It has been always my dream since I got into Ashtanga practice: going to Mysore to practise under the guidance of Sharathji. When my first Ashtanga teacher, Alejandra, told us she was going to India to study, I didn't understand why she would go to Mysore. To me, Rishikesh was the place for yoga. I don't know how long it took me to find out Mysore is the place for Ashtanga yoga, but soon it became my dream. But not for the near future. I was and am working full-time, busy with the fertility treatment, and most importantly my boss wouldn't understand me taking the whole month of holidays.
Anyhow when I got the news that the registration for the autumn/winter study season would open this summer I wanted to apply. I just wanted to apply and take the result as a sign. Firstly, it's competitive and hard to apply and secondly, again it's competitive and hard to get selected. I wanted to take it as a sign whether I should go ahead with the thing I love most even if it means I had to quit my job. I was stressed with my work and fertility treatment. And if I become pregnant anytime soon, trip to Mysore will be possible for..... many many many years later.
For the months of December 2019 and January 2020, the registration was going to open on the 15 August. In August, I was in Korea and I was like 'yay! the internet is super fast here so I will have some advantages!' and at the same time 'oh.. I have to wake up around 3am to prepare...'. And I woke up early in the morning and opened my mac and prepared all the info I need to put. I even changed my mac time to India. So at midnight, my fingers and eyes became really busy. I submitted my form. Uh oh...... I omitted one piece of information: where my teachers are located (which is Brussels)!!!! When I think about it now... this is not a crucial info but back then I was so nervous and felt stupid. So I sent an email to mention this. But at the same time it was fun doing it together with a fellow teacher who was in Belgium. We shared messages and screenshots via whatsapp and were hoping to get in.
I also kept reading posts and comments on the FB group 'Ashtanga Community in Mysore' where people shared their experience, questions and opinions on the registration process. I felt for those who failed to submit the forms... :-(
After two days I got the confirmation email that I was accepted to study with Sharathji. Yay! My colleague teacher also got the confirmation!! Double yays!!
When I came back to Brussels, we talked about flight, transport and accommodation. We are two young ladies, going to Mysore for the first time so we decided to do things together. She got the real estate agency's contact from our teacher and was talking to him already. We were looking for a 2-bedroom flat (as they say 2bhk flat in India) but there was none from him. We were quoted with two 1bhk flats but it seemed too expensive. I tried to negotiate but the price wouldn't drop till the point where I would agree. So I was contacting agents that were posting in the FB group. Long story short: our teacher sent me a screenshot of a very clean and nice looking serviced apartment, so we decided to take that one. It was half the price of what we'd found.... Ha... In the meantime I also got some recommendation on restaurants from another authorised teacher. They are all starred in my google map :-)
Before we settled with accommodation, we had to book the ticket. The choice was simple: between Air France and KLM. KLM had better timing with cheaper price so it was done. We will fly on the 30th December and arrive in Bangalore on the 31st early morning. We will spend the new year's eve in Mysore!
After accommodation and flight were done, we applied for visa. When I went to India in 2010-2011, there was no e-visa system (I think;;). I remember going to the embassy in Canberra to apply. Back then, Korean nationals only got 3 months for tourist visa but since I was living in Australia I got 6 months. Lucky me. Applying for visa reminded me a lot of this trip. It's a cliche to say but it gave me lots of opportunities for self-growth. I've met so many people that I am thankful to but unfortunately I lost all the contacts. (why did I delete my FB account few years ago?!!! ha..).
Applying for Indian visa was not difficult but it was a pain in the ass job. There were so many fields to fill in.... There was one section where you have to write down all the countries you've been to for the last 10 years. But there was a limit in the numbers of countries too! -_-;;
E-Visa website: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html
Korean, Japanese and UAE nationals can get visa on arrival but I wanted to get the 5 year visa so did it online. I thought visa fee is same for all but it differs by your nationality. For Korean, 5 year visa costs 80 USD. It's a better deal if you plan to go more than twice. Again, after two days of application, I got the confirmation.
So only thing I need to prepare is my mind and body. I've already maximised the number of days I can practice and I am also reading ancient text(Gita and Yoga Sutras) as Sharathji recommended us. I also finished this amazing book I found in Oxfarm shop, White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. It's sad, witty and very realistic. I am not expecting anything from this trip. I just want to enjoy. Enjoy the moments that I can only practice, reflect and learn (+ eating lots of local food and lots of napping.. hehe). This is all possible thanks to my strong will(it's a joke;; haha) but most importantly to my husband's support.
Important Links (some appear again):
1. Sharath Yoga Centre: https://sharathyogacentre.com/ (where you can get info + apply)
2. Booking flights
- Kayak: https://www.kayak.com/ (where you can search and compare flights)
- Momondo: https://www.momondo.be/ (search and compare flights)
3. E-visa for India: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/
4. Ashtanga Community in Mysore FB Group (closed group): https://www.facebook.com/groups/ashtangacommunityinmysore/
5. SYC Sharath Yoga Centre students FB Group (closed group): https://www.facebook.com/groups/2482854225128809/
6. Ashtanga Yoga Brussels: https://ashtanga.be/ (if you want to learn Ashtanga in the traditional way in Brussels)