Being as jet lagged as we are, everyone is awake at 3 or 4am. Many of us get up to practice some yoga before the regulars arrive at 6am. Once they arrive, the locals practice their prescriptions in the large rooms which are separated by men and women. I practice with the men for awhile, working on some neck and shoulder exercises that Muktamala taught us yesterday. I’m not sure if it is my newness, my height or my white skin that draws the stares. After awhile I retire to a more private place to practice nauli and some breathing exercises. Ideally I would be comfortable practicing in front of so many strangers, but I feel far more at ease in private.
To practice, the men strip down to their undershirts and boxer shorts. It is no wonder that they separate men and women. I am not sure what the women wear, but this is nothing like the spandex-clad, group-led, quiet and focused yoga classes we have in the States. The men chat and are distracted. They check their phones and futz about, occasionally doing their exercises. It is more like a men’s club locker room than anything I would think of as a yoga studio. Strangely, I have yet to see anyone practice a yoga “asana.” Everyone is doing simpler, therapeutic exercises. I think that these exercises precede the practice of asana, but I am not sure. I hope to learn that in the coming weeks.
Training this morning finishes the practical instruction of the pelvic exercises and moves on to almost 20 exercises done on the back. We write down descriptions and explanations of each exercise before trying it ourselves.
For the second day in a row, we go across the main road to a little convenience store that has bottled water, sparkling water and soda. It is a little luxury to drink a cool sparkling water. It feels like home in the mouth and the stomach.
Conversation lingers after both breakfast and lunch. We discuss the benefits of practicing at different levels of heat. Jeff and Mardy have a non-profit organization that sponsors studies about yoga. They are just finishing one about the benefits of practicing the 26 at different temperatures. Jeff talks extensively about nitric oxide, arterial expansion and glucose metabolism. I find it very interesting, glad that someone is doing this work. After lunch we discuss teaching with a set script, traveling and sticking to the “house rules” of each studio, students who wear earplugs and many other things.
I am exhausted by the evening training session, so I go to bed immediately afterward, skipping dinner.
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