After a few previous trips here, Mysore feels so familiar, I don't blink at the cows in the road or the oncoming erratically moving traffic. I recalled a teacher telling me after my first trip that it was a privilege to go practice yoga in India. Like so many lessons learned, I didn't understand this until years later. At that point, I didn't know I'd ever return, nor did I quite have a language for what I'd experienced.
As I walked to practice this a.m. I reminded myself to be grateful. That this wasn't ordinary. That however crowded the shala was, how easy it really is to jump a plane and go, not everyone has the chance to do this. That however vexed a lot of we students can be figuring out reconciling the balance between Mysore-life and home- life and loved ones, we had the luxury of a choice to come or not. Granted leaving home comes with it's own set of sacrifices, there's a magic here like no other. I've yet to find as potent a combination of the support of a dedicated community of practitioners and the stepped up transformation that occurs in the practice room at the source of Ashtanga Yoga.
On another note, I saw in the news that the pioneering raw food restaurant Cafe Gratitude are closing its Nor Cal locations due to lawsuits. I lived in the Mission of San Francisco when the first Cafe Gratitude opened its doors nearby and came to rely on it for both great, nourishing food and an insta-attitude adjustment toward the positive. While I'm saddened that internal complexities have led to lawsuits and ultimately closing, I want to add to my gratitude list Cafe Gratitude for its pioneering efforts toward health and community. The path of transformation is a complicated and delicate walk, I can only imagine how complicated the transformation business is.