Thursday, January 27, 2005

Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram

We amble through the fury of Indian streetlife at a snail's pace, the usual cacophony of humans, animals and vehicles only being amplified by the fact that roadworks (digging a 20-foot trench along several miles of this road) have removed two-thirds of the road's width. An interesting quagmire develops as drivers try to make some progress in both directions without any traffic control whatsoever. Horns are sounded in warning, but road rage is absent, the drivers merely accepting their fate and taking whatever opportunity presents itself.

And then we turn right, into a calmer, quieter street. A minute later we stop outside an unassuming building. I look at it and wonder why we have stopped. Only then do I notice the large blue sign to the left of the gate, which somehow blended in to the neighbourhood for my first gaze. It reads, "Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram". After months of planning, we are finally there!

We walk into the yard, take off our sandals and slowly being to gaze about, tkaing in all we can. There are many people sitting on the porch, and inside I can spy an office set-up, with people working at desks. Before we reach the porch, however, there is Patanjali - well, a 5-foot black stone statue of him in Adisesa (snake) form, draped with a garland of bright yellow flowers. I nod gently to the teacher and head up the steps to the porch.

It is then that I spot Gill Lloyd, Director of the Association for Yoga Studies in the UK (formerly Viniyoga Britain), whom I had the pleasure to meet and briefly study with at last year's aYs Convention. We chat briefly - Gill is heading down the coast for a couple of weeks, but will be returning then with a group of students. It is so nice to meet a familiar (and friendly) face so far away from home.

We mill about the porch for a while, then enter the office and are greeted with wide smiles and taken to speak with the Director of Yoga Studies, Geetha Shankar. After a little administration I arrange a consultation with Kausthub Desikachar, then we bid farewell to Patanjali and leave.

As an aside, I have decided (as I sit here on 5th February typing up the events of 9 days ago) to leave most of the story of my yoga studies for a later time, another medium perhaps. I have found this interesting article by Helen Snow, a student on a previous course the same as mine. I have to say that she hits that nail spot-on as far as experiences of Chennai and KYM go. Read her excellent article and I will share my experiences of the course itself at a later time, concentrating on everything else that is going on and trying to provide some insights and information for the prospective India traveller.