18 February 2011

Club Mysore

Perhaps it’s the palm and coconut trees. Or the noisy Americans partying late into the night. Or the Spanish girls running around in tiny little boy shorts and bandeaux. But my trip to Mysore, so far, is reminiscent of my long-ago Club Med Mexican vacation. The key difference being at Club Med activities include snorkeling, golf, flying trapeze. Here the activities are mostly shala-centric--Ashtanga yoga, chanting, Yoga Sutra studies, Sanskrit language classes.
Like Club Med, there are social strata. At the top are those yogis who practice at 4:30 a.m. (4:15, shala time; more about that later) with Sharath. Those earliest risers are the cool kids. The advanced yogis. Or people who have come here before, often many times; their coveted 4:15 start time is a reward.
On the bottom are those yogis who practice late morning--9:30 a.m. (9:15, shala time) with Saraswathi. I practice at 9:30. Or 9:15, shala time.
Which is also very Club Med. Club Med creates its own time zone to maximize daylight hours. The Ashtanga Institute of Mysore, likewise, marks time according to its own rules.  Apparently, Guruji’s pet peeve was lateness. The Ashtanga Yoga Institute of Mysore is, perhaps, the only place in India that is ahead of its time.

During my Club Med trip in 1996, using the telephone was particularly challenging. My first day in Mysore I purchased an Indian SIM card, to insert in my unlocked Blackberry, along with 49 minutes of calling time. That was 6 days ago. As of today, I’m still unable to make or receive calls. My daily trips to the Phone Guy stand have morphed from pleasant to frustrating to borderline violent to comical. Every day, Phone Guy tinkers with my Blackberry and makes a few calls from his own phone. Then he uses my phone to call his phone.
“See,” he says, wobbling his head side to side, “you can call me.”
“I don’t want to call you,” I shriek. “I want to call the Punjab or Goa or the U.S.”
Phone Guy tinkers some more, hands me back my phone and, day after day, declares: “Madam, your phone will be calling the U.S. in 10 minutes.”
If you travel alone to a Club Med you are assigned a roommate. Here I live in a 4-bedroom house about a half a block from the shala. A yogi I know from Ashtanga Yoga San Francisco, Deborah Crooks, arranged everything and I just fell into this truly fortunate situation. Besides practicing yoga 6 days a week, I have Yoga Sutra class 3 times a week and chanting class twice a week. I’m also in a writers group, courtesy of Deborah, who started the group, that meets twice a week.
Hopefully, this means I will actually do some writing. Stay tuned.


no-chaos said...

What a funny idea to compare life in Mysore with a Club Med vacation. The phone experience seems to be similar. maybe you should wait the 10 minutes and then try to call USA - might safe you the next trip to the phone guy :-)
Can't wait to read your next blog! have a wonderful time! cheers, Ulrike

Naila J. said...

Very exciting stuff! I can't wait to hear more :)

Also, I loved the phone guy anecdote! When I went to Kenya, I saw lots of those kinds of booths :)

delfina piretti said...

ciao bella!!! molto bene to hear your voice! i laughed at the phone guy story- could see you freakin out and him chillin& BS- in.
Oh Goddess- wish i was there.
still graditude is my practice
con amore Lynnillissmo- your buddy delfi

Margie said...

Hi lynn, wow nice photos. I really wanna come! It sounds wonderful. Good luck with the phone. Does Skpye work? Keep those blog entries coming and keep us up to date on your studies. I can't wait to visit (g-d willing!)

Margie said...

Hmmm, not sure if this is working. Selma and I are on route to Kauii via Seattle!! Yoga class and Sanscrit sound amazing. I want to visit - let's see if I can swing that! Keep those blog entries coming. The writing group sounds perfect. Much love, Margali

Erin Reese said...

Congrats, Lynn! Hopefully your head-wobbling phone guy will pull through soon so you can phone home. I look fwd to receiving your most excellent dispatches!

sarah said...

Sounds like you had a wonderfully soft landing and arrival. Photos are great too - such vibrant colors. Please keep all of us in chilly SF tuned in to your travels.

Charlane said...

I am so very happy you will be writing while you are in India. I am looking forward to sharing your experiences. You look truly wonderful and happy. Please have the Phone Guy snap a photo of you during your next conversation. Now that is the photo I want!

Paul said...

What a nice schedule you have going on. Enjoy it. Your blog was just the right length for a break from work.