades the autumn as the festive spirit bowls down everyone.
What an incredible month. I was in Mysore for the New Year’s Day holiday that I adore so much. Now we have Sankranti, with is promise of auspicious beginnings. And I didn’t realize until after I arrived that the day I fly home will be the Chinese New Year.
Karen asked me the other day if themes have come for me. I said at the time that the familiarity idea has felt like a drumbeat. Since our conversation, I’ve realized what I should have said is gratitude. An abundance of gratitude. A plane and some credit card transactions got me here, yes. But really, I’ve flown on the wings of gratitude — for a pregnancy that changed me, and for people around me who have guided me and supported me through transformative experiences, both delightful and rough. So now that ‘m here, it’s gratitude that is moving me through my days — for the practice, for Sharath, for the instant ashtanga community, for locals who embrace all these foreigners invading this area.
As I left the shala, I saw these women finishing up this beautiful design, which I believe is an example of rangoli.
So, yes, happy Sankranti, wherever you are.
>>More Mysore dispatches:
Thank you, interwebs and wifi
When I was playing my trip to Mysore, I kind of thought that the ideal way to experience this trip would be to unplug. Man, was I wrong about that one.
Castor oil baths and not (particularly) getting things done
Rest day + castor oil! I think when you’re studying yoga in India, my day so far would have been considered productive. At home, this should have all been done by noon.
And then there were four — led classes, that is
From healing to teaching, from deepening to escaping, everyone here obviously has a unique and personal story about whey they’re here right now. But is there something drawing us, collectively, at the dawn of 2014?
First breakfast, second shower, next electric practice
‘One more, 9 o’clock, small.’
How does Sharath know? And btw, where did my feet walk off to?
Since my first day at KPJAYI, I’ve found myself constantly wondering, “How does Sharath know?”
One week into my month-long stay here, it seems obvious to me that a big part of coming here is not about the practice at all — it’s about seeing where our areas of density are in our life. It’s easy to spot when a tight shoulder is the obstacle to steady comfort in a pose. For some of us, it’s harder to spot our areas of density in our daily lives.
So familiar and yet . . . so familiar
In Mysore, it helps that even when I don’t know someone, I maybe know someone.
Rain down on me
No small part of what I hope to do in India is find a way to honor life and sit with loss. Back when I planned this trip, the most salient loss was my miscarriage from this summer. Having two friends take their own life in the past 30 days has amplified the grief.
Plugging my 120V self into this 220V space
When Sharath led my hands to my ankles in assisted dropbacks, I could feel my little 120V self had hit full charge.
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.
Emptying the cup
‘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.’
#235, 8th Cross, an eternity and a blink of eye from my first ashtanga practice
This post is for all the home practitioners out there. 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.