As a teacher I come across a lot of people who start to look for ‘results’ after only a couple of days of practice. I think it’s always a good idea to practice yoga for at least a month before you start to look for ‘results’. And in my experience, the changes come more as a realization, than as a tick on a list of goals. Usually, when a student approaches yoga with a time bound goal, they get disappointed. Truth is, you can’t put a deadline on when you will start to notice changes and how long it will take you to get a particular result. The more effort you put into your practice, the better your practice will be. But there is always room for improvement because it is a continuously evolving practice. I’ve spoken to a lot of yogis here about what makes them converge here from all over the world, saving up holidays, leaving family and friends behind to come to practice in a small city in Karnataka where their classes are bursting at the seams, they have to acclimatize and they are not likely to get any personal attention from the super busy teachers. If they want to ‘learn’ something, they could go to an exclusive workshop or practice with their teachers in smaller classes. I’ve found that for a lot of people this is like Mecca. This is where their guru’s guru taught. They come to soak in the energy and practice with the most famous Ashtangis in the world.
I agree with these sentiments now. But when I applied to practice here, I realize that I didn’t really think too much about what I was going to achieve and learn here. At this point I can’t really define what drew me to Mysore, except for the fact that I wanted to try Ashtanga yoga and I reasoned that if ‘the’ school for Ashtanga was next door (in Mysore), then it only makes sense for me to drive down here. I’m glad I had no expectations. It allowed me to immerse myself in the classes with calmness and no sense of urgency. My mind wasn’t constantly busy and noisy. Although I felt that my body was made out of wood the first couple of days, gradually I started to feel that I could actually extend more. Now, in forward folds I am able to make minor adjustments that make a great difference to the asana. I have become better at the asanas, but I suspect another reason I’m able to make the minor adjustments is that I have a better connection to my body. The intense focus on breath with movement ensures that you slow down and feel what the movement is trying to teach you. Today Saraswati showed me the Tiryangamukha ekpada paschimattanasana. It’s a slightly longer sequence but I think I’ll be able to repeat it tomorrow.
Even though I endured chanting class today, I went for a Yoga Sutras class today. This class also involved a lot of chanting. I’m coming to the conclusion that although I love yoga philosophy, I would rather it not be mixed with chanting Sanskrit.
Another thing I notice is the serious lack of Indian yoga students here! There’s just a handful of us. It would be worth finding out why there so few when the number of yoga teachers has grown exponentially all over the country.