Went to 6:30 led class this morning, which was great. I am finding that I enjoy Mysore style, self-practice actually more than the led classes, as they give you time to work on things, to stay in poses a little longer - specifically right now I am working hard on picking up from the floor and jumping back, which there simply isn't time to do in a led class, at least not at my present level of ability (finally making some real progress there though, which feels great). However led classes are great to remind you of the intended pacing, and are just generally a great workout. Saraswathi seems to delight in pushing us all in uttpluthii, taking her count of ten incredibly slowly, and always slowing down more towards the end. When she gets to 8, it's always "come on, only 8, pickup!". So when it's all over you feel just fantastic to have made it through.
After practice we head, as usual, to the coconut stand to rehydrate and chat with some friends. Then it's off to gather our Austrian friend Christoph, and head back to the coconut stand, where we jump in a rickshaw to head to "Yoga Stops Traffic" an event sponsored by a group called Odanadi, that works against human trafficking and sexual slavery/abuse of all kinds. We each made donations and participated with many of our fellow yoga students in doing 27 sun salutations (suryanamaskara a) in front of Mysore palace. Im told in other parts of the world they were doing 108, but... We're outdoors in Mysore, just as the sun would really be starting to get nasty. So we took it easy. Many children that had been rescued from human trafficking by the organization were there, and our practice was actually led by some of them - which turned out to be quite funny, as one of the girls wasn't quite aware of how much she was projecting her voice, and another seemed in a hurry to get her part over with (which meant we had to work quite hard to keep up with her, and led to many fits of laughter from the students). It was nice to actually be able to see some of the people directly affected by our donations, and they seemed genuinely happy and grateful to us all. Its hard to imagine what some of those children would have been forced to go through. Afterward, there were free coconuts for the participants, and the kids were given powdered paint to throw around, and put on the faces of everyone around - a common way to celebrate religious occasions in India.
From there, we headed back to Gokulam for breakfast at Anokhi, which was delicious as always, and met up with another friend. After an interesting conversation about the Yamas and Niyamas, spirituality/religion, moderation and zealotry, we all decided to spend the rest of the day at the pool. So we contacted Apu, a local rickshaw driver who has endeared himself to many of the yoga students, for his excellent driving, his punctuality in picking up/dropping off, and his all-around friendliness. So the four of us got in his rickshaw and headed off to Silent Shores hotel/resort, which is a good 20-30 minute drive... Only to find that the pool was under maintenance for the weekend. So we had to get Apu to come back (he had just left, thankfully) and take us to Hotel Regaalis, which is the more common pool for yoga students. The rest of the day was spent blissfully in the sun, with the occasional dip in the pool, a brief stop for food in the middle, and a trip to the chocolate man (a local legend amongst yogis who sells home-made, absolutely delicious chocoaltes. My favourite is his dark chocolate coconut bars, though I hear he makes truffles that are better than anything else, but they have to be ordered in somewhat large quantity) once we were back in Gokulam for Adam and I, to get some treats for our day of rest.