I'm starting to feel like poor perpetually-left-out-of-the-cool-crowd Jan Brady what with all the people who are either currently in Mysore, wanting to be in Mysore but not, not wanting to be in Mysore under any circumstances, dammit!, writing about Mysore pro and con, or sitting on the fence about whether or not they ever want to go.
Personally? I'm a fence sitter. I'm more attracted to a month in Byron Bay with Dena and Jack than a month or two in noisy India with hundreds of ashtangis coconutklatching after practice. But I try to never say never because before you know it I will be sipping coconut water from a straw, wrapped in a colorful Indian shawl and saying "Really??? He said that??" with the rest of them.
But what about those of us left on our own by the annual pilgrimage of our teachers back to the Mothership, sometimes for months on end?
I have only been going to my new shala a month so I can't really say that the senior teacher there is my 'teacher' yet. But I was enjoying her. I felt confident with her teaching and her adjustments. But now she's gone. For three months.
Which means that we have a new sub for each of those months. Certainly this fine, I'm not going to bitch about it too much, but it does sometimes feel like I am just paying my portion of the rent and heat so I have a place to go practice.
And don't get me wrong. I love going to the shala and I'm not going to stop (it's the only warm place in town!) It's just that it's pretty clear I'm on my own for the duration. The subs are fine. They may even be great. But they are transitory.
And yes I already hear you: You are your own teacher etc etc
Except when you need someone to learn your body and it's limitations. Except when you could use someone who is actually getting to know you and your practice for the long term.
It gets tiring telling each new person about my wonky hamstring or to ease up on that adjustment because, well, I am older and stiff and not used to winter and so everything feels creaky...
So I started thinking that this might be a good time to go check out the other shala—which is even more traditional and less conveniently located— but wisely, I checked the web site first.
Guess what? Both senior teachers are in ... Mysore!
Yes it's lovely that the teachers all make their journeys back to the source and I appreciate their dedication. And who can blame someone for wanting to get the hell out the frozen hinterlands for the winter months? But I also appreciate the teachers who stay home.
Because you know what? we need you.