On January 1st I head to Mysore, India for my 8th trip. This time I'm bringing TWO students along: Allison, who joined me last year and Porter who is making his first India visit. In preparation for their journey I tried to scare them as much as possible (it will be easier that way!) and I asked them to answer some pre flight questions. We'll be out of contact for most of our 30 travel to Mysore but we'll be sharing more once we're settled there.
Lara: How are you feeling about making your SECOND trip to India?
Allison: I am feeling very excited about the upcoming trip, my body & mind are ready for a period of time focus on my practice and let go of the stresses caused by hectic life in NYC. I can’t believe it will be it will be the 2nd trip!!
Lara: When did you know you would go back? Was it harder or easier to decide this time?
Allison: I knew that at some point I would love to return, I just wasn’t sure when or if the logistics would work out. So, It was a relatively easy decision after remembering the vibrant energy in the shala and how it influenced my practice. There is certainly something special about taking practice in Mysore that is hard to explain, but it attracts you to want to go back. The hard part is leaving my loved one at home for three weeks, but Skype makes it easier to adjust to that aspect.
Lara: What are you expecting from this trip as far as practice? How do you think it will be the same and/or different from your first experience?
Allison: Well I don’t want to have set expectations. However, one thing I am hoping is that the practice and overall restful nature of the trip will heal my body. I would like to let go of fear in my practice and let the energy on the shala help me delve deeper into difficult aspects of my practice. The first trip I was practicing half primary and learning asnas that were very difficult at the time – and for a long time afterwards! Hopefully this trip will allow me to grow and refine my practice within the primary series.
Lara: What things are you excited to see/do again? Is there anything you don't want to repeat? Is there anything you'll do differently for your second trip? Bring that you didn't bring?
Allison: I am excited to see many of the sights from last trip again (lights at Mysore Palace, Devaraja Market, etc.), but I would like to take a cooking class, go on a tour inside of Mysore Palace, and take a trip to the Mysore Zoo. I do want to visit the pool again, but this time apply more sunscreen. This year I plan to bring more short pants and an iPod for travel tunes.
Lara: Are there any questions you have for me before we head out yet again??
Allison: Well last trip was in September, during a slow time at KPJAYI. What is Gokulam and practicing in the shala like during the busy part of the year? L: BUSY!!
Lara: When/How did you hear about the opportunity to go to Mysore, India?
Porter: When I first started doing this thing called 'Ashtanga Yoga" I looked up info on it and learned about Pattabhi Jois. I read about Andre' Van Lysebeth who was the first westerner to study with Guruji in Mysore in 1964.
Lara: What did you think when you first heard?
Porter: It sounded like an amazing adventure and Lysebeth wrote a book a short time later that mentioned Pattabhi Jois and included his address in Mysore.
Lara: How long did it take you to decide to go?
Porter: 2.5 years
Lara: What made you say yes?
Porter: trusting my gut instinct and going with it
Lara: Have you ever done anything like this before?
Lara: What do you expect from this trip?
Porter: Recharging my batteries while reflecting on the nature of existence
Lara: Are you going with any purpose in mind?
Porter: To live like a monk, do yoga early and have the rest of the day to write, draw, take pictures and shoot film.
Lara: Is there anything you are particularly excited to see or do?
Porter: I'm excited to see what unfolds, and what India has to offer me as a new experience.
Lara: Are there any concerns you have?
Porter: Is the trip long enough?
Lara: Are there any questions you would like to ask me before we venture off?
Porter: Are we there yet? L: In the sense that Mysore is a state of mind, sure. In the sense that we have a car ride, flight, lay over, flight, car ride totaling 30 hrs to go... not quite yet...