Earlier in the month, in a class I was observing, the teacher, Gulnaaz, said to a student who was going the wrong way in a pose, “It is easy to disconnect.” She was saying to this student, your mind is somewhere else. You are not in your body! And that is observable in an Iyengar yoga class. Teachers are trained to observe and see if the students are understanding the instructions the teacher is teaching. It is an important part of Iyengar yoga. You are seen!
And it is observable if a student is in their body, or not, or if their attention is with the teacher or not. This keeps the students paying attention and developing the ability to go deeper with in. We arrive with a scattered mind and our practice takes us to a more focused unified feeling within ourselves. This is dharana, the ability to concentrate, to be present with our self.
I am in the afternoon of my last day in India. I just finished a lovely class with Sunita this Saturday morning. Her teaching is lively with explanation, demos and questioning, “Do we understand?”. It is the Iyengar way to teach for us to learn, to be educated. Not just about the poses but about ourselves. I am moved to tears at times because of this teaching style, that we must all rise to our potential and nothing less is accepted.
This has been a very good trip and I’ve mentioned in the past writings how well the Institute physically looks. Inside there is a lightness. There is more helpful staff and the staff is smiling.
I have loved seeing Abhijata practicing in our practice sessions in the same spot her grandfather would be when he was alive. Her children are around. She has a little boy, probably 2, who is with his mom when his older sister is in school. He has mom to himself and has been with her, sitting on her back, hugging her on the stage from behind her neck in a death grip as she is speaking to students. Monday afternoon she was in the practice hall preparing for a medical class and her little boy came in upset and she held him and ended up holding him the rest of the class as she sat on the floor giving instructions on different patients. He was asleep. She was being a mom first and letting him sleep.
I have always loved the diversity in my month at the Institute. By this last week we are more familiar with each other, not from necessarily talking but a sense of community we’ve built each day in our practice sessions and in classes. I feel fond of each person. It is noted four Chinese students arrived two weeks into the month late because of being sequestered before allowed to leave China. Wednesday all the Americans met for lunch after the morning class at a restaurant called Shrevan. I thought there were only four of us, but there ended up being like 10 or 12 of us. A diverse group with an Indian woman, a Mexican woman, a woman from the UK, all claiming American citizenship. We still represent diversity when we say we are an American!
I will miss the morning chanting I hear from afar as dawn is breaking. I will miss the practices in the practice hall with my fellow attendees. I will miss my time with Peentz Dubble and Linda DiCarlo who are veteran teachers and students. We have traveled this continuing Iyengar yoga practice for many years now. That makes for a strong bond because it is difficult to talk about unless you have been there. I leave knowing the Iyengar Institute is doing so well and Abhijata has a modern vision for where she wants Iyengar yoga to go. This family has given so much and continues with a new generation to carry on. I think Mr. Iyengar is smiling.
I am looking forward to heading home, to be back in the studio and sharing what I’ve seen, practiced and continue to learn. The disconnecting from here to home has begun. I will finish packing and get myself ready to be picked up and to the airport. I’ll make one last walk over to the practice hall and do a rope dog pose for the road!!
See you soon. Much love,