Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mysore, yoga central (just not for me)

Prior to arriving in Mysore, I knew two things about it. The first is that Mysore Palace gets lit up on Sunday nights. (Joyce's sister-in-law is from here and she told me that; I arrived on a Sunday.) The second is that it had been suggested to me by Toto when he learned that I was in to yoga. Mysore is certainly not the birthplace of, or even the most popular place for, yoga, but a lot of people come here for it.

Mysore Palace was certainly lit up on Sunday night, so that turned out to be true. I was told that it is lit every Sunday night and that this wasn't a special-for-the-holidays lighting. It's only lit from 7-8pm; I guess tens of thousands of light bulbs can use up a lot of energy and be pretty expensive. The other good thing about the Sunday lighting is that entry is free. Normally it costs Rs 300. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died, so I only got a few shots, but I think the ones I got are pretty good.

As for the yoga. Well. . .people do come here to practice. Classes are available. The problem for me is that yoga is taken VERY seriously here. You don't just take a class or two and call it a day. You go to a studio for a week, a month, or longer and you practice every day. These set ups usually include room and board, too, and some ashrams have strict rules about behavior and diet (for example, some will say no sexual activity or no consumption of eggs, garlic, onion, or meat). Drop-in classes just don't seem to be available. Believe me, I've asked around. Last night my hotel called up a local yoga master to come talk to me about classes he has. I thought I had explained to the front desk that I was leaving Mysore soon and only wanted to take a class or two, but apparently the yoga master hadn't gotten the message. After he realized that I was leaving Mysore within a day and was not interested in a month's worth of classes, he proceeded to tell me that my usual once a week yoga practice was useless and not worth the time. Huh. O-kay. But he still wanted me to come to the studio and watch a class and I just wasn't understanding why. And then I got it. When he realized that I wouldn't be signing up for a month of classes, he switched to salesman mode. Did you know the ashram also has books, oils, etc etc available for purchase so you can continue to practice on your own?

So although yoga was one of the main things I wanted to do in India, I STILL have not taken even a single class. I'm hoping that since I still have about four more cities to visit that I'll get my chance. Fingers crossed.

In other news: I'm leaving Mysore a day earlier than I'd planned (today instead of tomorrow). I'd wanted to take a bus that left on 30 Dec around noon-ish. No such bus exists, so I'm taking the 9:30pm bus tonight instead. I'm not really sure what kind of set up to expect. This trip will be overnight and will take at least 11 hours. I have no idea of how comfortable it's going to be, but I guess I'll find out.


  1. But where are you going? You forgot that part. Or I missed something which, of course, is entirely possible. Love ya!

  2. Hmmm. I thought I mentioned it in a blog post, but maybe not? In any case, it for sure has been in the About Me section for awhile now - Cochin for New Year's.