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ramamani iyengar memorial yoga institute

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.

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Crack Open to Heal – Day 9

August 9, 2018

Yoga helps.  It heals.  It gets rid of emotional blockages and psychological pain.  It brings peace.  It brings clarity.  We’ve all heard this at one point or another.  And I’m sure we all wonder – how?

Yoga helps by teaching us how to create space.  Our demons reside in our joints.  Achy, stiff joints are permanent residences for the demons of our past.  To get rid of these demons we must lengthen our joints.  Create space so that the joints can breathe and release the demons holding them tightly together.  Once these demons are gone your joints will be free to move easily and pain free.

The same applies to backbends.  Bending backward is so difficult for many of us because it requires (amongst other things) flexible back and shoulder muscles as well as a flexible hip joint.  For a long time I wrestled with a stiff upper back.  After years of practice I’ve managed to overcome this challenge….only to realize that I’m unable to access and push the hip joint up.  And this will take a few more years to overcome.  The point is that the only way to let go of years of deep rooted fears and blockages is to spend years creating space between the bones and muscles so that the tightly held demons are let go.

To overcome past samskaras it is important to crack yourself in two.  For instance, when doing the Urdhvadhanurasana I’m almost trying to split myself into two, body below the sternum and above the sternum.  For the next couple of years it will be focusing on body below the hip joint and above the hip joint.  The practice of reaching within yourself to access an area which has been ‘sleeping’ automatically infuses this place with new life…and also enables you to release the ghosts of lives past.

 

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Three Surprising Facts About Pune

November 17, 2017

At the Aga Khan palace, on a day we were free.

By Pune I mean the Ramamani Memorial Iyengar Yoga Institute (RIMYI).  For Iyengar practitioners ‘Pune’ is synonymous with ‘RIMYI’.  After studying for five years under my primary teacher here in Bangalore, I started going to Pune last year.  I’ve written about my time in Pune in previous blogs.  This blog is about the little known and surprising aspects of the RIMYI experience.

  1. RIMYI is the most famous institute for Iyengar yoga on the planet.  It is the epicentre of all Iyengar yoga related activities in the world.  There is a wait list to attend classes at the institute, and you may have to wait for up to a year or more to get a spot.  To even apply for a spot you need to be studying Iyengar yoga for at least 5 years under a certified teacher.  We reserve our seats and accommodation many months in advance.  Sometimes years in advance.
  2. Everyone cries.  Yes, RIMYI has a lot of grownups in tears.  Teachers at the institute aren’t known to mince their words or to bother about the political correctness of their words.  The experience can be intense and nerve wracking.  What’s interesting is that despite quaking with fear, dread and nervousness on our mats, we still return year after year!  I’ve broken down countless times.  The experience can be very cathartic and just goes to show that the path of yoga takes your blood, sweat and tears.
  3. Teachers hit you.  While we’re not being shoved into doors and walls, a sharp slap on the quads or the back of the knees to take our awareness to our ‘sleeping’ body parts is routine.  I’ve had teachers slap my quads, the back of my knees, the sides of my thighs…even had my toes flicked painfully because, ironically, they weren’t relaxed enough.  We joke that ‘BKS’ Iyengar stands for ‘Beat Kick Slap’ Iyengar!

So you see, studying at the best yoga school in the world is not a blissful-gentle-stretching-meditating-all-day experience.  It’s actually a tremendous achievement to make it through and back again the next year!

At the Osho Gardens. I had Dengue during this time!

Sundays looked like this. A joke we will never forget!

Weekends at a farm, amidst nature, never get old.

Travel

RIMYI – The Story So Far

August 15, 2017

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My third week here in Pune has begun and I think I can finally get my thoughts together to put into a blog.  They’ve given us a day off and I thought a mid-week break is a great time to do some laundry, catch up on sleep and write this blog entry.

First things first: to my surprise and delight I have been put into the Intermediate 2 classes, which is a level above what I was in last year.  And for this reason I think I’m finding everything a bit overwhelming.  Or at least I have been so far, perhaps this week will be better..

POMELO_20170814212044_saveI’m staying at the same place I stayed in last time.  For some reason, ever since I got here, I’ve been unable to get a restful sleep.  When you spend a lot of time upside down during the day, you just feel like crawling into bed.  There have been times when I felt like I should sleep during the day, but strangely, I wouldn’t be able to!  Then one day while walking home after a super long self-practice session, I realized what was happening.  The backbends that I have been practicing daily are the culprits.  I’ve observed that whenever I practice backbends, I am an emotional wreck for a while.  It’s not something that I can distract myself from with inane stuff on Netflix.  It’s a bit more serious.  And it happens to a lot of other people as well.  When you bend backward, your emotional centre is exposed and open.  Sometimes this causes the flood gates to open.  You remember insignificant things and start to feel bad about them.  Or events that you thought you’d already dealt with come to the fore and you realise that things aren’t ok.  It’s a barrage of emotion that erupt and possess you and bring you to tears.  But if it’s an emotional detox, then it’s probably good to get this stuff out of your system to clean up your space.  So despite the fact that I absolutely dread backbends, I keep pushing through.  I figure that once I’m done purging all this emotion I’ll be able to sleep better.  At least I hope so.  Time will tell.

What I like about the classes I’m taking this year is that we are being taught to look at asanas from a higher vantage point.  Instead of the technicalities of asanas, we are being guided on the syntax and semantics of our approach to yoga.  I feel this helps in consolidating asana practice with the other limbs of yoga.  And since I’m making it a point to spend some time at the library, I’m able to focus on the subject as a whole, instead of just the asana bit of it.

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I’m always reading something yoga related.  Personal accounts of yoga journeys are my favorites.  I had been meaning to read Elizabeth Kadetsky’s ‘First There is a Mountain’ every since I saw it on Amazon.  I found it in the RIMYI library.  Although the book is a bit long-winded, I feel a lot of students who are on a quest for ‘something more’ will find this book insightful.  Now that I’m done with this one, I’ve started reading the first volume of ‘Astadala Yogamala’ which is comprehensive collection of BKS Iyengar’s speeches and articles through his entire career.  To read him in his own words is to maybe come a little bit closer to the mind of the genius.

 

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Mr. Iyengar’s own copy!  Very exciting!!!

 

 

Travel Yoga

A Chat with Mr. Pandurang

September 27, 2016

 

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A few Iyengar Yoga publications

 

The other day I walked into the practice hall and saw Mr. Pandurang sitting on the stage and the Chinese students gathered around as the audience.  I found out that the Chinese students had requested him to give them a talk about his experience with yoga and the institute over the years.  Pandu’s talk was informative and interesting.  Here’s what I remember from it.

Pandu came with BKS Iyengar to look at the site for the institute in the early 70s.  By this time there were many Iyengar schools around the world and none in Pune.  Guruji used to travel all around the world conducting workshops, but there was no institute in India where he could teach.  The earliest students used to convene in Guruji’s house and practice in whatever space was available.

The decision to build the institute was also fraught with uncertainty.    The fear that no one would come to practice at the institute was in everyone’s mind throughout the construction process.  At one point Guruji told Pandu that if they were unable to use the building for yoga classes, then they could always rent it out as a wedding hall!

The weekend that the finishing touches were being made to the building, Guruji was in Bombay.  His wife had been ill for a long time and she got worse during that weekend.  She eventually ended up passing away and Pandu and everyone else at the institute weren’t sure of how to tell Guruji.  Finally Pandu called Guruji and told him to head back to Pune as his wife was very ill.  Guruji would later talk about how he had in inkling that there was something seriously wrong.  By the time BKS Iyengar came back to Pune, his wife had already expired.  They decided that they would name the institute after her.

The first students to come to the institute were from England.  Some of the 70 odd pomelo_20160924112514_save.jpgstudents brought along thick mats with them.  Those thick mats (sort of like workout/gym mats) were a novelty here in India and localites were very curious about the mats.  BKS Iyengar, being the innovative man he was, thought of different ways to use the mats.  His creativity and love for his subject was such that he was constantly thinking of how to make the poses better and more accessible.  That is how he came up with different ways to use ordinary objects such as chairs, blankets and blocks.  According to Pandu there are 250 ways to use the Setubandhasana box.  He also added that if he were conducting the teachers’ exam he would fail everyone because nowadays teachers aren’t as innovative as they used to once upon a time (referring to the fact that we don’t know the 250 different ways of using a prop).

The story of the sticky mats is pretty much the same.  This time it was a German student who brought  the mat.  In Europe they were using such mats under their carpets so that the carpets wouldn’t slip.  The student thought out of the box and brought it back to India.  Mr. Iyengar looked at the sticky mat and his little grey cells started working.

 

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Mr. Iyengar’s many watches.  Useful when you need to do 20 minute Sirsasanas. 

On the subject of modern teachers he said Guruji always said that you should only follow one teacher.  When he came across students who followed multiple teachers and schools he would say that you are not a lover, but a gatherer.  You are just going around gathering the knowledge of yoga.  There are many instances where people want to become yoga teachers without having practiced for any significant amount of time.  Pandu emphasized the importance of a teacher being fundamentally sound.  .Teachers with no personal practice and little experience may end up hurting students.  This would give a bad name to a discipline which was already infamous.  At the time Mr. Iyengar was teaching, yoga was looked upon with a bit of trepidation.  The vast majority of people thought that it was circus tricks at best or black magic at worse.  Changing people’s perceptions was an uphill task.  And teachers at the time had to ensure that yoga as a practice shouldn’t be vilified.

 

On the nature of Guruji’s practice and teaching Pandu said Guruji was a hard task master.  Students attending his class would be sore for a week afterwards.  And as for his own practice, though he had a large family; he would never make any excuses.  He practiced daily.  Early morning he did pranayama.  In the evening he would practice inversions.  Pandu emphasized the importance of a daily practice.  He said that those who don’t practice daily shouldn’t teach.  He also mentioned that he’s noticed that when teachers start to gain popularity, the first thing out the window is their personal practice.  All RIMYI teachers are regular with their own practice.  Remember that once you lose a pose, it’s a struggle to get back to it.  A Chinese girl in the audience asked how to balance teaching and learning if your livelihood depends on teaching yoga.  Pandu thought for a moment and said that he would always recommend teach less and practice more.  Give preference to your own practice.  That’s what Guruji did.

 

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The secret behind the ubiquitous tilak.

 

In the early 50s (between 1953-1954) Guruji was asked to teach at NDA (National Defence Academy).  BKS Iyengar had to cycle for about 20 kms daily in order to get to class.  Because of that he developed hernia.  He treated hernia as his guru and allowed the condition to guide his practice in order to get rid of the condition.  I was interested in knowing a bit more about the NDA days and found out that classes are going on their even now.  When Guruji was no longer able to go he sent Pandu.  Eventually Pandu also passed on the responsibility.  Pandu remembers that the classes were for one and all, from the cadets to the officers.  I do wonder if anyone posted in NDA during those days would have any pictures from that time.

 

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Playing catch is exhausting.

The oldest running class at the institute is the women’s class (these days conducted by Gulnaz Dashti).  Pandu was asked why was there a separate class for the women.  In those days, was it to separate the sexes?  Pandu replied that in Pune during those days women would be free only once the husband and the children had been packed off for the day and the housework was finished.  This was typically between 9 am – 12 noon.  So it was actually the women of Pune who requested that a special class be conducted for them, and that class continues to this day.

 

Your body is your guru.  However, don’t do asanas when you ‘feel like it’.  Sequencing is very important, else you will definitely experience problems.  When Pandu and Prashant were practicing under Guruji, the practice was different every day.  Tuesdays they would practice only forward bends.  They would practice the Janu Sirsasana for 40-50 minutes at a time.  Prashant and Pandu used to do all the forward bends in the sequence.  Pandu also advised us not to do only the sirsasana and end the class.  He said it’s important to do the Sarvangasana and Halasana.  Also practice the Setubandha Sarvangasana.  As far as be the body is concerned, there is a lot of bending in the circus.  Ballet also has a lot of flexible bodies.  But what happens in these disciplines is that the spine suffers.

Someone in the audience asked Pandu about the asana sequence that is described at the end of the books.  Pandu said that the books were written many years ago and that many things have changed since then.  Props have also changed.  The ideas expressed in the books are a product of those times, and as time passed, the practice, ideas and philosophies evolved.

Pandu then told us a story about yoga.  He said a long time ago when someone would fall sick they were told to take sanjeevani (a medicine).  Then one day all the sanjeevani in the world finished and people went to God to ask for more.  God told people that He couldn’t give them sanjeevani but he can give them yoga vidya. God told people that with yoga they will be able to maintain their health.  However, the yoga vidya went to the rishi munis.  And unfortunately, the rishi munis weren’t easily accessible to the common people.  That’s when yoga teachers came into existence.  They bridged the gap and brought the knowledge of yoga from the rishi munis to the common people.  This is the tradition that Krishnamacharya and his disciples are a part of.  For centuries they have de mystified an esoteric practice.  They have brought it to the masses, but; emphasises Pandu; they have done it properly.

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Lifestyle Yoga

A Yogi in Pune – Day 16

September 16, 2016

I’ve practiced more in these 16 days than I ever have in my life.  In Mysore practice used to be for an hour and a half.  That was for 15 days.  During my teachers’ training at SVYASA we used to have practice for up to 2 – 3 hours a day.  Here we practice for up to 5 hours a day.  Some students even opt to observe classes, so that’s more yoga during the day.  It is intense, it is powerful, detailed, thorough and it’s amazing (I may already have mentioned that before.)    In the past 2 weeks I’ve had time to really work on my asanas.  I’ve also had a chance to see the practice in a different way.  To kind of lift the asana lid and peer into the pot to find the importance and relevance of yoga in our lives.  My own steadily improving practice and watching all kinds of people practice day in and day out.  Doing the Trikonasana (and other asanas) over and over again drives home a few important lessons.

  1.  Practice makes perfect.  But nobody’s perfect.  So perfection is a process and practice is the means to it.  In the age of beautiful Instagram filters, it is difficult to believe that even the jaw dropping and awe inspiring pose has scope for improvement.  There is scope of improvement in everything.  Your projects are a work in progress.  Your relationships are a work in progress….your life is a work in progress.  You are a work in progress!  So accept your mistakes.  Internalize the lessons they teach you and don’t make them again.  Remember, a mistake made over and over again is a habit.
  2. Spend a lot of time on your fundamentals.  Here we have practitioners of all levels.  However, what we practice day in and day out (yes for 5 hours daily) are the fundamentals.  Trikonasana, Uttanasana, Downward dog etc.  The other day the entire 2 hour class was about Uttanasana.  That is all we did during the entire class.  In fact, I’ve heard Abhijata say that your inversions will never be stable unless your standing poses are stable.  Next time you find yourself fumbling in a pose, try and analyse why and what you can do to make the pose better.  And next time you find yourself getting impatient or bored of the fundamentals, remember there’s always scope for improvement.
  3. Cultivate discipline.Be strict with yourself because when it comes to your body no one else will be.  Make the time to move your body, however inconvenient it may be.  Make the time to cultivate a hobby which requires you to move.  Enjoy the process of movement and getting in touch with yourself.  The tragedy of our times is that people will set reminders on their phones to take the medicines they have now become dependent on, but they won’t throw back the covers and go for a quick jog.  Every little bit matters, but you need discipline.  To start and to stay on track.

[Above: Healthy food choices always.  Remember my 80/20 rule.]

Travel Yoga

A Yogi in Pune – Day 6

September 6, 2016

My host brought to my attention that there is a much respected astrologer close by.  Everyone goes to him and his reading is usually spot on.  The catch is that it’s difficult to get an appointment with him.  Plus I didn’t have my birth chart.

If I could get into the Iyengar institute, famed or their coldness and hard-to-get attitude, then the neighbourhood astrologer would be easy to crack, regardless of how famous he was.  Expecting it to take weeks to get an appointment, I started working on this right away.  To my surprise and delight, I managed to get an appointment in the third call.  So post my self practice session today, I decided to visit the astrologer.  Armed with a map and loads of curiosity.

In the rows and rows of non descript government quarters, I wouldn’t have been able to find his house with no address.  However, everyone seemed to know where he lived.  An appointment was going on when I walked in.  I’d expected the worst and was prepared to wait for hours, but Lady Luck was on my side and I waited for only 15 minutes.

I had asked my mother to send me photos of my natal chart on WhatsApp and I showed him these images on my laptop.

Astrologer: “You aren’t in the same line that you studied.”

Me: Nodded.

Astrologer: “What have you studied?”

Me:”Engineering.  I worked as a software engineer also for a long time too.”

Astrologer: “But what are you doing now?”

Me: “I teach yoga.”

Astrologer: “It says here that you will excel at the studies of old things…maybe history…maybe humanity.  You will do well in a field that requires you to gain deep knowledge, not superficial work.  It says here your area of work will be beneficial for mankind.  Are you only teaching or studying also?”

Me: “Yes, I study and teach.”

Astrologer: “Then there is nothing better for you than this.  This is what you were meant to do.  To study deeply and to help people.  And yoga is after all a study of the human body and the human mind.  And now with Modi getting interested…you can understand.”

Me: “Hmmm…but what else do you see?  Only teaching and studying yoga?  Same thing for the rest of my life?”

Astrolger: “No no….you will go deep.  Even amongst yoga teachers, not everyone reaches the trance state.  Not everyone goes to the higher levels.  You will also go.  You will teach and you will learn.  Yoga will take you to different places.  You will not settle abroad nor get a green card.  But you will travel far and frequently.”

Me: “I will travel for yoga?  But do you see a book published in my future somewhere?”

Astrologer: “When it comes to yoga, which is your chosen field of study, you will do whatever you want.  There are no boundaries to what you will do and there are no limits to how much you will contribute.  But stick to yoga, don’t do anything else.  Now you tell me, why did you take up yoga?”

Me: “I myself can’t really tell you why.  Something within me is drawn to the practice.”

Astrologer: “And that is what!  That is why you must continue.  Don’t worry about money.  You won’t get Rs. 5, 10, 50…when you earn you will get in the thousands at one go.  You will earn in different currencies, but only through yoga.  Don’t switch your line and stick to it.  Whatever you want, you will get.”

As I walked away from his office, I was reminded of what Pattabhi Jois was so fond of saying,” Do your practice and all is coming.”  In a way, this famed astrologer was telling me the same thing.

Lifestyle Travel Yoga

A Yogi in Pune – Day 2

September 2, 2016
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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.

 

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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!

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Lifestyle Travel Yoga

A Yogi in Pune – Day 1

September 1, 2016

The first day is always a day of exploration and learning.

My first class was on the second floor and we went through the standing asanas.  However, because it was the Intermediate class we were expected to know how to do the Sirsasana, Halasana and Sarvangasana.  In my class in Bangalore we did the Sarvangasana and Halasana with the help of chairs, however, here the only props we used were thick mats under our shoulders.

Post the class we had a break of 30 minutes after which the hall on the first floor was free for self practice.  During this time we are allowed the use of the hall and all the props to further our practice.  Since I wasn’t sure of what to expect, I decided to repeat what we had done in the led class and take my time with the asanas.  Since I’m working on my Hanumanasana, I built up to that as well.  Unfortunately, by this time (after almost 4 hours of practice) I was completely depleted of energy and didn’t give the practice my 100%.  However, tomorrow my self practice and led class have a gap, so I think I’ll be able to use my time much more judiciously tomorrow.

Once I got home I searched for a good spot for wifi reception.  The flora and fauna and the monsoons ensure the wifi signal is weak.  However, good karma came to my rescue and my sister’s friend (who lives in the house next door)n offered me her wifi and the use of this space:

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She happens to be a designer with a flair for interiors and this is her office.  So for the entire month, this is what my workstation looks like. My desk is right next to hers, so I’ve got good company too.  And hot homemade soup in the evenings (today it’s pumpkin soup).  I I will be designing plans and blogging from here.

As for my pratice schedule, here it is for your reference:

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Travel Uncategorized

A Yogi in Pune (The Day Of and the Night Before)

August 31, 2016

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Unfortunately my allergies have flared up.  Leaving your house can be a messy affair for a homebody like me.  I think of my house in my absence and I simply can’t tolerate the thought of a messy house left to it’s own devices.  I need my house to be spic and span in my absence so that a thin film of dust is all I really have to deal with on my return.  So for the past two weeks I’ve been cleaning along with packing and my nose has paid the price dearly.  However, I managed to clear the table tops and the counters and ensure that things were in their rightful places before I went to sleep last night.  And once settled in comfortably I Skyped late into the night with a friend of mine, excitedly catching up on all the old and what it feels like to be on the brink of the new.

I woke up early today and did a quick practice after which I showered and drove myself to a friend’s place to entrust him with the care of my car for the next few weeks, and to partake of whatever breakfast he could offer an excited yogi just about to embark on a great adventure.  I still remember that the last time I came back after a long trip, the battery of my car fought a slow death leaving me stranded many a time.  This time I wasn’t going to take chances, specially not with breakfast.

I managed to catch a few minutes of sleep on the plane before we landed, but airplane don’t really count by way of making you feel rested.  The opposite, yes.  I deplaned to find out that there was a transportation strike in Pune and therefore couldn’t get a pre-paid taxi to my accommodation.  Ola shared cab to the rescue.

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My accommodation is a room nestled in a culvert near RIMYI.  I have a clean, freshly painted room all to myself.  The kitchen is easily accessible and I spent a little while getting to know my hostess over a mug of (much needed) hot green tea.  Turns out that the house is situated on Sudheer Pawar Path, and Sudheer Pawar was my hostess’s uncle!  He was an officer of the Indian Air Force who crash landed due to a malfunctioning airplane and the government named the road in his honor.  Add a bit of history to anything, and you increase my wonder for it manifold.

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My hostess was kind enough to provide me some paranthas for lunch and after a quick rest I decided to go exploring.  My hostess gave me clear and concise directions and I reached the institute in no time.  The evening timings of the institute are 4-6 pm and I was a bit early.  I made enquiries with the guard who told me that I should come at 4 and not to worry as there won’t be much of a crowd.  I remembered the mad rush at KPJAYI and wanted to make sure.  Finally he told me that there is only one day of the year when there is a rush (I forget which one) and after that since there are no new admissions, there is no rush.  I did notice that there was a board on the gate which said that the admissions are closed until May 2017.  And here’s where I felt grateful that I had somehow beat the queues.

I decided to explore a bit more and wandered a bit further down the road where a random lady walking next to me started lamenting about the transport strike.  And she didn’t trust 20160831_170644.jpgOla.  Not sure what she was planning to do.  I bought myself a toothbrush, toothpaste and a coffee and answered some messages until it was time to head to the institute.

I decided to ask for the legendary Mr. Pandurang Rao at the institute and see if I could register today, since I was already there, instead of having to wait until tomorrow.  I know these guys are sticklers for rules and I wasn’t sure I would be entertained.  However, I was!  Mr. Rao handed me the registration form and once I’d filled it out he drew up my schedule on a pink post it…only to ask me once again how long I’ve been practicing and then relapsed into deep thought.  Then he decided to make a phone call and spoke to the person on the other end about ‘the student from Bangalore’.  The conversation was in Marathi, so even though I heard it all, I couldn’t understand it.  He came back and asked me ‘Can you do the Sirsasana?’  I said yes and he then took a while to figure out whether to put me in the Intermediate or the Senior class.  Finally, the Intermediate it is and I have to report to the Ist floor tomorrow morning at 7 am.

My hostess is taking us all out for dinner tonight, so I get to meet some of my housemates as well!

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