homework.

There’s been something funny in the air in Mysore this time round. I’d thought it was just me, but after conference today I got a sense this was something collective.

Though its not as though I can really compare. This is my second visit to Mysore. The last time I came was three years ago. It is more a sense that people seem to believe there’s something markedly different about practicing in the shala now. Nostalgic attachments to the way things were are nothing new. Even I who was blissfully naive to the Ashtanga world on my first trip – I had no idea what Kino McGregor was – was never too far from a complaint on the changing atmosphere of practicing in Mysore.

And now Sharath is reflecting these themes back to us. After all he has the best vantage point of us all. That’s why he’s sat talking about the ones who just ‘pass through’, the ones who want the photo moment and the instagrammed asana (Sleepless I searched #kpjayi on instagram last night, it was a waking nightmare).

If last weeks conference didn’t make us cringe enough when the first hand to go up asks how he gets authorised; this week a question – that seemed to come from a place of genuine confusion – asked should we still come here if we don’t want to become teachers, i.e. leaving space for those on the authorisation ladder. When Sharath just looked and said ‘I don’t know what you are talking about’, didn’t we all feel small then realising it was just our own stuff after all. That we have to all take responsibility for our own elbows when we’re at the gates before led practice. That we are creating this, not Sharath or anyone else. And that this is a collective responsibility. There’s no point abdicating responsibility elsewhere.

Personally it’s my instinct when people get aggressive to retreat, so much so I got told off by my fellow 6.30 waiting group, who literally pushed me into the shala the other morning, “You’re always so slow!”. What’s the the happy medium on the passive/aggressive scale??

I suppose that here (this is a presumption from my own limited means of tuning into the collective energy) there’s lots of people who are wanting to be seen, by Sharath, to be validated, recognised, authorised. It’s not that I don’t get the desire to be seen by one’s teacher but Mysore for me is a place to come to disappear. In the shala I’m a zero. This lesson disturbs me as much as anyone else. It shows itself up in a fat complex, repulsive skin rashes, compulsive shopping, blocked sinuses.

On the conscious level I’ve been spending a lot of time asking myself the reason why I wanted to come here. I’ve been getting caught up in the idea that I needed a purpose to be here other than the practice. After all in order to get here I had to sell Mysore to my PhD supervisors: I’ll have so much time to write! Think how productive I will be! And persuade an unconvinced Director of Post Grad studies in my faculty: “This is what we’ll call an informal arrangement”. I had to move out of my rented room and become homeless again. I put my belongings into an airing cupboard and said goodbyes to friends, lover, cat. Sometimes the act of leaving becomes such a big deal you feel you need to return with something to show for it. But what can I tell people but to say actually Mysore is an incubator for madness. It’s not going to make me productive in any productive sense. I might evolve but only sideways. I won’t get a shiny teaching certificate, or ‘find myself’. I won’t be instagramming asana porn from a beach, I probably won’t be getting any new postures and might just be plodding through primary for the duration. I will get lots of itchy insect bites though and inconvenient tanlines. I’ll return with dodgy intestines and dirty feet, sunburnt nose and clothes destroyed from bucket washing.

It’s hard to explain why the practice is an end in itself. Because its not something that can be explained in language, only direct experience. It too can feel hard to keep concentrating on that even here where desires are strong and confused and often ambivalent. Where we’re all a bit confused about where we stand in relation to one another, to Sharath, to the practice, to the lineage, to India. Because you can come to Mysore and not change at all. You can surf on the bubble and never get taken over by it all. You can come and get what you want and a vegan pancake and pass on through.

*

Before I read the Yoga Sutras I was reading Sociology. It was Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault and Gayatri Spivak that taught me that ‘I’ was only a composite of networks of power, dispositions and that before I could speak I had to unlearn my privilege as loss.

In my brief forays into the Ashtanga/yoga blogosphere, in between the lines I read a lot concerning positionality; confusion and criticism about unexamined western romanticism and privilege. There’s plenty of violence to be done, and is done, and that’s evident in the trivial: from not covering our female flesh in India and Om tattoos, to cultural appropriation and ignorance. We are all ignorant so long as we’re trying to speak in a language we haven’t taken the time to learn.

And then last night I was reminded how violence is universal, and that although in one schema I may hold privilege, in another I’m just a body upon which violence (specifically gendered) can be enacted.

I was walking home, it was 9pm and I was mere moments away from where I live in Gokulam. Before I understood what was happening a hand grabbed my breast. The sensation was so unexpected I gasped. A strange noise passed my lips as I looked up to see a young boy on a bicycle peddling away muttering something.

I am certainly not naive to the gross gender inequalities that exist in India. Nor am I naive of its complex and perplexing views on sexuality and masculinity. Further still I am highly aware as a (white) woman in India objectification happens on a daily basis. I’ve been grabbed in all the usual places, followed by groups of men, harassed by rickshaw drivers, touched inappropriately by a security guard, mistaken for a prostitute. And if I need to clarify: I’m always covered from neck to ankle in India (I wasn’t asking for it).

Yet there was something about the mundanity of last nights encounter that it took everything to carry the sadness round the corner to my house so I could just get behind a door and sink. Such invasion of space and one’s body is never acceptable but I felt I was pretty wise to it, be sensible, cover yourself, that’s just how things are. Perhaps it was the youth of my perpetrator, perhaps because I was so close to home, perhaps because I’d spent too long looking at Gokulam with a rose-tint it came and grabbed me back to reality.

In between the tears I wondered how to account for the situation, with violence going both sides, where education is lacking and ignorance is growing. A situation where even when you cover those shoulders you’re still on object. How did I become an object? And what are ‘they’ (male, other, Indian) to me? How can we get to a situation where we can see each other clearly?

*

Being a student of Ashtanga in Mysore is a practice as good as any for a bodily understanding of what it means to unlearn your privilege as loss. Being here is where you do your homework.

I will have in an undergraduate class, let’s say, a young, white, male student, politically-correct, who will say: “I am only a bourgeois white male, I can’t speak.” In that situation – it’s peculiar, because I am in the position of power and their teacher and, on the other hand, I am not a bourgeois white male – I say to them: “Why not develop a certain degree of rage against the history that has written such an abject script for you that you are silenced?” Then you begin to investigate what it is that silences you, rather than take this very deterministic position – since my skin colour is this, since my sex is this, I cannot speak. I call these things, as you know, somewhat derisively, chromatism: basing everything on skin colour – “I am white, I can’t speak” – and genitalism: depending on what genitals you have, you can or cannot speak in certain situations.
From this position, then, I say you will of course not speak in the same way about the Third World material, but if you make it your task not only to learn what is going on there through language, through specific programmes of study, but also at the same time through a historical critique of your position as the investigating person, then you will see that you have earned the right to criticize, and you will be heard. When you take the position of not doing your homework – “I will not criticize because of my accident of birth, the historical accident” – that is a much more pernicious position.
In one way you take a risk to criticize, of criticizing something which is Other – something which you used to dominate. I say that you have to take a certain risk: to say “I won’t criticize” is salving your conscience, and allowing you not to do any homework. On the other hand, if you criticize having earned the right to do so, then you are indeed taking a risk and you will probably be made welcome, and can hope to be judged with respect.

Gayatri Spivak (1990) The Postcolonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. Routledge: London, p62-3.

the end of the world.

I’d forgotten about the smells. Every inhalation is an intoxicant. Returning to Mysore is a trip.

I arrived on the tail end of weeks of sleeplessness and living in freezing temperatures without heat and water. Disregarding rest I walked across the town back and forth high as a kite. I kept seeing faces distort. I swear I was hallucinating.

Being here is like a dream. I feel as though I’ve gone back in time. Or that I’ve always been here wandering these dust roads and the past three years never happened.

On the last leg from the dark grotty streets of downtown Bangalore to the contrastingly quaint morning glow of Mysore, we made a quick chai stop. That first cup of chai, injected into my sleepy stupor, was blissful beyond words. A kid nearby kept staring at the odd lonely pasty woman and I stared back at him, stoned on just everything.

Entering the bubble, I have already made contact with the politics and the scene. It amuses me to think how much this turned me off, how much it disappointed me, all those three years ago. I have been to register two times now only to be told “You come tomorrow”, “You come tomorrow”. People wait from 1pm for 3pm registration now. Things have sped up in my absence. Okay tomorrow, tomorrow. I turn away with a smile.

Mysore is evolving. It’s bigger, better and shinier. This is how it should be. Mysore is evolving the way its people are evolving. Where it’s headed, no-one can tell. Time collapses in on itself here.

I ponder sometimes whether Mysore is only a world created inside my head, complete and perfect in its myriad imperfections. Bodies travel space and time to this place where everything moves in circles. Time and space and bodies folding endlessly. Daily existence is first and foremost sensory. That’s why the memories last longer, and the love happens easier.

 

exhausted sovereignty.

I occasionally have to travel to different places to say something and come back to say something else. Fortunately I’ve always enjoyed staying nights alone in cheap hotel rooms. Last week I checked into a room with a decor so revolting, windows that wouldn’t open, and a view of an industrial rooftop framed by dulled grey skies. I was effectively nowhere, a non-space. Television with 5 channels, hair and body wash in one stuck to the wall, towels too white and too stiff. I check in, empty my belongings, shower, roam naked, eat, space out.

Non-spaces are good company when you feel like being non, when the work of gathering oneself for one more round of being who you are just feels too much. Exhausted sovereignty: it’s something I can’t stop thinking about.

Adjusting other bodies I’ve become hyper-aware of others’ practice, bodies, how people feel one day to the next. It’s hard sometimes to switch that off and immerse myself back into my practice. There’s a lag – I’m still in other people not yet centred back into my own skin.

I’m still unsure if I would ever make a good teacher (whatever good is used as a measure). I know assisting in class makes my day. Which seems a good enough measure to me. Giving is tiring though. And my practice is less selfish than it was. Which is exhausting. I liked my selfish practice.

Regular practice might come across as militant or self-denying, as if I’m trying to cultivate an ascetic lifestyle rather than thinking about my selfish desires. But it’s only ever been about desire. When I use the term desire I’m not talking about love or sex or any of those modern conventions we tend to attach to desire but more about desire as flow between things that may be a person or an object, or something more abstract, an ideal or a philosophy, or for us ashtangis, samadhi.

The best I can describe my desire to practice is (to paraphrase Sara Ahmed) as a desire to escape the daily exhaustion of insisting in normalcy in order to exist. There’s a labour to remaining within the bounds of normal, of which some feel more acutely than others. And yet there’s also a comfort to passing as normal because it means staying under the radar. The tale of romantic love for example tells a story where love is a placeholder for the normal good life. Love, we are told, brings stability, happiness, absolves us and makes us complete. Yet the tale of romantic love like any normative structure constrains possibilities that desire may lead us to; it constrains imagining the yet to be imagined. Desire is often contradictory, it might even feel unbearable and rarely takes you to your predestined location. Desire is never reducible to one thing.

The ashtanga sequence is a created order which makes it an extraordinary tool for enabling a sense of security from which we can deal with the world and its precarity. The daily repetition, ritual, the sameness of motion acts like a holding ground. Sometimes that’s what feels necessary to keep your head above water; its the bare minimum; a coping strategy. It can help make things feel bearable even when you remain at a distance from what society describes as normality. I haven’t yet figured out how this works. So I keep going back curious, trying to figure it out.

I tend to believe it works by undoing privilege, attachments, and a sense of sovereignty. We might not realise how we inhabit these structures until we start trying to wear them down. In a yoga practice this is felt physically first – visceral signs are useful in pointing out bodily fragility. Illness, dying slowly, grief and loss are all ways of finding possibilities in deterioration – sometimes the only conceivable way to become something other than what you already are.

That’s if you want things to change though, because it doesn’t have to. Not everyone works with a conception of the self as incoherent and ambivalent, nor do they feel comfortable with that. Nor do I expect anyone to accept the desire to experience the edge of what is bearable as a form of reasoning for undertaking a yoga practice. But maybe through the structure of the practice it is possible to discover a form elastic enough to manage what living throws at us. And undertaking the risk of believing in utopian ideals like samadhi or love provides some traction for us in the somewhat lacklustre present.

In thinking about exhausted sovereignty I have been thinking about what it might mean to construct a world where the means of reproduction does not depend on the wearing out of bodies. Or where our objects (like love) do not destabilize the world they are disciplined to organize. The bodily wearing out we feel in practice is a radically new experience of the bodies we inhabit all too often decayed and desensitised by substances and stimulants the world offers to us as modes of getting by. In my academic life I often ponder the idea of building space for flourishing. This is easily dismissed as naive or trivial, it’s what happens when you spend too much time staring at clouds and doing yoga-stuff.

Yet when I speak of allowing space for flourishing I am suggesting allowing space to be incoherent, inconsistent, and ambivalent; to desire without a clear object (or to desire for bad objects, or dead objects); to think about the self as one who fluctuates and normativity as a man-made rhythm and not an obligation; to think about capaciousness; for optimism not to be devalued; to have freedom to feel things for no reason and to give room for the inassimilable.

*

Last night I read this story about solitude. In it the author describes how when travelling on a commuter rail line he sits in a rear-facing seat. “I like the illusion of being drawn from the present into the future. To sit there is to withdraw.”

It’s an ongoing project, to retrieve the residue.

This is the little I know.

I’ve just been trying to tell you this.

I.

Two years ago I was preoccupied with the idea of finding my home, with finding my people. Two years ago I started this blog, two years ago I fled the grey skies for the heat of India. I thought I was going to figure it all out. I wanted everything. I had nothing.

II.

Sometimes I forget I am 28 because I still feel like the lost child waiting for her mother to come home. It’s a funny life when the worst has already happened by age 15. When everyone is so desperate to grow up, you’ve already grown. And when everyone else finally grows you’ve grown even further. You’re out on the periphery, impatient, always waiting for everyone to catch up. And even when you know they’re not coming, you’re still waiting.

III.

But I still don’t feel angry. I don’t know why.

IV.

I thought for a little while that maybe I could become normal. I thought I could shake off all the dust of the past and pass as normal. Turns out my performance wasn’t as convincing as I thought. When you don’t try to be crazy – when you actually labour to tuck those frayed edges out of view – you don’t see it, you don’t get it when people drag you back out to the peripheries. They just don’t know how lonely it is out here on the outskirts. I was just looking for someone to join me. Affect alien.

V.

I’m not anybody’s type. To be a type means performing a relation to some form of normativity; it’s just an act of becoming something else (not yourself). I’d rather not see humanity in types but in colour; I’d rather keep undoing my attachments; I’d rather let go of expectations.

VI.

I never keep enough of myself to really know who I am. You would never guess it but I give it away all the time. I give myself over to an idea, to an artwork, to literature, to a yoga practice, and sometimes in my foolish moments, to a person. I don’t really do relationships, and this is why. (or getting laid – I don’t actually do that). The yoga sutras tell me to lose my selfish, personal desires that attach me to things I don’t need. And so I got rid of the clutter out of my life, the things, material objects, bad attachments and desires to people (most of them). When you don’t have anything you have your self always, the sutras write. The stuff is just a fog that hides us from coming face to face with the only real possession we can claim. At 21, when I was alone travelling the world I wrote in my diary: ‘Even when you have lost everything you have not lost yourself’. But what is this self we don’t lose? I can’t see it, sometimes I can feel it. But most of the time it doesn’t feel like very much at all.

VII.

People are afraid to merge. Every time I drop back into a backbend it feels like my heart is breaking. And even though I can’t pick myself up again, I keep doing it over and over again. Giving yourself over to another is a bad idea, or so I’m told.

VIII.

Aren’t all the connections we make always in some way misaligned? Aren’t we always making contradictory demands of each other; aren’t we always investing in fantasies that always exist beyond what an other can provide? Isn’t the act of truly communicating always so troublesome for we never really speak in our own words but in frames already provided that limit our desires into codes and norms. If love is a moment when we admit to wanting to become different then no wonder it falls apart because we never found the capacity to break outside of the normative fantasies of love, and sex, and friendship. If only we could pause and start to see each other clearly.

IX.

What does it mean this desire to be known? The exchange of stories that seek only similarity is just noise. And sure noise can help drown out the loneliness momentarily, if that’s what you need. The writings here have sought to note all the things I have lost and gained. I was writing in order to hold myself together. I’m trying to the tie up the ends here, but perhaps I’m looking at it all wrong. Writing is always a performance of stuckness, it is an unraveling not a putting together. Sometimes I wonder what comes first, the event or my writing of it? My writing of all the affective surges of living, from sadness, joy, boredom and of course love, are only poor sketches, and the people that embody the words, who may or may not know how deeply they are woven into the words here, are mere shadows in my mind. A writer is only as good as the friends who allow her to become.

X.

Sometimes people express surprise at my honesty on this blog or how I have used my own life in my academic work. And true something about personal disclosure/exposure is sort of vile. And often it has been a result of naivety or youthful clumsiness and I’ve had to edit myself out later. But it would be more vile if it were the truth. It’s not the truth. That’s not to say I’m a pathological liar and I’ve made everything up. Events happened to me and I observed and experienced them. The rest is just stories. I can make a hundred different stories, each one being true in their own way. But it doesn’t mean that if I tell a story it holds the truth of me. Just because something happened to me doesn’t mean I can understand you. There are a million stories you and I will never tell.

I’m wide awake.

The thing about growing older is the realization that the dream of finally living life, of becoming a ‘real’ person is only that, a dream. It’s the devastating realization that the life you are living right now is all there is and that you are no longer secluded by that childish voice that declares: ‘When I grow up I’m going to be…’ You’ve grown, you’ve lived; the surprises peter out from here.

And each day comes round no matter how distant they appear at first, a year seems such a long and beautiful or dreary stretch as a child. A year now is too soon and too quick and too easily forgotten. A year has to be tied to a meaning, a purpose, it has to be collated with activities. What did you do to clutter your days? And what of the days, weeks, years forgotten, for if we cannot remember our lives, we are stuck in the continual present of active forgetting. We do things in order to remember them or write them or capture them in art and elevate them from the day-to-day drabness.

Growing older is a continual loss of all the persons you could have been and all the things that could have happened. It is a process of collecting efforts and successes filled with hard work and varied encounters and lots of nothingness and loneliness and failures and happy accidents. It’s happening upon unhappy events and wandering through them and being changed or chipped away by some indescribable forces like loss and grief and friendships and relationships that fall apart. It’s sitting at a table on your 28th birthday surrounded by beautiful faces you never even knew existed a year previous to that day. It’s seeing a life a year at a time instead of daily, and reflecting on whether you lived up to the expectations of your age. It’s wondering why I feel so childish and naive and innocent at an age where I should feel experienced and skillful. But it’s also about being able to confidently say what you mean and losing the irrational insecurities of youth. It’s an incomprehension of girly fixations on weight or looks and beauty and seeing the fleeting and empty nature of it all. It is feeling ambivalent about the prospect of losing looks which you feel you have yet to be rewarded for.

It’s thinking about what really matters. It’s thinking about what makes a good life. It’s the heavy beating heart that keeps me awake at night and the object in my eye-line. It’s not about feeling good but it is about desire and unwrapped sensuality. It’s about love but not obligatory love for the self or the body. It’s a journey home filled with love and happiness that feels both too much and not enough.

It’s about choosing to perform what is considered a normal life and trying to make that meaningful or a radical rejection of what is already not working. It’s about building ways of living outside the dream of the ‘good life’ that are not hopeless. It’s about never getting ‘back on track’. It’s about exploring unbeaten terrain. It’s about ways of living that are inappropriate and happy failures. There’s no self-realisation or rebirth or new identities or other temporary cages. There’s only the finite and the haphazard search for a life worth living.

The After-Aftermath

So… now what? That is the question that continues to follow me in this post-Mysore era. And I feel I am unnecessarily whinging on about this same topic, but I remain to feel I cannot quite grasp the changes that have occurred within myself and the external elements of my life.

As I settle into my re-integration to waged labour and meet new people (namely over-excited females) there has been a few comments on my calm demeanour (the kind of comments made by people who don’t really know you but feel the need to project their opinion on your character). I find this amusing, because yes certainly the things that distress others now seem to simply roll off, things such as diets and complaining about fat thighs (I am around body conscious females 99% of the time). These type of worries I feel only indifference towards – despite the fact I can’t stop eating everything (I blame Planet Organic). The effects of my gargantuan appetite were brought dramatically to my attention as I struggled through a level 1-2 ashtanga class, my torso feeling like a block of wood in Marichyasana C, and cursing that Planet Organic brownie(s) – (f.y.i. they are comparable to the Green Hotel’s chocolate cake and for those that are acquainted with that sacred cake know that this is a rare and dangerous quality).  And then post yoga class the women’s changing room discussion was as though it was in a different language – something about holistic dentists and how they deal with your feelings about your teeth??? (I should add this was in Notting Hill) – and then a woman in her 50s strips totally naked, not to have a shower but for no apparent reason, and then put on her jeans with no underwear, and there I was yet again thinking what the hell is going on????

So yes while calm I may appear this calmness is misleading for it is only an exterior facade of an interior reality that is confusingly attached and detached from the world around me. Life mostly feels as though I am starring in a really boring film except I don’t know my lines. This sensation was crystallized further as my manager had a chat with me about my aforementioned quiet demeanour (read: zombified persona) and reminded me that retail is all a performance. Basically it doesn’t matter how you feel, your human hopes, dreams, desires, just put on a smiley face and start performing. And then she started talking about how she loves making money as the relentless rain smeared the windows and the weary greyness engulfed the atmosphere. And then I felt like crying and running away like the immature childish fool I am. And I felt so very sad and alone but I smiled nonetheless and vowed to improve my ways.

This is the ambition: to be moulded to the whims of retail, to the money-making hunger of capitalism, to be driven by profit. I have been wondering why I have been experiencing the resurgence of a familar and loathsome impatience, a constant pressure to hurry, an inability to relax into the bizarre beauty of life. I thought maybe I had been drinking too much coffee but I see now the tension I feel is the response to a life that is unsatisfying, the return of feeling I am wasting away my life (a comment made to me by several unhelpful people).

But this is REAL LIFE I am reminded again and again. Queueing like a pleb in the rain for a bus and a chance to stand next to a smelly old person, being stuck on the delayed Northern line for 45 minutes, 20ft under, buried alive in a tube as people start getting arsey with each other, cue Mardy Woman: “Can you turn that music down I can hear it from over here!” (response: one of the evilest glares I have ever witnessed), and mounting credit card bills, and advising women on 20 variations of black leggings, and saying ‘That looks lovely!’ to women trying on black leggings when they don’t, and as each day closes dreaming of carbs and wine…this is all REAL LIFE, man!!

Is this the best we could come up with?

(sigh). Where’s Sharath when you need him?

Reality Bites

How not to reintegrate into the “real world” after months of doing nothing but yoga in Mysore:

– Don’t do any yoga. At all.

– Don’t even talk to people who do yoga. Only associate with those who have never done yoga/scorn yoga and its principles.

– Recognise you do not have the faintest clue what people are talking about 99% of the time.

– Stare at the TV for at least a week in pure fascination.

– Eat everything you’ve been pining for the past 5 months within the first few days of landing.

 

–  Five weeks after flying out of Indira Gandhi still experience ‘Delhi Belly’.

– Agree to go shopping at Asda and find yourself spellbound by the aisles of ham in plastic and trolleys full of Asda own brand products in their putrid green and white packaging.

– Begin orientating your life around what time the Jeremy Kyle Show is on. (this includes the repeats on ITV2 and ITV2+1).

– Actually experience real excitement at the prospect of Saturday night TV (The Voice and Take Me Out).

– Keep trying to correct people: ‘I wasn’t at a yoga retreat…’

– Get annoyed at people’s lack of knowledge of India: ‘Erm no Indians don’t have afro hair’, ‘Oh yeah that’s right, because they all wear turbans don’t they?’, ‘Umm…’

– Fill in job applications.

– Go for interviews and act really charming so that they give you a job.

– Accept a job.

– Realise your days of doing nothing are over and the time to re-enter the conventions of what us humans in the capitalist world describe as an acceptable life has finally arrived.

– Feel bewildered by the onslaught of information and introduction of responsibilities and obligations.

– Wonder why the hell anyone hired you.

– Start thinking about escape again.

– Forget all the things you learnt in Mysore.

– Allow the confusion to once again descend, forming the familiar fuzziness in your mind.

– Get worried about the future.

– Lie up at night in panic wondering what the hell is going on.

And so as a new routine establishes itself, the self is in limbo – a quandary of expectations, of shelved dreams, of familiar frustrations, of attitudes that haven’t changed, of new dreams, and hopeful resolutions.

No-one ever told you it would be like this.

And rightly so, for there is something inexplicable about the experience – perhaps I am seeming too grandiose – but there is a story which can never be told, a part of the self that can no longer relate to its environment; a part of the self that is still sitting in that shala listening to Sharath; a part of the self that still walks to the shala at 3am everyday; a part of the self that is sat outside the shala and feeling for the first time at home. Oh of course nostalgia plays tricks on the mind and it all seems so quaint from a distance. And it feels so small and insignificant in amongst the greyness, and paying bills, and learning how to sell expensive yoga clothing. But its there. And the practice is there. And it all comes back to life through the practice.

All I know is this: It’s time I got back on that mat.