So we finished our first month with Vijay and survived intact! I am so proud of Chris – he really didn’t enjoy the enforced early morning regime much but stuck it out, only wagging class once – well done that man… 🙂 Yesterday, after the last class, he was in high spirits (i.e. jubilantly smug) and went straight off to buy celebratory beers from the Big Bazaar. The fridge in this Brahmin establishment hummed its guilty secret all day, until we eventually shared one of them in our room before bed, giggling with clandestine glee.
I have decided not to book straight in with Vijay for another month. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a gifted teacher, but something inside me tells me to use the opportunity of being out here to try a few different teachers. So this morning I did a drop-in class with Masterji, which started at a luxurious 9am, and is just two minutes from my home. When I was told about this teacher, I heard ‘Master G’, and was imagining a wannabe yoga rock star wearing shades, vest and trackie bums and bling. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
When I arrived, I was early and the gate was closed. As I leaned against the wall waiting, I half-watched an old man shuffle down the street, then stood more upright as he stopped beside me to open the gate and nodded for me to follow up. “Are you Master G?” I asked, not able to hide my surprise. He nodded again and I noticed his kind eyes.
“Slowly, slowly”, he said, as we mounted a very steep, metal staircase on the side of a building, all the way up to the roof top (the kind where you can see the ground through the steps, gulp). As soon as I entered the shala I smiled. I’ve always loved being high up; a welcome breeze wafted through open slats beneath the roof as I looked out over the Mysore roof-scape. It was big, light and airy, so different from the other sweaty cave-like shalas I’ve been in out here.
There were only five in the class, and the atmosphere was very relaxed, friendly and informal. We all chatted with Masterji before we started, and I could see how we were welcomed as friends, not just students – from the good-natured banter, it was clear that he had a good relationship with each of his existing students. I felt very happy. Masterji told me he would just observe me today, as he needed to get to know my body before he would adjust – this was good to hear.
My practice felt wonderful. I don’t know whether it was the later time, the gentle breeze merging with the mid-morning heat or the happy vibe of the place, but it just flowed. I could tell Masterji was watching closely – with only five in the room he was very present for all of us. After Vijay’s busy classes of between 15 and 19, it felt like a real treat to have such personalised attention. He noticed immediately my hamstring problem, without me telling him, which filled me with confidence. He also gave me a few seemingly simple but actually quite revelatory tips – for example a small tweak of my foot placement in lotus and suddenly binding was so much easier. From just one class I feel I’ve already learnt a lot.
Halfway through the class a team of workmen arrived to carry out ‘essential work’ to the shala walls – they weren’t to be dissuaded. Masterji apologised and, for the rest of the class we breathed to the backdrop of banging and drilling, along with the raised voices of the workmen – they didn’t seem to see the need to soften their tone for the yogis – made me chuckle… 😉 Still, despite this I felt very focused and enjoyed a wonderful savasana of ‘buzzing relaxation’ – my favourite post-yoga state, which has been strangely absent until today.
Masterji is a very understated teacher, and has a kind, gentle and relaxed vibe, and I can tell he has a great sense of humour, not to mention a huge amount of experience, knowledge and wisdom. The class felt refreshingly light-hearted, which I think is what I needed after what has felt like a very serious, intense month. At the end he told me that there were a few basic things I need to sort out, and after that ‘things will flow smoothly for you and you will do wonders’. I felt hugely grateful and inspired.
So, today I feel happy and full of excitement and hope for what the rest of my time out here will bring. I am keen to work more with Masterji, but will be trying out another teacher, Ajay Kumar, for the next week, so will bring news of that soon.
Yours happily… 🙂