Saturday, January 26, 2008

My yoga guru is back!

Since mid November last year, Nuvana Zarthoshtimanesh ( my yoga guru has been in India and with the holidays in December my yoga routine was turned upside down. I first took her class in January 2006, upon my return from from a business trip to Pune, when I was inspired to take a yoga class. It was at Hawthorne Athletic Club ( and hers was the only class on a Sunday morning. I just about died in that class. It was hard. Imagine 250 pounds of inflexible and atrophied human waste, with an ever expanding 42 inch waist. I could barely touch my knees and I was at my worst lung capacity. I could barely breathe and my asthma had come back with a vengeance.

I had done yoga as a child, and all I recalled was padmasana (which I no longer can do), dhanurasana, and sarvangasana. I even wrote a play on yoga when I was 13 in 1977, a knock off the only yoga show on Indian TV then by Swami Dhiren Brahmachari, who never performed any asanas, and I doubt if he ever did, he was more known for his friendship with the Mrs Indira Gandhi and his private jets. He later died in a plane crash. So I digress....

Back to the point, so this first ever yoga class at my home base was one rough class. I just about collapsed trying to do the downward dog pose, but it felt good. I felt like I had run a marathon and done weights at the same time. I had no clue Nuvana was teaching "Iyengar yoga", it just felt good but very difficult at the same time. I then took an evening class with a lady named Muir, who had spent 2 months in India at Sivananda in Kerala. She was teaching it differently. There was music and she used no sanskrit names. I couldnt keep up with her, it was Vinyasa, flow yoga. Wow, pretty cool I figured. After the first session I was in a lot of pain and hurt my back. But I persisted and went to both Nuvana and Muir's classes. The Vinyasa class became wierder and wierder. She was doing partner yoga all of a sudden and that felt a bit strange. She coupled me with a guy and I had to grab on to these ugly feet to strech my arms out for the child pose. That pretty much did it for me. I decided to just stick with Nuvana, but an hour class in the gym was not enough. I asked Nuvana if she would give me private lessons and she accomodated. So once a week I would go to her house for a yoga lesson. It changed my life forever. It became a family affair and my kids started to join me. We all did yoga together.

Nuvana had taught Iyengar Yoga in Mumbai, India before she moved to Oregon.
She came from a family of serious yoga practitioners. Her grandmother, uncle and cousins were all serious Iyengar Yoga practitioners. Her cousin Zubin is an accomplished yoga teacher and runs one of the best yoga studios in Mumbai and is one of Guruji's most senior students. He travelled with Guruji around the world in the early to mid 1990s. Fate brought me to Nuvana and Iyengar yoga and that led to a series of coincidencesand connections, that included introduction of Iyengar Yoga to my employees in Pune India.

My connection with Pune started in 1997 when I hired my first employee from Pune and then again in 2001 when I started a company in Pune. Little did I know that right accross the street from the hotel I stayed at when I visited Pune, was the heart and soul of yoga and a yoga guru whose style would completely change my life. Looking back it all makes sense now. It makes sense that of all places in India I would choose Pune. Add all the connections -- from Nuvana, to others who inspired me to bring yoga back into my life and it all makes complete sense. It was bound to happen because it was meant to be and there was a cosmic connection to Guruji. Awareness of such connections are important and they are inspiring to one's soul.

I was very fortunate to find Nuvana and be trained by her. I feel that one on one teaching I received from her propelled me in a short period of 18 months from a novice to someone who could take an advanced yoga class and not be intimidated. It awakened my body and mind, and within a year I had lost nearly 6 inches off my waist and 60 pounds of weight. She inspired me to teach yoga to my kids and bring them into yoga at such a young age.

She also inspired me to join Sunset Yoga Center as a student and experience other great teachers like Nina Pillegi, Julie Burtis and Terry Peterson. By experiencing different teachers I built more confidence which in turn increased the awareness of myself and encouraged me to try harder. I may not be the most flexible, but I am not afraid to try a new pose, or a new way to do the same pose or attend an advanced class, even though I maybe the rookie in the class. Every pose I do, I do it with all my heart and soul and all the pain I can bear and my painful grunts and heavy breath when I am in agony during class are a testament to that. I am truly inspired by these awesome teachers who have such commitment, love and passion for yoga and they have really inspired to keep on the path. They have made a huge impact on my life and I salute and thank them.

So with Nuvana's return I am inspired to get back on my yoga path 4 consecutive days a week.


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