Posts Tagged ‘ healthy-living ’


I finally started yoga classes after almost a year and a half in India. It’s kind of silly it took me this long to find a class. It wasn’t for lack of effort, well at least a little effort. In February I asked to join Iyengar (not spelled correctly) who is supposed to be one of the best yogis ever. There was a waiting list until June. I gave up shortly after that. Every once in a while I would look at a class here or there, mostly in my neighborhood, and they were all really expensive, and, funnily enough, I think foreigners gave most of them. Who wants to live in India and take a yoga class from a foreigner? I don’t. So while wandering around two weeks ago, I wandered into an institute and registered for their month long yoga class. It’s cheap, so I guess you get what you pay for. It’s not anything at all like any yoga class I’ve taken in the US. It’s a beginner’s class. A lot of it focuses on breathing exercises, which sometimes make me lightheaded. Most of them don’t at all involve flexibility. Some are even a little boring. But, I really want to do this. In almost every class there’s something new, which is good. The only time I can say this was not only not good, but also really, horribly wrong was last Friday, when the class was told to go outside the building and vomit. I’m sure there’s some kind of weird yoga explanation to this, but yea, nothing would or will convince me to self induce vomiting except if I had something that really needed to come up. Besides that, everything seems to be going well. I like to call it older person relaxed yoga. Sometimes your heart rate goes up after doing a movement that involves movement, but there’s always the relax, relax, relax part afterwards. According to the teacher, relax means, ank ke bund, hat piche, legs apart (eyes closed, hands behind). She’s great at mixing Hindi and English. I have no idea what the different movements are called; they all have quite long names. There’s a chant before and after each class. And om is at the beginning and end too. Because of work it’s actually the only month I could have done the beginners class, next month as work starts earlier, hopefully, I can move to the intermediate class which is an hour earlier. It feels good to do something “Indian” after being here for so long.
There are a few regulars who I now recognize while walking in and out of the class. We smile. It’s nice. After, because I go straight to work, I have to change. There’s no real changing area except for the “ladies section where women go for strange massages, mud baths, other kind of chemical baths, and sauna. For a country that seems to be kind of conservative about bodies and women exposing themselves, this place is all out in the open. Women seem quite free in walking around in their bodies. It’s a nice change and reminds me somewhat of when I used to go to the gym in New York and everyone was “free.” Most days the woman who sits at the desk in the front is used to seeing me and I don’t even have to ask where I can go change. Most of the time I get funny looks, but somehow they don’t faze me anymore.

Post 1/2 marathon

I am no longer pink; only my hair has a nice red hue to it on the ends. My body is no longer in pain from the marathon. I’m going strong again. Everything has more or less gone back to normal. I’m not running at 6am; I’m staying up late again; work has been insane; I got a promotion as the Education Manager; it’s been a good few weeks.
It’s getting warm again, but the evenings are nice. We’re preparing for our Baroda trip next week. On the bus back from Mumbai I had a great conversation with one of my friends. He seems to think that he’s grown so much in the past few months; I want to take some credit for it. Even if I weren’t as loud as I am, I think some international influence on any person would be enough to change them in a slight way. Spending time with my friends in general makes me think that if one has the means, every person on this earth should spend at least a year in a different country – different means significantly different; going to most places in Europe for an American would not count. I did a year abroad in Florence when I was in college, but I don’t think it’s had the effects that living here has had on me. It’s amazing. The times of being uncomfortable have strengthened me so much. Ritesh said that he’d like to travel, to see other places, to learn and grow. That makes me happy.
The marathon was long. Running isn’t my favorite thing to do. I’m not exactly sure why I decided to run in the first place other than to see if I could do it. It was early to get up and Gayatri and Manoj were amazing and joined me for the start; this was at 6:30am on a Sunday! There was a disappointing amount of women running the 21km. More women joined later for the 10km, 5km, and spirit runs (I’m not sure how long that was). I was surprised that it was relatively cool and a pleasant run. The hard core runners took off and I immediately placed myself somewhere in the middle. The route was not so great, we had to do 3 laps of the course. There were many women who would run fast and then get out of breath and then walk for a few minutes. They would always catch up but then never sustain. This stopped at the second lap. I discovered goo or something like that; it’s a gel electrolyte package; it’s amazing. One packet kept me going the entire race – every lap taking another gooey gulp of the sample pack. A few km into the second lap I met my one lap running buddy. We kept each others pace. She was a slower runner than me but I needed a partner and it was amazing. When the water posts came, we would share a sip of the 1 liter bottles they gave out (why did they think a marathon runner would down a liter of water? – they needed better planning), we would yell at the walkers to stop taking up the entire road, “Side jana,” and be unspoken moral supports for each other. About 2 km after the third lap started I left my running buddy, as she wasn’t keeping pace anymore. It was a little sad to leaver her. I wanted to slow down, but toward the end it was getting difficult and I wanted it to be over. There were marathon workers in blue shirts. They would often clap without paying attention to you, fulfilling their job to “motivate” runners. A few of them were nice, they smiled, I would smile back. The best were the groups of men runners who came out to support us. I needed something nearing the end of the last lap. Everyone was encouraged to run the last few hundred meters. I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t a little upset running in with other women who walked a 5k and receiving the same amount of cheers. It was worth it though to have Gayatri, Manoj and Ritesh waiting there, cameras in hand with water. I couldn’t stop and my rock like legs that felt like 100 pounds each propelled me forward for another few minutes. I felt so good and like I could die a dense ball of dehydrated mass all at once. After a stretch, Gatorade, and two oranges I went to see about a certificate. It might come in the mail, or they might email it; who knows? It was a fun race. I ran for 2 hours and 21 minutes. That’s pretty awesome.

less about the kids…

I promise I’ll stop writing about the kids soon. Only one thing – yesterday at the park, Chapel was protective of me, more playful, closer. I can’t imagine what it’s like to befriend someone who’s older, looks different, doesn’t really speak your language, yet you get along well with. Anyway, that’s that. It’s special.
As a foreigner, as a person who knows people who are coming to this country, one takes on extra responsibility, or, that responsibility is given to that person whether they want it or not. Manoj got a phone call from a friend in a dire situation. His friend’s brother was traveling around India, 19 years old, and was going through a crisis. After 3 months in Nepal, and one month of traveling around India, he became off; off in the sense that he seems to be displaying symptoms of a paranoid schizophrenic. We didn’t really want to be responsible, but the kid and his friend who he was traveling with flew to Pune and we took a watch on them for a few days. It was weird to say the least. His friend was freaking out, crying, not knowing what to do; they’d known each other for 13 years. They informed his family and his sister came here to take him back home. Each time we thought we were not going to speak to them again, they would call. We finally said goodbye to the girl on Sunday and the brother and sister on Monday afternoon. It was intense and scary and would not wish anything like that upon everyone. I do think that it’s kind of important as a foreigner to look out for other foreigners. I’m not sure where this unifying with other foreigners came from, I barely know any other foreigners, but I wouldn’t want to travel and not have anyone help take care of me. We got word they reached home safely. That’s all we know. I’m not sure what to do now except hope for the best for them.
Moving to the race of next weekend, last week my friend gave me a facebook group for a running club in Pune. I embarked on a run with a bunch of strangers, who, upon appearance looked like hard core runners, on Sunday. It was an amazing run. I ran with a bunch of men (there were two women, one of whom konked out in the very beginning, and one who I didn’t meet until the very end) for 10K without stopping. I’m just beyond impressed with myself. I didn’t mean to, I just got a second wind. Along the way I met some cool folks who have been running for a while, who’ve run marathons. I told them about next weekend. They seemed enthused that I would return the following Sunday. I would like to return and run on the weekends with them, but Sunday is great when you get to sleep in too, so we’ll see.
Tomorrow is Holi. It’s exciting to be able to write about these holidays again, to know what’s going to happen, to not feel so new to something so different. We’re planning on playing with the kids in Sagar and Ritesh’s society and then head back to attend a Holi birthday party we were invited to. I’m ready to play. I’m also excited for the day off.