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Why India?

The Practice, Issue II

April 5, 2024


It has become so normal in my life at this point that I have almost forgotten what a wild and unexpected decision it was to go to India. India is so far from home -- it's quite literally the other side of the world -- and is a completely different world in almost every way imaginable. Life here is different, and that's one of the many things I love about living here.

 

When I first made the decision to come to India, it came to me like a divine intervention. I had just put an offer in on a house in Las Cruces, just down the street from my old house. I was in the throes of heartbreak and I was willing to do anything to have a home again. Excitedly, I told my yoga teacher, Pat, what I had done, and he did not match my excitement. He urged me to pull out the offer and "go on a road trip" to explore who I am with this newfound freedom and lack of attachment. He suggested Denver as a good destination.



At the Devaraja Market in Downtown Mysore, feeding a local cow

 

Immediately after our conversation, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I felt the call to go to India as clearly and as deeply as I heard the call to get sober just the year before.


The place in India that called to me was Mysore. Mysore is a medium-sized city in the south of India that is most famous for its royal palace. But the history of Ashtanga Yoga has deep roots here in Mysore, and particularly in that palace. It was in the palace that Sri Krishnamasharya taught yoga to Sri K. Patthabi Jois -- the guru credited for teaching yoga to the first westerners back in the 1970s. Mysore is the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga, and I knew that if I wanted to continue to deepen my practice and understanding of yogic philosophy, I needed to go straight to the source.

 

When I started here in India, I came specifically for a yoga teacher training, which lasted one month. I received my 500 hour yoga certification in that training. I was so fortunate to study not only asana (poses) with an amazing teacher, but I also had a professor for every yogic subject: pranayama (breathwork), meditation, philosophy, anatomy, and yoga therapy. The experience is one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.



My favorite mode of transport -- SCOOTER!


Fast forward to now. I obviously stayed in Mysore long beyond my teacher training. My days are simple, and this is what I love most about Mysore. Each morning, I wake up at 4:30am to get ready to go practice with my yoga teacher, Chidananda. Chidananda has been my teacher for the longest time during this journey, and he is the perfect blend of everything I have ever needed in a mentor. He teaches me with patience and kindness, but is also very strict and particular. His caring energy is soft and makes me always feel like I can do better.


After practice, I always go and get a coconut (or three) at the local coconut stand. The coconuts in Mysore are unbelievably good. They are the perfect drink and snack, all in one. All the yogis from the shalas (yoga schools) in our neighborhood come to the coconut stand after practice. I call it Coconut Social Hour. This is the highlight of my day.


Our neighborhood is called Gokulam, and it is a section of the city that has many shalas and really caters to foreign yogis who come to study here with a variety of excellent restaurants and affordable, modern apartments. Gokulam is extremely walkable -- I can be at a produce stand in about 100 steps from my apartment or at my shala in a 5 minute walk -- and is a lovely blend of cultures from the Mysurians who live here to the yogis visiting from all over the globe. I hear dozens of different languages each day and love taking walks so that I can simply people watch.



Backbending has been my favorite exploration in my asana practice


I have dedicated this last year to healing myself and getting to know myself. I spend a lot of time alone. I read, nap, cook, and dream. I love the spaciousness of life here. It's such a contrast from my old life, where I spent my days constantly hustling. And because I have given myself this space, I have felt my magic expand and grow in unimaginable ways. My connection to my intuition, and by extension, my readings, are stronger than ever.


I am excited to keep connecting with you through tarot readings, birth chart readings, and writing about this journey in this weekly newsletter. I can't wait to keep sharing about my adventure.



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