Again I want to preface this by saying these are my reflections on classes, and what I understand and remember from them. In the interests of full disclosure I’ll also say that I’ve succumbed to illness, so am feeling a little gloomy! (Might have been the triple sundae!)
I missed Geeta’s orientation today, which apparently was a great talk about the inward journey of ashtanga (eight petals) yoga, emphasising the yamas and niyamas. She made the point that you can’t test for pratyahara. I spoke to someone who was here last year and she said Geeta’s looking much stronger than she did then, and fiery! Classes start tomorrow, so hope I can make it.
In Saturday’s class Prashant clarified the difference between the “doers’ manual” and the “users’ manual”. We are not meant to ‘use’ yoga in the consumerist sense, but instead go beyond the mere doing of the pose. He said what you do is irrelevant, it’s how you use what you do that matters. So then we looked through different “portholes” in the poses, with a focus on breathing into the abdomen.
He spoke about the elements and said the earth element is not only solidity, it is compassion. The earth has great compassion for us and would never abandon us. (Although with climate change it could be argued she’s had enough!) He said Mr Iyengar was absolutely in love with dharmendriya (organ of virtue) and said this wasn’t showing up in the assessment process.
He said terrorists have the same users’ manuals and computers as all of us, but they are using theirs for destruction.
In an earlier class Prashant used the analogy of the Swiss Army knife. We call it a knife, when in fact it’s also scissors, a bottle opener, toothpick, spoon or fork. So it is with yoga – we call it one thing when it is so much more.
Luke did the children’s class today. Left my phone at home so no photos unfortunately. He was a bit nervous but just as our rickshaw pulled up at the Institute two kids he’d met in the park walked past, on the way to the class. So off they all went. The class was in the top room at the Institute with about 30 kids by the time they all filed in. I can report Indian kids are as cheeky and unruly as Sydney kids and the teacher handled them beautifully, with the right mixture of humour and strictness. The class kept moving for an hour, stopping at the end for a story about Patanjali.
Luke thought the class was “difficult but fun” and did really well – looks like he has learnt something from my kids’ classes after all. He’s got sore groins from mastyasana in padmasana!
So far he is well and whenever I doubt my decision to bring him to India he says “Mum! It’s awesome!”.
Thanks to the lovely Lucy and Saskia who have been calling in on us.