Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Day in the Life of an Ashtangi

Many of you have asked me what life is like here in India. I can't speak for everyone, but here is what my life is like from day to day:

3:30am: Wake up, have ginger tea, slather myself with coconut oil, meditate, shower, and get ready for Yoga practice.

4:30am: Walk down the street to the Yoga Shala to begin my practice. I love this time of day, it is so quiet and peaceful. My practice lasts about 1.5-2 hours. When I finish I drink a couple of coconuts from the vendor outside, walk home and take rest aka savasana.

8:30am: After doing laundry in a bucket and hanging it outside I venture out of the house. Either to the internet spot or to breakfast (home cooked at Tina's, of course), depending on the hunger level.

10:30am-2pm: This varies from day to day. Either I go to the pool and bring along my self-study books, do errands, do a class on cooking or philosophy if one is offered, or get a massage (I haven't found a massage this amazing anywhere outside of India. It is so deep and the oils are so healing).

2:30pm: Hungry again! I head to lunch, either at Tina's, Geetha's or Anu's. The local women are amazing cooks and use filtered water and healthy, fresh ingredients. This the key to avoiding illness. Know where your food comes from!

4:30pm: I venture downtown to chant with Dr. Jayashree, a sanskrit professor. Everyone loves her and she is fantastic.

6:-7:30pm. I catch up on emails, chat with Ben, read, write in my journal, shower, and wind down.

7:3opm: I am exhausted and go to bed. I need my 8 hours before I am up at 3:30am again!

Monday, April 28, 2008


I am settling into life in India well and getting a handle on what I want my stay to be like. In addition to practice at the Yoga Shala and chanting lessons with Dr. Jayashree (which I begin tomorrow) the rest will just appear at the right time. Needless to say it has already started! I brought a huge stack of books with me and for some reason I opened up Spiritual Growth: Being Your Higher Self by Sanaya Roman. In the words of my dear friend, April, "it is spiritually juicy". I am not sure what I was looking for to take me super deep into awareness but this book is definitely it and I firmly believe I am reading it now for a reason.

This is one of the reasons why I find my time in India to be so powerful. All those books, tools, and techniques that can reunite us with our higher self -the same tools and tricks we sweep under the rug at home because we are too busy- can be used, absorbed, and integrated into our daily existence. Too often I have heard people say that after their early morning practice in Mysore they don't know what to do all day (this sometimes heard firsthand, sometimes from hearsay). I can only say that if you choose to do nothing then that is what you will get. While it is important to allow others to teach us we must remember that we are our own built in Guru and, unlike other teachers, are with ourselves all the time and can use every moment as a teaching or as ignorance. Just as life at home is what we make of it, so is life in India. If we are waiting for lightning to strike to get us off our butt and change then we are going to be waiting a VERY long time. Why waste the NOW waiting for the right teacher, class, practice, etc? Why will the universe send us these perfect things if it sees we aren't appreciative for what we have already?

To quote another friend, Angelique, "Flow...but do".

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back to the Motherland

I am in India and happy to say that I, along with all of my luggage and my sanity, have arrived in Mysore intact! The journey is long but worth it. I basically use the time in transit to sleep (a lot), take tons of vitamins, hydrate, eat light (if at all), watch a movie or two and I arrive feeling rested and ready to go. After 16 hours on an airplane I was relieved that my driver was the rare kind whom did not play Bollywood music to a defeaning level. Instead he blared Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA". Listening to that while driving on the opposite side of the road, dodging cattle and Mack trucks alike, smelling that sometimes good/sometimes awful India fragrance, whizzing past coconut palms I can only say that I felt enveloped in a warped but happy parallel universe.

At 6am local time I arrived at Geetha's house where she greeted me with a bear hug and "welcome home". I did my practice in my room this morning since I barely missed the shala class and it felt great to move after all that traveling. It was warm and inviting (did I mention it is 95 degrees here today and super humid). After Yoga and a shower I felt myself teeter on the brink of starvation when my self proclaimed Indian mother greeted me with a delicious breakfast of roasted semolina with vegetables and pineapple. Delish and healthy, of course. I absolutely feel like I am at my second home here. The 2.5 hour drive alone reminded me how amazing it is that I have a month here to be nothing but a student of yoga and of life. I am ready to relish every moment and learn as much as I can.

So far nothing out of the ordinary to report unless of course you count the zillions of little things that you can only see in India as part of that category. Women riding on motorcycles side-saddle in their saris, people carrying brings on their heads, the harmless chaos at the airport baggage claim, kids chasing your car with flower garlands they hope you will buy......etc. It never ends.

I am off to continue my assimilation into life in a foreign land. Peace and Love to you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Being Sick Stinks

Ah yes, I too have fallen victim to a springtime cold. Never a fun thing. For those of you who refuse to be held captive in the house for days (like me), have no fear. After many years and many dollars spent on various holistic remedies I have finally found something that works. At the first onset of symptoms (usually a sore throat is first for me) I take Quantum Super Immune Formula. Works like a charm! Do mix it with juice or water as it tastes and smells quite nasty. It is worth it though.
Of course there are no magic tricks to make a cold go POOF and vanish into thin air. But Quantum combined with vitamin C, ginger tea, acupuncture, tons of sleep, and staying ultra hydrated make these bugs run their course much faster. I first felt symptoms around 5am on Sunday and the worst is definitely over. Hopefully by Tuesday morning I will be 100%. 
I also took most of the day off (sorry students). Louise Hay says that Colds and Flus are your "emotional self trying to slow you down when you have been going too fast". Seems true to me. So stop fighting to be your normal self when you just aren't. Surrender. One day of rest will do wonders and prevent you from having that cold for 10 days instead of the 2 or 3 it needs to go from start to finish. 

Health Food stores carry the Quantum line, as does Whole Foods and online channels. 
You will feel better soon. Hopefully I will too!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

India Part Three!

I am making my third trip to Mysore, India in 10 days! I am thrilled to be a student at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute once again. To be with my amazing teachers, Guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (93 years old), his daughter Saraswathi, and his grandson Sharath  is a huge blessing. This experience is only a car ride, a 13 hour flight to Dubai, an airplane change, another 4 hour flight to Bangalore, and then a 2.5 hour car ride away :)

I am now in the midst of what I call "Pre-India Chaos". I seem to be drowning in a to-do list a mile long, another list of all the items I need for a month in a 3rd world country, my regular teaching jobs, and the desire for some QT with my adorable husband before I jet out of this place on our first anniversary!!!! Yes, he still loves me despite this. 

Following my arrival in Mysore comes the "India Chaos". This is actually when all the fun begins. The mixture of cows and other farm animals in the road, stares at my curiously platinum hair color, noise from the neighborhood TV's during Bollywood shows, bucket laundry, dirt roads, and the zillion other things that push your nervous system to its limits are not for the faint of heart. I wouldn't change it for anything. In the midst of the swirling I am studying daily with my Guru, learning the roots of Sanskrit, and most importantly, being taught by the life surrounding me. In the west we strive to be in the moment for a glimpse at a time, but in India they actually LIVE in the now. Time stops. After all, where else is there to be but HERE and NOW? People enjoy cooking for hours, having chai each morning, and engaging in meaningful conversations with strangers on the street. It teaches me that life is not the to do list but the amazing things that occur when you leave the list behind and allow yourself to stop doing and start existing! 


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Super Duper Astrology Scoop!

After much searching I have finally found a few Astrology sites that give accurate information. Since the astrology reports were such a HUGE success at the retreat I figured I would pass along the info. It always helps to know your exact birth time and location in addition to your birthday. Play and have fun!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Welcome to Sara's Yoga Blog!

Welcome to Sara's Yoga Blog! I, Sara Intonato, have been teaching yoga for over five years and practicing for seven. I have learned an immense amount thus far but I know it is only the tip of the iceberg. I often get caught up in interesting discussions regarding yoga, spirituality, holistic health, nutrition, astrology, etc. with my students and even with strangers. I am happy to open this blog up as a means for those discussions to continue and grow. Please contact me at sara@sarayoga.com if you would like to begin yoga or if you have any other questions. Namaste.