Waiting in the vestibule at the shala, is really part of the practice. I guess the 4.30 kids don’t have to wait there, I’ve never practiced here at 4.30 – but I hear that lots of people have a spot, and sometimes folks can get a bit territorial about it. Whatever, that is mostly funny, and I’m sure if I had to get up at 3a I would also be huffy about getting a nice spot.
Over my four visits to Mysore, I have let go of the elbow macaroni business going to led. It is a bit like giving birth. There is this big mass (in this case of yoga students) and a very small opening (the little shala door) and a overwhelming urge on everyone’s part to speed things along. Once everyone is through the door, it is fine. Waiting until everyone is through means I practice in the bathroom, but there is a lot of room in the bathroom! It would be even better if everyone turned off their cell phone, but I can hear Sharath and that is all that matters.
Back to the vestibule. There is something about waiting for your turn, that produces anxiety. I think because I am from Canada and there in no discernible line up – just a group of people sitting and waiting – your position in the queue becomes more riddled with fear and panic. Another thing is you are watching everyone practice, and you have time to obsess. As students are called in, “One More!”, everyone moves forward an inch to be that much closer to the doorway for when their turn comes. If you haven’t grabbed all of your belongings, shot up to standing and raced through the doorway by the time Sharath is finished calling you, you get
“Why fear? Come friend!” Which is actually a nice thing to say, but at the time the panic level has risen so high that he could be telling you that you will be bffs for life and you will still feel flustered.
Sometimes, you get all ready to go – mat clenched in your sweaty little hands – you hear “One More!” and as you are standing up to go in either:
a. Some guy who has just walked in, strolls in and leaves you with this total grade school “He budded!” feeling. Which passes in the three seconds when you get called in.
b. Sharath stops and says, “No, one more Australian!” or “No, one more, Japanese” or “No, one more Masala Dosa!” And since you aren’t Australian or Japanese and you hope and pray with all of your heart that you aren’t masala dosa, you have to wait again.
Currently, I am falling into latter category – I think because I procreated – and I get called in pretty quickly. By my name, thankfully.
Once I am in the shala I wait like a vulture over the poor person who is just trying to have a nice forward bend after dropbacks, once that person leaves I slap down my mat. Only your mat, rug and a small towel are allowed in the room. Yoga clothes are waaaay too racy to be wearing around town, so I have a little bag with me for clothes, water, and toilet paper (there is no toilet paper at the shala and if I am just peeing I can’t get behind the hose business).
Invariably, as I pull my rug out of the bag, the roll of toilet paper and my bra cascade down at Sharath’s feet. I pick them up quickly and try to pretend like I didn’t just show my underwear to 50 strangers and proceed to the change room cheeks burning.
I tiptoe into the bathroom because the floor is always wet and it is gross in there. I put my bum down on the damp toilet seat and try to think nice thoughts about yoga students and hepatitis A. Then out to wash my hands, take a small sip of water from the bottle I brought and I’m out the door and headed to my mat.
I get to my mat, plant my feet, check the picture of Guruji and it hits me. I am so fucking tired.
Vande gurunam caranaravinde