Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The end of the circle - Guruji BKS Iyengar passes away

Its been nearly two years since I wrote a post. So much has changed for me and my practice. I have been off practice since last year as I developed pinched nerves in my cervical spine and had a disc replacement surgery in April. I was asked to be off yoga classes till September, but had made plans to start practice at  Abhay's studio in Pune on August 20th, the day I arrived in Pune.

But that plan was not meant to be.  Last week there was news of Guruji being admitted to a Pune hospital with a weakening heart.  Late last night after  I landed in Mumbai the news became grim. He was in critical condition with kidney and heart failure. During the drive to Pune I spoke to my teacher Nuvana, who too happened to be in Mumbai. We were both praying for Guruji, but we were obviously concerned. I arrived inPune at 2 am and checked into my hotel. I was restless and something wasn't feeling right,  I couldn't sleep, so I spent the next two hours browsing the web, looking for any news on Guruji. And then I felt it!  but didn't want to believe the inevitable and feel asleep.

I was woken up by a text message from Nuvana at 8 am. Guruji had passed away at 3:15 am. I was disheveled. This was not planned. Then the sadness hit and the regrets started!  How I wish I had met him for one last time and had him sign my books, or  that interview which I had asked for  years ago for the blog, but never had the courage to ask .. or that trip I wanted to make just to see him as my neck issues worsened.. or missing his 95th birthday celebrations last year....

I delayed, I postponed, I procrastinated;  and then to arrive in India about the same time as the circle of life for guruji completed.  There couldn't be a worse or better time to be there. It was just the time to be there, and I feel fortunate I was there to be part of his last journey out of his yoga institute. All my yoga friends  I had planned to meet on this trip, everyone was there to be with him.  I cannot describe how I felt, because I just felt this indescribable feeling in wee hours of the morning and it was not jet lag. I am sure everyone connected to him, his family and students, all felt it.  Even though they didn't want him to go, we all hoped to see him alive for his 100th birthday and all believed that nothing could go wrong with this man even at ninety five, we all collectively felt that it was time for him to go.

I made two darshans (visits) hastily in the room where his lifeless body lay, in his final shavasana., covered in flowers, incense burning and close family members chanting prayers. I could see the energy and glow gone from his face in the lifeless body, as he had merged with his soul and left us. I took some video and pictures outside, as we all stood there for hours quiet and silent till his body was moved to the place of pyre to chants of Narayana.  Those were tearful moments, as many memories and thoughts gushed through me, not just of Guruji, but my parents and grandparents who passed and their last moments and the funerals. It was too much at the end.  As the family prepared for the pyre to be lit, I was just overcome with heat and emotion - this was time for his family, his relatives, I couldn't bare to see through the rest.  The legend, our revered Guruji BKS Iyengar, the yoga master, had already left for his next life and perhaps a new yoga master was already change our lives once again!

With heartiest condolences to the Iyengar family,

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Its thanks-giving today and I am thankful for my life experiences, my children, my health, my friends and family. Every step I take into the next moment, I become more aware of my own self building on this self awareness that I am nothing but myself....


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Passion Makes Perfect

While my yoga practice might be waning recently, my blogging nearly extinct, my passion for life isn't and I have been redirecting a lot of it to my work, my children and helping young entrepreneurs seed companies.

I know I am off balance on yoga but I do try to keep up the practice anytime I can make it to the gym and can attend a class from Nuvana. The practice will return but the passion for yoga remains.. So let passion drive the practice for perfection... my wish for you..

Love you An and Sel..


Saturday, June 25, 2011

The might me..

As we get older and 'wiser' notice how we inflate both in body and mind! To keep the body deflated we are told exercise and eat less. Do we? And for the mind - we hardly do anything. Just as food and laziness to exercise can become a lifestyle, so can the inflation of the mind. Its the ego, the elevation of self over others.

Ego becomes a weapon of offense and self defense and self feeding i.e. the ego only feeds on itself to become larger and larger. Large enough to expand like a balloon and to a point where a little prick will burts it. I am stuck in this egoflation. Yoga is a way to help but I am still stuck in the muck and struggling to get out... hoping for the balloon to burst asap :). Realization and acknowledgment is the first step to a recovery and that gets you that mental pin to prick the ego-balloon. I am ready for my 3 miler and then a yoga class at IYISF. And for others around you who suffer the same, perhaps you can leave some healthy ego in yourself to prick their ego-balloon as well.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Silence all the noise...but the music!

The last few weeks have been extremely noisy... I have had no break, not a moment, as my mind has been running faster than my body.. Two dear friends in act of kindness offered to take the munchkins swimming so I could focus on my pending taxes, but I realized as soon as I walked in the door was I need to just not focus on anything and lie in shavasana with my old favorite Thievery numbers on my ipod.

I know the Iyengar method of shavasana involves no music, but what the heck, I modify. The eclectic beat music fused with Indian tabla, sitar and all forms of other instruments actually helps me become silent. And silence for me is the music in the background with no other though, no other noise, quietness except the rhythmic chirping of the smoke detector in one of the rooms, which at 14 feet I can't reach, even with the tall ladder. But my brain is able to deflect that noise and if that is possible, I am sure the rest of the noise can be ignored so my brain can rest for a bit. I look into the nothingness behind the random lines drawn by my munchkins in this work of art, and I see silence in that darkness, peace, tranquility and that is all I want in this moment....

I hope you too can get that tranquility.....



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jump start my yoga practice with Neeta Dutta's workshop

Sometimes when a car has not been driven (or battery continually charged with a drip, as I do to my two seater) the battery goes cold. My yoga practice went cold for nearly 8 weeks as the work, travel and stresses of life took over. One would think a committed yogi like myself would remain consistent and true to his practice. Nada.. I let it slip....the vegan approach didn't work for me, loss of energy combined with all the balls we juggle to survive results in exactly the opposite of what you want to do. The learning (its a re-learning for me) is that we are just not in control of ourselves, and we gravitate towards our habits of extremes. It also affirms that we never were in control and never will. So why fight it. There is a more powerful force that exists beyond us, in every sense, physical and spiritual that we must surrender to and live in the moment and be cognizant of the moment, so when the opportunity presents we reset to become calm, and understand how to get re centered and try to achieve what Patanjali describes in his yoga sutras. By giving up control, The Effort becomes effortless. That is what I learned (or relearned) last night from a two hour forward bending Iyengar yoga session with Neeta Dutta at Sunset Yoga. It was the jump start my cold battery badly needed after two months of winter hibernation. The new studio is awesome, full of light and energy. There is more (re) learning all day today and part of tomorrow. I expect to be physically worn out by then, but I am certain my mind will be refreshed...Thank you Neeta! Namaste

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cutting knives with forks, vege diet, exercise, pranayama and yoga

Last Sunday I saw a documentary movie "Forks over Knives". It was an eye-opener, a new wake up call, a eureka moment! The last time I had this moment was exactly 5 years ago as I stood on the side of a cold, smoggy New Delhi road puking my guts out after a severe asthma attack. I thought I was going to die and it started me on the path of yoga. "Forks over Knives" inspired me to go "cold turkey" vegetarian only since last Sunday. I had anxiety pangs, meat withdrawals and on two occasions I cheated a bit, but all in all I stuck with the plan of mostly plant diet.

I have had several shorts stints of vegetarian diet since last year in May when I had the pleasure of meeting Geetaji (Ms. Geeta Iyengar). The Iyengar family is strictly vegetarian. But each time I would give up. Today is my 9th day and I remain committed to remaining vegetarian and I think I can keep going at it.

I have also been practicing pranayama and my second class with Jen on Thursday evening felt even better. I realized I had been practicing Ujai 4 for the last many days on my own. I would say that makes me feel the best. I also increased my exercise regime, with short bursts of intense cardio, interspersed with brisker walking and more yoga stretches at gym.

On Friday I went for my physical exam and my blood pressure was was 98/68 from the typical 140/90 type. My pulse was 88, when its usually in the high 90s. The nurse was shocked. The doctor checked it again and it was 98/70. He suggested dropping dosage or stopping one of my BP-meds all together. I suggested waiting.

I am not sure if its just one thing, but even a few weeks of diet, regular exercise and yoga practice is making a difference in my health. My energy levels are higher and stress levels lower. "Long interrupted practice", is my mantra for diet, exercise and yoga! I will keep repeating this in my head as I travel to Hawaii/Maui tomorrow AM. I will be packing my own fruit salad as lunch to take on flight - a first!

Change happens slowly - one step at a time. A deep inhalation, a pause, followed by a deep exhalation - Shubh Ratri, Good night - Namaste!