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God bless the Sun!

Last night there was yet another party in the streets. Walking home, along Juhu Beach, it was like going against the tide of human waves. Tiring. When you live in India, there are days you get to realize that there are really really a lot of people in this country... Those are the days you wonder if they never get tired of their religious histrionics... It never stops!


People should feel free to express themselves I know, but I am less convinced when the noise under my windows prevents me from sleeping... At the same time I must say the dog that "watches" the open garbage pit at the foot of my building and barks at the donkeys every night at 3 also prevents me from sleeping!

Anyway, no one asks for my opinion regarding festivals, their frequency and their level of nuisance! Adapt or die (or leave!)…


So yesterday it was Chhath Puja. A festival in honor of the God Sun (Surya). In short (apparently the rules are not the same everywhere, and it is mainly a North Indian festival), the devotees must fast for two days and on the morning of the second day, they make their offerings to the rising Sun.


Last night when I left office, people had started settling in to camp on the beach like that:

India,festival,hindu festival,hinduism,religion,Juhu beach,chhath puja,Surya,sun 

And this morning the scene was something like this (while I was sleeping): 

India,festival,hindu festival,hinduism,religion,Juhu beach,chhath puja,Surya,sun

India,festival,hindu festival,hinduism,religion,Juhu beach,chhath puja,Surya,sun

“Under a canopy of sugar cane sticks, clay elephants containing earthen lamps, and containers full of the offerings are placed. There the fire god is worshipped. The offerings characteristically consist of deep-fried and sweet rolls of stone ground wheat flour, grapefruit, whole coconuts, bananas, and grains of lentils. During the puja, these items are contained in small, semicircular pans woven out of bamboo strips called soop.”


More info here:


Yoga: between tradition and modernity

But my story with prenatal yoga did not stop there (see previous post)...

After two months of singing Om, putting my legs up on the wall, bouncing on my pregnancy ball, taking the Warrior position, and this three times a week, my dear teacher suddenly increased her fare by more than 50%. And she did not appreciate when I mentioned, when the car came back from the garage, how much it cost me and what I was I could expect from her.

From the beginning I made it clear that I would prefer if we kept the yoga lessons and the car thing separate. For her, two trial classes and a rebate on the 12 following sessions was enough of a compensation.

None of this was very important of course. But it may be enough to kill the vibe! And especially when you do yoga and relaxation it’s not cool...

So I resumed my prenatal yoga teacher search thinking I would do a 'benchmark' (see what other teachers out there have to offer and at what cost) and then decide what to do. An Indian woman of my ‘Mumbai mums’ Whatsap Group (there is no end to progress) suggested a name. Immediately I contacted her and signed for a trial class!

That’s how I met S., a woman in her forties, dressed with a salwar-kameez, quite fat, and without a yoga mat (and I am not talking about music). The contrast was striking: my current teacher is young and thin (which the partners of my new-mother friends who follow her classes do not really like: what can she possibly know of pregnancy?), model and bollywood actress during her free time. But let's not be judgmental, traditional can be good!

We therefore started by the usual questions: where am I from, what do I do, what does my husband do (?), for how long have we been married (??), where did he study (???). Huh?? Are these questions really necessary for a yoga class?

Then we started the exercises. I could have been in a sketch of Coluche (a French humorist):

“Up, down, up, down...

So now we'll move to the other eyelid.”

Rising up the left arm, rotation of the right foot. The whole time she is staring at me with a weird smile. I'd bet that she does not meet foreigners every day...

Three breaths through the nose and S. started blabbing again. Out of the blue, she went into a monologue about breast-feeding and without warning asked me: “Are your nipples out?” Luckily I was sitting...

“No. Because it is absolutely necessary that you breast-feed. And if your nipples are not out, you must pull them out every night and put a drop of oil if it hurts. Ask your gynec*.” And she did not stop there: “When you will be breast-feeding and tired, do not lie down on the side, you could smother your baby if you fall asleep.”

I could have end the class right there. To her dismay, I did not book for 12 classes, nor promise to continue... I had managed for 7 months to avoid awful stories on pregnancy and the rest, and it is not a yoga teacher who is going to change that! Especially if she doesn’t do what I paid her for: namely a yoga class!

It was therefore with great pleasure that I did my next class with my old young yoga teacher and her 'westernized' methods! Let's not 50 euros get in the way! I returned happily to my pregnancy ball and Kegel exercises (I like that, vaginal muscle contraction exercises, it reminds me an episod of Sex and the City I watched when I was around 15 (see this site)) that probably did not exist in S.’s century...

* PS: Seen with the gynec: pinching the nipples may actually cause contractions: the body understands the signal of breastfeeding, and since it's easier if the baby is out, it starts getting ready for the expulsion...

NB: We have a "traditional" (fat, salwar-kameez, no yoga mat, no music) teacher in office and she is excellent... And my first ashtanga teacher, very “modern” (slim, beautiful, active in music), did not teach me anything but positions (no explanations). So I'm not proving anything here, just sharing a story!!


When a road hog turns into a...

Let us resume where we left it!

We were talking about me chasing a young Indian girl who had bumped into my car...

It took me a week or two to contact her, not really knowing how much to ask for the car damage. I was not even really sure she would answer. And my favorite Indian was even less convinced! But she did. The surprise was to be for a different reason:

  • Me: Hello
  • Her: Hi! How are you?
  • Me: Good good. And you?
  • Her: Good too :) I've been meaning to message you to for a while now.
  • Me: Haha! Me too...
  • Me: Tough to take care of this guy's stuff...
  • Her: :) I've been meaning to offer you a yoga class or a reiki session if you would like that.
  • Me: Are you a yoga teacher?
  • Her: Yes. what do you do?
  • Me: I work for a dog food company. Where do you teach?
  • Her: Cool. I teach at the Yoga House and private classes
  • Me: Ok...
  • Me: I used to go there
  • Me: I'm actually looking for yoga
  • Me: But prenatal...
  • Her: Hahaha well guess what, that is what I teach
  • Me: You are serious??
  • Her: Yes :)
  • Me: Well life has its own ways...

So. Life does have its own ways. To not hide anything, I had been lookindia,yoga,prenatal yoga,pregnancying very actively for a prenatal yoga teacher for more than a month, without great success, and destiny put me it on my way (so to say ;) ).

And it turned out it was not the only thing destiny had in store for me!

I went to take my trial class at the Yoga House and I met a French mother-to-be. At three and a half months of pregnancy, I thus set my first foot in the world of motherhood... Her advice has been / is valuable, my level of knowledge about pregnancy has significantly expanded (at the same time I come from very very very far) and thanks to her I now know many women to whom I can ask my dumb questions! Quite reassuring when you are thousands of kilometers about your family and friends and clueless about babies...