Yoga life in Pune is going very well. Sleeping is less an issue but I still would like a few more hours. The simplicity of my life probably doesn’t require as much sleep. This morning, Wednesday, Abijita Iyengar, taught the women’s class which now includes the men which I mentioned earlier. They have to be on the back row and there are so many people all the wooden props are moved to the balcony and out of the main practice room. We folded our mats in half longways and it worked. Clever way to get us all in and have a mat. She is a very good teacher and told several stories of what Mr. Iyengar said about this and that. Very fun to see her light up and channel the strong influence of her grandfather.
By now the attending students feel more jelled as a group—a community. You know the faces if not the names. We spend a lot of time together in class, in practice, observing classes, and discreetly each other. I’ve mentioned how there are students from all over the world. It is such a cool thing that we all merge in this one location and do all the things together and yet don’t really talk. There are some countries that come in groups. This August there is a very large French group and the usual large Italian group. It is fun to hear them talking when several get together in practice session and speak their native tongue. There is a group of frauleins and I am sure some men from Germany. Six or so from China, a few Japanese, one brave soul from Singapore on his own, Russia, Ireland, England, etc. and from our side of the globe, Brazil, Mexico Canada and who knows where else. There are only about 8 Americans, and I only know of 6 but there may be some few I don’t know.
Practice time which is either in the morning or afternoon is interesting to be a part of. We get to use any and all of the props and you can see people doing such a variety of things. There are always some going up for an assessment and they have their syllabus out and practicing. There are those who have assigned sequences usually for a injury or a chronic issue of some kind, some doing restorative, major backbends as the young man next to me today, and any other sequence of poses you can imagine. Jeanne said this afternoon you really have to practice patience because of how spaces and props can disappear if you aren’t paying attention or leave your spot to get a prop. It’s good to have a buddy system if possible. Also, it is interesting to watch because of what you can learn from the things you see that is done differently or in a new way. Like the country India itself, there are so many people and we are all packed in and for the most part we make it work. That is what is amazing about this country. Walking to the vegetable and fruit market this afternoon, watching where I step and the smells that pass by that repel or call you, I thought that this trip, less has changed in Pune since my last visit. There are more cell phones and cars everywhere but the street life, and mass humanity and animals (huge pigs and some babies in a trash heap near our market), cars, rickshaws, motorcycles, bikes are all living and moving closely together and making it work. So now you see cars and everyone has a cell phone but the backdrop is the same. I felt relieved when I got here. Somehow I don’t want the India I am accustomed to to go away.
So probably for many visitors the sights you see are one thing, but add the smell and it is challenging for most westerners. In practice, there are a large group of us practicing and it is hot and everyone is perspiring and close. Not all cultures value squeaky clean as we do. But then there is the whiff of cardamon or the smell of an Indian lunch drifting out the window as you walk by. There can be the faint smell of incense in the air in small pockets. All so India. This contradictory mixture comes with the territory. Intolerable to sublime. So Monday night watching one of the classes being taught, observing from the back, I got this whiff of perfume. It wasn’t just any perfume. A fine perfume. I thought and dug deep—Chanel #5 perhaps? I am sure I don’t know or remember that fragrance that defined the best of perfumes of an age and time. Well I looked around and found it coming from an area where two French women were in class. Not too strong but so nice. I wondered how they got that perfume on and not have it smelling to strong. Given the backdrop, the perfume really stands out. But this was so subtle and I decided that these French women being from France probably naturally smell like a perfume. Fun to observe and it made me smile. Need to close and head to bed! Thinking of you all! Love Lou