The past month has been spent sweating it out underneath the Mysore sun, deepening my practice and gaining myself a 300hr TTC whilst harbouring an injury. More on that soon.
So here is what I have learned under the blazing sun and on dusty roads, to share with anyone considering visiting Mysore or India in general for a TTC or practicing in the town for a month.
1. It’s hot.
Ya doy, I know. Problem is I am not much of a water drinker at the best of times, and I know most people are in the same boat. Couple this with hot sun, sweaty practices, dodgy stomachs, sun burn and well dehydration is inevitable. You will probably need to pretty much double your water game or wind out peeing so dark even Keith Richards would be concerned. Luckily my stomach was pretty ok bar one or two upsets, but I burned quite well one day. I drank 4litres of water the next day, it was necessary, and definitely helped me to heal faster.
2. Pack stuff from home
I am 100% behind travelling light. I have two rucksacks with me at the moment, and have even shipped a box of stuff home at this point. But bring some essentials from home. This was quite literally the sorest lesson for me to learn. I had brought some sun cream with me and bug spray too. I quickly ran out and picked up some more from a corner store en route to the pool. Now to be fair, I am a paley pale face being Irish and all, so I kept myself in the shade bar two excursions into the pool. I fried, and turned a beautiful shade reserved largely for lobsters. Then I became a peeling shrimp! Turned out the cream was likely out of date (or counterfeit too who knows) which is a regular occurrence. If you do need to pick up cream, stick to chemists, check the dates and know that water resistant creams are non-existent. The best thing is to come prepare with as much of the home comforts you know and love as you can – you aren’t likely to find them in India.
3. There’s something in the water
A well known fact – but always worth reiterating. Don’t drink the tap water. If a place serves tap water, ask is it filtered. Ask for drinks with no ice, and as with Nepal hot drinks are fairly safe. Like I said I didn’t get sick here the way I did in Nepal, but it never hurts to repeat this.
4. Community – part 2.
I covered this in my last post – online communities are the bombah! You can find people to ride share with, find out about kirtans and other gatherings you might otherwise miss out on! Truly a must in Mysore, the group is called ‘Ashtanga Community in Mysore’ and you have to be approved by another member to join.
Second to this Mysore’s yogi community is very open in general. Sit down anywhere to eat and you will find yourself engaged in conversation with a new person, which can lead to sweet insider information on classes and the likes you might like to take.
I came to Mysore for my TTC, but I think my most valuable take away is that you can just come for a month or more and practice with the teachers you want to practice with – a TTC isn’t always necessary for learning or to reach many levels! Consider how much you have learned over the years from your favourite yoga teachers! This applies probably worldwide however and not just to Mysore!
Sort them out long in advance. It’s so stressful otherwise.
7. India time
Much like Nepal, time doesn’t have a ‘definite’ sense for some in India. You just have to roll with it. If you’re laid back you probably won’t even notice this unless you wind up hanging out with someone a little high strung. It was all going pretty well for me until…
8. The Post Office
Oh my yes, that greatest of all institutions. And cause for my sorrows on my last day as I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to my sweet yoga sisters properly. As I mentioned I shipped some stuff home. Arriving from cold Chamonix I found myself needing to offload wooly jumpers and scarves, plus books given by the course. My buddy shipped a number of gifts home. Getting boxes was easy enough, befriend people in cafés or restaurants and ask for boxes – they will be only too happy to help. Below are some additional tips that we could have really used on our post office adventure:
– expect a queue
– every inch of your box must be covered in packing tape. Every goddamned inch.
– You must have two white pieces of paper: one for the “TO” address, the other for the “FROM”. This must be affixed with clear tape on top of the brown tape.
– You must include a phone number
– Oh you want to pay in card? Nope, not till 2018 you don’t
9. Don’t hold expectations
India is India. For many that come along they have this deep connection to the country, either physical, emotional or spiritual. What is for you is for you, it’s hard to travel somewhere new and not learn something. I arrived with no expectations whatsoever, one way or the other, and just had a good time not searching for some vast revelation. Keep your ears and heart open and be prepared for whatever it might be to come from the strangest of places. It might be a simple life lesson, it might be meeting some amazing new friends, or realising you’re just fine alone, or it could be nothing at all. Even if it is nothing at all, that is possibly the most wonderful gift, as you need nothing at all. All to often we get het up in the notion that we need something. Let it go, and just let the experiences crash over you like waves, there is no point in pressurising yourself, situations and compromising your time for something that you might not be ready for, or be ready for you. All is coming, practice patience, and aparigraha!