Saturday, December 20, 2008

BKS Iyengar 90th Birthday South India Tour Dec 18th

This was day two of our trip, that included a 7 hour journey from E-Inn in Bangalore to the two 11th century stone temples in Halebidu and the other Bellur spelt "Belur". The morning started a bit chaotic, but once everyone was settled in the buses (I in bus number 6), we were on our way. Little did I know I was amongst some of the luminaries of the Iyengar yoga world including Swati Chanchani, Faeq Bria, Patricia Walden, John Schumacher .. and more... I sat next to Wolfgang, an Iyengar yoga teacher from Cologne who enlightened me about many things about yoga and Germany and we remained bus companions for the next three days. By the end of this momentous trip Bus number 6 became a world community.

Guruji followed us with his family on this trip. It was an exhausting journey till 11:30 pm at night, but worth every minute. I have so much to share - it will be several days and weeks till I complete my entire journal of this trip, and believe me, I will!!!! I have tons of video footage documenting this trip in addition to pictures. I met some amazing Iyengar yogis throughout this trip and am very thankful I had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful experience we all shared with Guruji. His presence was felt all throughout - though my most momentous experience was my short but important discussion with Faeq Bria, one of Guruji's most important students, an educator, a spiritual scientist and Vedologist, an expert in Hinduism, Yoga, Sutras, Indophile extraordinaire. He sat across the aisle and I don't remember a moment where he was not discussing something with someone in the bus, mostly in french. It wasn't until we arrived back in Bangalore and shared an elevator down, that I finally got a chance to speak to him. Wolfgang had mentioned about his amazing workshops and I had to talk to him about my strong connection with Sutras and desire to take more pranayam. In summary, I wanted to be re inspired to focus my practice back on the asanas but integrate pranayama into it as well.

I told him I felt very connected to the Sutras. He said "its not surprising, its in your blood". I almost fell to the floor when I heard those words. It is in my blood I realized or why I else would I be in it. He advised that I should start integrating pranayama into my practice right away and that a strong integrated practice of asanas and pranayama is the way to really connect with the Sutras. He added that it is too easy to intellectualize the Sutras and simply be stuck in that realm, without the pragmatic experience of asana and pranayama. His words have been resounding in my head every since.

I will have much more to share in my next few blog posts. The tour concluded this morning (2oth). I have to plug the new Bangalore (Bengaluru) International Airport. It is one more leap forward and nothing like any other airports - its world class. So those of you who maintain a critical view of things in India, well we Indians eventually do get it, through long hard struggles of thousands of years of making mistakes and the beauty of our character lies in those mistakes we make, the many times we fall, we just pick ourselves up and keep plugging away till we finally get that perfect asana and the deepest breath. There are still 500 million of us who remain downtrodden, but its those 500 million that we strive to uplift will change the world. Guruji has taken a small step in transforming the children of his native village Bellur, and I made a generous contribution to that effort as a gift for his birthday. I hope you will do so as well. That is the best gift you can make to him and the children of India. There are many such efforts underway..... I am determined in my own way to be part of that change. As Gandhiji said "To make a change you need to become a part of it....".

Enjoy the pictures and thanks to everyone who sent their nice comments and thanks to all my new friends on this trip who shared their thoughts and experiences with me. I am truly inspired by each one of you. How amazing is this connection of Iyengar yoga and Guruji!!!! If you would like to remain updated, subscribe to the blog via email, as I will be posting pictures and videos from this occasion for the next few weeks.

Enjoy the pictures and I end with the following words from an earlier post - Change and see the world change around you! I am now yearning to return home to my two little munchkins who I love dearly and missed alot during this trip and so wished they were with me to share in this experience. There were many kids they would have loved to have hang out with ...


The Yogi

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