Five weeks to go

The application for study at KPJAYI was sent on the first of November, and accepted ten days later. The flights were booked shortly after and accommodation was facilitated by a good friend’s recommendation and another friend’s help with getting the deposit to the landlords. The Indian visa will get sorted in early January together with the tactical household arrangements (cleaner, dog walker…anything I can do to make my temporary abandonment of my little family a bit easier).

My second and last (so far) trip to Mysore was in 2005.

Then…

– Even though you were supposed to send a letter of intention to study at what was then called Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, you could just rock up and register.

– Guruji would ask for your name and write it down phonetically in Kannada in his little notebook. He’d take partial payments on account of the difficulty of getting enough cash out of ATMs, and was not concerned about it in the slightest.

– Even though 2005 was a busy year because there was a huge celebration planned for Guruji’s 90th birthday, still the numbers were nothing like what Mysore is these days.

– You’d be expected to only do Primary for at least a full month of your first visit to Mysore, and very, very few people would be authorised.

– Guruji was still teaching and Sharath and Saraswati assisted him, with spurious disagreements argued in very quick Kannada between any two or sometimes even the three of them, to the chagrin of the poor student that often would be stuck in a deep backbend or any other challenging asana, waiting for them to agree. After helping with Guruji’s classes, both Sharath and Saraswati had their own later in the morning.

Now…

– You have to apply on the first of exactly three months before your planned study date (so for me, 1st November right after the clock struck midnight, Indian time). A lot of people get rejected and have to try on subsequent months or, like it happened to me a couple of years ago, completely miss the opportunity.

– Students have to pay for their whole stay in advance and receive a student card that they need to have with them so that Sharath can learn their names.

– KPJAYI is truly packed with students, a testament to the exponential growth in popularity of this practice.

– The number of authorised and certified teachers has massively increased, again as a result of the practice becoming very popular and many people having now been practicing for 5, 10 and more years. People also, from what I hear, can get moved onto Intermediate on their second or third week there.

– Guruji is sadly no longer with us; Sharath is the man and Saraswati has got her own shala.

There are enough good Mysore blogs out there to make me wonder why I’ve started another one, but I think it will be interesting to document this trip’s experience against my first two trips ten and eleven years ago. May this one be as transformational as the previous ones were!

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