Before I left for Mysore on my last trip I visited my doctor and got some advise, I also learned lots from my very own roommates in India, and collectively here is the knowledge I have.
1- Don’t Drink Tap Water
Water in India is unsafe, just like it is in Mexico, so when you are showering close your mouth and be especially careful when washing your hair.
Just to give you an example, one of my roommates did not believe the fuzz and one night brushed her teeth with tub water. She felt bad in the morning, skipped yoga practice and ended up staying in bed for two whole days. She had diarrhea and vomit spurs and got completely dehydrated.
2.- Do Not Eat Raw Foods (Salads) In Restaurants
Stick to the touristy (read western oriented) restaurants, and do not eat lettuce or raw produce in restaurants because they wash them with the water you are avoiding. Eat at home instead when you feel like raw.
3.- Carry With You Water Purification Capsules
We used to add a few drops of Liquid Grapefruit seed oil to water we would wash veggies with, and this worked very well.
When cooking at home I concentrated on stews. Beans are a plenty, at least in the Mysore area, and it is so cheap to cook at home that it seems like an exercise in living in an affordable world, very much so.
5.- Talk To Your Doctor About Possible Diarrhea and Bring Amodium
It might happen, even if you take all precautions. It is always good to be prepared for the worst case scenario so it is important to talk to the doctor and ask for an anti-diarrhea pill and to also ask for something to stop vomiting.
My doctor suggested that if it came to this point, to first let it run out before I started taking the anti-diarrhea stuff (Imodium). I know this might be a little too much information and I consider myself lucky that I did not get to that point ever. Should you encounter yourself there, it is good to know.
6.- Bring Hydration Pills (Buy from Amazon)
I had some of these pills with me and they helped my roommate (see point 1). Nothing will replace the water drinking, no pill, no antibiotics. It is important to remember to keep hydrated at all times.
7.- Bring and Carry With You An Umbrella and a Flash Light
8. Bring A Mosquito Net
I brought my own which I borrowed from a friend who had gone to Africa. It was a cool thing to have and I could see how it could have come handy depending on where I would rent a space.
I was lucky that my room in a big house near the AYRI did not need a net, but there were plenty of mosquitoes around.
9.- If You are a Woman Respect Customs, Don’t Show Ankles and Shoulders
During the time of my visit there was a young girl that went into the shala and then left dressed only in tights and a top tank, I saw her walking home about 4 blocks from the AYRI. For India this is incredibly provocative.
I am sure the young girl probably did not know any better, and did not realize that the culture can be very shocked. I am not saying there is a relation between this and what happened the next morning, but it does leave me wondering. We woke up to the news that a dog that used to roam the shala’s premises’ was murdered by the police, reportedly (this I heard and could be no more than gossip) because the neighbors had it arranged to “send a message”.
Now that may not be true, who knows, but what I did hear was Sharath telling us all that very morning to remember to respect the culture and that women should cover their shoulders. Coincidence? you tell me.
10.- Carry a Whistle With You
India in general has been having a lot of rape cases. Mysore is no exception, some women have been groped, or molested (including myself), so bring a whistle and be smart about how you get to the studio. Travel with others… Protect yourself.