Friday, January 14, 2011

Open Practice

At the Institute, each week of the month has a different focus for the regularly scheduled classes.  The first week concentrates on standing  poses, the second is forward extensions and twists, the third is back bends and the fourth is traditionally pranayama.

In addition, during the daily open practice session each person is free to work on whatever they choose.  B.K.S. Iyengar (Guruji) is present in the same practice hall doing his daily practice along with us.  I find this both remarkable and deeply humbling.

In order to work on my Padmasana (Full Lotus Pose), but also to prepare for the rapidly approaching back bend week, I have been working on Simhasana II.  Featured here is a rare photo of me smiling in my attempt to bring the topmost part of the front thighs (nearest the pelvis) onto the bolster while both lifting up and coiling back.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nana Waghchaure


Nana is everyone’s favorite rickshaw driver.  He is not only reliable, informative and speaks great English, but he offers assistance in so many ways.  He bargains for us with the shop keepers, takes us to the Xerox booth that has no line, makes sure that the promised 24 hour activation of the cell phone (EVERYONE has a cell phone here) does indeed happen even after 72 hours of waiting and makes sure we buy only the best quality saffron.

Bill Mosser discovered Nana when he arrived in Pune during his first visit to the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute.  As I remember it, Bill was deluged by rickshaw drivers trying to grab his luggage and offer him a ride.  Nana was in the background.  Bill chose Nana that day and he not only took the ride, but also befriended Nana.  Because of Bill, Nana’s life has changed exponentially.  Word of mouth has a powerful effect.  Nana is now the rickshaw driver of choice for many of the international students at the Iyengar Yoga Institute.  He is mostly punctual; he says that it is the cell phone that makes him a few minutes late.  On my trip with him yesterday, his phone rang four times within about 10 minutes!  Each time he pulls over to answer the call.  These calls are friends requesting his services.  He even asked specifically about his Portland yoga friends.......Terry, Barb and Care. 

Among Nana’s finest attributes is that he has a generous heart.  Upon my arrival in Pune, he came to where I was, transported my jet-lagged self and my luggage to the flat that I had rented sight unseen, and made sure I was settled in before he left.  The twinkle in his eye, his words of wisdom and his generous heart are what I love most about Nana.

Pune Practice tip for our Portland Iyengar Yoga students:

Level 1:
Pay attention to your simple, normal breath in all poses.  Move into the pose on the exhalation.

Level 2 and 3: 
First….move into the pose on the exhale.  Do all of your refinements on the exhale.  Then…. move into the pose during the pause after the exhale.  Do all of your refinements during the pause after the exhale.  What is the difference?