Prashant has a way of stopping you in your tracks.
At the end of class the other day he said that is not the I that gets purified by going to a temple or the I that is learning but the ours and yours. The practice of yoga is to step away from doing and doing and observe so that the ours and yours can learn. And we do this via the breath.
Honestly, I’m pretty overwhelmed in his class but this year I’m starting to see a light and this light is the true illumination of yoga. He doesn’t instruct us often on position, he might throw in a few things and I hear his strong physical adjustments are shocking but educational and sometimes he gives more instruction on the breath. Basically, it is up to us to do what we know in terms of posture and breath.
Us comparatively new comers have never seen Prashant practice. He doesn’t practice in the hall often and his practice changed dramatically after an accident that damaged his arm. Dean Lerner while at lunch described Prashant coming to the hall and gracefully doing Sirsasana 2 to Bakasana to Sirsasan 2 to Urdvha Dhanurasana floating up to Adho Mukha Vriksasana . It’s not just the awe at physical ability and control but when I imagined this string of poses I heard a string of notes forming a musical symphony. That’s something more than just the body.
Today was a relentless series of backbends and the first pose was Adho Mukha Vriksasana. I thought my arms would die. If you can’t hold a pose for very long there is little time for introspection or observation. We were instructed return again again to this “index” pose in order to feel, observe the mental and physical causes, effects and consequences or the previous pose.
In Adho Mukha Savasana the breath, for me, is long and lean while in Bharadvajasana it spirals and grounds my pelvis and lifts and expands my my collarbones, in rope Sirsasana I can access the pelvic cavity and then my dog pose becomes even more lifted and grounded and in Urdvha Dhanurasana the complete exhale fires us the strength of my tailbone. Finally, after a long Sarvangasana, my 8 or 9th Adho Mukha Vriksasana felt light and calm- the effects of that nurturing pose.
While I have faith there is something about what he is saying that is far beyond the body, I’m pretty much still hanging out in that realm.
As beginners, like primary school we are, he said we are learning to withstand but as we mature the learning is longer taught to you He gave us a series of backbends and we were independently urged to find out how they informed one another. He doesn’t feed you with instruction except which pose, when and to HURRY up to get there, he instead wants us to find our own teacher inside.
Intelligence is not a matter of degrees and certificates and he said that modern culture with more education is making us more ignorant. Education for material wealth is not an advancement in intelligence.
And finally as always he has a zinger that makes us laugh. Unfit people are bothered by their problems but fit people bother others with their problems.
I leave you with that.