I'm nearing the end of this wonderful trip. I have so much more to see and do, but time is running out. I've got a full agenda planned for my next visit!
Here's a picture of fire dancing on the beach in Arambol! Ok, so it's not me, but this is exactly the kind of playing with fire that I aspire to do. I continue to practice my moves here in Mysore under the tutelage of Trixie. I'm hoping that I'll be able to take lessons back in Toronto so I can play on the beach this summer.
This is a photo from back in Arambol when we were doing our Iyengar yoga course. I cannot explain the cinching, blood-constricting pain I felt the first time I hung myself upside down like a bat, but after awhile I quite looked forward to the oxygenating head rush! We were encouraged to practice this before our 6:30am practice. Coming into the yoga hall everyday at 6 am, which was in complete darkness, was a bizarre experience. There were usually 10 or more bodies hanging this way that we had to be careful not to bump into. Our teacher,
Sharat, hangs like this in his hut for one hour each day! One morning I was scolded for hanging only for about 3minutes or so because I was late...
Wanitha Ashok, AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America)certified fitness trainer and examiner was the woman who made my 2 day Intro to Nia workshop happen in Bangalore. She advertised in local newspapers and brought in over 50 participants, some of whom had travelled from Goa (about 10 hours by train) and Kerala (about 5 hours by train). I was lucky to have a really wide range of participants - from 20-somethings to septogenarians (70ish), everyone took something away and we all learned from each other. Wanitha's a real inspiration - not only is she active in the fitness community but she's also a mom of 2 teenagers and a recycled craft artist who works with waste like used greeting cards,wedding invites and bottles to create new works of original art. Her innovative nature is what brought Nia to India! And who would have thought that Facebook would be responsible for that (Facebook is how we met!).
This is the stage that the people at the Park Regency Hotel made for the workshop. I felt a little like a celebrity, especially after one of the participants gave me a glittery sparkly bangle to wear on the second day. The most fun was when others came up on the stage to join me during free dance and the photographers were taking action shots!
Everyone was really receptive and open to learning about Nia. There was this palpable excitement in the room that keep me fuelled up for this workshop, a first for me. There was much enthusiasm, particularly among the men (can you believe the workshop had 50% men? This is unheard of in North America!).
I couldn't escape the obligatory "class picture", but am now glad that the students insisted on it.
After a really energetic weekend in busy Bangalore, it was so nice to come back to Swaji's house in Mysore and sleep in non roach-infested surroundings (my choice of the Lonely Planet-recommended
Brindavan hotel in Bangalore turned out to be a disappointing one. I had a constant battle with the many staff who chose to leave half-eaten room service trays outside my door which invited the nasty critters in). Best of all was cuddling with Tashi's(Swaji's dog) 2 puppies after they'd had their feeding from mom!