Blissed Out

So I have to apologize for being out of touch for over a week, but I have a good excuse…I finally found a yoga instructor. Yeah, you’d think that finding a yogi in India would be easy. (You certainly see a lot of lithe, bearded men that look like they sit in lotus position all day.) But since arriving in here, I’ve heard that there are actually more people in the U.S. practicing yoga than there are in India. And, according to Namasta, the North American Studio Alliance, 30% of U.S. yoga practitioners have a household income of more than $75,000. It’s a leisurely, yuppie thing. So, that explains why I don’t see people in the streets doing surya namaskar before going to work. Why “greet the sun” when it beats down on you all day?

Anyhow, there are some renowned yoga schools in the Bombay area. The best known is the Yoga Institute in Santa Cruz. And one of the more famous yoga resorts in the world, the Osho Commune, is just east of here in Pune. But the thought of sitting in traffic for more than 1 hour both ways just to destress didn’t make sense.

Enter the personal yoga instructor. About four of my neighbors and I have hired a yoga instructor to come twice a week, and we do about an hour and a half of yoga and meditation up on the roof.

I am a beginning to intermediate yoga student, at best, but I have found (from my limited experiences so far) that yoga is practiced a bit differently over here. My only other opportunity to do yoga before finding this instructor was in Kerala, where it seemed that meditation, rather than power asanas, was more a part of the practice. In my new class, we meditate and do breathing exercises for a good part of the class – I’d say about half of the time. It certainly helps with the stress level, but I wouldn’t mind breaking a sweat now and then, either.

My current instructor seems keen on doing a lot of back, ankle, and knee stretches, whereas my DC instructor (Christine at Washington Sports really is one of the best I’ve worked with) was all about twists, balancing, and strength building exercises, such as warriors 1,2,3, whole earth pose, etc. Man…if I could only combine the two classes.

In terms of my new instructor, I do have one complaint, though. Of all the times I’ve done sun salutations, this is the first time when I have been told to do the poses differently:

“Keep your back leg straight; don’t put your knee on the floor.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Forehead, chest, then knees.”
“Instead of vice versa? I’m going to hurt myself!”

I knew something wasn’t right, and I double-checked my little DK Sivananda yoga guide to make sure. Sure enough, my yogi was wrong. Hmmm…are surya namaskar different depending on the yogic school? It goes without saying, but I’ve got a lot to learn.

As I woke up this morning, newly-found muscles aching in that pleasant way, I was thinking about yoga, in general, and came across a point-counterpoint editorial in the Times of India. Apparently, there is a drive to make yoga an Olympic event. Yeah…It seems pretty crazy to me, too. But I’m really starting to dig the idea of taking a week or a month off to go on a yoga retreat. Go ahead, call me a yuppie. I don’t mind.

Om. Om. Om. Shanti. Shanti. Shanti. Om. Peace. Peace. Peace.

2 comments

  1. nasheman says:

    Hi There,

    First of all let me thank you for reminding me some of the most pleasent memories. Its been quite a pleasure reading your blogs regarding Bombay aka. Mumbai as well as India, which i came across accidentally.

    Btw, am Nayan Shah and am an ex-Bombayite myself. Have been in US since past 5 years and after shuffling from Boulder-Co to Kansas City-MO to Parsippany-NJ to Palo Alto-Ca to Southbury-Ct have finally settled down in Poughkeepsie-NY since past 2 years (atleast for now).

    As a ex-Bombayite its always a pleasure to read regarding the Best City in the world whatever news you can read. In that context really appreciate the blogs written on it and am looking forward to reading many more on the same. It’s kind of Ironic that me being an ex-bombayite am in US and you being a American are in India and am getting to read bout my fondest place from you :), not that I mind. Please keep up the good work. Anyways i hope that you as well Anthony have the most enjoyable stay in Bombay and in India.

    Just as a suggestion, in order to enjoy it, the best way to would be to check it out like a True Bombayite than as a American who happens to be in the place because of circumstances. Can say from my own experiences that have come to appreicate my living in various parts of US, by trying to be one of the locals rather than trying to be an individual.You know go out on a bit of adventure, eat some of delicaies from street side hawker’s (Which i read you have already done so, not sure if you have been to Bade Miyan’s behind Taj Mahal Hotel, you would get one of the best Tikka’s and Birayni’s you might ever taste), go to local city beaches like chowpatty, Juhu, Aksha/Mudd island (can be reached from Suburb Malad), Gorai ( Reached from Suburb Borivali or Kandivali which happens to be my actual hometown), Natural Hotsprings in Vajreshwari/Ganeshpuri on outskirts of Bombay in Virar, or even a bit outside city to Diu/Daman and atleast set your toe in water to get the feel of the beaches, Travel in Local Subway (which is also fastest way to travel around in city). The place is full of adventures if you are ready to take the risk. Also look at the brighter side, even in case you do get hit by a local bug medicines are dirt cheap ;).

    Seriously, Bombay is like a whole country in itself, where you can come across all sorts of lives you can think of. People of various religion, to people who are stuck deep down in poverty to people who have all the wealth they want and still keep on getting more. The beauty of Bombay lies in its extremity and am sure none of the Bombayites would like to change anything about their life the way it is along with all the noise, poverty, religious beliefs among many other such diversities. Its called a City of Dream’s and also Mini-India, since you will find people from each and every nook and corner of country coming out there to make their dreams come true.

    Am sure Bombay as well as India needs some changes within, itself, but let it be the job of the local’s to find about those changes and implement it, rather than world intervening in it with their 2 cents. We all know what happens when world tries to intervene in some other countries affairs examples, Afghanistan pro-1980 and past 2001, Vietnam, Iraq, Siberia, among many such instances.

    Once again, Thanks for bringing out all the fond memories of my Hometown and Hope that you as well as Anthony have a safe and Joyful time while you are out there. Am definetly looking forward blogs from you with regards to your stay out there.

    Regards,

    Nayan.

    PS: The right way to do Surya Namaskar is what your Current Yoga Instructure has shown. The idea is to Bow your head in front of the God SUN, thats why when you to the namaskar its head first than chest and than your keen’s. Also it provides a more rigourous body workout to the body. The book’s as well as Yoga tactics practised out in Western World is more of a Convienence than the actual method. If the idea is to get a good physical workout you can do it any way you want to. but if idea is to learn Yoga well than its a bit different than the way its practised in US. Also Yoga is more for stress reliving and trying to improve your concentration and strength building is just a by product aspect of it.

  2. Rohit Gupta says:

    Yo Melanie!

    So pleased to see you online after meeting you and Tony in person!

    And like I suspected, it is a great blog. Very interesting and refreshing points of view on aspects of life we encounter all the time.

    Anthony and you must hang out with me sometime. I’m sure there’s a lot to discuss and learn from for all of us.

    As you know, I’m a full-time blogger now, and I blog all day! The list of the sites I write on is huge, so I’m going to simply pick my favorites that you might have fun exploring:)

    1. Le Spirale Fantastique: http://lespirale.blogspot.com
    2. TranceWriting:
    http://trancewriting.blogspot.com
    3. Some Such Name
    http://dopplereffect.blogspot.com

    cheers! I really enjoy talking to both you and your husband.

    Rohit

Comments are closed.