Green Gokulam : The Deep Breathing Capital

"Knowledge that flows from the mouth of a guru alone bears fruit. Others, that are weak and tiresome, prove fruitless."

The historic settlement of Mysuru is one of South India's most enchanting cities, famed for its glittering royal heritage and magnificent monuments and buildings. Its World Heritage–listed palace brings most travelers here, but Mysore (now known as Mysuru) is also rich in tradition with a deeply atmospheric bazaar district littered with spice stores and incense stalls. Ashtanga yoga is another draw card and there are several acclaimed schools which attract visitors from across the globe.

Karnataka’s most-visited tourist town, Mysore, is also home to Gokulam, India’s Urban capital of deep breathing. In the years since the legendary Sri Pattabhi Jois set up his first yoga institute near this leafy neighbourhood, over 40 yoga schools teaching Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga and meditation have sprung up, as well as innumerable cafes and stores to cater to students, travellers and teachers-in-training.

Mysore-Yoga-Shala-3.jpg

Sri Pattabhi started a revolution.

Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic, flowing style that connects the movement of the body with the breath. The method stresses the importance of daily practice of a set series of movements. There are six series of Ashtanga yoga sequences, which the student progresses through at their own pace. Ashtanga yoga classes are often taught in the “Mysore style.” In this style, practitioners are encouraged to memorise the sequence they are working on, then individually work through the sequence during the class. Ashtanga yoga is considered a vigorous, orderly practice and, as such, is more suited to students who want a dynamic and vigorous yoga practice.

04.jpg

The new wave of yoga living in Mysore is growing up in Gokulam. Gokulam is a suburb of Mysore, away from most of the noise, traffic and pollution of the city, and considered to be one of the prime residential spots. Characteristic signs of India are ever present there but it is a much more comfortable and homely area to live in. There are several places in Gokulam to find the best of organic Satvik foods, Ayurveda medication and a wide range of books for Ayurveda, Yoga, Sanskrit and Astrology . Perhaps element for the yoga student staying in this neighbourhood is the freedom and ease to walk to yoga, walk to lunch, walk to stores, walk to a friend's place, walk to evening chanting or walk to the corner bazaar.

05.jpg

Gokulam has become the new focus for students as of January 2003 due to the fact that Sri. Pattabhi has relocated his yog-shala to a new and impressive space in this neighbourhood. All the facilities from the last twenty years or so are still available in the old areas but Gokulam is receiving students and facilities in growing numbers.

As mentioned, much neighbourhood walking, even strolling, can be done yet, on your own scooter, or braving the rickshaw man, a 10-minute ride gets you in to the "city." So all in all the neighbourhood is much calmer, but also quite accessible to whatever you want to do in Mysore. Living here is just getting established.

Coconuts

g3.jpg

Fortunately for all at the yoga shala, the coconut-man of Lakshmipuram, is outside every morning with a fresh batch of juicy and sweet coconuts. These are one of the best things about practising and travelling in Mysore. They are excellent for re-hydration post practice and the "white meat" of it, known as gungy, is also great for you. Anyway, on-the-spot outside service is there!

What Else To Expect and Enjoy ?

g5.jpg

Bhajans are a great thing for all budding and spiritually inclined yoga students. Devotional chanting, call and response most often, accompanied by various musical instruments from India. .

The Ramakrishna Ashram at the top of the Gokulam Main Road, at the junction of KRS Road, has a very high spiritual program each evening at 7pm. They also have the best bookshop in Mysore (for all books on yoga and spirituality). That is open from 9-12 and 4-7pm.

The Hare Krishna temple, near Tina's, off of the KRS Road. Not the image we have in the West but just a nice temple with a daily program of chanting and Bhagavad Gita discussions.

Sai Baba bhajans—done in the homes of devotees on different nights. The only one we can figure out is the house right next door to the shala. Every Thursday night from 6pm to 7:20. You can arrive late but why!?! These are real, alive and vocal bhajans with feeling by the men and women brought up with them.

Ammachi's—out of Gokulam all the way on the Bogadi Road but well worth it on a Sunday night. Beginning sometime after 6pm, wrapping up around 8pm. It is held at Ammachi's AICT for which you will see signs when driving out there.

g4.jpg
  • Satvik meals make you energetic and strong. There is a range of foods in Gokulam, Mysore.

Gokulam can make you a true self-lover and a better and healthy person. It is a place to find your true spiritual and liberal self.

Picture Credits

Crafted By, Anushka Arora


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE...