Weekend, Classes, and Highlights in Pune

Last weekend, like the one before, was fun and full of yoga, and then getting out into the streets. Sunita’s Saturday morning class was preparation and the practice of Sirsasana (Head Stand) and Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) with variations. She prepared us well and in the Iyengar style of teaching, had several demonstrations to show us what she wanted us to learn and then do. This was followed by long holdings of both poses and some helpful take aways for personal practice.

Saturday evening was a trip to MG (Mahatma Gandhi) Road where there are stores old and new mixed in with each other. In the three years since my last trip here I was amazed at how much had changed and so many people! There were a few things still in place that gave us a sense of where we were. Dinner was at the Pune Coffee Shop which has been there for as long as I have been going to India. It is still very good, and I had a favorite there: coconut uttapam which is a thin spongey bread with sautéed onions, coconut and some spices sprinkled on top. Ubering home is so nice because you are inside a vehicle instead of in a rickshaw inhaling the fumes and pollution even though the 3 of us all had on our masks!

Sunday morning was Prashant’s philosophy class which is well attended and one of his nephews presented sutra ll.5 and defined it. Prashant followed up with his take on the sutra and what exactly avidya is and isn’t. It is so nice to see so many of the Iyengar family present and participating in different ways. That afternoon we took a walk in the nearby park (with masks) and before dinner we walked to the Hare Krishna Mandir (Temple) to listen to the chanting. It is a lovely looking, perhaps an old home turned into the temple. They put lights all around the grounds so it is magical looking at night. The doorways are large and open and pretty terrazzo floors are covered with rugs to sit on. There is an altar with doll like figures representing Krishna and Radha. It is a lovely setting and a welcoming feeling to be there.

Early in our trip it was mentioned how you don’t see the water buffalo, cows, or other animals roaming in the streets like once upon a time. Then all of a sudden, two camels dressed in their regalia were resting in front of a store entrance. They are so large and odd looking but so exotic with the decorated saddle, embroidery, hand carved tools on the side and tasseled bells.  A horse went galloping along one of the big streets in mid traffic which is always fun to see. You can see that in NY too! Peentz and I also walked down the street/community of where my apartment from last visit backed up to. That slum/ neighborhood, I’m not sure what to call it, has all the animals living with them wandering in and out. I saw a goat on a motorcycle seat — all 4 feet — and a chicken on top of the goat. So fun! I watched that neighborhood all the time last visit. There are cows, pigs, a few scrawny cats, dogs who wander freely everywhere, and mostly small herds of goats. This is one street over from the Institute!! And not far from an up-scale Italian Restaurant in a modern new hotel. It is how India is with all the diversity, chaos and masses of people all going somewhere!! And the range of socio-economic groups entwined throughout.

I will follow up tomorrow with some last thoughts on my trip and what stands out. It has been a great trip and I’m just getting into some better sleep and feeling myself and it is time to head home!! To start the process again!!

Much love, Lou

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