Monday, May 2, 2011

Back in the Motherland

As usual so much has happened since my last post....too much! Where to begin but at the beginning? I left Mysore after 5 wonderful weeks to find the beaches of Goa relatively unchanged since my last visit. There's something about the energy of Goa, the closeness of the ocean, the smiles of the locals, that speaks to me. I love it there. I could live there....some day.

I stayed at Casa Baptista, a simple and sweet guest house, right up the dunes from Candolim beach. I practiced every morning in the early morning light followed by a leisurely breakfast at Pete's shack. Coffee and fruit salad for breakfast #1. Followed a while later by an egg and cheese toastie for breakfast #2! Yummy! Lots of journalling, reading trashy novels, walking along the water singing as if noone was listening...what's not to love? It was really hard to leave. Not because I wasn't missing all of you, my family, my love....but because life there is so simple. I'm reminded constantly of how little we really need to be happy. Especially in Goa. A bikini, sunscreen, a scooter, a song, and an open heart is all you need! Coming back to the "civilized world" can be difficult and I'm still re adjusting. The weather is NOT helping! LOL!

Back in Toronto and slowly getting back into the swing of things. Back to teaching has been great! Seeing all the eager faces waiting to learn something new. You all inspire me every day to be a better teacher. There are a million things in the works for the coming months. Starting this Saturday, May 7 we're back in the Party Room at 140 Carlton St at 10am for a killer 1hr Vinyasa class! Blast away your hangover and get the most out of your weekend! $10 classes for $100! Drop in classes $12. Next month there's the Weekend retreat at Sugar Ridge June 17-19 which is going to be amazing! Only 90 mins North if Toronto and we're car pooling so no worries about how you'll get there! There will be a Backbending into Bliss workshop as soon as I can find a studio space to host the darn thing!! Any suggestions? Need something on a Sunday from 2-5. And then there is my first International Retreat to be held in Ireland August 1-8!! I'm waiting for the retreat centre there to post the details so I can attach the link. Until then here's a brief synopsis....

Join me for one week residential retreat in the Rep. of Ireland. We will be staying at Sli Na Bande, a sustainable living project and retreat centre located in the garden of Ireland, County Wicklow. Over 20hrs of yoga, 3 home cooked organic vegetarian meals per day, private or shared (max 3pp) accommodation, free time to read, journal, take a dip in the ecological pool, hike, sight see. You do as much or as little as you like. After a week in Wicklow we will head back into Dublin city to spend the weekend! All food, 5 nights retreat accommodation, 2 nights Dublin hotel accommodation, yoga, and ground transportation (from city to retreat/return, and bus to airport) included. Flights, rental cars, and sight seeing not included. Prices start at $1500/pp. Watch this space and my website for more details!

Friday, March 18, 2011

How is it that time moves so fast when we want it to slow down? I've only really settled into life here in Gokulam and now I'm leaving. Monday night I'm off to Goa to take in some much needed sun, surf, and sand before I head back to the colder climes of TO. As usual much has happened since my last post. I went to see the dentist to get my teeth cleaned and ended up getting a root canal. Holy crap! I have never been in so much pain in my life! Seriously! This is why people don't really talk about root canals once they've had them. Noone would voluntarily get one done.... At one point I seriously considered running out of the room and dealing w the consequences later. Once I finish with this ordeal, this afternoon, I don't want to have to see a dentist for a long time....sorry Roberto! All in all I've been in the dentist's chair 4 times. On Friday I got the actual crown put on just in time to attend an Indian wedding! The other morning I came out of practice and went directly to the coconut man, Imran, for my first if 3 coconuts. Delicious! After coconut #2 he handed me an envelope and said, "You come, please. My sister." When I opened it up it was an invitation to his sisters wedding. So sweet! Imran has been selling me coconuts for the last 4yrs. He took over the family business when his father, Beck (above), passed away. He is outside the shala everyday without fail, always with the most beautiful smile to great you with and the perfect coconut. I'm getting a sari made so look for pics of me dressed as an Indian Princess!
So it took me forever to settle into things this trip. I think not having a place when I first arrived threw me more than I realized. It's only really in the last week that things have fallen into place. For the first few weeks I was hanging out with some amazing people from Toronto, whom I hope to hang out with some more when I return. But this week I made a new "bestie" and we've been attached at the hip! So refreshing to meet someone who understands me in ways I didn't know were possible. It's also the thing that sucks about Mysore...the connections you make are so strong! But in the end we all have to leave so it's a perpetual lesson of non attachment. Sigh...I guess I should start packing! LOL!
In Goa I will be practicing with Rolf & Marci Naujokat in Candolim. Staying at a place called Casa Baptista just up from the beach. And checking out places for a retreat next year? Who want to come to India with me?! Keep checking this site for more info. Until then there's always the weekend retreat at Sugar Ridge in Midland, Ontario in June and my Backbending Into Bliss workshop April 17 from 230-5pm. Please book early to guarantee your space.
I'll post more from Goa promise :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

So much is happening!

My third week came to an end without much change. Well except that my shoulders opened enough for me to take my heels by myself in Kapotasana! Big relief...So now I can just enjoy my practice and not have to worry about it. I'm finally starting to settle into life in Gokulam. Have a little routine: Sanskrit class Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Chanting on Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday. Conference (lecture) with Sharath on Sunday mornings. I've actually really been enjoying these. He keeps reiterating the point to enjoy the moment. Stop looking to the future so much as you can miss what's happening around you NOW. And he's been in a great mood during these conferences, though I'm not sure if it's because he's enjoying the company he's keeping or because there is a cricket match on afterward. LOL! Whatever the reason, they've been great.

This week I actually got a lot of work done. I know I'm supposed to be on holiday, but there is always something that needs doing. One of those things being shopping! I'm ordering a bunch of cotton yoga mats to bring home to you all. There are stripy ones ($20) and solid colour ones ($25). They are great for practicing Ashtanga yoga so put your order in now! Email me and let me know which one you want, what colour (blue, red, green, navy, brown, pink), and how many you want. I'll be shipping them back so they should arrive just a little while after I get back.

I've also been planning workshops and retreats for the upcoming year. One thing I have finalised is my Summer Retreat at Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre in Midland, Ontario - June 17-19. All the info will be on their site soon and on my website. It's an amazing location, only 90 mins drive north of Toronto, eco friendly, and there are private and shared accommodation options for this place. Book early to guarantee your spot.
Ireland for August 1-8 is still being finalized. But progress is being made, I promise!

I only have 2 more weeks here before I head to Goa. Time is flying! I had convinced myself that I was away for 8 weeks but it ended up being 6 1/2. Three days are lost with travel on the way over. On top of the fact that I suck at math and I only took 7 weeks off, not 8....well, there you have it. 6 1/2 weeks. It better be warm and sunny when I get back! It's actually getting too hot here. Being outside can be a bit much between the hours of 11am and 2pm. So to stay inside yesterday I went for a massage at 3 Sisters, one of the older businesses catering to the students near the Old Shala in the section of the city called Laxmipuram (the pic is of the 3 Sisters house). It was amazing! But of course not the best idea on a Tuesday... I was so stiff today! I took my time with my practice, really enjoying the sensations in my body. By the time I finished there were very few people left in the shala. Time for a coconut! I'll write more soon. Hope you're all still practicing xo

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Emma's Adventure's in Mysore

And so ends the 2nd week of my adventures here in Mysore. Leaving Toronto was pretty much drama free. My sister drove me to the airport after I insisted on teaching 2 last classes only hours before I was boarding...something I need to work on! LOL! The flight was great! Flew with Etihad Airlines direct to Abu Dhabi. Great flight, food, and service. I, of course, was surrounded by my karma of small screaming children. Not sure what I need to do to get rid of that but anyway...layover in Abu Dhabi was short and uneventful. And a few short hrs later I was in the back of a taxi being chauffeured to Mysore!

I arrived at 8am and went straight to my friend Rachel's place to pick up my trunks. I had booked a room before I arrived and couldn't wait to get settled into it and take a nap! But Mysore being what it is, when I arrived to said room, it had been rented the night before to someone else. loaded down with luggage and now my Mysore trunks, I had to find somewhere to sleep! But this proved to be no easy feat. Gokulam, the section of the city that the KPJAYI (shala or studio) is located was packed to the gills with students. There are so many new students that the construction cannot keep up with the demand. There was literally nothing available. I ran into an old friend, who actually knew the guy who had taken my room! She felt in some way responsible so ended up finding me a bed at her friend Simone's place. I didn't know Simone from Jobe so I was beyond grateful that she would be willing to help. I called for the help of one local rickshaw (3 wheeler taxi) guys, Raju, and off we went to get my bags! For the next 3 days I searched high and low for my own space. I went back to old landlord's but they already had tenants. I had all of the room agents looking for something, anything, so I could move into my own home. But the news was always bad, "Sorry Madam. Gokulam is full. Next week space is coming." So when another friend told me she had a spare room I was over the moon! I moved in the following afternoon.

All the while I had started to practice at the shala. I arrived to Mysore on a Saturday which is day off. It also means the shala is closed so no registration. So technically I shouldn't have gone to class the next morning (at 430am) but I was in dire need so I snuck in. I figured if I didn't make eye contact w Sharath, he wouldn't notice me until it was too late to throw me out! LOL! I made it through led class squished in with about 70 other students and then went for coconut outside the shala. Ahhhhh....there's nothing like fresh coconut water after a sweaty practice! This is where the reunion began. I call going to Mysore "Yoga Camp". It's like, "This one time, at yoga camp...." - seriously...So many old friends from all over the world come together every year to practice at the source of Ashtanga yoga. It's a beautiful thing.

For the first month if your first trip you only practice Primary series, regardless of how far you normally practice at home. This is so Sharath can see your practice and work with you a little more than usual. The series is given to you pose by pose, so that you have time to memorize the sequence and your body has time to open safely. This can wreak havoc on your ego! But in the end it's all worth it. Once you are given all the poses in full Primary and you are able to stand up from a backbend, you will be given the first pose of the Second/Intermediate Series. On subsequent trips, if you have been given poses in the Intermediate or Advanced series, when you first arrive you practice Primary for one week before jumping into the rest of the practice. So the first week I got to relax and attempt to slow down my speedy practice (at 7am) before launching into my longer practice consisting of full Primary and part of Intermediate. I'm still finishing before most students who aren't even practicing full Primary! Slow down sister!! I'm still working on Toronto time. It probably doesn't help that there are so many people from Toronto here right now! It's like an AYCT yoga trip!

Speaking of whom, I'm off to meet the crew for Indian breakfast at Authana. So until next time, keep practicing!
Lots of Love from India