Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day 5 - 100 degrees and HOT YOGA!

April 16th - 9 pm

I woke up wednesday AM sore. My head was sore from the shirsana and the back from the fall. Despite the blanket the hard cement floor can be harsh. We (yes I include myself in the foreigners group despite being Indian born) are spoilt by our nice and soft hard wood floors, extra thick mats, extra firm and long belts and softwood blocks. The blocks in Pune are called "bricks". They are wooden, but they weigh a ton more than what we are used to. They are heavier than real clay bricks and you certainly wouldn't want to be in the way of one that maybe used as canon fodder. These bricks along with the short belts, the thin mats, the hard cement floor; for a tall guy like me can be quite harsh. Add the 100F temperature - whoo! this is hot yoga folks - seriously! I can see why there is a moratorium on foreign students from April to May.

Today's class was at 7 pm. I arrived 15 mins early only to witness the medical class on my way to my hall. This is probably the most intense part of yoga at RIMYI. It was an amazing sight, with several teachers including Raya and Abhi with guruji at the helm helping students with yoga therapy. All the amazing props in the main big hall were out and in full force use. I see a young disable girl being helped with various poses including Uttanasana using these props. What an amazing sight! I am reminded of the hustle and bustle of the outside world suddenly in coming into this hall, along with the heat and intensity.

My class today was intermediate and this might as well be advanced by our standards. The instructor simply gave the pose name and you are expected to "do it". There are no instructor demonstrations. There is not much one on one assistance, unless you tell the instructor in advance. Given the hot temperatures this evening, he asked us to do mostly restorative style hip opening and back bending poses - LONG restorative poses.

We started with call and response chanting and prayer. I love this part - the echoes in the hall make it so much more dramatic. Everyone sings loud. We started with Supta-Virasana, transitioned to folding legs in padmasana pose (or half for folks like me), then to Supta Badha konasa, followed by a Setu Bandha. These are usually relaxing poses - but the heat made them unbearable. I wish this was in the morning... - I just had to tolerate it. The uncomfortable feeling was there, but I recalled a comment from Nina Pillegi, the night before in an email, the essence of which was that the Sutras say that you should be indifferent to uncomfortable situations. It helps to maintain tranquility. That led to some tranquility for me this evening, but being indifferent to discomfort is really hard.

We moved on to Viparita Dandasana on the chair, that was very uncomfortable. Then a badakonasana on the chair with a back-bend. This was supposed to be very relaxing. I did the best I could. Then on to Setu Bandha Sarvangasana on the hard floor with the hard wooden brick. I had to keep the "brick" at the lowest height and then to Shavasana. Each pose was probably done for 10-15 minutes. Its rare to experience this. All in all the heat made it challenging - I can't imagine what happens to folks who do Bikram Yoga. What I took back with me was indifference and seeking comfort in the moments where I did feel relaxed, which was in the shavasana. I could have just fallen asleep.

As I left I could see the Iyengar family having their dinner through their open windows in the front of the house. Guruji on a chair in their TV room presumably with his dinner plate on his lap. Prashantji eating at an office desk in another room that is the main enterance to their house. I always see Geetaji in this room in the morning. I was humbled by the simplicity and dedication of this family. It reminded me that life is not about comfort and material things, but about inner peace and happiness which they spread through their love and dedication to yoga. Every time I return from India, I come back with this feeling that we can live on less and still be much happier people. I feel blessed I can afford to make several trips every year to experience this joy and happiness and simplicity of life. Its a life I once grew up in as a child and the universe has thankfully has brought me back to it.


The Yogi

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr Taylor says: I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.