This is how my ordinary day in Gokulam (one of the districts of the city of Mysore, the famous centre of majority of the yoga schools) usually looks like:
4.15 am – I wake up. Mindlessly, I stop the alarm clock and start moving zombie like around the room. I get up this early because my body is due to the post-viral arthritis not responding much, so I need at least an hour before the class to be able to move and walk like a normal person.
Some days I would ask myself „Do we really have to get up this early?“ But that´s what we do here. There are people who get up much earlier than me – even at 2am to do their morning yogaasana practice. Asking why is not going to make the morning more pleasant. Sometimes I would listen to my favourite mantra on my mobile phone, while trying to get ready for the class, to make the morning at least a bit nicer. I try to fit in one hot shower to prepare the body for the practice to come (hot shower gives you extra flexibility, i.e. body is warmed up faster).
5.30 – the morning asana class starts. On Mondays, we usually do led prana vashya primary series. Other days are more flexible: out of our six days of practice (days off are on Sundays & moon days), we would do up to 3-4times a week second series (its led class version is a real killer … so much that there is no more spaces for thoughts, you just somehow keep breathing and moving as much in the rhythm as possible), and the rest would be primary series. Primary series is still hard, but way more manageable (i.e. requires less flexibility, strength and stamina) than the advanced second.
7.30 – our class is over. We survived it, yeay 😀 Some days I would be so tired, that I just walk home slowly thinking „don´t buy that chocolate at the corner, at least not today“ 😀 I change my clothes as fast as possible. After every class it´s as wet as if you take it straight from the washing machine, so it´s important to take it off soon not to get cold, skin rash, etc. I make light breakfast (usually oats with nuts, seeds and fruits), eat it at our lovely balcony while reading a book or observing people in the park doing their morning exercise. Every day you see the same people. Some exercises do not seem to be very efficient, but at least people get out and move in the fresh air, so whatever 🙂
10.00 – I take shower, make myself look like a human again, and it´s time for vedic mantras and pranayama practice.
11.30 – lunch time. I should finish eating by 12am or else I may be in a trouble in the afternoon class. And forget about heavy lunch. It must be digested easily in three hours at the latest.
13.00 – reading, studying or sleeping time. It depends. I prefer to read my yoga books, but sometimes I just fall asleep if time allows. I am trying to learn Sanskrit from a textbook. Three times a week, I have also yoga sutra chanting class with my private teacher Ranjini from 14.00 (Mon, Wed, Fri).
15.15 – afternoon „back-bending“ class starts. The lunch better be digested, or else we might have a problem – if the lunch was too big, now you will feel it 😀 After the sun salutations, we do basic stretching focusing mostly on the spine. Then it´s usually a Mysore style class – Vinay works individually with everyone. This is the class where the „miracles“ happen. You do things you would never consider even trying, and with Vinay´s help it moves to a different level of practice. The impossible becomes possible. Before you have time thinking about it, you are already in the asana 😀 Nevertheless, he doesn´t use strong adjustments. But he gives you very precise advice how to work in the asana yourself, and he is there to help/save you/get deeper in the asana/redirect the body if needed.
17.00 – we go home, yeayyyy 🙂 Work of the day is finished. If tomorrow is a day off, you should see the enthusiasm and cheerfulness with which we go home. We plan for a big dinner 🙂 And no early waking up the next day (guess what: if you get up six days a week at 4am, chances are that you are going to wake up at the same time the seventh day as well). Don´t get the wrong impression that we don´t like the yoga practice. We do, or else we wouldn´t be here 🙂 But when „the work is well done and finished“, it simply feels good to give your body some rest.
However, three times a week (Mon, Tue, Wed), I have yoga philosophy classes on upanishads and vedic chanting with Vigneshwar Bhat, a Sanskrit scholar from the local university from 17.30 – 18.30, so right after backbending, I put on dry clothes and run for the class (it´s quite far away). And on Thursdays, Arvind Pare is having his yoga philosophy talks as well, now on various mantras, so I go there too. Luckily, the lectures are so cool that I forget about my hunger 🙂
Actually, this year I somehow do have a lot of chanting going on 😀 Three times a week yoga sutra and vedic chanting, and sometimes chanting with Arvind or at home… makes it quite a few hours a week 🙂 But do you know what they say in India? Mantra and water can heal anything and works wonders. So let´s keep drinking water and chanting 🙂
The same chanting by Hindu priests from Kashi (Varanasi) – this is what we are learning 🙂
18.00/19.00 – dinner/coconut time. After the class, we go home, take shower (however, some people go straight from the class) and enjoy our after-practice green coconut and/or dinner.
21.00 – time to go to sleep, and get enough rest for the next day. Sometimes I chase a mosquito with a slipper in my hand as a fun evening sport (if I don´t catch the mosquito, at least I believe that the mosquito may get scared of me considering me a dangerous object and won´t bite me 😀 ), or I read a book. And then everything starts over again 🙂
This is how we live here 🙂 The days are mostly same Mondays to Saturdays. Often you don´t know the day of the week or the date. You don´t really need to know that. You just live in the presence, enjoy the sun and the coconuts. And sometimes walk a few extra kilometres for various lectures or chanting classes 😀 So free time is spent either by reading, sleeping, doing laundry, hanging out with friends in a local café or with a coconut, or going for other classes on philosophy, chanting, cooking, languages, massage or whatever. Options are limitless 🙂