Yoga and Other Things

I’ll start with the other things. The weather has increasingly heated up but the nights have stayed fairly cool. Friday night several of us went to an outdoor Indian concert to hear some classical Indian music. The main attraction was a well known tabla musician, Sakir Hussein. We had 1000 rupee tickets, around $20 and there were plastic chairs so we didn’t have to sit on the ground. There were lots of people and large screens on either side of the stage so we could see the musicians well. It was fun to get out and we saw other yoga students there (who also skipped prananyama class to go)!

Saturday was Sunita’s Women’s class and she did a lovely class. This is backbend week so every class is backbends. She emphasized sama, sameness or evenness as we observed our actions in poses. Evenness in sides of body, sameness in action of legs, which side leads and which leg follows in different poses? Which hand comes to the feet first in Ustrasana? She reminded us we have to pay attention so we know and educate ourselves about ourselves as we work in the poses.

After class on Saturday, I was invited to lunch at my old landlords the Shahani’s. It was an exquisite Indian meal and maybe the best Indian food I have had. Very lovely seasoning, and light and on the gourmet side. It started with a fresh lime soda which I love. Lime juice is squeezed in a glass and you can add sweeter, and or salt or just plain and add sparkling water to this. It is refreshing and quenches the thirst. Sunday I decided to get up and go on the Pune Heritage Walk which was organized in 2012 and I heard was very good. It starts at 7 am and lasts 2 and half to 3 hours. I arrived at 7 and it ended up not happening. The guards at the Pune Municipal Corporation, the starting place knew nothing but were very nice. One in particular told me about the big parade all day honoring a great leader and fighter, Shivaji Maharaj ( mid 1700s) on his birthday. He wrote it out for me and said that Napoleon used some of his military strategies in his military conquests. He was very excited and proud of this day and probably why there was no walk. I left there and did follow the walking route some but the parade was forming and traffic was becoming a huge obstacle. I did find the Kelkar Museum which was fabulous and had a wide range of artifacts and art from hundreds of years past. Getting back to my apt. took two rickshaws and one and half hours! Very challenging especially with traffic and heat!

This week started off with Prashant’s 7 am class this morning, Monday, which I decide to take. It was a great class and his discussion was particularly clear and meaningful. One theme as he asked us to focus the breath in different place of the body as we did a pose was if we just do the pose for the way it looks there won’t be transformation or inner growth. The body, the breath and the mind have to all be involved and experiencing together for inner wisdom and intelligence to come.

On my first day I had a registration sheet that was very basic with just a few things they needed but at the bottom it asked “Purpose for Learning” with two lines under. My first thought was I needed a page to write all the things that popped into my mind. I thought I need to make this short and sweet and no one will probably read it. It is a great question and I wanted to look behind why I come to India and live a month with all its challenges and expense. Getting here I remember. This trip has been interesting without Mr. Iyengar’s presence. But the Iyengar presence is very present. Sunita is teaching the Women’s classes, Prashant his morning classes, Abijata is teaching our Monday night class, and Geeta has been making appearances on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to teach about teaching and learning. They are a force and all different and demanding in the Iyengar way to be present, to practice to your ability which is always more in their presence, and to reach beyond where we are or have been to aspire higher. And that is what I want to continue to go for in my life. Be more curious, keep growing and learning and enjoying it as I go. All the classes ask that of every student. The Iyengars are relentless in their prodding us along and I am grateful for this. It makes me want to keep this intensity and connection to yoga when I get home. The Iyengars day in and day out give their students this. For their whole lives. It’s amazing and they are quite a family! See you soon. Love Lou

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