As some of you already know, I practice an esoteric form of yoga called Ashtanga. To further my studies, my girlfriend Kitty Schulz and I spend 3 months every year in Mysore, India to be with our teacher, Sharath Jois at KPJAYI. Mysore is a “small town” by Indian standards, with only 1,000,000 people. It is exactly like you would imagine and nothing like you would imagine all at the same time. It takes 24 hours of planes, trains and automobiles to reach Mysore from Nacogdoches (while sometimes dodging cows and sheep on the road) but after you’ve done it a couple of times, it seems pretty easy.
I was first introduced to yoga by Amy Sanford of Nacogdoches’ Morning Glory Yoga. Through her, I learned who Pattabhi Jois, his daughter Saraswathi and grandson Sharath were, and what they were doing to keep the Ashtanga tradition alive. The Ashtanga method of asanas (yoga postures) is a set series that you practice in the same order everyday until you complete the grueling first (primary) series. After that you are given new postures, generally one at a time, not moving forward until you master each one. Their are six series, but Sharath Jois is the only person alive who knows them all. With that said, we all go and practice everyday and do our best and find happiness with our own practice and what we can do.
It’s hard to explain what it’s like here. Photos can’t capture the magic, the riot of color, the sensory overload of sights, sounds and smells that we experience everyday. It’s visually inspiring and feeds my creativity (and did I mention how great the food is?)
This is my 3rd trip and when I return to Texas in January, it will mark over 9 months of my life spent in India. Considering I practice here everyday with people from all around the world who have spent anywhere from dozens of months to dozens of years of their lives in Mysore, I’m a newcomer by comparison. Each of us that do come back time and again feel a love and familiarity with this place that makes it seem more and more like home with each trip. As I made the 4 hour drive from Bangalore International Airport to Mysore this year, it occurred to me that this familiarity with a place so different from home is truly the only thing I find strange about India anymore. I do love it here.
Even when I’m in India I’m still working for Tattoo Productions just like I was on North Street. We choose to outsource our art department to India for three months while I study my yoga. The good news for all our customers is that it’s ME working in the Tattoo Mysore office, so nothing really changes. I have been watching more cricket than American football so almost nothing has changed 🙂
My daily routine is rising at 2:30 am, showering, checking emails from work (it’s 11 ½ hours ahead of Nac here) and then heading off to practice when the yoga shala opens at 4:15 am. I’m usually done by 6:15 am (before the sun is even up), drink a fresh coconut hacked open with a machete, eat breakfast and begin my work day just as if I was back in Nacogdoches. The magic of the internet makes this all possible but the real reason I can do it is because of the staff at Tattoo Productions, especially of our phenomenal Office Manager, Stephanie Campbell. I can never thank them all enough for going above and beyond while I work from our Mysore office. An even bigger thanks goes to our customers for having faith in me (and everyone else at Tattoo) to continue to produce the best art and printed apparel even when I’m on the opposite side of the globe.
If you’d like to see my pictures from southern India, please follow me or Kitty on instagam at @jimmycrow or @kitty.schulz . We’re happy to show you what’s going on here as everyone back home gets bundled up for the cold winter days ahead. I should warn you, it was sunny, 80º and not a cloud in the sky yesterday as we rode scooters all over the Indian countryside 🙂
Be back in Texas before you know it,