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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?"

"Emily."

"...No. What's your TIME?"

Oh god. Time. He wanted to know my practice time, not my name.

"Six."

"You go here."

Remember, I'm basically blind. I don't even know where Sharath is in the room, let alone where he might be motioning me to put my mat down. I began walking to an open spot I noticed near the front.

"Here?"

"NO. There."

"Um..."

"No. Go over there."

I was so lost. I basically just stood there confused, squinting my eyes, trying to make out faces in the room. Finally one of his assistants warmly put his hand on my shoulder, told me where to unroll my mat (...Right behind where I was standing in the first place. Of course.) and where the ladies changing room was so I could put my stuff away.

So that was kind of a hot mess of a start. But whatever. I'm over it.

Apart from that initial hiccup, practice went very smoothly. After such a long journey to India, we're still getting settled into our new life for the next month, so I was very soft with my body. I just moved quietly through Primary Series with my breath and let the rest of the room fade from my awareness. It's a really incredible feeling to be in that shala. The crisp, focused energy was so infectious that I quickly lost myself in my practice and time completely slipped away. I've always loved those kinds of practice days.

The humidity worked with me on my mat and I found myself fairly deep in poses without really trying. It felt effortless and rejuvenating to get movement back into my body. And now, as I sit here writing this, I can sense the freedom in my hips and spine that I'd been craving since our plane ride.

I didn't get assisted with any poses until drop backs, which I had expected for several reasons. One, it was the first day and the assistants needed to learn the student's bodies a bit before manipulating them; two, it's probably best to let students ease into their practice after big travels; and three, I've never been one to get much assistance with Primary Series anyway.

I was happy about it. I just wanted my space to be my own for the day, to get in touch with myself mentally and physically, to move and breathe without anyone interjecting on the experience too soon.

After practice I was welcomed by my love and sweet baby boy waiting for me next to the coconut stand across the street. Sean bought me a giant green coconut to drink and I seriously finished it within seconds. We both laughed at how quickly (and loudly) I gulped down every last drop of that coconut water. I couldn't help it. I had a sweaty yoga practice and a baby to breastfeed.

I sat on a ledge nursing Connor as the next batch of yoga students walked up to the shala, and felt a rush of gratitude and peace wash over me. The cool breeze hitting my damp skin, the fresh coconut water enriching my cells, the first asana practice at the shala completed, my amazing family experiencing India with me... it was just so beautiful. I think I'll remember that moment forever.

For love, with love.

-E

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