The How & Why of Oil Baths

I’d always heard of oil baths (abhyanga) from hardcore Ashtangis, but I never actually did one until I traveled to India. We were in conference one afternoon and Sharath spoke about the benefits of weekly oil baths, especially for daily yoga practitioners. So I went to the Ayurvedic shop on my way home and picked up some castor oil, and that night I had my very first oil bath. All I could think the whole time was, “Ahhhh. This is perfect for moms,” but really it's perfect for everyone! It’s such a great, simple form of self care! Abhyanga, literally translated as "massaging of the limbs," is a traditional Ayurvedic oil massage that heals and recharges the body and mind. It's recommended by m

First Day of Practice by Sean Shelton

I would be lying if I did not say that I was a bit nervous to come to the Shala on the first day. I did not want to be late and show any disrespect to the Shala or Sharath. Between my nerves and a baby that was not quite settled into the new time zone, I had not slept a lot that night. At 3:30am I throw together my things and make the walk to the Shala. The morning air is very inviting and chilly. There is a peace to the dark and silent streets of Mysore. Occasionally there is a bark from the local street dogs just saying good morning. The trees are alive too with the sounds of chirping chipmunks talking about their plans for the day. Without the hustle of tuk-tuks and motorcycles or the hor

Conference with Sharath: Yoga is a Mental Practice

Note to self: When you’re told to be at the yoga shala at a specific time, show up at LEAST 45 minutes before, because whatever it is, it’s probably already started. We walked into the packed shala for Sharath’s conference after breakfast last Saturday morning (I can't believe it's taken me this long to get this post out. Where does the time go?!). There was no room in the main space, and students seeped out into the lobby, listening closely to his every word. But the lobby was not the ideal place to hear conference. All the parents with their playful toddlers, cars passing by outside, Indian fruit vendors screaming their produce options as they roll down the road, and all the various sounds

Mysore Diaries: Motherhood Style

Raising your own little human is hard work in general, and it's magnified when you take that little human across the world with you. Connor is becoming more and more of a toddler everyday. I love it. He is just the most precious little angel baby ever. He runs up to me and gives me hugs and kisses now and it melts my heart every time. But, let me tell you, a jet lagged toddler is nothing to mess around with. Luckily the people of Mysore have been nothing but supportive and kind during our family's journey. Everyone in India loves babies. And I mean everyone. Men, women, and children all just absolutely adore them. They get so happy and excited when they encounter Connor. They pick him up, ki

Traveling to India: The Sean Shelton Edition

Can you feel at home anywhere in the world? I think if we are truly honest with ourselves the answer would be no. After all, our home is filled with understanding. When you are home all of the important needs are covered. We have access to good food, clean water and health care. When problems come up they can be easily solved with something we take for granted: language. When we travel to other parts of the world we uproot what is comfortable to us and replace it with something that may very well be scary. It’s a romantic idea to want to be at home anywhere and everywhere, and for a rare few of us this might be true. When Emily and I made our final arrangements to travel to India with our so

Mysore Diaries: First Practice

Yesterday was the first day of Mysore practice in the shala. I got there a little early because I wasn't sure what to expect, but, as a mother, I was able to walk right in without waiting. It was so humid. My glasses instantly fogged up as I approached the main practice room and I couldn't see anything, so I took them off. But my eyesight is terrible, so in reality it didn't fix the problem. I heard Sharath's voice off in the distance somewhere. I didn't actually hear what he said, but I figured it didn't matter much since he was probably just helping some student with a pose. But then he repeated with a little more force and I gathered that it was me he was speaking to. "What's your time?"

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