Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do you have a country coin?

On my last visit I was first charmed and then eventually supremely annoyed by the multitude of school children who would chase you down the street asking if you have any "country coins" because they need them for a project at school.  The first few times it was sweet and I was purposefully carrying some pennies and nickels around so that I could add to their collections.  Then once the same kids started asking every day, even when you already told them you had run out, it started getting irritating.  When they took to hovering at the coconut stand to pounce on you during coconut happy hour or chasing you down the street on their bicycles asking if they could go to your house so you can check again in your bags for country coins I started wanting to ask them for their country coins just to see how they liked it.  This first week in India was country coin request-free until yesterday, when two of the little twerps, who I remember distinctly as being particularly aggressive collectors,  tracked me down a few blocks from home.  They went through the same routine, saying they had a project for school, but I have to say, there were two things that have evolved in the quest for the country coin.  As an English teacher, I was glad to hear that their English had improved significantly, and I wish I would have told them so when I was talking to them, but it didn't register until I had digested the conversation.  The other change:  these boys were relatively polite.  The still asked to come to my house to see if I had any coins there, but when I told them that was an inappropriate request to make they apologized and said, "OK Mam, sorry for the disturbance, and we hope you enjoy the rest of your day."  This all finished up of course with a lot of head wobbling (what does this head wobble mean???), from me and from them.  I can only hope that all the country coin collectors have changed their ways.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Over the last 6 weeks I don't even want to think about how much distance I have covered flitting around Asia, across the Pacific and then back again.  It has been a whirlwind of travelling and stopping down place to place for a few days at a time, sometimes less and sometimes more, and 12 pages of my passport have been stamped, signed, and smothered in travel visas.  When I reached Victoria I was surprised and pleased by how easily I slipped right back into place in my old community, and meeting new people in that circle felt like meeting old friends.  The amount of love I felt while I was there caught me off guard and reinforced the idea of that little corner of the world as the place where I can put down roots one day.  Something about Victoria fits me like nowhere else that I have experienced. 

It has been a year and a half since I left India, and now that I am back in Mysore it is seems as though nothing has changed, yet everything is different.  Is it simply because there are many new faces and a smaller crowd of yoga students, or is it something that has evolved in my perception of this place and the people who inhabit it?  Or, and I would like to think this could be true, is it simply that I have changed?  When I arrived last time I was absolutely amazed by everything; the sights, sounds and smells were all new and at times overwhelming.  I was also at a turning point in my life and had little sense of direction as I battled my way through my often-scoffed-at-but-painfully-real quarter life crisis.  This time around I feel much better prepared, knowing more about what to expect and where to go for the various neccessities of living in this mixed community of yogis and locals, as well as having developed a greater a sense of purpose and a path to follow once my time here has run it's course.  Tomorrow morning the yoga practice will begin, 4:30 AM, and I am looking forward to the energy of a room full of students hungry for knowledge and the presence of a teacher.   It is a special opportunity, to focus so deeply on my yoga and let all the distractions of everyday life take the backseat for a while, and it the doors are open for much learning to occur.  Thank you universe for bringing me back to this place.   Om, shanti, shanti, shantih

"If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter - if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self."

"Yoga, as a way of life and a philosophy, can be practiced by anyone with inclination to undertake it, for yoga belongs to humanity as a whole. It is not the property of any one group or any one individual, but can be followed by any and all, in any corner of the globe, regardless of class, creed or religion."

- Sri K. Pattabhi Jois