And the yoga... Ah the yoga, in the early morning sunrise, in the warmth of the tropical sun, among the satsang of congregated souls, with the bellows of the universe sharing prana with each atma as one. It is divine. It is almost indescribable. It must be experienced for itself.
Students from around the world make the pilgrimage to Mysore – some with decades of experience and others taking their very first yoga class at the "fountainhead" of Ashtanga yoga. The majority of the students stay for a few months and the yoga community that develops as a result is nearly as alluring as the quality of the yoga instruction itself. The students are very welcoming and if you stick around, lifetime friends can be made.
Which is how I met Daniela and how I found a new direction in my journey. Daniela is a beautiful architect from New York (born in Germany) a Cancer, with a huge heart, a witty sense of humor and adventure in her soul. We met over a coconut outside the KPJAYI shala and from that point on have explored India’s alleys, broken a few rules, wandered haphazardly into a silk store, saw sandalwood being handmade, ventured off road on my scooter and watched the sun set over the Mysore Palace. What we like to call, “Winning at India”.
And now we are heading onward for a new adventure towards a new direction. North! Instead of staying in Mysore and practicing another month of yoga at the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, we have made a solemn vow to push each other to practice our yoga every morning while we venture forth towards northern India on March 2nd. Where are we going? What is the goal?
Our next stop: Agra, to see the breathtaking Taj Mahal. And finally… Rishiskesh, Kashmir, Rajasthan and the Himalayas. If time permits (Daniela has to return to the U.S.A someday), we will venture into Nepal and Kathmandu! All the while, practicing everything we've learned here at KPJAYI, deepening our yoga practice with our newly developed self-discipline, and lacing it all with a grand sense of adventure.
I will miss Mysore and the “compound” as its fellow students affectionately call KPJAYI. But India offers so much around every corner. Every day provides me a new lesson to learn, a new smell or sight, a new feeling. This country is amazing. The awe-inspiring scale and diversity of India’s terrain is calling out to me… So on March 2nd, I will lovingly grab my mat, my backpack, my mom’s ashes and all my books, and I'll venture forth into the incredible world of India, with an open heart, a clear mind, and a smile upon my face. Life is a blessing. Everyday is a blessing.