This morning, I went to mysore practice at my friends Derek's and Brenda's studio in downtown Fargo. This is only the third mysore class in this area. The first class happened when Derek's and Brenda's teacher Casey Palmer came here to teach a workshop back in October (see this post). When Casey was here, he suggested to us that we start a regular rhythm of having mysore classes here in Fargo-Moorhead, even if just once a week. It doesn't matter if just a couple of people show up. The important thing is to start something and keep it going no matter what. Heeding Casey's suggestion, Derek and Brenda started the first mysore class at their studio last Saturday (New Year's Eve).
I was occupied with something last week, and couldn't make the class. Yesterday, I was going through a little internal struggle with myself whether to come to mysore this morning or not. I am still either modifying or taking more time to get into a number of the postures in primary that involve half-lotus variations, and the idea of doing this in "public" makes me self-conscious. Of course, most of you out there who do your practice at a shala will probably be laughing at me right now and thinking: But isn't this the point of mysore practice? If you can't come to mysore as you are, and do your actual practice as it is (with modifications and whatnot), then what good is mysore practice? Indeed, being able to accept that one needs to do whatever practice works for one and do it honestly no matter where one is is the practice in and of itself. Anything else is just maya and ego. Easy enough to say, but I still had to struggle with my ego nonetheless. Finally, when I woke up this morning, I managed to tell myself that I will just walk in there, do my practice, do whatever modifications and take however much time I need to get into the offending postures in question, and that will be it. And I guess it helps that I always take off my glasses when I practice, so I won't see anybody looking at me.
If you know anything about what goes on in mysore classes, you will know that all of the above is just stuff going on in my head (chitta vrttis, as Yoga Sutra 1.2 puts it). When I arrived at the studio, there were about 20 people in the room. More than half were "newbies" who were not familiar with the sequence. So Derek and Brenda were running around telling them what to do next, and none of them had the time or space to be looking at what I was doing anyway. Even if they did, I wouldn't know, as the mysore room was very dimly lit, and I wasn't wearing my glasses :-) (I am very nearsighted). In fact, they were so busy running around helping people that they forgot to do the opening invocation till I was way into the practice; I had to jump out of Janu Sirsasana C into Samasthihi in order to join everybody for the opening invocation! I think that would have been a Youtube moment right there, if anybody had a video camera...
So now you know what a self-absorbed egotistical person I am. I wonder how I'll survive Mysore/KPJAYI/Sharath, when I make it there (I know my ego won't...). Anyway, while I'm at it, I may as well make a plug here for our mysore community here in Fargo-Moorhead. If you live in Fargo-Moorhead (or if you ever are visiting here), please think about joining our Saturday morning mysore class (what the heck is mysore? See this for more details.) It's every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at Ecce Art and Yoga. Maybe I'll see you (or you'll see me) there? :-)