The second week of the month at RIMYI is traditionally when Forward Bends and Twists are studied and practiced. Prashantji began the week by teaching us that Yoga is not just about doing more and more, better and better. Yoga is educating ourselves about the way body, mind and breath each associate with each other. We are meant to observe and study how each component changes and improves as a result of the others. This was also the week I decided to explore and taste the teaching of many of the other teachers here at the Institute. Each has his/her own "voice" and style of teaching, yet they form a type of composite, or support system for each other, each building on a similar vocabulary and way of learning that is consistent, persistent, and complimentary. The teachers each encourage us to search, to expand our awareness, to take the deep dive inwards, to compare one side to the other, to question why we are doing and how we are doing. As Abhi said one day, as we had remained in Sirsasana (head balance) at least 10 minutes, "Where is the shaking coming from? Don't just do muscularly. The Mind must associate with each part of the body. The mind must be "Sthira Sukha" (steady and easefully composed) in each place of the body. Maintain this mind in each part of Sirsasana. Every cell should be awake and alert. This association is why Iyengar school of yoga is so precise, in order for the mind to associate with each and every part. Even one minute of dullness should not come. If/when you cannot maintain or recharge, then only can you come down."
This was the week we searched and explored deeply the feet, knees, groins that unfolded into the petals of padmasana (lotus pose). Hamstrings, buttocks, back thighs spread, groins and abdomen softened in ways that allowed for deeper forward folding. Elongation of side body, movement of shoulder blades, spreading of diaphragm, squeezing and contraction of liver, kidneys and stomach was explored in twistings. Then yesterday, Sunita patiently and lovingly guided us toward understanding how all of these aspects manifested within practicing all the variations of inversions (head and shoulder balance).
This was also the week when friendships deepened. There is a noticeable difference in familiarity and friendship as students begin to help each other in the practices. Together we explore many of the things we have been shown in classes and want to absorb and assimilate.
(Quiet, afternoon practice time at RIMYI)
(Outside RIMYI with Pandu, the Registrar)
Last Sunday we visited the new home of dear friends, Neena and Manu, our family here in India. They treated us to a home cooked Indian meal...a gastronomic feast! Last evening we explored the Camp area of Pune, jam-packed with classic tiny Indian stores selling jewelry, shoes, and clothing of every color and style....a feast for the eyes! It has been a few years since we have been there, and although we once knew our way around, so much has changed in the interim that we got a bit lost...and eventually wandered toward some familiar sites....finally coming upon Karachiwala's store and good old Pune Coffee House, both long time institutions where we felt at home and well taken care of.
(Dinner at Neena and Manu's home)
Taking a deep dive into unfamiliar territory, getting a bit "lost" in the unknown, and trusting that with right effort, persistence and faith it will become "known" and become "home" is certainly part of this extraordinary journey here in India and at the Iyengar Institute.
(Momument to Guruji and his wife)
(The Iyengar family home, looking down from
With blessings to each of you,