If you like to get your drank on, you will not find it easily. I have seen alcohol at 3 places. The airport (like 3 hours away), Big Bazaar Grocery Store (about 20 minutes away) and at the Green Hotel. I have not seen anything within walking distance. There may be more but they are not a part of the usual Mysore student shopping and restaurant circuit located around the Shala. There is a temple or Yoga school on every corner, but liquor stores….not so much.
Ashtanga and Alcohol don’t really go hand and hand. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a yogic text that we study at KPJAYI, Chapter 1 vs 59 places alcohol on the Yogi’s forbidden food list. Our philosophy teacher, Lakshmish, who is in his thirties, has never had alcohol in his life!!!
Sharath says, the ecstasy should grow within you without taking drugs.
Yoga teacher, Rod Stryker, says that if you are in a blissful happy state, you wouldn’t need anything to make you blissful or happy. The need to drink alcohol points to the fact that one cannot find or maintain that state on one’s own. We also drink when we are happy to release our inhibitions and have fun but this also points to the fact that we cannot release our inhibitions and have fun on our own. I personally crave a drink at the end of a long busy day to unwind which points to the fact that I have trouble unwinding on my own. Some say that drinking enhances the good feelings that they already feel. However, if you are completely and fully feeling life to its greatest capacity, you cannot enhance it. If you add Black to Black, it doesn’t look more Black. The absence of something is the only way you can notice an enhancement. Being able to generate our own inner well being and ecstasy is a part of the Yogic path. Being able to think clearly so that we can see the world for what it is at all times is also part of the Yogic path. Dulling our senses so that we don’t have to be with ourselves, see who we really are or feel what we feel is the opposite of Yoga.
The purpose of the A.P. P Goes to Mysore is to provide information that may help you be more prepared for Mysore. I am not condoning or speaking against drinking on your trip. This is for information purposes only. Certainly, if you are looking to get your drank on in Mysore, you can find it. You can also choose to embrace the whole experience without it. You can use the trip to deeply feel the emotions that come up inside of you. Instead of using liquid courage, you can choose to open your heart and be vulnerable. There are no shortage of opportunities to meet new people and practice letting down your guard, letting people in and being yourself. At the end of the day, if I feel emotional, I have allowed myself to sit with it and feel it completely. It is hard but extremely rewarding work. The ability to self regulate is critical to the path of Yoga. Your trip to Mysore is as good a time as any to try it on.
Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.