One month has gone by and I am left with just a few more days to spend in Mysore. I am already feeling that funny butterflies sensation in my belly when thinking about my life waiting for me in Milan. I am starting to miss my family, my friends and my cat. Yet I don’t want to leave India… Not yet! So many things I would like to do here, and not enough time left. I will miss practicing with Saraswathi, chanting, Sanskrit classes, the feeling of living in a Yoga community, actually a Yoga city. Wherever you turn, a friendly smile, somebody you can immediately relate to, somebody that won’t think you’re a bit mad talking about bandha, dristhi, asana, Yoga Sutra and the likes. But it’s almost time to bring India back with me. It’s time to give back what I received here, and most of all, what I felt. I never thought this practice could be healing to such powerful extents, even if I have been practicing for years. Coming here put me to the test on many levels. I learnt how to deal with my fears and how important it is to always be yourself, on and off the mat. Over the past few weeks I learnt that my slipped discs cannot stop my practice and can actually heal through it. Sometimes pain is more in our minds than in our body! My practice grew in stability and concentration and I learnt how to balance my natural flexibility with my new strength. But most of all… I met some amazing individuals that I want to thank. Some are old friends, some are new additions to my life that I sincerely hope to cross path with soon again. Greg Nardi, a Teacher I have known since 2007, and his husband Juan Carlos Valan. Alessandro Sigismondi, photographer extraordinaire, his wife Paula Vahos and lovely Leo, you’ve got a friend forever. The brave and intense Taylor Hunt, whose book I can’t wait to read, and his great family. PJ Heffernan and his rock and roll energy. Sam Chen and his adjustments… and vegan cakes! Mark Robberds and Deepika Metha with their beautiful love. Kelly Hogan and our rickshaw ride to Devaraja market. My Italian crew: Martina and Chiara Cova, The Best room mates ever, Rosa Tagliafierro and her hugs just when you need one. My Teacher Elena De Martin with her wisdom and experience, so great to have her here. Maria Luisa Gorla and our afternoons by the pool. Susanna Finocchi and her wonderful smile. Gian Renato Marchisio and his Sama Konasana performance on the rocks. Every single Yogi who practiced next to me at Saraswathi’s and in the main shala. Lakshmish and his great tuitions; Arvind and his philosophy talks, Jayashree and her melodic voice, Akhil Lanka and his healing singing bowls, Nektarious and his sitar. Sudha and her tempting Yoga Shop not to mention Meena and her jewellery… Manju and Ravi the rickshaw drivers. All the guys at OM Cafe, Chakra House, Santosha, Anoki, Anu’s Cafe, Depth’n’green, Kushi, Maya… All the Yogi’s hung outs in Gokulam. And the chai master Amruth Cafe! There is not enough space to mention all of you guys and I have to work on remembering names, but you are in my heart and always will be. I will think of all of you every morning before practicing and it will be like being here, only on a more subtle level. I love you. We are One.
In India, I am amazed at how many things I am quite happy without. No TV, radio, CD player, newspapers or magazines. No PC. No dishwasher or washing machine. No supermarkets, no car. No phone calls, texting or posting only when wifi is available. No high heels! And the list could go on. In exchange here’s what I got: practice every morning with Guruji’s daughter, Saraswathi Jois and her wonderful assistants. Saturday conferences with Sharath. Chanting, Sanskrit and Hatha Yoga Pradipika with Lakshmish. Philosophy class with Arvind. Sound healing with Akhil Lanka. But most of all: eye contact, conversations, random kindness, hugs and smiles from everybody – practitioners, Teachers, rickshaw drivers, shop owners, every single person I meet on the streets. Help from whoever you ask, from the Ashtangi community as well as any Indian person I bump into. Kids calling me at every corner. Praying at any temple, where there is always somebody ready to tell me how to do it properly. Lovely evenings watching the Indian sky and the moon phases. Wonderful books at the Green House and rest days at the pool or at the Market with new and old friends. Time is running up and in a few days I’ll be back to my hectic western world, where now is always contaminated by the “what’s next” thought. This is what I want to take back with me. The ability to live rooted in the here and now, wherever I am. Living at the pace of our soul, that never worries about the future or cries about the past, because only the present moment is real, and we have to give it all the love we’ve got.
Here we go: it’s going to be Xmas eve soon and we will celebrate with a Kirtan at Santosha Cafe. Today, exactly one week after my arrival here, I realized while practicing that the back pain I always feel due to my two bulging discs is GONE. I have been practicing for years and now here, in Mysore, suddenly I feel I have done a gigantic step forward – I totally surrendered to the practice. I came here with no other expectation than walking on my teachers’ footsteps, approaching the practice with an open heart and sticking to its tradition. Well, it’s paying off. I wish all practicing Ashtanga take this leap of faith and come to Mysore to understand how important Parampara is. Saraswathi and Sharath are carrying over a very heavy legacy with grace and strength and they are two Masters in their own rights. Think how many bodies and personalities they have seen and worked with – it’s unimaginable. The teachers that have been Authorized or Certified here have taken on a big responsibility and deserve a lot of respect. This practice works if it is taught the same way (Guruji) Sharath and Saraswathi do here. It’s a system, it’s a method, and you have to learn it the right way. Go to an Authorized Teacher, don’t buy into shortcuts- they simply aren’t worth it. Every method should be learned at The source or through those who came to the source. My greatest respect goes to all my Ashtanga Yoga teachers, because they are doing an incredible, neverending work. Learning Yoga is something that has no end, but a mandatory starting point is travelling to its Mother Country, India. Mysore is a place where you shred off layers of your Self and surrender to a Higher Power, that embraces us all. You are surrounded by beauty and suffering, your weaknesses are brutally exposed. There is no better place than here, no better time than now to be true to yourself. Merry Christmas!
There are so many things to say about Mysore that is really difficult to find a starting point. Practice with Saraswathi and her assistants is lovely. The Shala is clean and welcoming. You practice the closing postures in a bedroom so it really feels home. She assists everybody, it feels like she assess everybody’s energy during drop backs. You can feel her Eyes on you all the time! Every shop or coffee place is in a house, so you always feel like you are visiting friends. A very nice atmosphere everywhere. It’s clear that all we Westerners looking for a more approachable spirituality have brought some well being so it’s India, but softer than elsewhere… Although traditions are well alive. Tank tops and shorts are possible only during pratice, the Ganesh temple you walk by going to the Shala is always attended and last night a small, colorful procession was coming down the Main Road. At 8 pm everybody is home, practice starts early and rest is needed: we are all practicing with more intensity here! At the main Shala this morning I saw a few very popular teachers – David Robson, Mark Robberds, Day… I met Greg Nardi and Tim Feldmann yesterday and the wonderful Susanna Finocchi told me she read my blog! I feel blessed! Tonight I am going to a tibetan bells meditation, really looking forward to it. Wondering how many other lovely experiences are waiting for me over The next month!