After 36 hours of traveling, with the usual India travel adventures and mishaps, my traveling companion and dear friend Linda DiCarlo and I arrived Saturday morning in Pune, India. We marveled at how so much remains unchanged since I first began traveling to Pune to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in 1987. And yet so much has changed, and is constantly changing, both in Pune and at the Institute itself, since both Guruji and Geetaji passed.
Linda and I are staying right next door to the Institute in our favorite apartment where we have lived during many of our trips. The landlord has become a dear friend and it feels like "home". My room overlooks the courtyard between the Institute and the Iyengar home. I can see students arriving, members of the Iyengar family enjoying the evening air on the porch, and Abhijata Iyengar's two children playing on their bicycles and with their toys. It is delightful to hear the laughter of children! This is the first time I have been back since Guruji died in 2014 and Geetaji passed in December 2018. I have memories of Guruji lounging in his chair on the porch in the evenings, greeting students as they departed the evening class. I would see Geetaji in her long flowing white coat cross the courtyard from school to home after she taught the evening class and then observe her working at her desk inside. Now we see Prashantji (Guruji's son) stride across the courtyard from time to time, and Abhijata (Guruji's granddaughter) and her family fill the courtyard with the sounds of lively family life. It is wonderful to witness the passing of the baton, as the tradition is carried forward within the Iyengar yoga lineage.
Today classes began for the month of February. There are only a few Americans here, but many Europeans and Asians. Some have been here during January and are continuing on, and others like me are newly here for the month of February. There are many new teachers and new class offerings at the Institute since Guruji's passing. I will get a better feel for these this week and have more to tell you in coming posts. This morning I took class with Prashant at 7am and then open practice from 9-12. What a delight to be in Prashantji's class again and to be inspired by his special facility with words, as he helps us to penetrate deeper into the path of yoga. Today's class was about yogasana as an educative process of and by the body, breath and mental components. Later in practice, I enjoyed following the thread of his teachings as I experimented with applications that felt deeply penetrating. This evening I will observe the 6pm class, as we are only able to take one class per day as a student, but we can observe other classes, as well as the remedial (therapeutic) classes and of course participate in the open practices each day. I intend to write at the end of each week about some of the themes during the week and share more about what I am learning.