A few words on asana practice in Mysore. As some of you know, your start time for Mysore-style practice at the Shala with Sharath depends on how long you’ve been in Mysore. When I first arrived my start time was 8:30, and now it’s moved to 6:30.
I have been hearing stories about the crowds in January and February – someone told me there were 380 students at the peak of the season. What this means is that newcomers would begin practice at 10:30 and finish after noon, when the Shala was being cleaned up. That also means that Sharath and Saraswati were teaching from 4:15 to 12:00 every day. Thankfully many students have left and today in conference we must have been “just” 150.
There are now assistants in the practice room, about 5 or 6, all authorized teachers. They help out with postures when Sharath is busy adjusting advanced series or backends. The assistants adjust most postures but don’t talk much to the students. They also do backbends. I was told it was a way for Sharath to evaluate their teaching skills.
Another change has been the (compulsory) chanting classes, taught by Lakshmish. He chants the shanti mantras, the prayer to Ganesh and the like.
The conference, when Sharath takes questions for an hour on Sundays, is always interesting. He talks about the meaning of yoga, Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois. He often says “Yoga is not just asana!”. Today he even did a short but impressive asana demo – padmasana to handstand padmasana to mayurasana padmasana if you see what I mean…
I am impressed by the level of the students here. In the lead primary class, I only noticed at most 10 who stopped after supta kurmasana. The led second series class almost fills the room with more than 60 students taking part. It’s rare to see a student not binding in marichyasana D. It feels as if it’s become more serious from 3 years ago.
The place I am staying at is great! My landlord Guruprasad has the rare (in India) job of coaching diving. His place is known as the pink house and has a special pyramid meditation room.
I also went to visit the swami on Chamundhi Hill and Tamchos the Tibetan monk at the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe. But I will save these stories for another time…