Depending on the residual jet lag and the previous day’s exertion or napping, many of the trainees are up in the middle of the night. Activities range from asana practice to review of class notes or compilation of materials from the lectures. I never know who or what I will find at 2 or 4 in the morning.
Each day starts at 6am. All the students go up to the terrace and practice together for about 90 minutes. This happens without Muktamala. We independently decided to do this daily practice because we were all up early anyway (jet lag), and because it is nice to start the day with some movement. Each day, practice is led by a different one of us. Some days it is Bikram’s Beginning Class. We have also done a Vinyasa class, a mash-up of therapeutic exercises and asanas, and a practice derived from the instructions in Buddha Bose’s book.
The local yoga students arrive at the school at 6am and classes begin. Echoing down the halls, we will hear “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10” over and over again until 10am as the yoga teachers count for the students.
Breakfast is served about 8am. The food is all vegetarian. Lots of potatoes, bitter melon, toast, onions, papaya, and our favorite - tea.
Morning class starts anywhere from 9am to 11am and runs for 2-3 hours. We have been starting with a lecture about benefits, contraindications, diseases, nadis or chakras until the local students clear out at 10. Then at 10:30 or so we head downstairs into the big room to practice. “Practical,” Muktamala calls it. We familiarize ourselves with the names and execution of each exercise and posture.
Lunch, rest, study or prescription homework.
Afternoon class is usually a lecture about any number of things as mentioned above. Non-class time is spent studying, resting, or some form of excursion into Calcutta.
Evening class is another short lecture before dinner.
The schedule is slightly different every day, but this is the general structure. We do a lot of resting, a fair amount of time working on prescription homework and studying the exercises, and a lot of wandering through the city. And of course I can’t forget the daily pilgrimage to the local shop for sparkling water.
There is no tv and not much internet. Most of the students have some sort of international data plan on their phones, but we must be conservative in its use as it has to last the whole trip. So we are generally in bed early.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga