Tag Archives: Mysore

The Men Who Stop Traffic

Oct 22, 2011 via The National by Helena Frith Powell

Parashu ML, left, and Stanly KV started rescuing victims of trafficking more than 20 years ago.
Sitting across a table from these two softly-spoken, unassuming middle-aged men it’s hard to imagine them picking fights with pimps or collecting court summonses with a shrug of the shoulders; but Stanly KV and Parashu ML have been raiding brothels and private homes to rescue girls, boys and women for the past 20 years. Sometimes with the aid of the police, sometimes in spite of the police, these two quiet men of Mysore have kicked in doors and traded blows with traffickers to help free more than 2,000 victims across southern India.

The pair run Odanadi – meaning “soul mate” – an organisation that provides refuge, counselling, education and rehabilitation for up to 85 victims of trafficking at a time. They have taken in scores of domestic slaves and bonded labourers. They’ve raided 60 brothels and secured the convictions of 137 sex traffickers.

Impressive figures. But then the problem is on a massive scale. The Indian government’s own figures put the amount of people in some way involved in human trafficking – the illegal trade in people for the purposes of slavery, commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour – at around 100 million. Of those, 1.2 million are children.

But this fight did not start as a crusade against seemingly insurmountable odds; instead, they were shamed into it.

In the late 1980s, the two young friends worked together as newspaper journalists so closely their byline read simply ‘Stanly Parashu’. It was while conducting interviews for a piece on Dalits – members of India’s strict hierarchical system born below even the lowest caste – that they were challenged by a woman in the street.

 

“Her name was Radhamma,” Stanly says. “She was a prostitute, lower in social standing than even Dalits.

“She asked us: ‘What do you do with the story of these poor people? You write about them, get yourselves a good name, but these people get nothing in return. They think you are a saviour but you don’t come back.’ That really pricked our egos,” says Stanly.

Stung by the criticism, the men turned their attention towards one of India’s greatest taboos – prostitution – starting with Radhamma herself.

“Radhamma had been a housewife,” Stanly says. “But her husband took her to Bombay and sold her to a brothel. When he returned home without her he explained to her family she had run off with another man. He then married his wife’s sister.”

After two years Radhamma managed to escape the brothel and return to her village, now with a child fathered by a client. But her family believed her husband’s story and she was cast out, ending up living on the street working as a prostitute, depending on 10 clients a day to earn enough money to live on and send her son to school.

 

Radhamma had been working the streets for 10 years when Stanly and Parashu met her.

“We wanted to help, to give her financial support, and look after the boy’s education,” says Stanly.

Although they gave her a little cash and arranged for local restaurants to feed her son, Nanjumda, Radhamma found resistance to her change in circumstances too much to bear.

“When we returned a fortnight later, we found her again on the street in the same filthy condition,” Stanly says. “She said: ‘You gave me money but money is not changing my life. No one is accepting me, people are bothering me, police are harassing me.’ “

Prostitutes coming under the police spotlight are treated with little sympathy.

“Women were dragged by their hair; there were no policewomen in those days,” Parashu says. “The male officers would drag them to the police station half-nude. “No one would ask the authorities about this violation of their human rights. We told the police that these ladies are citizens, human beings. We asked them to treat them humanely.

“We started questioning this ill-treatment and dragged chairs into the offices for the women to sit on instead of being forced to stand in the corner of the police station,” says Parashu. “This started the gap to open between the police and us.” Next page

 

Om Yoga Book: Ashtanga Interviews

Om Yoga: A book about yoga by Kia Naddermier, Lisa Ljungh Strömberg & Magnus Naddermier

Featuring interviews with

John Scott, David Swenson, Danny Paradise, Chuck Miller, Dena Kingsberg, Dona Holleman, Shandor Remete & Maria Boox

Read more + pics

Shiva Swami is a dog lover with a difference

From the Times of India

Every stray dog is his pet

Lawrence Milton, TNN | Apr 29, 2011, 10.54pm IST
This Shiva?MYSORE: For many, love for dogs ends at their homes— having it as a pet, feeding varieties of food, giving a royal treatment, teaching their language, etc. All because it is their dog.But businessman Shivakumar, 50, aka Shiva Swami is a dog lover with a difference. A dozen stray dogs are his pets. Every day, he feeds them with bread and biscuits. He has been vaccinating over 100 stray dogs every year for the past five years. Of course, he owns two pugs, an English Mastiff, Labrador and a mastiff puppy.Calling for tolerance among people for stray dogs, he says a dog bites only when it is provoked. “Dogs are scared of people. I feel bad when people throw stones at them on streets. Once you show your love for dog, it remembers it all its life. Such is its love towards humans. That makes it man’s best friend,” he avers. Shivakumar wants people to take the initiative to immunize stray dogs in their neighborhood at veterinary hospitals where it is done for free.

Shivakumar’s love for dogs became deep rooted with his pet Moon, a Great Dane. But his happiness was short lived as Moon died due to an illness when it was 30 months old. Unable to recuperate form the loss, Shivakumar went into depression. He brought another Great Dane and named it New Moon. Though the Dane was a solace for him, he too died young.

Shivakumar’s dogs have participated in many pet shows and won prizes. Shivakumar, who also practices yoga, said he turned to saffron robes 15 years ago for peace of mind.

Beginner’s Guide to Mysore

Signifying Nothing’s tips on how to attract women in Mysore class.

 

 

 

Obligatory moment of contrition:

This indefensibly misguided post was written after five shots of whiskey compounded by the nettling thought that I’ve now done yoga for over three years without getting one date from a yoga class.  This despite an average 10:1 female:male ratio suggests that….

A.) Yoga class is the worst possible place to pick up women.

(By contrast: Signifying Nothing‘s top 5 easiest places to pick up women:
5. School
4. Amsterdam, three a.m., most major holidays save Easter
3. the Zoo
2. Small meteor hurtling towards Earth containing me and a woman
(Like, really small.)
1. Prison

B.) It is time I start on the first of the eight limbs of yoga, Yama (universal morality).

I’ll start tomorrow.

(I was lying about the whiskey. I think of this stuff sober. Sorry mom. Lies: one more moral issue to tackle tomorrow..)

Beginner’s Guide to Mysore Yoga, Part 4:

Nymph: def. (from the Merriam-Webster dictionary), any of the minor divinities of nature in classical mythology represented as beautiful maidens dwelling in the mountains, forests, trees, and waters.

Yoga nymph: def. (from Signifying Nothing), any of the minor divinities of nature in modern urban settings represented as beautiful maidens dwelling in yoga studios.   Synonyms: yogini, Tinkerbell.

Tips on getting the yoga nymphs to alight near you:

1.  Shower before class.  Essential, but by no means the most important tip.  Ask Carl.

2.  Brush your teeth, and avoid using Listerine.  Listerine is easily detected on the breath, and it smells weird.  The Tinkerbells will immediately pick it up and wonder what you were trying to wash away, their first assumption being that you just came from a late night skuzzy porn shoot in your mom’s garage.  As exhilarating as that may sound to you, they won’t be into it, especially at 6:30am while trying to locate God.

3.  Don’t lose your balance and fall on her.  Yoga nymphs startle easily.

4.  Keep your focus on yourself.  No wandering eyes, no matter how amazing their bodies are or the insanely hot pose they are doing.  No one is here to get picked up, except for you, and that is just too bad.  The Tinkerbells don’t give a sneeze of pixie dust about you, how hard you think the pose is you are doing, or what your practice looks like, so long as you stay reasonably on your mat and don’t make a lot of noise or flail about.

5.  Don’t flail about.  Some poses will hurt; others are incredibly awkward; still others may seem pleasant and easy until you discover what you were doing wrong (in the form of an aggressive adjustment by your teacher).  Do your best, with the best intentions; breathe into discomfort; and don’t bring attention to yourself by wincing, grunting, snorting, rolling your eyes, laughing, or screaming.  Lying on your back crying softly to yourself is acceptable.  Or seems to be.  No one has said anything yet.

6.  Be humble.  You suck at yoga, and she doesn’t care.  What does this mean for you?  There is no way in hell you are taking her home.  If you signed up for monthly unlimited classes in hopes of it being a clever dating forum in which to show off your handsome shoulders and shapely chest, you are wasting a lot of money.  The best you can ever hope for is that the nymph practicing next to you touches your hand every so often with some impossible part of her body as she flies through a Tinkerbell pose.

 

continue reading

 

New Mysore Blog

Bloggers currently blogging from Mysore, India:

Martina 2011
http://martina2011india.blogspot.com/

Yoga by Emma
http://emmaoneillyoga.blogspot.com

Jill Manning
http://jillmanning.blogspot.com

Dorion Davis
http://www.doriondavis.com

Jen Goes to India
http://jengoestoindia.blogspot.com
David Robson:  Toronto Body Mind
http://torontobodymind.ca

Miss Stan
http://www.missstan.com

The Unruly Ascetic
http://unrulyascetic.blogspot.com

Kino MacGregor
http://kinoyoga.com

Puro Yoga
http://www.puroyoga.no

Open Your Feet
http://openyourfeet.tumblr.com
http://kameezyrider.com/

We Blog the World
http://www.weblogtheworld.com/countries/eastern-asia

Inside Owl
http://www.insideowl.com

David Garrigues
http://ashtangadavidgarrigues.blogspot.com
http://davidgarrigues.com/blog/

Jenny in India
http://jennyinindia.wordpress.com

Archives
My Yoga Journey
http://deniseyogajourney.blogspot.com

Realizing Mysore
http://realizingmysore.blogspot.com/

Ashtanga Journal
http://ashtangajournal.blogspot.com/

India Outside my Window
http://www.indiaoutsidemywindow.com

Bite Size Yoga
http://www.bitesizeyoga.com

Unfold Your Own Myth

http://angeliqueyoga.blogspot.com/

LI Ash Goes to Mysore
http://liashgoestomysore.wordpress.com

Skippetty Street
http://skippettystreet.blogspot.com

Earth Yogi
http://earthyogi.blogspot.com

Peace Love Yoga
http://peaceloveyoga.blogspot.com

From the Heart of Me
http://fromtheheartofme.blogspot.com

Tanja Bungardt
http://www.tanjabungardt.com

Lou Lou Loves Books

http://louloulovesbooks.blogspot.com/

Cranky Goes to Mysore
http://crankygoestomysore.blogspot.com

Sabblogtical
http://sabblogtical.blogspot.com

New KPJAYI Website

The KPJAYI website has a new look, updates, and new online registration.  Check it out!

KPJAYI.org

While you’re at it, Sharath’s 2011 Euro Tour has been announced and students made into the Mysore news.

KPJAYI: new Jois Yoga Shala in Encinitas

Sharath, Saraswathi and Manju to teach in the new Jois Shala in Encinitas, California, from the 20th of August. From kpjayi.org:

The Mysore Perspective : Yoga Money

YOGA: IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY, HONEY!
Friday, April 23, 2010 The Star of Mysore

Spend Rs. 29,000 per month in City and earn Rs. 7,50,000 in the US

Mysore, Apr.23 (JP)-It is all about money, Honey! Yoga is no longer a simple, time-tested form of exercise aimed at rejuvenating the body and the mind but one of the biggest money spinners in the West. There are a few million Yoga practitioners in the USA alone and the number is growing.

SOM found that a couple of hundred Americans with a sprinkling Europeans come here to learn yoga from the six to seven schools in the City. They spend anywhere from a month to six months either learning yoga or upgrading their skills by learning advanced techniques.

All the yoga students come on a tourist visa and unwittingly break the law by taking up yoga courses. ‘Yoga talk’ among the closely knit Western groups centre around ‘yoga visa.’ But it is found that there is no such thing as a ‘Yoga Visa’ and there is only a Student Visa for which none of the westerners are eligible to apply as, not a single yoga school in the State is recognised by any University or the State Education Board.

It was also found that the City Police Commissioner had sent a circular to all yoga schools not to admit any foreigner on a tourist visa. When SOM spoke to Sashi Kumar of Mystic Yoga School in Gokulam, it found that a Police team had visited his school. Sashi also said that Police had been double-checking on yoga schools in Lakshmipuram to see if foreigners are being taught and what kind of visa they have.

SOM spoke to Harish Bheemaiah who runs the Mandala Yogashala in city. Harish said that the Police will not admit whether the circular came from the Ministry of Home Affairs or the State Home Ministry. Harish Bheemaiah said that it is more than three months since they and other Yoga schools in the city got this notice from the Police Commissioner’s office asking them not to entertain any foreigner on a tourist visa. He said that he along with several of his students had met MLA Ramdas and apprised him of this situation and he in turn spoke to the Police Commissioner. The Police Commissioner was supposed to have had a meeting with them on April 14 at 4 pm but for some reason the meeting was put off.

SOM traced the origin of Police Commissioner Sunil Agarwal’s circular to the one issued by the Kerala State Police who had issued a special circular since that State has an even larger number of Yoga and Kalaripayat schools. Clause VII of the Kerala Tiruvananthapuram Police Chief’s circular says: “As several foreigners coming to India with tourist visas seek admission for studying yoga and meditation, as per the prevailing norms they should hold proper student visa for studying yoga meditation etc. And their venue of study should be clearly recorded on the side of the visa stamp. (The institution should be an authorized one). Moreover change of institution is also not permitted.”

Sashi Kumar told SOM that the Police circular is ridiculous and said he would file a Writ petition about the illegality of this circular. Says Sashi Kumar, “If someone comes on a tourist visa to see Mysore and spends two days learning how to make a Mysore Masale dosa, does it mean that this tourist has violated the law?”

But why this eagerness to learn Yoga in the City? SOM discovered that many student turned teachers now advertise “Mysore style” classes, or Pattabhi or Iyengar style and charge even more. The money just doubles when it is advertised as Mysore style yoga.

Michele Nichols and Steve Dwelley run the Ashtanga Yoga Centre at Santa Barbara, California. They offer a special ‘Mysore Monthly’ course in yoga and they charge $ 150.a month for twice a week classes. This means if they teach 20 students a month, they stand to make $ 3000 a month. Michele and Steve charge $ 1500 for a year’s course of two classes a week. That means even if they have 10 students for the yearly class they will make $ 15,000 or Rs. 6, 75,000 per year. And in Mysore they spend around Rs. 29,000 for six months of Yoga classes.

The School of Yoga in Croydon, United Kingdom, charges 12 pounds a week for a six week course. SOM found that with the exchange rate at Rs. 75 to a pound, a yoga teacher in the UK makes a little over Rs. 5,400 per person for a six-week course.

Kristina Karitinos conducts Mysore style Ashtanga yoga in Athens, Greece, for 90 Euros for a five week course. Govind Kai also has a Mysore Style Ashtanga yoga studio in Athens. David and Catherine Garringues of Seattle, Washington are regulars to Mysore where they spend time upgrading their skills.

Each of those mentioned above spend not more than Rs. 30,000 a month here in the City for two months and this includes their fees, food and stay. But when they get back they make five times the money they have spent.

………. End of article……….

…except that the cost of living is much higher in Europe and the United States.  And one month of study at certain yoga schools is much higher than in the west.  Hmm.

-Elephantbeans

Ashtanga: Stress-Free Yoga in Mysore (Video)

Deccan Herald: It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Raking in moolah

It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Preethi Nagaraj, Mysore, Apr 15, DHNS:

An American national, Jason Thomas (name changed) comes to Mysore once in two years. A photographer and ‘certified’ yoga instructor, this 39-year-old makes the heritage city home for almost 30-45 days during his visit, as he has been doing since the last eight years.

“I come here to update my yoga skills and back home, I am associated with a yoga school where I teach during the weekends at US $ 20 – 40 per session (two classes) depending upon the kind of yoga our students want to learn,” he reveals.

While he has stuck to teaching simple yoga, his contemporaries who switched over to more popular forms of yoga earn up to US $ 80 – 120 for every session, he says. His yoga school charges him nearly Rs 25,000 as a refresher package.

While in Mysore, Jason stays at a guest house run by his ‘friend’ who is a foreigner, paying about 1,500 per day for a bed and breakfast facility. The place is managed by Alisa, a lady who traces her roots to Greece, and lives in the UK. She is one of the people who manage the place, ‘Nest’ in Vijayanagar, and by an estimate, makes a neat Rs 1.5 lakh per month accommodating her ‘friends’ who book rooms via internet. Locals are strictly not allowed inside this ‘six-room accommodation’ house. Such guest houses are aplenty on Contour Road, VV Mohalla, Lakshmipuram, Kuvempunagar, Vijayanagar, Bogadhi among other areas.

The police, who recently sent out a circular instructing the yoga schools in the city to teach only those who arrive on yoga visa or student visa, claim there is more than what meets the eye. Speaking to Deccan Herald, a top source said, at any given point of time, there are 3,000 to 5,000 foreigners living in Mysore on tourist visa, mostly enrolled with different Yoga schools.

Tracking problem

While they appear before the police when they arrive in the city, it becomes difficult to trace them afterwards. As a result, the police instructed the hotels to provide them with details of their foreign visitors. What then came to fore was the case of a mega ‘business’ being run by some foreigners who visit Mysore on ‘rotation’ basis.

Most Yoga schools are aware of this. Says Sudesh Chandra of Upanishat Yoga Kendra in Kuvempunagar: “The foreigners who come here stay together for security reasons. I am told they run guest houses too.”

The schools which enroll foreigners, certify them which is in turn used to earn more dollars back home. And this, purely, is the prerogative of the school. Yoga schools want the Government to create a central authority to formalise the teaching methods, thus adding a natural check to the system.

originally posted at the Deccan Herald