the last two days in bellur and bangalore have filled me in so many ways, it’s going to take weeks to digest it all
I arrived in bangalore and stayed with a student of my friend Jaya who just recently opened a yoga studio in Bangalore. I’ve been to a few cities in India and I was struck by the large streets, green trees and deco style apt bldgs and distincly less traffic as well as a huge lake that reminded me of Echo Park in Los Angeles. A very different feel than any other city I’ve been to. .
I am in south India. It is notoriously more low key and I am reminded how much I enjoy and yes, prefer south India. Priyanktha and her husband Anand live in the Cox Town part of the city, very quiet and tree lined. She designs a yoga clothing line (ProYog) and he runs his own water sports /event company. It wa nice to hangout with folks who live in Bangalore rather than a hotel.
1 hour out of town in the village of Bellur, Guruji’s dream of better education and health services have come to life and now a HUgE gorgeous yoga hall and state of the art dormitories have been opened. They will bring teachers and students from all around the world to spend a week, a month in the country studying yoga. It’s startling what has been built and what his dream has brought to the area.
keep your eyes out for the world’s best instructors coming to Bellur- a wonderful way to experience India.
I love the countryside, green fields. of course, cows school childeren in plaid uniforms and long plaits walking in groups to school or to volunteer at the event. The pace is quiet, kids come running to say hi to ask our names and break out in laughter after I answer. Is it my accent? Is it that they are surprised this wierd looking person responds? The air is full of sweet smells of grass and incense from small offerings lining the streets. The dogs and puppies run through the small streets and the most gorgeous bulls with Mondigliani faces and sharp angular horns. I had to stop to just watch them eat. I think the Mumbaikers I was with found my fascination with animals and village houses quite strange. That happens world wide, people modernize and lose an apprecation from all those things they have worked so hard to move away from. I see that in San Miguel where those from the cities have more interest in modern designed bars and littele interest in more traditional archectural or clothing design.
we visited the village where all the sculptor of all the deities at the Bellur campus. A clearly proud but humble man who works on each sculpture per order. i would have loved to see him work But we did see all along the streets of the village, deities in various states of completion. MY attention was drawn away from stone representations of the divine towards two the green fields, the cows lazily eating, the two puppies feeding, and the two girls identically dressed in red.
The next day Geeta started off with jumpings and showed on students how breaking the fear complex brings courage, moving in the upper back opens the heart and when the young guy attemping Viparit Dandasana for the first time with abhy on one end lifting his shoulders and Rajiv on the other supporting his elbows exclaimed “oh god!”, Geeta said when you finally surrender to God, the pose comes. Alternatively, when the woman resisted surrender in Ustrasana, her arms being pulled back while her middle buttocks moved forward she improved only slightly. “You did not surrender and exclaim OH GOD!”. She took new students to places they have never been and she generously offered information for us teachers. “You , listen here…do you understand?” As well as offering special attention to the village studets who had performed the evening before leaving us all amazed at the ease in which they did all the most difficlult poses. Poses most us will only do in our dreams I felt like, why am I trying as I watched one young boy drop to Urdvha dhanurasana then lift up his feet balancing on his hands and place his feet on his shoulders without an expression of effort on his face. She managed to address and teach all 300 of us. It is clear that this project, the dream of Guruji is very special in they Iyengar family’s hearts and minds.
In the evening we visited the Pantanjali temple that Guruji had built had darshan, i walked 9 times around the Navagrahas representing the nine planets circling the sun and again darshan in the Pantanjali temple. This was Guruji’s project- the temple, the campus, the hospital all to improve the lives of people living in the village he was born.
FInally, we caravaned back to bangalore where senior mumbai teacher, Zubin graciously reated us to a south indian dinner of masala dosas and now probably my most favortie dish, curd vada. A lightly fried rice/lentil donut covered in a sweetly savory yogurt sauce with cumin and other delicious spices sprinkled with boondi. The crunch, the soft the sweet the savory is to die for!