Monday, January 23, 2012

RIMYI Annual Celebration Day - Jan 2012

Annual Celebration Day

This weekend was the Annual Celebration Day at the RIMYI– really two separate days, starting with a Children’s performance on Saturday evening.

From the moment we arrived at RIMYI we knew it was a special night, as beautiful garlands of flowers were draped high above the front gate. We left our shoes by the entrance and walked on a long red carpet from the gate to the hall entrance. Inside the hall, the platform was transformed to a stage, with evocative sets, lights, microphones, and video cameras all ready.

The room then came to life and was filled with music, dancing, and dramatic performances that were absolutely beautiful! The children were dressed in festive Indian attire. Their dedication showed in flawless memorization, presenting for us a traditional story of Maharashtra (the state in which Pune is located). There were hundreds of spectators and we all sat quite snugly on the floor, sharing mats, blankets, and bolsters. At the end, each child gave her/his name for individual recognition, followed by a long round of applause by the audience!

The festivities continued on Sunday morning, beginning with local students—including three medical practitioners--from the Institute speaking from experience of how their practice of yoga has influenced their professional lives. A foreign student spoke of the healing she’s experienced directly from Guruji, Geeta and Prashant. After a break for chai and cookies, we were treated to an impressive display of authentic Indian music, singing, and dancing began that had everyone swaying and applauding. For many, the highlight of Sunday was a young girl (maybe 9 years old) who hopped up on the platform from the audience – very unassuming in her red shirt, black shorts and two pigtail braids – then took center stage and as the music started, performed a sequence of yoga poses that were amazing! She moved effortlessly from standing poses to backbends, arm balances, inversions and of course performing many while in padmasana! The crowd was in awe of her ability, grace and clear devotion to the practice.

After the performances, a feast of delicious traditional Indian food awaited us outside. It was a beautiful afternoon to meet and mingle with those we rarely have time to speak with in the regular routine of a day.

This morning (Monday), the practice hall was back to normal, but everyone seemed to move at a little different pace – with a bit more awareness, intelligence, and appreciation of this gift we receive by being here this month and experiencing Iyengar Yoga at RIMYI.

Ann McDermott-Kave

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy New Year from lucienne

Hi Folks,
I am reading that the last post was entered about a year ago and that there are only a few followers, so go ahead and click on all those keys on your dashboard to befriend others on this blog so that it grows and grows and grows.
I arrived in Pune at the end of last year and spent New Years Day sleeping in my Pune appartment. This is my 4th time, so I know how to 'behave' in the beginning days to allow the system to adjust to everything that is different here. Typically as with all muladhara disturbances in the first days we experienced a flooding kitchen due to a broken sink pipe, a blocked toilet and a complete black-out. Fortunately these were outside obstacles and easily removed as Ganesha was trumpeting in full galore after just being showered with praise and fragrantly flowered into the New Year.
On January 2nd I went to the Institute for practice but before that the HighLight was to wish Guruji my wishes for the New Year and to bow before him, the Greatest Teacher and our Inspiration. Later during practice I heard him cough a lot and realized that he was not well. In the following days he practiced at his house and had to take antibiotics due to a chest infection. Nevertheless, until he could absolutely not, he was practicing with us and showing us to practice even during vyadhi. He was having coughing attacks and had to do simple forward bending over a stool with his forehead resting on a pillow to calm the spasms of the lungs.
It was profound and touching to see this as in everything he does there is a lesson for us. Don't stop your practice, adjust it.
Now he is back, looking good and well-rested. He has been co-teaching with his grand daughter Abhijata and is joyfully teaching/practicing surrounded by his intimate indian clan.
The classes have been energizing even though it is quite busy at this moment. There have been days that there were not enough mats for everyone. (There is a lack of mats in general and I urge all of you to bring your yoga mat and leave it here like we used to. Many mats in the Institute are overused and quite honestly disgusting.)
Most classes are taught by the Iyengars to my delight. To see Geetaji 3 times this week for the general, woman's and Pranayama was amazing. She looks so much better than 2 years ago and her teaching has been no-nonsense: if you are new you go upstairs (beginners studio) and if you are 'stupid' she does not waste her time with you anymore. We are all to be super alert and move fast; instructions are very minimal, poses follow in quick succession and can be challenging and you get to experience a lot when she says nothing and let's you be in the pose.
There is a minimum use of props, both to save time with so many people but also to remove the crutches that people bring to the practice. She allows you to keep practicing part of the pose, like ardha padmasana, if the full pose does not come, but she will move on with the rest of the class to the zenith.
To receive teachings from the masters you have to be practicing for years, no kidding. Geetaji teaches you how to think and where you are lacking in your personal practice. It is that place she is aiming for; she does not teach teachers to teach points so they can teach those points to their students. In fact she mocks with that concept. She teaches us how to look at ourselves in our practice, so from that insight, the teaching should come. She keeps telling us how she was never 'taught' by her father, but that it was by observing him that she learned.
Class with Abhijata has been wonderful; she is very talented, clear and joyful as a teacher and has the ability to switch fluently between being a stately teacher and a humble student during class times. She has been teaching with clear alignment themes that run through the class: the lifting of the back arch in standing poses, the inner thighs and the anterior/posterior tailbone in inversions, the upper knee cap activation and how to lengthen the inner and outer knee ligaments evenly....etc, to name a few. All great things to take you deeper.
Class with Prashant has been the least surprising/changing however brilliant and inspiring as always. He keeps on challenging us to find out what the practice of all these asanas is about. He encourages us to strip of the external layers of perfection of asanas and find the inner perfection by questioning ourselves, by doing poses for different goals, by applying kriyas, bandhas, by breath modifications, timings etc. He is all about the study of the 'embodiment', the YOG, not the yogaaaaaaaaaaah! Yesterday he said that we should practice for 'lifetime contentment'. This is one of the treasures that YOG offers.
Next week is Institute Day.

Namaste to all,
lucienne vidah

....and I would love to share Geetaji's sitting/padma class with you in February at the Institute during the Tuesday Teachers class at 10am. Please check the schedule.