Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 2012 by Tori Milner

I am wrapping up my fifth trip to Pune and reflecting on what an incredible month it has been here with the Iyengar's. This month the mixture of the non-Indian crowd was mostly from Russian, Asia, Europe, the UK,  Australia and a handful of Americans. As the month has gone by, we have gotten to know each other and have shared meals, exchanged emails, notes and appreciation for what we receive here. It is truly a unique and special clan of Iyengar Yogis from every corner of the world that keeps coming together each month. We are the variables. They are the constants - Guruji, Geeta, Prashant, Abhi and all the Indian teachers and students that are blessed to be here every day at the source of the three most skillful teachers of yoga that grace planet today.

Guruji seems very well except for a cough that finally seems to be clearing up. They have installed a lovely glass elevator for him so he no longer has to struggle up the stairs to go up to the practice hall. I am staying next door on the 2nd floor of "the tower", so I sometimes catch a glimpse of him out my window "levitating" in it on his way up or down with Abhijata by his side, their arms entwined around each other's backs so that he remains steady. Raya waits for them on the top balcony and helps lead him inside every morning. He has also been in the medical class quite a bit, working with various family members, a celebrity cricket player and whoever else may catch his razor sharp attention. Sometimes he gets quite fiery, which is quite comforting, except perhaps if you are on the receiving end of it!

The weekly schedule is somewhat changed since I was last here in January 2011. Most mornings, we have a two-hour class with Prashant followed by a three-hour self practice in the presence of Guruji and Abhijata, Raya and a cast of Indian teachers that are always ready for anything that he might need. He has been in great form, working closely with Abhi and her sister, the doctor, Raya and others. Raya is teaching the Monday night class and Abhijata is teaching a Thursday night class. There are lots of new classes filling the main hall as well as upstairs, especially in the early mornings at 6 and 7am and they are unbelievably PACKED!

Guruji continues to train Abhijata in the art of teaching during the Ladies Class on Wednesday's and Saturday's. The points this month have been a methodical building up from the feet and ankles to the "tube of the spine" which we were to feel during our pranayama practice this week. The points are fresh and

Geeta is resting and laying low this month. Her only "official" class is a Friday evening Pranayama class, which she has only taught twice this month, but both were wonderful. She came to a few medical classes and I had the good fortune to speak with her a couple times about a man who I was helping. She is such a complete teacher and although I have enjoyed all my classes immensely, I have definitely missed her teaching this trip. That said, I really admire and am relieved to see her resting and taking time to herself.

Prashant and his clever, ingenious teachings are creative and inspiring as always. He comes up with what seems an endless supply of metaphors to apply to our "embodiment" and it's intricate interactions between body, mind and breath. He is constantly expanding our perspectives on what, how and why we are doing in any given moment. One Tuesday morning, he challenged us to look at our practice as a construction site that has everything there (even the interior decorations, he said!) however, the foundation hasn't been laid yet! During pranayama class a few days ago, he said we are not human beings, but breath-o-beings, and that the breath should be like a swimmer inside the body and we should study how a swimmer moves the water with arms and legs and get to know the "arms and legs" of the breath so it can touch and soak every single part of our existence.

Now, I am breath-logged, with a full heart, sharp limbs, quiet brain and heading home to my family and friends in the chaos of "Frankenstorm" Hurricane Sandified NYC...

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