Monday, September 26, 2011

Studying Yoga in Mysore India: A Day

Not everyone comes to Mysore to study yoga. In addition to being the mecca of the Ashtanga yoga cult, Mysore is a recommended stop for any tourist in Southern India. Guidebooks suggest visiting the Majarajah’s Palace, the temples of the Chamundi Hills, the silk factories, and any of the satellite villages with ruins from the 10th century Hoysala Empire.

Obviously, the yoga student's day looks pretty different from that of a general tourist. I assume that the casual traveler is still soundly sleeping at 5:00 AM, which is when I report to the yoga shala. But even amongst the yoga crowd, and to narrow it even further to the Ashtanga crowd, everyone’s day looks different. In addition to the famous K. Patthabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI), there are many other yoga schools to choose between. Some people study at Mysore Mandala, or The Mystic School, or with the cornucopia of very talented instructors hoping to make a buck off the Ashtanga brand name. After physical practice, the multitude of related cultural and philosophical classes fill the day. Sanskrit, chanting, philosophy, Ayurveda, massage, dance, and classical Indian music classes are some of the top picks. There are so many topics to study, and many people choose to keep themselves so busy with classes, that Mysore is deemed by some as “India University”.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fruitful India

It’s tough be a vegan in India, I’ll admit it. I’ve been vegan all around the world, and nowhere has the combination of language barrier and prominence of dairy product make it more difficult to find pure vegetarian cooked food.
But raw vegan? Phff, no problem!
The subject has come up a few times now after hanging out with some of the people studying at the yoga shala here in Mysore.  After I’ve hemmed and hawed and finally admitted, yes I’m one of those extremist raw vegans, I’m usually met with one of these two responses: the person explains how they too once tried to be vegan, or raw, or both, and met with failure; or the person looks impressed and says “Wow, that must be really hard! HOW do you do it?”
At that point, it’s hard not to laugh and point to one of the banana stands that occur every 100 meters in this country. Honestly, being raw vegan in India is as easy as peeling a banana.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Interview #1: Vicki Sorenson

       Vicki Sorenson
         Age: 44
         Makawao Maui Hawaii

Vicki Sorenson has been practicing Ashtanga yoga since 1992 and followed a raw diet since 1990. She began her studies with Brad Ramsey and Lucy Martorella and has studied with Sri K. Patthabhi Jois in Mysore, India.  She will be teaching at Doug Graham’s Health and Fitness Week in September 2011. She also teaches private lessons from her home in Maui.  

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