As the Retreat Chef, I’m usually knee deep in turmeric, cashews and banana flour while everyone else is on a journey of self-discovery on the mat. However, fresh out of our recent Bali yoga retreat, I’ve decided to embark on a three week Ashtanga Yoga Mysore immersion at the Ashtanga Yoga Bali Research Centre (AYBRC). I’m in the very capable hands of the globally regarded and super lovely, Team Pradha, Anthony ‘Prem’ Carlisi and Heather ‘Radha’ Carlisi.
Named a Research Centre to pay homage to Pattabhi Jois’ original Research Institute in Mysore, the AYBRC takes yoga to be a science of self-study. With this in mind, this blog hopes to log and evaluate some insights from the practice to discover valuable nuggets of yogic wisdom for the onward journey.
So I’ve donned my pink, ladies, elasticated, porn pants and I’ve put my hair in a double man-bun. It’s time for the chef to flex.
Last Ashtanga Yoga Mysore practice
Here’s a break down of my last practice. As well as making me look clever, writing in Sanskrit helps me to embed the names in my brain.
the Ashtanga Yoga traditional mantra in samasthitih
surya namakara A x 10
surya namaskara B x 10
padangusthasana x 10 breath
padahastasana x 10 breath
utthita trikonasana x 10 breath
parivrtta trikonasana x 10 breath
utthita parsvokonasana x 10 breath
parivrtta parsvokanasan x 10 breath
prasarita padotanasana A x 10 breath
prasarita padotanasana B x 10 breath
prasarita padotanasana C x 10 breath
prasarita padotanasana D x 10 breath
At this point, reaching Prem’s prescribed limit in the series, my practice from padangusthasana is repeated three times, holding each asana for 5 breaths.
sukhasana for 25 breaths with a tail bone prop
Total time on the mat: 70 minutes.
It seems like when you get things wrong in Ashtanga, you get told off. Today I found out that the sequence returns to samasthitih after each pair or group of poses/asanas. Before today I’d no idea. How’s a man supposed to know? It’s my first time, right? If you don’t tell me I aint gonna do it. I only just got out of the kitchen FFS.
When Prem barked at me because I didn’t strike samasthitih after padahastasana, it was unexpected. I have to admit, I’m not used to people speaking to me like that. Brave bastard. I smiled and carried on. My focus to ujjayi breath stopping me from reacting.
Coffee and heat
I’ve been sweating like a shit in a shoe box. It’s pouring off me. Is this Viking out of his comfort zone in the tropical heat or are the twists wringing out my sinful 20’s from my liver? I can’t be sure. Coffee, however, has entered my awareness as a source of heat. Two mugs of Bali coffee in the morning before practice is raising my heart rate, my temperature and my sweat level. Sorry coffee, it’s you or the practice. You’ve got to go.
Read about my sweaty Jesus porn pants in Day 1 of the immersion.
Read about my circadian rhythm in Day 4.
Our Ashtanga Yoga teachers
Read about Prem’s journey here.
Read about Radha.