Ivory Tower is a metaphorical place or an atmosphere where people are happily cut off from the rest of the world in favor of their own pursuits, usually mental or esoteric ones.
I am staying in a room on the 7th floor next door to the Iyengar Institute. It a very different perspective up here above the trees and looking out over parts of the city. It is more green and the large black birds that live in these trees are soaring through the air which is not seen when on the street level. From up here the vegetation is lush and the noise somewhat muted and maybe my imagination but the air seems a little cleaner.
My past trips I have been on the street level with the grit and grind and movement of the masses all around. At first it seems like total chaos with so many people, rickshaws, motorcycles and tiny cars in masses going by both ways. What I call chaos is the natural rhythm and order of things here and it works for these citizens. But that is the point of our practice, right? To be able to deal with what comes up and maintain some equanimity within. There are lots of opportunities to practice this here!
Having the Institute next door is a luxury. I am 5 minutes from a class. On entering the gate to the grounds there is a sign in book and interesting to see all the countries students are from who are here this month taking classes. I walked in with two guys from Poland yesterday and there are lots of eastern European students here this month. Less Asian. Australia always a group here. As far as I know there are 4 Americans which is the least I’ve experienced. Classes I have taken and observed are well taught.
My Ivory Tower experience is also enhance by what I need and use in my room. I have a reading light by my bed, the hot water heats up quickly, I have water that I can get in the kitchen here to drink and use for brushing my teeth. In the past I would walk a ways and buy bottles then haul it back to my room. Water is so heavy and then the distance took stamina!
I have a cooked lunch everyday except Sundays and it has been very good. There is quite a staff of people who come in each day to keep this apartment functioning well. There is a cleaning person, a cook, another cleaning person who comes in just to wash up the dishes from the night before so she arrives very early, The mornings are full and the aromas of the Indian food is wonderful. It is such a treat to go to class and a practice session which lasts until noon and come back and have a delicious Indian meal waiting. There is basmati rice, a dal, a veggie dish and fresh chapati made hours earlier. I’m not a big Indian food person but while I’m here it is a treat! Of the Indian breads, chapati is one of my favorites and it is not served in the restaurants. So having it fresh everyday is special for me!
My basic needs here are handled and in ways that I am comfortable and well taken care of. This allows me to focus more on time to read and practice, observe and study and not be responsible for so many other things in life that keep me busy and distracted. I can be in my Ivory Tower mentality and focus more on this great subject of Yoga while I am here, in Pune, minutes from the Iyengar Institute.
I’ll check back soon,