Browsing Tag

maharashtra

Lifestyle Travel Yoga

The First Class

September 4, 2019

How many times have you quickly gone up into sarvangasana? Do you remember to pull the shoulders back, open the chest, activate the thighs and lift the tailbone up? Seemingly small modifications can change the entire posture.

Perhaps it was nervous excitement or maybe anticipation, but my first class was amazing.  By the end of the class my blood was singing and my body felt like it was thrumming (to the beat of my blood?).

I am a sucker for simple classes.  I believe if you focus on the simple stuff everything else falls into place.  This class focused on the tailbone and sacrum region.  We started the class with adhomukha virasana.  Rajalakshmi asked us to continue to extend the arms.  “This extension isn’t because you are lengthening your bones!!!” she boomed into the mike.

“The bones never extend!!!  It’s impossible for you to extend any of your bones!!!” she continued.  “Pay close attention to the parts of your body that make the extension possible!” she said.

She encouraged us to pay close attention to the tailbone-sacrum region and observe how it participates in forward bends and twists.

The most interesting part of the class was dissecting the parivritta trikonasana or the revolved triangle posture.  There are three movements that make this asana possible: the extension of the side, the bending forward keeping that extension intact and finally, the opening of the chest.  And once we were in the final posture we were asked to pull the tailbone and sacrum in to the body.

At one point Rajalakshmi caught me looking at my hip.  I realize I do this unconsciously every time I practice this asana.  I use my eyes to ensure that my hip is pushed back, which detracts from the overall experience of the asana.  “Your side is compressing and you’re becoming a ball,” Rajalakshmi explained patiently.  “Extend your chin forward and away from the sacrum.  Open the sacrum and lengthen the side!” she boomed again.

This is the magic of the annual pilgrimage to RIMYI.

Lifestyle Travel Yoga

Registrations at RIMYI

September 3, 2019

Finally getting the hang of this.

I headed to the institute at around 9 am this morning.  In previous years I’ve always registered in the evenings so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I decided to wear my practice shorts just in case.

The person at the front desk smiled and nodded his head in recognition. He suggested I go practice first and come back later to get the registration forms.

Self-practice sessions at RIMYI can be intimidating. Alhtough you have people of all levels you tend to look only at those who are busy defying gravity. Today there were students going from adhomukha svanasana to urdhva dhanurasana and back again.

Watching students who have a better asana practice than you can be intimidating…or extremely inspiring. As a yoga student the one quality that has been of immense help to me has been that the only ‘I’ I take with me to a class is ‘I am a yoga student.’ Besides this I don’t think, ‘I can’t do back bends’ or ‘I have a mean urdhva kukkutasana’. I’m willing to explore what I already know. And willing to wrestle with prejudice, fear and doubt to discover new movements.

Besides the above two things, the other things I should mention for a month in Pune are:

  1. Don’t bring your yoga mat. You have every prop ever created available for use.
  2. Do bring comfortable walking shoes, preferrably ones that can withstand the rains. Pune is known for its sudden showers (it’s pouring as I write this).  Don’t forget a trusted umbrella.
  3. Students generally bring skirts or loose pants to wear over their practice shorts rather than changing at the institute.
  4. Don’t forget your passport photos (along with the other documentation such as visa copies, passport copies etc). It had completely slipped my mind that I needed passport photos, but luckily had some extras in my wallet.
  5. You can pay your fees through cash or card.
  6. A lot of students like to have a coconut post class. I would recommend bringing your own re-usable straws rather than using the disposable plastic ones.

These are the few things that come to mind right now. In case you have specific queries, drop a comment.

Post practice I got my schedule. I have evening classes three times a week, and today happens to be an evening class. Fingers crossed for a good class and an awesome month.

Travel

A Day Trip to Kaivalyadham

September 2, 2017
POMELO_20170902051349_save

Swamy Kuvalyananda and his disciples.

A couple of days ago I decided to visit Kaivalyadham.  I first heard about the institute when I started to explore yoga courses.  This was many years ago and at the time Kaivalyadham seemed inaccessible.  I read that it was one of the oldest yoga schools in the world.  They’ve done a lot of research on Yoga, Ayurveda, Naturopathy etc. and have helped people world wide manage and treat ailments and illnesses.  I read up on Swamy Kuvalyananda.  References to him came up in ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and a few commentaries in the first volume of the Yogamala Ashtadala.  It was fitting then that I got in touch with an old friend of mine from Bangalore who happened to be in her last week of internship there and invited me over to see her campus.  Things fell in place – I had a day off, was only about 60 km away from Lonavala and the weather was beautiful.

The last 34 aphorisms of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are grouped under a chapter called the Kaivalya Pada (pada = chapter/part).  Here Patanjali describes the many ways in which the practitioner can attain the state of Kaivalya.  Kaivalya is the state wherein the practitioner is emancipated from the cycles of birth and rebirth.  It is an indivisible absolute state of aloneness.  ‘Kaivalyadham’ then means the place of Kaivalya.

The drive from Pune to Kaivalyadham is amazing.  Mist covered the hills and trees and I couldn’t take my eyes off the scenery.  Sadly I forgot to take pictures.  By the time we reached Kaivalyadham it was pouring cats and dogs and we had to wade through deep puddles to reach the main building.

POMELO_20170902051406_save

It’s always great to meet old friends.  We strolled around the campus as we talked.  Mamata took us to the gowshala where she spends a lot of time.  Kaivalyadham has a large Ayurvedic hospital and I even managed to get a quick consultation!  Like most residential yoga institutes, Kaivalyadham serves only sattvic food and we loved the lunch there.

They also teach cleansing kriyas as a part of their courses.  I was delighted to finally find clay neti pots in their gift shop and picked up a few for my friends as well.  Bangalore friends – now you know what I’m bringing back for you.

POMELO_20170825143356_save

Lifestyle Travel Yoga

A Yogi in Pune – Day 2

September 2, 2016
pomelo_20160902191421_save.jpg

Soup of the Day: Ghia soup.  I’m telling you, a hostess after my own heart.

I’m not sure whether it’s the my cold or it’s the intense practice here, but by the end of each practice session I’m EXHAUSTED.  This level of exhaustion is new to me.  In Bangalore I’m up super early and I have loads of energy to teach morning AND evening AND to do my self practice AND to write AND go to work.  Here I’m too tired to even eat sometimes and I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.  This morning I woke up at 6, but lazed around in bed because I had to be at the institute only by 10.30 AM.  These small luxuries will only be available this month to me, I reasoned.

Today I had my self practice session first.  I got there early and spoke to  a few other first time students. And then it was time to quiz Mr. Pandurang for all everything he could tell me.  Who was this Pandurang Rao and how was he so intimately connected to the institute?  What was his story?  I decided to start asking him in Hindi about how long he’s been here.  He peered up at me from behind his thick glasses in surprise.  After a few questions we fell into an easy conversation.  He told me that Prashaant, Geeta and he used to practice with Guruji in the early 60s, in the house in the city, which is where the family used to stay then.  The loyal students at the time felt that Mr. Iyengar should have a place of his own to teach and practice in, similar to how he had studios all across the world.  Mr. Pandurang was a part of the original group of people who toiled hard to secure and create the space the world knows as RIMYI.  The opening was in 1975.  Pandurang speaks in the same low voice and neither his face nor his voice have any expression.  “What year where born?” he asked me abruptly.

“1982,” I replied.

“Hmmm…abh dekho, yeh 1975 se hai.  Aap thoda time do.  Yahaan ke barre mein bahaut hai seekhne ko.”  And with that our tete a tete came to an end because I had to go for my self practice session.

My self practice today went a lot better than yesterday, partly because I vegetated the morning away, conserving my energy for the session.  Here I encountered another luxury, the luxury of practicing with no time limits.  At home we all have time constraints.  Having what seems like all the time in the world and all the tools at your disposal, can put you in your happy place.  However, it can be overwhelming too.

 

20160831_170330.jpg

Room where my led class happens.  Pink ropes, what more could a girl want?

 

My led class was in the evening today and I met a Korean student while crossing the road and we chatted all the way to the institute.  After changing into the ‘uniform’ (more on this later), we trudged up three flights of stairs to the Women’s class.  Twice a week the institute has a women’s only session and I get to take the Friday eve women’s class.  The teacher is a bundle of energy.  She keeps a nonstop banter going through the class.  And she keeps her sharp eyes on everyone.  The caught me looking at the floor and shrilled, “BANGALORE!!!  Keep your eyes open!  Always!  You are with me!  You are with the class!  You are with YOURSELF!!!

It’s my turn to be at the receiving end I thought to myself as my mouth curled up into a smile and I nodded lightly.

While doing the Trikonasana: “BANGALORE!!! Look straight at me!  You are in my class!  Stay in my class!  Stay with us!  What are you looking at the ceiling for?!

Next time, she caught me glancing at the clock and she bellowed, “Why do your eyes always go up?!!! TRANCE mein chali jaati hai (giggles).  Trance mein jaana hai par meri class mein nahin.  In this class just go into the Trikonasana.”

During Sirsasana she bellowed, “BANGALORE!!!  Again!  Be with the class!!!  Come to the centre of the room, place your mat HERE and now face that way and now up you go

During the Sarvangasana: “BANGA-, wait what’s your name?”

Me: Pragya

Teacher: “Ek to itna lamba naam leke aa jaati hai.  Look!  Your blankets are uneven!  Make the even end on one side and odd end on the other side.  Yes, like that.”

As we filed out of class,  I said my customary thank you to which she said a simple: Good.

Hmmm, go figure.

I walked home and sat to pen down the day.  As I tied together some lose ends at work, Anuja (provider of the hot soups) and I made plans for the weekend.  I want to see the sights and sounds of Pune.  See different facets of the city.  She’s proving to be a great storehouse of info…and she’s following this blog too :).

But first we’ve decided to watch a scary film on Netflix tonight.  Turns out, both of us love scary movies, but prefer watching them with people.

Until tomorrow, stay healthy, stay happy!

20160831_152738.jpg