Sweaty Jesus porn pants

Mysore immersion at the Ashtanga Yoga Bali Research Centre

Wow. I never thought I’d see the day, but I’ve shoehorned myself into some ludicrously tight-fitting, 80’s-teeny, pink, porn shorts and I’m wearing my hair in a double man-bun. A three week immersion into the world of Ashtanga starts here.

My body is clean, clear and ready for an Ashtanga Yoga experience

If I was ever going to be ready, I suppose now is the time. I last drunk five months ago, roaming the streets of Sydney with a bottle of rum as a bush-dwelling, pedestrian, sex-pirate. I haven’t smoked for seven months and I’ve been on a mostly vegan, low-gluten diet and visiting the gym with intent since the middle of January. Game on.

At our recent yoga retreat, my buddy Dave, who I’ve not seen since China’s Got Wedding last year, said my eyes looked really clear. Thanks, Dave. I’ve noticed that too. Laying off the drugs, tabs and booze has seemingly sieved the impurities straight from my eye holes. My body, mind and soul are primed for this challenge.

Prem and Radha Carlisi are global leaders of the Ashtanga method

Anthony ‘Prem’ Carlisi and Heather ‘Radha’ Carlisi are two of the most prominent Ashtangis in the world. We’ve been introduced to them by our mate Bora (featured image) and we’ve decided to go headlong into a 3 week Mysore Ashtanga Yoga immersion at their centre in Bali, the Ashtanga Yoga Bali Research Centre. Click on the videos for an intro to the pair.

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The journey begins

Flying the flag for profuse, Northern European bodily fluids in this tropical climate, my mat on the first day looks like a steaming mirage. I’m walking on water. A man-bunned Jesus. In my porn shorts I complete 10 sun salutation A’s and 10 B’s before starting to get to grips with the standing poses. Radha is away for the first week, so Prem is guiding, correcting my asanas with direct cues, a knock and a tap straight out of Mysore. He seems genuinely alarmed at my ability to produce liquids. Frankly, I’m surprised too. What is all this?  Will it stop? Is it natural? Something tells me there’ll be more.

The mystery of Ashtanga Yoga unfolding

Ashtanga has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Ashtangis always seem to have some kind of chip on their shoulder about their brand of yoga being somehow better than the rest. During today’s class, I start to see why some might think that. In a Mysore class, it seems there’s a rigid structure and this allows a genuine opportunity for a teacher to hold a safe and personal space for each student that I’ve never experienced in a led class. Through the primary series, I’m able to work with my full breath, to my fullest expression of each pose, in my own time with regular and specific alignment instructions. How can you get this from a led class? I’m not sure you can.

More learnings

I’m no sheep. Following instructions, especially as part of a crowd, has never been my forte. I can often resist teachers or find myself distracted, disapproving or hiding at the back of a class. In this Ashtanga Mysore, however, there’s less of a sheep-factor. You’re granted a level to work to and you go about executing it to the best of your ability in your own space-time. Everyone is in their own meditation with it and the teacher isn’t sailing at the speed of the slowest boat. There’s an independence and personal touch to it that I really like.

My lungs are pretty big. I found this out when I went diving in the Gilis and my buoyancy was wildly awful to control. It’s one of my bugbears when teachers ask a yoga class to complete 5 breaths in a pose and then only give you a window for 2 breaths before moving on. My lungs were very happy today to take 5 full breaths in down dog without feeling pressured to stay at the pace of the rest of the class.

An unexpected ending to the first day of Ashtanga Yoga

When Prem thinks I’ve had enough for my first day, he props my butt into a seated pose and asks for 20 Ujjayi breath before savasana. After a shower, Prem has a Q&A arranged so that students of the Mysore class can extract his knowledge about whatever they want for an hour before heading back to Ubud. The Q&A took a turn not many of us anticipated and it shined a light on what must be the burning topic in the world of Ashtanga right now. That’s for another day.


Read about Prem’s journey with Ashtanga Yoga here.

Read about Radha.

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