19 Jul 2011

First Kindle Purchase

I debated, and mulled and mused, kindle, i-pad, kindle, i-pad.....  Kindle was the right size, but limited and no colour, the i-pad too big to fit in my bag.  Then, while making enquiries into the price of my phone bill I saw the galaxy tab on a sales display.  It was love at first sight.  Same size as a novel, pretty much the same functions as an i-pad.  My perfect gadget, I signed up immediately. What with all the earthquakes and nuclear meltdown I really felt the need for news and information at my finger tips. 

It was just recently that I discovered the kindle application. Danger danger danger. One touch and I have the book.  Anyone that knows me, knows I have a book problem.  At least this won't weigh my house down anymore, but am worried for my credit card.  Now I am able to carry all the books I want with me, oh paradise. Mind you I do still carry a few paper books, can't resist the pull of paper.

My first kindle purchase was Claudia's book.: 21 things you should know before starting an ashtanga practice.  Thouroughly enjoyable read it was too.  She had a nice tone throughout, encouraging to read someone else experience and views, a lot was familiar from her blog.  Claudia's opening words resonated, especially as we started Ashtanga the same year, 2004.  Seven years in the ashtanga world is indeed a blink.

I have recommended it to a couple of my students who wanted work on their English and learn about Ashtanga, perfect, and hopefully it will inspire them to continue.

Made me think of my beginnings, how I started this practice with a couple of good friends, one of whom was a teacher.  I avidly read and practised along with DVDs,  tapas in effect.  I couldn't get enough.  As much as I love Claudia's book, I do have a stubborn independent streak that makes me want to find things out for myself, experience and discovery. So I'm glad I read this after the fact. I like to find out things for myself. This does also hold me back, it is much faster to learn from others, but nothing replaces those lessons which we glean from direct experience.  I like it raw. That's how I do things.

My first trip to India - I went on a total whim.  I wanted to find out about Buddhism.  I was considering Tibet, but my friends convinced me that Tibet would be expensive and difficult, and it would be better not to give money to China. They advised me India would be freer and  more fun.  Good friends.

I knew nothing about India.  I knew the Dalai Lama's residence was in Dharamsala. That's where I would go.  I also knew there were big beautiful mountains in Kashmir, but because of the troubles, my friends told me not to go there.  Guess I don't always heed friends advice as I stepped off the plane, into Delhi, and straight to Kashmir, before Dharamsala, I couldn't resist, it was worth it, but that's another story.

I launched myself into India and was duly shocked.  I seriously knew nothing. But I'm glad I did it that way.  To see it all fresh, and make what I could of it.  I had an amazing experience.

Same with Mysore, 10 years after my first trip to India, talk about excited.  I wasn't part of a shala, I knew no one that had been, no advice, no guide, no lists, nothing.  It was great.  I just made my way to mysore on the local bus, and bumped into a Scottish guy on the first morning who took me to his house and made me chai, then set me back on my way to registration.  Then I met a teacher from Hong Kong, who helped sort me with room and moped, showed me a few restaurants, offered a few sage words of advice, on all sorts.  I like to work by chance meetings, spontaneity, always works. Within one day I was totally set up.  Still very green I broke all kinds of shala rules, Sharath was on my case, but I was so green it showed so much, peaple understood,  it's quite embarassing now. At least I knew my practice well enough.  Glad I went so fresh, no expectations, no worries, no stress, happy like a puppy, wagging tail and all friendly.

What do you think? Do you like to read up and plan before travel or just go?  I have to admit, now that time is more of a premium, I do read up and research a bit now to make the most of my experience, but no strict plans, I like flow, and to be flexible to new openings.  To wander and leave open chances for coincidence to occur.  Often I am so wrapped up in the busy-ness of life I feel that I am missing the flow.

1 comment:

  1. " happy like a puppy, wagging tail and all friendly" This encapsulates my boyfriend exactly. It's his approach to life and I realize I have a true gem by my side teaching me simplicity, acceptance and happiness.

    I like to read a little before I go, but in a non-commited way. I did read Alan's blog on Ashtanga and life in Mysore. http://www.alanlittle.org/yoga/mysorediary.html

    Now I feel nostalgic about those days where you could just arrive and that was ok.

    I did just that, perhaps in the last few months when that was possible. My plane touched down in Chennai, I had NO idea how I was going to get to Mysore except I did see a rail line on a map, so I igured: if there's a train then I'll just get on it. NOTHING is as easy as one might think and it was very interesting how incredibly difficult buying a train ticket can be and how many windows and offices I had to go to, and stairs needed climbing with a phenomenal amount of luggage. Traveling light? Not me.. It was like moving a mountain each time I had to go to another window, and they sent me back and forth and my did I need the toilet...

    Eventually I got my ticket (just as I thought perhaps I should book into a hotel and try with an emptier bladder and lighter load). I sat among a crowd of people who found me blowing my nose incredibly fascinating. I have never been watched so intently, for 3 hours. If the cow really stood among the crowd I can not say with certainty now, but I think it did.


    As soon as I found my spot on the train a second or 3rd tier bunk, inches from the ceiling I had just about enough time to marvel at the 'air conditioning system' (a flock of metal ventilators attached at all angles to the ceiling) before falling into a very deep slumber.

    When I woke we were barely 2 hours from arriving in Mysore. I still had all my luggage which I had chained with the cheapest little lock to something and then fell asleep on top of it. The view outside disappointed me, so many plastic bags.. how could that be? The scent of Mysore Train station met me unprepared. I got out of there as fast as I could.

    Then a rickshaw, to Gokulam. With no idea whatsoever if we were driving in circles or going straight there. In retrospect I now know the rickshaw driver was super helpful and drove the most direct route. He drove me up and down streets and I was tired and weary. And eventually I was dropped at Tina's breakfast place. About which I had read in the not so high brow 'Yoga School Dropout'. It didn't take 6 hours and I had been taken under the wings by Agnius, who passed on his scooter, introduced me to Shiva, who arranged a place for me for less than I expected to pay.

    In the afternoon I went to the shala, told Sharath that I spoke to Guruji on the phone and he had said "you come" and that was that.

    By the end of the first day I had friends, a bed and was enrolled at the shala.

    Overall I like to have a rough idea, but I do like to arrive and just trust that everything will be just right. I frequently show up in cities and countries without the faintest idea where I will sleep. I like it that way, but one does need to be prepared to be very tired, too. I once arrived in London and just trusted the world. It was 4am before someone took me in. On reflection THAT was not the very best idea..

    But it worked fine and well in Morocco, Thailand, Spain, Cambodia and India.