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Trip Start Nov 23, 2007
Trip End Jan 23, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Saturday, January 19, 2008

i returned to the yoga shala with my yoga mat tucked under my arm on the 7th of this month, travel weary, but ready for action, ready to dive back into the intensity of a practice that you tend to lose when not doing poses in the shadow of a whip. no longer did i feel like the freshman with 14 copies of my locker combination pinned to me. i gave the 2-fingered "hey" to a couple of familiar faces from before the break, gave a head nod of recognition to some of the doe-eyed newbies, and initiated a trick that i learned early on of placing my mat by the seeming runt of the new litter, so that when those poses start poppin', you really look even more impressive in comparison (not that there ever is comparison going on...shoot...), with full compassion and acknowledgment that we've all been there when Saraswati says to the newby from across the room, "what are you doing? it's wrong. right leg first. right leg, right leg. which is your right leg?! bend the knee. close your mouth, you breath through nose!" when Saraswati recognizes me and sees that i've returned, we embrace, i feel her heart against mine...wait...no we don't. if anything she notes my confidence and will try to crush it once we get around to Marichasana D. after 9 weeks in india, almost 5 weeks of class and 2240 downward dogs (give or take 3 or 4), i definitely don't feel like a senior, but maybe now at least an Advanced Placement sophomore, as far as ashtanga yoga goes. it's been fun (and often times painful) to see the progress and the familiarity. but as much as this trip has been about yoga and the usual photo taking, the times that i'll remember and miss the most are those when my clothes were on and my camera was down--the people (highlighted by my landlord Bala Krishna and his family explaining to me the rules and scoring of Cricket, and them inquiring about the rules and scoring of bowling (they asked) i tried to tell them that it's not real "cool" to know a lot about bowling (but being from a smaller town, i taught them what i knew...which is a lot)), the food (i've had curry nearly every meal for 2 months, my Rice Crispies at home are shuddering that they won't be able to stand up to that sort of flavor, and frankly, so am i), the language (understood or not), the history, the pride, the mysticism, the family of 6 on the motorbike (don't worry the kid in the front had a helmet)....

on monday the 21st, i will finish class, put a bunch of geraniums wrapped in a banana leaf on Saraswati's desk, give her a nod and a 'namaste,' and hopefully see her some day again soon (not too soon). so, in Golden Globes fashion (you've apparently realized over the past 9 weeks that i have no writer to go on strike), a final thank you to our sponsors--to my teachers saraswati, sharath, and guruji; my landlord Bala Krishna and his crazy family (photo on blog); my books (eat, pray, love; the milagro beanfield war; the new testament; the plague; the cave; sherlock holmes and the hound of the baskervilles; sherlock holmes and the valley of fear; and currently Thich Nhat Hanh's old path white clouds, walking in the footsteps of the Buddha) for helping me survive awkward transportation moments; Ganesh the internet guy for having great internet service (and smoothies), so that i could send these letters (and keep tabs on the Timberwolves run for the championship[cue the sarcasm]); to you all (even if there are only 4 or 5 of you that haven't 'blocked' my emails, and those 4 or 5 only because you didn't know there was such a thing as 'blocking' (instead of a writer strike, it's a reader strike, until ted learns how to use punctuation such as parenthesis)) for giving me a reason to get the voices out of my head; to Chocobars, when i needed you, you were always there; to a strong, easily adaptable stomach, so that i never had to write that blog entry about diarrhea (knock on pepto), although i'm sure it would have been a goody; to the st. francis church choir of cochin and all the other indians that had to put up with me, especially the ones who had to put up with the ridiculousness of a random stranger taking their photo, even though most of the time it was them who would thank me first; and an extra thank-you to my 2 biggest supporters (crutches): www.ashtangayoga.info and the makers of Advil. stand up, all of you (unless your reading this on your blackberry while driving...then you have other issues).

and to all the yogis out there...

it's time to talk a little shop. i arrive home on January 23, and as much as i'm sure i'll need it and want it after 30 hours of travel, but contrary to prior speculation, there will NOT be an impromptu yoga class next to baggage carousel number 6. don't get mad at me, Homeland Security has enough issues with me and my hippy haircut (i just got red flagged for writing that, didn't i? tack on another "random search" for ted). anyway....because i was gone for so long from Lifetime they had to officially terminate my contract, so i will not actually start teaching classes there again until i finish wading through the paperwork, which will probably be the beginning of February (unless my background check turns up information that i've been critical of Homeland Security...), at the Ford Pkwy, Minneapolis, and St.Paul clubs. but, if you're really anxious and a little disheartened to hear that there will be NO baggage claim yoga. i will be subbing for a good friend, who is on maternity leave at Three Smooth Stones (www.threesmoothstones.com) in the Seward neighborhood on Sundays from 4-530(or there abouts) starting Jan.27 for an 8-week session ($96 for the entire session, $15 for drop-ins). i am no longer at 360 Yoga. It is no longer there itself. i will still be at Core Pilates Studio (www.corepilates-us.com) on St.Clair and Fairview, with a schedule as yet to be determined. and if none of those work for you busy, busy little beavers, i continue to give 1-on-1 or small group private lessons (whether you want one or a series). and if that still doesn't fit your schedule...you're working WAY to hard. relax. i will keep you posted on any changes or additions should they arise. And, if you've been doing your yoga homework, you should be on Lesson 9 of the syllabus entitled, "These Aren't Real Yoga Poses, but They will Impress your Friends."

Well...that's MORE THAN my 20 rupees worth...

the next newsletter you will receive from me in the next few months is for an India 2008 photo opening at my studio (so practice up on your skills of eating with your fingers, because there's always food).

i love and miss you all and i'll see you soon (forget the egg nog, please have dark chocolate and a glass of red wine ready (as magical as india is, it doesn't have everything)),
Ted Shankar
(my landlord says that i look like the spiritual and humanitarian leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not the sitar player) i've attached a photo of him to the blog for you to make the final call).

This week's pose of content: Urdva Mukha Paschimattanasana (if your were wondering the names of my unborn children that i mentioned in my previous letter? you now know one.)

one last, last thing (forgive me it's the final letter, i've gotta fit it all in). i read on startribune.com last night that it was 3 degrees and "dreary" at home. somebody needs to make a phone call, because that simply won't do (i haven't seen a cloud in 2 months).
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