My very first Mysore class was in 2004 at the then just opened (re-located) Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Gokulam, Mysore. It felt like learning to swim by being dropped in the middle of the ocean.
The first lesson was offered to me on the afternoon I registered at the KPJAYI office: to receive the teaching, you have to really want it.
In my case, that meant wanting it more than all of the other things I could do with the minimum one-month time commitment, and pricey yoga fee. I had to want it more than a climbing trip to the Himalaya that I dreamed of, more than a beach holiday in Goa, and more than sleeping in the morning.
My first meeting with Pattabhi Jois, the Guru of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, was all down to business. He seemed somehow so simple, wrapped in his cotton dhoti, with so few words:
“You beginner?!” he bellowed gingerly placing the heap of bills through the cash counter.
“Uh, sort of but not really” I muttered. I wanted to be there so much, I even lied.
This perhaps inaspicious beginning of my yoga life established the constant feeling of surprise and wonder that stays in my practice and life through this very day.
It felt like right then and there, totally unaware of what I was doing, I was commitmenting myself to a life pursuit of yoga. Seven years later, the more I practice, the more I want it – the more I want to know this thing called yoga.