Painted Cows & Pepper Cookies

Kristin Taylor. Her name rhymes with the Telluride Yoga Center, where she is co-owner and beloved teacher. We all know Kristin can bend like a pretzel. But did you know she could bend a phrase with equal aplomb and dexterity? Kristin has been traveling this winter, on a path of discovery. This is the first in a series of blogs from the road, reflections on yoga, life, and experience.

Lawless and Spiritual (2/19/16)

It stands alone. The simple chaos of India is striking. I arrived in the small city of Mysore in Karnataka, Southern India where lazy timelessness somehow runs alongside a relentless madness. It is immediately evident that India has a strong character and no lack of energy or life, no weakness of spirit. I am excited to have a month here in this mecca of Ashtanga yoga, time to study and immerse myself in the rigorous style of classical yoga which this place is famous for. I am excited to indulge in the vividly unique Indian culture.

I quickly discover I’m not crazy about rickshaws.

Rickshaws are quintessential Asia and no less than a partially enclosed three-wheeled tuna can about as stable as an egg. The exhaust pipes purge dirty smoke. Drivers are generally obstinate opportunists, overcharging two to even three times the real price and still treating you like you ruined their day. So, one week of this and I decided with all my previous training riding scooters in Bali and Thailand I surely could take on Indian traffic, a wild mix of buses, cows, cars, rickshaws, scooters, and dogs, all pressing through with their own plan of direction and timing. It turns out, a scooter was all I needed; with the scooter came freedom. Freedom to become one with the chaos.

There is a language to be learned here. Hindi is one of them, yes. But there is another. It is the all-pervasive horn.

Forget traffic rules other than an occasional stop light. On the road, it is more like a free-for-all with horn as moderator. The horn says “hey there” or “I’m on your right,” or my favorite, “NOT stopping!” Some of the endearing phonemes of this unspoken language include the short and quick beep, a lengthy succession of beeps, and the long hard blast of sound that makes the ears wince. Whatever the message, everyone has something to say. Don’t be offended and keep your cool. This is India and it’s hot, loud, and sometimes kind of stinky. And if you’re walking, definitely don’t forget that pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way.

My neighbor and yogini compatriot is Reina, a spicy little pistol from Venezuela, who has become my inseparable back-seat driver. We weave and speed all over the city making our own rules. In India as well as in all of Asia you can see an amazing amount of passengers and baggage of all kinds being transported on these little bikes. We joke that back home it would take a day off work, three friends, and a car to move a piece of furniture, whereas here they would just strap it on the back of the bike, load up the family – including the dog – and head off on the scooter. Job done.

here is also a helmet “law” that seems to be the only reason a cop would ever pull you over to claim some rupees and write you a ticket. That is, if you stop. They stand in the street on foot and try to wave you down. We have found the best way is to feign a stop and then gun it (full throttle is a ridiculously slow build up to 40kph, which could almost be outrun on foot), then weave a bit as the cop scrambles to take a photo of your license plate with his 90’s era cell phone. This irreverent act generally keeps us from shelling out an extra 100 rupees and having to stop. Reina for some reason doesn’t want to buy a 300 rupee helmet, which is more like a prop than a safety device anyway so we continue about like Thelma and Louise do India.

Don’t get the wrong idea: we stop every once in a while and pay up. It’s usually pretty entertaining because immediately we are surrounded by ten Indian onlookers, generally men, all joining in and commenting on the bust. I have also heard that the law really only requires the driver to have a helmet, but they like to pull us over any way. I haven’t looked it up for myself. I prefer the lawless lifestyle. Lawless and spiritual.

Now you know.

More about Kristin Taylor:

Kristin Taylor, co-owner, Telluride Yoga Center, on a journey of personal discovery.

Kristin Taylor, co-owner, Telluride Yoga Center, on a journey of personal discovery.

Kristin Taylor was born in Aspen, Colorado and brought to Telluride at three months old by her snow-loving parents. Here she developed a great love for her native valley and the surrounding peaks. Her passion for skiing as a child evolved into a competitive freestyle skiing career, where she qualified for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team at 18, but tore her ACL and then spent years grasping for a dream that only offered excessive and repetitive injury.

Her active life and adventurous soul kept her traveling: a love for the ocean took her to Mexico, Costa Rica, and California. Waves became the new outlet, but it was yoga that ultimately became the catalyst for true health, self-discovery and empowerment. Offering so much that devoted athletes appreciate, such as focus, balanced strength, and endurance, yoga also brought peace, steadiness, and ease. The gifts of healing on all levels Kristin experienced through yoga have radically broadened her awareness of the potential energy and limitless possibilities that come with a dedicated practice.

Kristin developed her foundation in yoga through a dedicated Ashtanga yoga practice under the guidance of Victoria Laws. She then trained with Shiva Rea and at the Samudra Global School of Living Yoga, where she received her RYS 200hr Prana Flow Energetic Vinyasa certification. Kristin is only a few steps from achieving her 500-hour certification with an emphasis in Ayurveda. As the co-owner of the Telluride Yoga Center, Kristin continues to dedicate her life to the study of yoga.

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