Mysore – settling in the cleanest town in India

After the first days of acclimatization in Mumbai, we have really arrived in India. We started our everyday life in Mysore, which is of course a bit extraordinary compared to how we live at home, still we do all the normal stuff : we are doing yoga, studying, reading, working, etc.

You could ask the question rightly: Why do you call it holidays then?

Well, we do not. By no means in the classical sense of the word. Still, our minds are getting more relaxed day-by-day, a certain switchover has already taken place

2 weeks have passed and we are in a totally different state of mind – mentally and emotionally as well. Through this simplified way of life – we only have as much stuff around us as we can stuff into a 40l backpack – our mind has started to get simplified and more focused. Getting adjusted to the local lifestyle – slowing down and doing things in a more conscious way – is a real medicine for our overloaded western mind.

Mysore market

While Marc is devoting himself to the science of yoga almost 100%, I am taking life easy and enjoying my days moment by moment: trying out cute breakfast places, visiting the local organic shops and cafes, etc. I have booked an Ayurvedic nutrition and cooking course already which hasn’t started yet, so I am using this laid-back period to see a bit of Gokulam, this fancy district of Mysore where we are staying this month. This is the most relaxed and pleasant part of the city, basically a residential area that has several yoga schools, Ayurvedic clinics and spas.

Being is Mysore – the Indian capital of Ashtanga yoga – doing yoga is almost compulsory. I took up regular morning classes: hatha yoga in Mysory style, which means self-practice. Although there is a teacher in the room (s)he is not guiding the whole class, only the first prayer + pranayama and the last couple of asanas. In between, you are doing your own practice, the teacher is only there to adjust you and help you with deepening your practice. I found this method a bit strange first, but I am slowly getting into it. Actually, it suits me really well, as I generally do not like following the pace of other people. This way, I can really focus on myself. If you tend to watch and compare yourself to others at regular yoga classes, Mysore style is just for you. Here you have no chance to do so.

Mysore palace

My teacher is a young Indian girl, who does not look cool or well-travelled, she has no tattoos – so no physical signs of enlightenment 🙂 – still she is the best yoga teacher I have ever had. She is fully present at the classes non-stop correcting our postures and focusing on our development. I am really grateful for having found this yoga school.

Rereading the post I wrote about our experiences in Mumbai the positive changes we went through in the last 10 days since we arrived in Mysore seem to me even more apparent. It is sad how much our time in Mumbai was condemned by the fear we came to India with. Although we are open-minded people, we still let the prejudices – based on horror stories – brought with us from home influence our minds and our approach to the country.

The fear from the unknown – as always – stemmed from our own ignorance. Everything was strange for us here: the accent, the mimics, the gestures, the traditions, the smells and the noises. Everything.

What was foreign once is slowly getting familiar, the gestures that were first hard to conceive are starting to make sense just like understanding the Indian accent is getting easier day by day. As we are accepting and adapting the local way of living – by dressing and doing things almost like the Indians – we are more able to take in all the beautiful things around us: the cascade of intense warm colors, tasty dishes, the colorful dresses and stunning jewelry of the women on the street, the variety of skin- and eye colors (as a makeup artist this inspires me most), etc.

In the last couple of days, I started to open up for the world on a deeper level, watching people with deep interest, and the reaction from the people has amazed me. I can tell, how much more open these people are than in the western world: they can feel you and your intentions right away. I haven’t received so many spontaneous smiles in a while.

E.g. this morning on the way to my yoga class I was smiling at a little child taking off to school: he was about 5 or 6 years old, and he was carrying a huge backpack and another bag which was also way too big for his stature. Looking at his face, you could tell that he was focusing enormously to keep his balance. And then my eyes met with his mom’s who was also watching the kid’s heroic fight from the front yard. In this moment, we were no strangers, there was no cultural or language difference between us; we were only two women looking into each other’s eyes communicating in the universal language of love.

Palace garden

These are the moments it is worth traveling for and leaving the comfort of our home. If we can slow down and open up our hearts, we quickly come to the conclusion that no matter in which corner of the world we live, we are just the same with the exact same desires deep inside us. Skin-color, language and religion is not important. This knowledge simplifies everything making the world a much more beautiful place – less chaotic and dangerous.

If you wanna find out how we discovered the beauties of  slow traveling , click here.

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