This week started off a little slow and Tuesday provided a well needed day off. On this day, I had one solitary goal- to consume as much food as I could. We kicked off by heading to a café called Depth ’n’ Green (If you are ever in Mysore, this place is a must). Here, I ordered a Mediterranean sandwich with grilled vegetables and hummus. The vegetables were so juicy and had this amazing BBQ char on them. Along with the sandwich I got a smoothie that contained home made coconut milk, almond butter, chia seeds, banana, dates, raw dark chocolate and honey. Life was gooooood and the experience was a big highlight, definitely worthy of making it into my blog!
After Depth ’n’ Green, we did a bit of shopping. We ended up in a shop called Maya and splashed a bit of cash there. Next to Maya was a pizza/cafe place and, one by one we drifted into the café for some rest. We had no intention of eating as it was around 4pm but we of course had a cheeky look at the menu- dangerous mistake. It ended up being a full on meal. We ordered bruschetta, pizza, hummus and possibly the best vegan brownie I’ve ever had. Food coma and intense lethargy followed. A couple of our friends were leaving Mysore so we dropped them off and had a bit of a Yoga photo shoot at their very artsy hostel.
Besides from Tuesday, life back at the ashram felt too regimented. The days are pre planned and after having been here for 2 weeks already, ashram life felt a bit regimented, as if some kind of steady state had been reached. No more spontaneity, only cyclic activities. The Yoga classes were no different. I could almost predict the entire sequence and the expectation messed with my focus. Then Friday came along and with it, a refreshing change. Usually our morning yoga session is with Sanjay who is very calm and gentle, a great teacher at that too. However this Friday, Vinod taught our session. Vinod usually only teaches those who are yoga teachers or are close to becoming yoga teachers. For me, the session was one of the best in recent memory. Vinod is slightly stricter than Sanjay and will not hesitate to stop the class if he sees mistakes. One stand out example was that some peoples chin mudra posture (bringing your index and thumb finger together and straightening the rest) was not aligned properly during Pranayama. I never usually pay much attention and my fingers often curl up. Vinod noticed this and mentioned to straighten the relevant fingers and give proper purpose to the chin mudra otherwise it has no reason for existing. It was the correction of these small details throughout the class which I loved. The general style of teaching seemed to suit my personality. The session certainly injected some fresh energy after what felt like quite a repetitive week.
After Friday, I thought to myself that I should stop complaining about the regime and find my own way of switching it up. As such, I went backstage to find out more about the life of our teachers, Vinod in particular. I arranged to have a casual chat and came equipped with various questions. At first, I wasn’t going to post this as it was just for my knowledge, however I figured it was a really nice talk and thought it would be nice to share.
1. How old are you and when did you start practicing Yoga?
I am 42 years old. I started practicing when I was 10 years old however only started taking my practice seriously when I was 15 years old.
2. Why did you decide to pursue yoga?
Well, initially I wanted to be a scientist. Later on and when I was 15 years old, deep questions came to me very naturally you know what is the purpose of living, why am I really here etc. My Guruji was also a big inspiration for me and was a big driving force. My parents didn’t want me to pursue yoga however I knew it was something I had to do. For me there were no compromises and Yoga came before everything else.
3. Have you always been a Yoga teacher and if money were no obligation what profession would you chose?
Not full time all the time. When I was younger I was one of the elders and so my family relied on me for financial income. I’ve worked as a farmer, door to door sales person and even boot selling. All of these activities were always temporary and provided a means to help my family and fund my study of yoga. At the start I didn’t have an aim to teach Yoga, it happened quite naturally. I wouldn’t choose any other profession, my boss is secretly paying me to practice my hobby but don’t tell him that :).
4. How do you define Yoga?
Yoga is tool to help identify and create the life you want to live. Knowledge of different asanas and sequences has the capacity to change your mood and balance the daily emotions.
5. Are you religious?
This depends on your definition of religious. Do I follow a particular belief system? No. Do I visit temples? Yes. I visit temples not for traditional reasons such as prayers. For me it is an experience. When I see an object in nature, it has a specific physical form. It does not send me energy, rather it will evoke an energy from within me. I see statues of Shiva, Ganesha, Brahma and these all have powerful forms that bring out different energies within me when I look at them. With religion as a whole, I think it’s okay to say I don’t know the answer and the result is that you are a constant seeker of truth with ever changing beliefs.
6. What is next for you?
Within the realm of Yoga, I am largely happy and don’t really have any major goals or ambitions. My focus has now switched to fatherhood. I have two lovely daughters aged 3 and 9. I want to ensure that I provide them with the best possible platform for them to flourish. I adopt a one-day living philosophy where I simply do what I want to do each day.
6. Have you got any advice for me?
Be open minded and simply keep trying new things to get out of your comfort zone. Ask questions as if you were an innocent child with a natural curiosity & intensity.
Towards the end, Vinod asked me what I wanted to do. I replied that, ultimately, I would like to utilize my engineering talents to help tackle the many problems that our environment is facing. When, how, where? Well I haven’t figured that out. My immediate priority is to bring balance back into my mind and body. Then and only then would I start thinking about trying to fix the problems that nature is facing.
A slightly different blog this week and a big thank you to Vinod for his time and giving me the green light to post this. Peace out and say no to plastic bags!