I am beginning to settle into a routine. Finally. December was a whirlwind of the convention/intensive bussing back and forth to the stadium with 1200 other Iyengar yogis. ONe of the pleasures of being here is the routine. Go to class, go to 2-3 hour practice, eat lunch, read your book, take notes, spend time with friends, get to bed early and the next day the same.
I feel the pressure to take in as much as possible but you can’t rush the speed of digestion. So, each day builds on the next. I am studying with Gulnaaz (finally! After weeks of schedule conflicts) where her upbeat, fast paced 45 minute packed classes break through mental and physical stiffness.
Prashant 4 times a week is a true pleasure. Classes are not about the technicalities of the posture but instead the purpose of the posture to unify, connect the mind, body and breath. Yesterday we did so many Trkonasnanas with Parsvokonasanas, ARdha chandrasanas, adho mukha svanasanas, bharadvajasanas placing a breath focus on the pelvis or the shoulders applying breath retention and observing the effects. Not jumping around from place to place in the body like a gypsy but to instead settle in and observe. This creative process is the key element to a spiritual process. I feel like a gypsy.
The final pose after a long Janu Sirsasana we stood up to once again take Trikonasana. He asked, is this not a different Tirkonasna? In fact, there was no more pulling, stretching, adjusting, judging it just simply was . I wasn’t doing the pose I was being the pose. The mind had become sublimated. And then in Savasana he described it as hovering like the huge kites here who either hover in the air contented after a meal or hover effortlessly on the current.
So how to I balance the need for my body to open and move past the stiffness and also work with the breath without pulling and stretching and doing as Prashant says. ‘Do 20% your practice with this work and the rest do your postures and keep working and then in time add 30% or 40%,” Devki recommended. A formula! I can do that!
He said, we desire to do all the poses in the photos of Guruji surrounding the room like a mala but he said eventually the “blanket of old age” will come and that focus of doing will leave you frustrated that you can’t do anymore. Once you can’t do if you haven’t cultivated a sprirtual process to your practice then what? This practice should create a stable, quietness within preparing us for all the calamities of life. I look forward to this as the waves of calamity still cause large ripples inside.
I had a very bad few days when I shifted to a new house. I trusted others and not my own gut and after three days, a strange man in the house, mice in the kitchen, broken electric outlets, a housekeeper that kept demanding money and a non-responsive landlord I abruptly left. This did not sit well with her and I agreed to a meeting where I was ambushed by her and her sister threatening me with all sorts of things. I have since compensated them for almost a 1/4 of the rent and feel that is sufficient considering the circumstances. Landlords can take great advantage of the students at the Institute. But then others, like where I am now are very business like and keep up their end to provide a save, clean, supplied apartment where you don’t have to worry about anything except focusing on your studies. I am now situated with two very nice South African ladies, one is 73 and has more energy than me. I’ve blocked all messages from the old landlord so I can focus. There is no question it has bee a wave that has unsettled me and I’m working on finding my feet again. Lesson after lesson this life gives.
I had a conversation with a young Argentinian girl- I did ok! The only thing I had to ask her to repeat was 784 becasue with her accent I just didn’t get. Anyways, it’s her first time in Pune. Oh boy. So, I said, it’s a mirror and it brings up stuff. It’s not a touchy feely lovey place. It is crowded, polluted, loud, and harsh. There aren’t pretty trees and rivers to wander by to soften the edge of what comes up. It’s there for you to contend with. I advised her to take the opportunity to look at it. Otherwise you are just in conflict with the place, the teachers, the teaching, the manner, the culture, the bathroom, the etc…And then you can start to see all that it has to offer.
Ah! For the first time, I was pulled up in front to show something Suneeta Iyengar saw I was doing wrong. I’ve always envied others in this position and dreaded facing that sharp attention. I of course wanted to listen properly do what she said and learn. I will never forget her words her touch. At the end, I turned away to return to my mat and quickly remembered I needed to thank her. I folded my palms and said thank you. She stared at me. Never know what the right thing to do. What I do know is you just have to be yourself. Make mistakes, get a shout. And move on.