Today was my day off and I started the morning by visiting one of the local Ashrams to check out the yoga scene. As most of you know, yoga is one of my absolute favorite things to do back home and I have been itching to see what the "real" yoga is like here in India. After finally finding the place I made my way up the spiraling staircase to the tiny room where a man and two students were already practicing. I was a few minutes late but he kindly let me join in. Some of the poses he led us through were familiar, others I had never seen. At one point he put us in boat pose, arms and legs out in what is supposed to look like a boat. He laughed and said we looked like sinking boats. Great. He had us hold some of the poses for an excruciatingly long time. I will definitely be sore tomorrow! At the end of the practice he led us through a variety of breathing sequences, starting with "fire breathing." He showed us what we were supposed to do. He looked like he was having some sort of seizure as he convulsed in different directions while breathing through his nose. I copied him as best as possible without passing out. The practice ended with the familiar relaxation pose of shivasana. After class I asked him how much he charged and straight faced he told me 500 rupees. I was pretty sure he was kidding but went to grab my wallet anyways. He then laughed and told me it was up to me what I give and that the profits go to a local NGO: Animal Aid. Word.
As I walked back towards the hotel I decided to keep walking. It was just after 9 am and the city was just starting to wake up. It was nice to walk down the streets without being hassled by pushy store owners. I realized that I'm beginning to feel comfortable and really appreciate Udaipur for all it has to offer. It is really a beautiful city.