Thursday, December 17, 2009

10lbs In Two Hours - Mysore, Karnataka

First thing Jen and I did in Mysore was sign up for a 8 day Ashtanga yoga course. Ashtanga yoga is a series of postures (asanas) that are linked by a dynamic movement called the vinyasa. Emphasis is put on combining movement to breath and the journey between the asanas, not just the postures themselves. I've only done a handful of yoga classes back home and was excited for the opportunity to practice yoga in Mysore, the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga.

My excitement quickly faded during the first class. Ashtanga is generally a self directed form of yoga in which you go through the series on your own with occasional adjustments from the instructor. I knew only a few asanas and quickly lost my way. The instruction from Ajay Kumar was very abrupt and firm with painfully deep adjustments. The cramped shala held 20 practitioners during class leaving little room for my usual theatrics. I easily lost 10lbs of water from the copious amount of sweating you do. It is definitely a rigorous two hour workout for strength, flexibility and calmness of mind. After the session I thought to myself, "F**k this noise! I'm out."

Once I got over my initial reaction I decided to hang in there. To my surprise I loved every moment there after and was shocked to see how far I progressed in eight short days. It was an amazing way to start the day. I was disappointed when it ended and wish I could have stayed for a month.I 'm looking forward to making this a part of my day we I get back home.

Mysore as a city has some amazing sights: Mysore Palace, Mysore Zoo, Chamundeshari Temple on Chamundi Hill and the boisterous market. Even though I enjoyed all of these excursions, the Ashtanga Yoga is by far the highlight of the city and even the country.

"Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind. "

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