Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Show less but do more - Prashant Iyengar

I arrive in Pune yesterday morning very tired and extremely jet lagged. The direct flight from Frankfurt was great, but an 8 hour layover was something I didn't anticipate being so tiring. I saved the hassle of driving from Mumbai to Pune in the wee hours, but there is always a price to pay - EXHAUSTION and LACK OF SLEEP!. I arrived in my hotel at 5 am (its about 20 km from RIMYI, but right next door to work) and crashed. I woke up at 3 pm. Had to rush to the Institute to meet Mr. Pandu.

As always he had graciously allowed me to take classes, though I have been advised to take them in the beginning of the month rather than end. So that will be the plan next time. I finish formalities with Mr. Chandru. The place is buzzing. I got a few minutes in the stairwell to watch the medical class. I looked forward to my schedule for the next 10 days. 7 am - 830 am on most days is how I saw the schedule.

I woke up bright an early today. I need to take my walk in the park. A 15 minute ride to Hanuman Mandir Road. I missed staying at the Shahanis. They and apparently most of the housing around the Institute is rented out this time. I did remember Neena's comment about being back in August. Faith brought me back.

I spent a little time walking in the park. The laughing yoga group was there under the canopy as usual. I couldn't hear the sewer water running, but there was something new. There was sitar and tabla music being piped through speakers through the entire park. It felt like it came from the trees. It was amazing. I had planned to work my arms prior to class. I needed strength for handstands. No time for that, I was busy taking some pictures and absorbing the serenity of the music and chirping of the birds. It was nice to be back.

A short walk back to the center to be a bit early at the class. Everything was familiar, but there were lots of unfamiliar foreign faces this time. I was one of the first and I immediately got into action. The rope colors had changes to pink and black. Interesting choice of colors I say. This is India - full of vibrance and colors. I practiced stretches a bit with the ropes, along Chaturanga Dandasanas for arm strength.

The class started sharp at 7 am. It was Raya today - oh yeah tuesday morning is Raya and then a sinking feeling! Was I in the wrong class? The class went great. We did standing poses with feet spread apart. He talked about strength and how this was different than spending an hour at the gym. He talked about Guruji's discourse on Guru Purnima about the need for white color workers to stretch and build strength. The class seemed very advanced, but there were no familiar intermediate students. New faces and for the first time majority men. Something was missing - but I couldn't tell.

I did a great Halasana without a chair and I think I had good control of my poses. It all seemed to be coming back. We ended with a Setubandh Sarvangasana. The class then ended - it was only 8 am. The sinking feeling came back, but Raya said nothing. Did they shorten the Intermediate class to 60 minutes? So I have half an hour more. I walked down the steps through a stream of students for the next class. They all looked familiar. I guess I did it again. I was in the beginner's class. But I was so sure the schedule said 7 am - 830 am on tuesday!

I stopped to see Prashantji teaching his class. I couldn't resist to hear his discourses in the middle of his class. I had an hour to kill as my car was not to arrive for at least an hour. So I sit and watch and absorb his wonderful discourse about Yoga kriyas and his signature yell to "change fast" as groups of nearly 100 students switched between posses on the floor, chair and ropes. Some day I will be in the class I say to myself.

As he instructed some of the students to get into Urdhva Dhanurasana, out came words that have resonated with me for the entire day. "Show less but do more" he said. We all want to show that we are doing more - when in reality we maybe actually doing less". He wanted the class to "show less but do more" in the poses he was instructed. I guess he meant he didn't want the students to put out a show of perfect looking poses, but rather focus on being in the pose and really understanding the pose. He said that was more sincere.

Those were powerful statements, as they apply to our lives as well. We put so much emphasis on the outwards, the showman ship, the projection of perfection. Whats inside maybe completely different to what is being shown on the outside. That one statement from Prashantji set the tone for my day. What a wonderful experience to hear such great words from a great mind and experience this great yoga. Little I knew the firestorm I was just about to step into a minute as his class ended and I walked down the steps to see Mr. Chandru. All my learning as a yogi was about to be tested. Please return for the completion of this episode of my first day of yoga in Pune.


The Yogi

No comments: