North America, Asia ·
18 Days ·
110 Moments ·
13 February 2017
This trip was intended to be a 5-week Mysore intensive in Kovalam, Kerala, India but ended up being struck by multiple tragedies. First, Murali's father got sick and passed away suddenly. I left Kovalam and flew to Visakhapatnam and Murali met me, flying in from JFK. We were able to see Dad and be there for the funeral. Then, my Pop-pop was moved to hospitalized Hospice and Drs gave him "hours or days". I immediately flew back to the US to be with him. I was able to speak to him on the phone and hopefully see him. The trip didn't go as planned, but we were able to see Murali's dad before he passed, support his mom in her time of heartbreak, spend time w/ his family, and attend important ceremonies and the funeral. In the end, family is all that matters so while the trip deviated from the original plan, it was a great honor to be w/ his family and I'm grateful for saying goodbye to a great man.
12 February 2017
12 February 2017
Had to spend the last Rupee... a little bling for the ride home 😉
Family picture fun 😂❤
Dolphin Hotel - Breakfast w/ Narasimha (King of the Buffet) and Shivani.
Postcards arrived ❤️
11 February 2017
One of the saddest days of my life. I'm so glad to have met Murali's father, and only wish we had more time. I have a few very beautiful memories - how he went to such great lengths to buy me a saree and have the blouse made, and how he cried when Murali was leaving - it shows how much he loved him. I've loved being here to hear about him through the eyes and stories of Murali, Aruna, Narasimha, Shivani, and Auntie. I've heard so many stories and so many qualities that both show me his goodness and also remind me of Murali.
10 February 2017
Shopping w/ the newest Fearless Adventurer ❤️
7 February 2017
Best food in India is at Aunties house ❤
6 February 2017
Bibi's house. One of my fav people I've met in Vizag
Waiting for Murali, w/ jasmine flowers 🌺
Everyone helps to make our coffee 😊
Serious times can also have joy ❤
Shiva temple w/ Auntie, praying for Uncle.
Walking beach road w/ Auntie to a sunrise puja
5 February 2017
Dress local 🌸🌺
Everyone in Vizag has officially had a selfie w/ me 😂😂😂
Thali lunch w/ Auntie
Uncle is in the hospital here in Visakhapatnam. It's serious so I've come to help Auntie; Murali is on his way from the US.
I was buying hot milk for Uncle at the Chai stand outside the hospital when this girl asked to take photos with me. She also bought me a tea and paid for Uncles milk! She asked for my number and promised to keep in touch. She was on holiday with her brother and "husband to be". Then we sent WhatsApp messages all day! 😂👍🏼
4 February 2017
Street dogs at Aunties house are always friendly.
Arrived at Bangaluru Airport an hour in advance and still barely made the flight! Total mad house! Beautiful airport but super busy and maybe not the most efficient, i.e. My boarding pass was checked 11 times 😂
Breakfast at Taj - Upma, Podi Idli, Idli w/ Chutney, Vada, Fruit, Salad 😍#nosuchthingastoomuchchutney
Taj Hotel in Bangalore 😍 I'm in heaven!
Touchdown Bangalore! Where the temp is a cool 65... and my room has a wooden deadbolt! 😂👍🏼
Update! This room didn't last long. Found three roaches and got the hell out! My horror at the bugs meant I easily convinced myself to spring for a night at the Taj 😂
3 February 2017
Festival at Vishnu Temple
Taking a short family visit to Andhra Pradesh
Asked Rasheed, my rikshaw driver, to stop for a photo if he sees goats. We ran a few errands and then he stopped at a temple, told me to go and I will see. I go and take many photos - very beautiful temple decorated for festival. I get back and he asks, Did you see the Gods? Not exactly what I as looking for but very nice! 😂😂😂
Ayurveda massage at Stay Well on Kovalam Beach. Massage room was on the 4th floor w/ big open windows facing the ocean for a nice breeze and gorgeous view.
Notes on Yoga Vasistha
From David Garrigues newsletter
Take the solitary road to your mat, daily. This is a secret source of power; solitude is the way to compass your individual dharma path. If you neglect time to withdraw, empty out and renew your vision quest, who will point the way?
“Neither riches, nor friends, nor scriptures, nor relatives help people in lifting up one’s own Self that is sunk”.
“Having rubbed or reflected a little with the mere mind, which is a friend and always a fellow dweller, the Self becomes uplifted.”
Hold to your practice; leave everything behind, close all doors, enter the space of your solitary body temple. Be with self, along with mind, the fellow dweller in dynamic stillness & poised silence. Despair turns to hope, lethargy/vitality, apathy/enthusiasm, fear/courage, suffering/compassion, lost/clarity, purposeless/direction, muteness/speaking out, and depression becomes uplifted to Self.
2 February 2017
"Write about the qualities you've been exploring. Struggles, confusion, revelations."
Body awareness from years of study enables you to intuitively feel alignment, opposing forces, connection, bandhas, arms/legs, etc. Well, I don't have that! It's a Herculean feat of intense concentration!
Approach and principles are EXTREMELY helpful and suits my analytical personality! Sanyama gives a chance to learn how an accurate posture feels.
BUT! Struggle: I can't bring the checklist to the mat in Mysore and have a restful mind.
Confusion: How to Rest, quiet mind, while running a checklist?
Revelation: Different tools for different jobs! Rest in Mysore, Sanyama for intense checklist. Add Sanyama to home practice and the benefit comes to Mysore: Now that I have the knowledge, it runs in the background and makes my arms more active, or my feet a little more grounded. And, on the postures we're working on, it's imprinting into muscle memory.
Realizations on Samasthiti:
Samathithi seems an easy, restful position. But, when you aim for accuracy, awareness, full participation it's challenging and elusive.
To achieve 9 spotlights, femur rotation, connection, opposing rooting feet / elongating spine, opposing legs up / arms down, tight glutes for neutral pelvis is a body scan and intense focus. By the time I've scanned ankle to crown, something has loosened along the way. It's a challenge of mental attention and body awareness; there are 'blind spots' where I can't internally 'see' alignment.
Once I've secured Samasthiti and move to position 1, that small movement throws something loose.
There are unintuitive connections. Transition from 2 to 3 starts w/ neutral pelvis and flat back; once shoulders roll down the back, pelvis tilts and the stance shortens.
The challenge: whether to execute this mental checklist, or follow the breath and quiet the mind!
Walking home from Kovalam Junction
Booked my first dive! Saturday 9.00 w/ Cool Divers 😎👌🏼🐠
Sweet pup by the Junction
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple for Vishnu
Drew Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Practice notes (yoga):
- Jump around - Successful jump around, w/out lift
- Supta Kormasana - Use towel to bind
- Gharba Pindasana - First time rolling up/down both sides of spine; improved!
- Ubhaya Padangusthasana - Made it up!! 5 breaths 😃
- Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana - Made it up!
- Prasarita Padottanasana - Use the bock
- Utkatasana - Use folded towel under the heels and very deep bend
- Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana - Use the block and strap
1 February 2017
Sanyama is individual practice to work on anything David has specifically adjusted you or taught. The object here is creativity, exploration, play, and, of course, practice.
As example, Samasthiti many ways, e.g.: standing, feet apart, feet together, back to wall, front to wall, back on floor, front on floor, side on floor, 3 speeds, on toes, off balance, spotlight, etc.
- Urdhva Hastasana
- Uttanasana A & B
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana*
- Adho Mukha Svanasana*
- Janu Sirsasana C*
- Jump back from seated*
- Jump around to Bhujapidasana*
At the Shala 🐛🦋
The Shala 🐛🦋
After Puja 🌺🌸
Kālī made the rounds and came to our hotel. She was to arrive at 9:30 but showed up at 13:00 😂😂😂 Then, the procession headed off to lunch so we wait here for them to come back. Waiting, waiting, waiting 😂
I'm sure you can tell which are mine 😘👡
Ready for festival! 🎆🎇
Yoga Sutras notes:
From the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali:
Yoga is the process of ending (nirodha) the mental activity (vrtti) of the field of consciousness (citta).
Then, abidance of the seer (drastr) in my own nature (svarūpa).
Otherwise, there is conformity to mental activity (vrtti).
Definitions of the field of consciousness are five-fold, they are either causing pain (klista), or non-obstructing (akkistah).
They are: evaluation, misperception, conceptualization, sleep (nidrā), memory.
Valid means of evaluation (pramāna) are: direct perception, inference, testimony.
*ACTION: Identify barren from commendable action. Fear, desire, ego, clinging - Barren.
Practice notes (yoga):
Salamba Sarvangasana - Using the foam under the neck just at the base. Straight to Halasana, adjust the arms and then up to Salamba Sarvangasana. The amount of UP is much higher than I thought. The alignment between back and ankles is perfectly straight.
Practice notes (yoga):
Janu Sirsasana C - Sit on a block w/ legs in dandasana; move the leg out and into Janu position w/out the hands a few times. Then, after a few attempts, use the hands to position the heel on the block. When bending, UP, FORWARD, then down.
Practice notes (yoga):
Chaturanga Dandasana - Hips down, back and head perfectly straight/aligned; shoulders are too high and need t be where elbows are! When doing this correctly it is extremely hard 😳Apparently, I've been doing this wrong all along 😂
Just sayin'! 😂
31 January 2017
Kayla - Juno, Alaska 🇺🇸with her mom.
Pilla - Argentina 🇦🇷
Franchesa - Yoga teacher from Sardinia, Italy 🇮🇹
Joanna - Geneva, Switzerland 🇨🇭
Zoe - Yoga teacher from Greece 🇬🇷
Jennifer - Yoga teacher from Scotland 🇬🇧
Kate - Philadelphia 🇺🇸
Arna - Yoga teacher from Iceland 🇮🇸
Robin - Retired yoga teacher from Denmark 🇩🇰 (at GS but not in DG class).
Kimbali - Yoga teacher from Australia 🇦🇺
Asana Theory, Principles (cont'd):
6) Arms & Legs: What are they doing in relation to each other? You're looking for full participation!
7) Rest: Is mind at rest? Or, busy on a checklist?
8) Bandha: Mula, Uddiyana, Jalandhara bandha. Don't get internally lazy.
- Try practice at three speeds; keeping same speed for full asana and transition. Hard!
- Imagine a spotlight on your crown shining down through your body. Goal is to use proper alignment so the light can pass from head to your ankle. Align crown to palate, to throat, to rib cage opening, to pelvis, to knee, to ankle. This is more important than anything else.
- Transitions are about Rhythm, Momentum, Breath. Be economical w/ movement!
Funny quote: Most people do chaturanga like they are eating frozen lima beans 😂
Asana Theory notes:
- Point is to cultivate mindfulness and a rich inner life; don't get caught in lesser goals, i.e. a specific asana, bind, transition.
- When hand is sleepy (not fully active), mind is sleepy. Goal is full presence, awareness, body participation.
- Like Vipassana, yoga narrows the field and creates a focused mind.
- Laziness says, "Good enough. There, it's done!" Instead, walk to the edge and push beyond. Don't dodge the edge!
1) Foundation: Body in contact w/ earth. Connection heavy, deep, stable.
2) Axis: Middle channel from root to crown; front/back; top bottom. Play w/ opposing forces here.
3) Breath: Deep, full, rhythmic breathing. Follow breath to the next asana. Practice a FULL in/ex.
4) Opposing Forces: There are always many! They repeat. Write them down for each asana. Floor/body, Arms/legs.
5) Senses: Use your senses to feel your body and listen. Sense your skeletal position.
Golden Sands Resort. Pool and courtyard view from my balcony; just beyond the tree line you can get a glimpse of the sea. Three minute walk to the beach through residential alleys w/ beautiful trees, birds, and flowers. Rooms are very basic but that's good enough for me! Hotel staff is exceptionally friendly and local residents are lovely as well. ❤🇮🇳
Getting coconut down from the tree 🌴
Oṁ namaḥ śivāya!
Hotel is preparing tomorrow; they will take Kālī from temple to our hotel for Puja and fireworks, then, at midnight, she will to the water for a bath in the Sea!
Upma and bananas w/ a view. I still prefer my Honeys upma ❤
Postcard day! Sent off 50+ cards to all the young ones I know 😃 If one young person travels because of these cards it will have been worth the hand-cramps 😂
Fresh coconut after yoga 🌴
Practice notes (yoga):
- 9 positions
- Position and transition
- This sequence sets up all other asanas:
-- Lacking hip opening? Virabhadrasana!
-- Lacking forward bend? Uttanasana!
-- Shoulders not open? Urdhva Hastasana!
-- Can't arm balance? Chaturanga!
Progress notes (yoga):
- SIRSASANA WITHOUT THE WALL! Fully open space and held for 12 breaths. Pike to release is a work-in-process but, "Practice and all is coming!"
- Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana - Nose to shins and hold upward position for a breath.
- Navasana - Getting better! More core strength (and effort 😂) to better hold the posture.
Practice notes (yoga):
Practice was two hours; 45 min longer than standard. While the intention of slow practice is working, much of this extended time is Suraya A - Navasana, i.e. comfort zone. Breath and pace have a ways to go Navasana-beyond.
- Prasarita Padottanasana C - Wider stance (nearly mat length); enables head to ground. Towel to bind hands; better chest opening.
- Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimattanasana - Towel for bind.
- Balasana - Forgot it! 😂
- Parivrtta Trikonasana - Tall block; better rotation.
- Paschimattanasana - Fourth asana here, A-D.
- Marichyasana C, D - Head up; spinal alignment.
- Baddha Konasana - Forgot 3rd.
‼️Just realized why my finishing sequence is so fast! Every asana in Finishing is 8-25 breaths.‼️
⚠️ Try large blocks for Seated for help w/ Chaturanga and jump-throughs.
Schedule include 14.5 hrs of yoga per week and an additional 3 hours Pranayama and Yoga Sutras chanting.
Common wisdom w/ Ashtanga is to do morning Mysore on an empty stomach. If you're strict, that's no coffee, also. As someone who normally has two cups of coffee before even beginning to approach consciousness and someone who eats breakfast within an hour of waking up - that takes some getting used to! Not sure why I mention this... I must be hungry! 😂
6:00, Wake up, Shower, Pranayama
7:30 - 9:00, Yoga (Mysore style Ashtanga)
9:00 - 10:00, Pranayama or Yoga Sutra class on Sun, Mon, Fri
11:00, Brunch - Idli or upma, fruit, and coffee
12:00 - 14:00, Work or Free time to sightsee, beach, errands
14:00 - 16:00, Work
16:00 - 17:30, Yoga (Asana Theory or Sanyama) on Tue, Wed, Thu
18:00, Dinner - Veg curry w/ roti, Masala omelette, and water
19:00 - 23:00, Work
23:00, Shower, Pranayama, Sleep
30 January 2017
When we went back to Sree Badrakali Temple for the evening celebration, Francesca and I were the only foreigners. We felt lucky to have been invited as we were told non-Hindus are not normally allowed. I guess helping with the flowers really was good karma!
When we arrived, the palm tree was decorated and upright. A flag was hoisted up and tied off by elder men while ten boys played drums and horn - great music! Villagers queued by the center shrine; a priest came and purified worshipers with fire and water. Women brought us something like a calamine lotion for our throats and third eye chakras.
Disclaimer: First-timer so sorry if this was a poor or inaccurate description! 🙏🏼
On our way to Puja!
This is a stocked fridge when it's 30C / 90F w/ 69pct humidity outside. 😅
Flowers of South India 🇮🇳 🌺
Hard-working women bringing fresh fish to the restaurant.
Baingan Bharta and omelette w/ an ocean view; also, my office for the afternoon. ❤🇮🇳
Shrines and decorations at the temple.
BEST timing! As we left, drummer boys started a procession with the town men carrying a huge palm tree that will be decorated for the festival.
Today, Francesca from Sardinia and I went to temple to see the inauguration festival prep. We joined the womens circle preparing flowers for the Puja and stayed for an hour helping to separate petals from stem. We were proud of our progress after clearing an enormous bag of flowers... until two more bags arrived and we learned there were 25 more to go! 😂
The woman we sat with, Seeta, is sister to the owner of German Bakery. She was very sweet (after we learned how to properly de-petal the flowers!) and invited us to come back at 7 for the puja.
Sagi, the hotel manager, and Robin from Denmark. He's a longtime yogi who recently retired from his yoga studio in Copenhagen. He's been coming to Kovalam for years and seems to know what's up. Of course, Trump was also a major conversation topic! 😂
1) Lying on back w/ feet flat on the wall; make a box w/ your legs at a 90deg angle. Watch the angles - shins parallel to floor and femur parallel to wall. Use a block for your head.
a) Arms: Hands on area between navel and pubic bone.
b) Arms: Hands on legs w/ straight arms.
c) Arms: Hands stretched back behind head w/ thumbs off the floor and having down
2) Lying on back w/ hips at the wall
a) Legs: Up the wall, straight
b) Legs: In sukasana, half lotus, or lotus
1. Arms: Straight arms w/ hands on legs
2. Arms: W/ hands on stomach between navel & pubic bone.
3) Padmasana. Ok to use a block w/ back against the wall and a blanket under the sit bones.
4) Sitting on knees w/ a block under sit bones.
1) Long inhale, hold, long exhale, empty belly w/ pushing on legs until stomach is concave, hold.
2) Inhale 3x, hold, exhale
3) Exhale 3x, hold, inhale
Goal is to make inhale and exhale longer and longer. Play!
Practice notes (yoga):
- Ask for clarity on the hip position
- More spinal twist
- Watch alignment of arms
- Opposing forces of (1) toe against fingers/arm, (2) arms pulling in opposite directions, (3) counter balance of hips
- Hand on the floor or grab the foot
- Much, much more twist
- Careful that the bent leg is parallel to the floor
- Reaching arm and head position
- Overall, alignment and approach this asana needs a bit more careful work.
Purvottanasana - Forgot it! 😂
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimatanasana:
- Watch the bind
Tiryang Mukhaikapada Paschimatanasana:
- When using a block, put under both sit bones
- Look for the smallest block possible and keep shortening at all times
- Much better with a foam support! Much, much better ok the neck, whew!!
Practice notes (yoga):
Incorporated David's lesson into my practice by setting an intention on slow, steady pace. By focusing on slowing and holding each asana longer, I extended practice time by 30 minutes. This was the tip that resonated most since I tend to speed through where I'm less confident.
- Sirasana without the wall,
- Half pike in Sirasana,
- Bind, with assistance, in Marichyasana D,
- Knee to floor in Sukasana
- Using blocks is improving transitions
- Soft towel is helping w/ jump throughs
- Foam in Sarvangasana helps w/ neck pain
29 January 2017
Festival time at our neighboring temple means 24/7 music. I have to say, I love it and will be disappointed when it ends! 🎶
Met Alison and Bill from Scotland while having a sunset dinner at Santana on the beach. We shared my paneer kali mirch and rice and chatted about our favorite India moments... and Trump, of course.
Sunset at Santana - had Paneer Kali Mirch w/ rice. Perfect spot for the sunset.
Funny story... there's a lady selling fruit on the boardwalk, I think to myself "I should buy bananas after dinner." Well, at sunset she packs up and leaves and my table neighbor turns to me and says "Watch this - the dog is going to pee where she was sitting." Sure enough, the stray dog, Rambo, gets up and goes over to her spot and pees. We cried laughing, she said the dog does that every night.
Classical dance, Bollywood dance, and astralhealing - just added to the To Do List. I love you, Kovalam! 👍🏼
Had my first Ayurvedic oil massage today. While, it is heaven to have the warm oil poured over you... I'll just say I was under-prepared for the modesty-defying process! 😂😳
View from the top of the Lighthouse. It was fairly empty so I sat with my feet hanging off the edge and took in the view... Watched a hawk eat a fish and toss the bones as he flew; watched boys on a long boat jumping off and swimming to the rocks and back.
Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam, Kerala, India 🇮🇳
Practice notes (yoga):
At the Sunday Talk David said, "It is not, 'Practice and all is coming.'"
Instead, he pushed us further challenging us to completely dissect our practice, study it, and experiment. To instead, approach our practice with a level of riguer like that of the scientific method. Try different balance, analyze the body alignment, analyze the opposing forces, and try different things.
He warned that if we lazily go from asana to asana, without effort, with quickness, we will stagnate.
Practice notes (yoga):
Notes on Marichiasana D
- More weight forward and down onto the horizontal thigh
- Before the bind, use the twisting arm to push back against the ground for added twist
- Really focus on using the vertical knee as an opposing force to the binding arm
Overall, hearing his adjustments and the talk afterward, here are my takeaways:
- Be careful not to get lazy in a posture. Be very mindful and present. Scan the body and ask about the spine, arms/legs, opposing forces, balance, pelvis, back, all. Really think about each and ask where they are.
- Don't be afraid to play around with and experiment.
- Go slow! It is not to get through the sequence but a devotional to the practice. It is not a checklist.
- Use the drishdi to check your accuracy. This is a great pause to see where you are aligned and correct.
- Always work on reaching and activating.
Practice notes (yoga):
Really excited to work w/ David Garrigues for 6-weeks. I've watched Asana Kitchen for a while and like his energy and teaching style.
Day 1 at the Shala.
Getting lazy over the holiday finally caught up with me! Not only was I stiff but I also couldn't remember the sequence. That was partially being out of practice, partly jet lag, but mostly because I was intimidated by all the great yogis! 😂
The Shala is packed; I'd guess maybe 30-40 yogis and everyone is excellent!
I enjoyed every moment and it felt divine to practice. Even missing an asana here and there didn't get me down. In fact, it made me even more excited to see the progress I'll achieve here.
28 January 2017
Dressed for dinner in my dashiki from Nigeria 😍
Waiting in the lounge at Mumbai airport for the connection to Trivandrum.
Some SRK for his #1 fan, Addie ❤
Really super hotel buffet - highly recommend! Ordered the upma and idli. But, I have to say, my Honeys upma is infinitely better!
Beautiful view, from the 14th floor, of the Arabian Sea and Mumbai city center. The contrast of the slums below and wealth above gives a lot to think about. A reminder that in life you are born into a lucky or unlucky life situation, no more or less.
After arriving to the hotel I went upstairs to check out the rooftop bar. It's rated as Top 10 rooftop bar in the world by Condé Nast. Chatted with another traveler from Vancouver about travel, Chomsky, and, of course, Trump. Reminder to check out Michel Foucault vs Chomsky debate.
Hello, Zurich! So glad to make a stop over in Zurich! Reminded me how I loved Switzerland 🇨🇭 Quick layover so just enough time to go to the Swiss Lounge for a shower and omelette.
27 January 2017
Four Seasons 1404. A Four Seasons in Mumbai w/ seaside view is the same rate as a Hilton in Manhattan so I had to splurge - who could pass up such a good value!?
Had expiring miles to kill so I sprang for the Business Class. Favorite things... extra space, lay flat bed, meals and drinks are exceptional, service level, lotions and towels in the lav.
Changing out all my foreign currency before the trip. Exchanged notes from Switzerland 🇨🇭, Oman 🇴🇲, UAE 🇦🇪, Norway 🇳🇴, Czech Republic 🇨🇿, Euro, and more.