“Take a deep breath.”
I take a deep breath and extend my arms to the sky. It’s relaxing, but quite unfamiliar for a stiff body. I try to control my breathing and at the same time keep up with the pace of the yoga instructor. She makes it seem so easy.
By: Marte Pettersen
I glance over to see how my friends are doing. Some of them are deeply concentrated, while others are struggling to hold back a laugh and making funny faces. It is obvious that none of us practice yoga on a daily basis. And I do believe that our instructors also have noticed that. But skill level set aside, when you find yourself in the heart of India and in the birthplace of yoga you just have to give it a go.
Our yoga teacher, a woman in her mid 40 ties, is closely watching my movements. It is clear that she is not entirely satisfied with the performance, but she continues without saying anything.
“Yoga is a lifestyle, she says before she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath again.”
We find ourselves on a rooftop in the heart of Mysore, the second largest city in the state of Karnataka. Like us many tourists come here to try out yoga. The city has many yoga institutes. The most famous is the Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute. But for tourist, backpackers and students with limited time in Mysore it will be smart to check out other places to do yoga in Mysore. Unless you want to sign up for the waiting list which is most likely going to be two months long.
So the place we ended up with is what you would call modestly. It does not look anything like a yoga centre. Yoga mats are non-existent and we have to settle for a warm concrete floor. But it definitely has its charm.
“Take a quick rest, the teacher says, pointing to the concrete.”
I lie down and breathe comfortably while I count to twenty. Twenty seconds are valuable for people like me that are not designed for working out in the sun. I do not complain, because I am fully aware that the work out I do is the easiest of them all. It is the easiest exercise Ashtanga yoga has to offer. And just to emphasize the fact that it is the easiest exercise, the teacher keeps reminding us quite regularly.
Shrieking and giggling quickly interrupt the silence. A cockroach the size of a small mouse has decided to enter the yoga class. I slowly back off. The instructor looks at us and rolls her eyes. Then she walks with long strides toward the beast and kicks it away.
The lady is determined and really good in what she does. Being so sporty when being one the tilts of forty is something most of us can only dream about. In Mysore however it seems as if all practice some sort of yoga. Our Auto rickshaw driver practice yoga every morning, the man at the front desk of the hotel does it in the weekends and all the students say they do it once in a while. How much you do it, your level or intensity does not matter, everyone does it.
In my head is yoga a synonym with training, but everyone I talk to says that it is so much more to it. As our instructor says, it’s a way of life. Yoga is every move you make and every breath. Yoga is all.
“Everything with concentration and breathing is yoga.”