March 25th : A Day in my Mysore life
So as my last week here begins, I finally have a bit of a routine – when I got here my Mysore practice time was 10:30am and now its at 4:30am so its been hard to get a nice wee routine here with my start time always changing. The last three weeks things have started to settle making my second month here a lot smoother and allowing me time to really dive deep into the practice. So I thought I’d write about what a typical day in Mysore is like for me….
3am – alarm goes off, shower and make a cup of tea.
4am – head off to the shala on my scooter. It’s dark and cold on the scooter. The Hindu temple is blaring out loud Hindi tunes, the fruit sellers are walking their trolleys along to road to their market stalls, the women are out in their saris and running shoes on their morning walks, the paper sellers are out shuffling papers, the policeman at the station on the main intersection I pass through is asleep on his chair out the front of the police station. A few fires are burning and its smoky and hazy with only a few street lights working.
4:10 – arrive at the shala. There are students already waiting at the gate. The street dogs that hang around the shala “shala dogs” are keeping us company. The gate opens and we go in to practice. Sharath comes out of his office around 4:30ish to do the opening chant and the room is already very hot and I am sweating a lot!
6:30am – leave the shala sometimes walking on air, sometimes still asleep, sometimes very sore and worn out – ok most times sore and worn out – it’s so intense in the shala that every day you are practicing at a level that you never thought possible. Sharath has this way of just being in the room and it lifts you. Also practicing amongst some of the most advanced practitioners in the world is something to experience to believe. To be a student, to surrender to the teachings, to soak up the tradition and learn more about myself is what I am here for.
There is a wee coconut van waiting out the front of the shala every morning just for the students. I usually have two or three coconuts every morning after practice and then head home. Most days I have breakfast at home but sometimes we go out for breakfast at one of the café’s in Gokulum…Every morning I do my washing in a bucket in my bathroom. I really miss our washing machine!
10:30am Chanting class with Laksmish in the shala. This class is three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) but the time changes pretty much day to day and also the days do too, so we never quite know when class is on…
For the rest of the afternoon you can do as you please. Many other classes are on offer. I was taking a Yoga Philosophy class with James Boag up until last week (he is now away for a few weeks and so classes stopped). These classes have been a total highlight of my trip. Studying the philosophy along with the intense physical practice is a nice balance.
On Sundays we have conference at the shala either at 10am or at 4pm depending on what Sharath has going on with his family. Most weeks its at 4pm which is a great way to start the week He talks about many topics all relating back to what is yoga and how to practice, quoting many the sutras and other texts in sanskrit, answers questions from the students, I even had the courage to ask a question last Sunday!
So if I’m not at philosophy class, I’m either meeting up with friends, working – well trying to work but the internet here is quite temperamental and very slow. Or I’m exploring the city, taking photos, soaking up India, the beauty, the chaos, the filth, the wonder!
Or just doing mundane tasks like getting petrol, grocery shopping, topping up my mobile…all of which seem so simple and yet in India nothing is simple and usually takes 4 times as long to do even the most simple of tasks….this is all about letting go and seeing what happens. I try to eat pretty early too, so lunch is either very late or dinner is super early….by 5pm at the very latest to give my body time to digest before practice the next day.
As I’m up so early I’m usually in bed by around 7pm so there’s not much going on after that. So that’s it, a typical day for me here in Mysore. The simplicity of its all is what is so special. We often cram our days with so much activity that our time seems to run away from us and before we know it each week, month, year has passed and we wonder what happened?! Taking time out to experience whatever is going on at that moment can be such a powerful practice in itself. To do this we need to simplify our lives, cut out the unnecessary, spend our precious time on activities that are fulfilling and nourishing – even just sitting and doing nothing is so important. One of my favourite quotes by Henry David Thoreau comes to mind “Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify.”
How are you simplifying your life to make space for what is truly important?