Last thoughts

Thoughts on Pune…week 2 comes to an end

Greetings again from the noisy, warm, mad Pune! But I am growing to love it. The local people make you feel so welcome and there is a deep respect for BKS Iyengar and all he has done for local students not just physically but for the economy as well. My Particular favourite is the man who patiently waits outside the Institute every day to sell us coconut water. This is just perfect after a long morning of class and self-practice. It is a small miracle he has any fingers as he deftly prepares the coconut with a huge knife.

As much as possible I have been observing classes. I hauled myself to watch Prashant’s 7am class on Saturday morning. My class was with Abhijata at 9.30 am. It is a totally different experience to observe than to participate but it gave me a chance to really listen to what he was saying. Often we are held in a pose for a long time while he talks and it can be a little distracting (for me) to concentrate on 2 things.

Abhijata’s classes ripped apart all we know about Virabhadrasana 1 and how to actually follow a teacher’s instructions without necessarily always trying to maintain the ‘perfect pose”. This dynamic class with all its emphasis on back extensions guided us towards dropping back from sirsasana (head balance ) to urdhva dhanurasana!!

On Sunday I observed the children’s classes and this time I watched the early class from 8am to 9am. This was the older group aged 9 to 14 and a lot was expected from them. They are not given a mat and so do everything on the marble floor. Ouch! A thick mat finally came out so they could share it with another 2 children lengthways where they were encouraged to go up into sirsasana free standing and learn to fall out….eliminating all fear! Look out my teenagers!

There is an American teacher called Garth Maclean who will be coming to the Edinburgh Festival next year with his one man show ‘Looking for Lightning’. This will chronicle his journey with Iyengar when he was diagnosed with MS. More information on that to come.

Celebrating the 99th year of BKS Iyengar

Yesterday marked the beginning of the centenary celebrations for BKS Iyengar’s 99th year. Firstly we had a class with Prashant entitled a ‘class without asana’. Again, I am so grateful to be here at this time as his philosophy infuses physical practice. That evening, organised by Abhijata, the next stage of the celebrations involved the whole Iyengar family. Geeta spoke at length on a very personal level about the impact of the death of her father and asked us to maintain the purity of his teaching. This was followed by a question and answer session with all the Iyengar children. They reminisced about their childhood and having BKS Iyengar as their father. It was deeply personal, intimate, moving and very funny as well. It was an honour to witness this. There followed a delicious feast.

If you missed my summary of week 1, you can read it here… Or read more on week 3…

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