Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pune to Portland

When in India, I read Indian authors.  This time it was Chitra Banerjee, One Amazing Thing and Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies and The Glass Palace.  Toward the end of my stay, I traded books with my friend Elise and, for a change of pace, I read Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck.

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over.  A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys.  It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness.  A journey is a person in itself: no two are alike.  And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless.  We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip: a trip takes us…….......…..Maybe understanding is possible only after.”   
~ Steinbeck

After a mere 36 hours from door to door I arrive home.

During my last flight from Seattle to Portland all the mountains from Baker to Bachelor stood highlighted by the sunshine to welcome me home.  Our moist, verdant city feels comforting…………….ah, back to my own bed!

Practice Tip for just about anyone:
Make it a habit of putting yourself in unfamiliar positions and situations.  Observe your reactions, resistances and insights.  Does it change you?
Asana, life, asana, life.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pune Traffic

Pune traffic circa 1989.  Notice the two camels and the number of bicycles.

Pune traffic with pollution, 2006.  This photo is not very clear, but I couldn't resist showing you the elephant in the street along with the motorcycles and cars.

Pune traffic 2011.  Motorized vehicles only.

There used to be only one traffic light in Pune.....and I am talking about during my lifetime.  Now there are not only many traffic lights but also many busy, crazy intersections.  

When Geeta Iyengar was in the USA for the very first time in 1996, as the chair of the Estes Park Iyengar Yoga Convention, I asked her what surprised her the most about the USA.  She replied that the cars all stay in their own lanes!!  This is unheard of in Pune and most of the rest of India.

On Sunday we witnessed a most amazing drama unfold in front of our eyes.  We were in the rickshaw with Nana doing a tour of some temples in Pune.  We pulled up to an intersection, the light turned red and one car went speeding through anyway.  Nana pointed out a policeman at this intersection and he explained that the traffic policeman was using his mobile device to send the license plate ahead to the policeman at the next intersection who would pull the speeding motorist over and give him a ticket.  When we reached the next traffic round about, it was just as Nana had predicted. Policeman was busy writing a ticket the chagrined driver was arguing with him.  Portland take notice!

Pune Practice Tips for our Portland Iyengar Yoga students:

Level 1 students:
Bring the spirit of Savasana to an upright, seated position such as Sukasana.  What does this teach you?

Level 2 and 3 students:
The movements of the shoulder blades and the spine are important elements in both Salamba Sirsasana and Salamba Sarvangasana.  In one of these poses, the spine ascends easily and the shoulder blades require considerable concentration and precision to engage.  In the other pose, the opposite is true (the shoulder blades ascend more easily and the spine needs more attention in order to lift in and up.) Practice these two poses.  What is your experience?  Figure out which is which.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Typical Day

7 am – 9 am:  Class with Prashant Iyengar  (4 days a week)

9 am – Noon:  Open Practice

Noon – 4 pm:  Lunch with friends, rest, visit Institute Library (Guruji is usually there), or shopping, etc.

4 pm – 6 pm:  Assist in the Medical Class

6 pm – 8 pm:  Class (The Indian teachers rotate teaching the class.)

8pm……….Dinner and fall into bed!

Most hours of my typical day are spent in the practice hall above.  Notice the photos on the walls from B.K.S. Iyengar’s definitive book, Light on Yoga, the ceiling ropes (similar to JLYC’s pelvic swing) and the variety of wooden props against the windows.  Imagine this room filled with 120 people doing yoga…......mat to mat!