The final week of my time here has begun. The last span of days has been so full of learning it is difficult to sum it up. The classes have been fantastic. Deep insights into inversions with Sunita, one of Mr. Iyengar’s daughters. Revealing pranayama with Rajlakshmi, a long time institute teacher. Clarity and precision in the rope work with Golnaz, another experienced RIMYI teacher. And invigorating backbends with Abhijata, Mr. Iyengar’s granddaughter. This is true wealth – the wealth of knowledge and experience. It is clear that I can only absorb a small portion of what is being given. At a feast, we cannot taste every dish or we become ill. So I am digesting what I can, knowing that through future practice, more will be revealed.
Saturday night was BKS Iyengar’s second “punyatithi” meaning the anniversary of his death. The hall was decorated and the red carpet rolled out for this auspicious occasion. Images of BKS and Ramamani Iyengar and Patanjali were garlanded with flowers, and the hall was decorated with images of Guruji and more flowers. We were invited to put on our finery and gather to pay homage to this great man.
We were delighted that Geeta Iyengar gave an interview, responding to questions submitted during the previous week. Geeta has been suffering from ill health, but she was in good spirits. Her mind was sharp and her memory clear as she shared yogic wisdom and stories of Guruji’s life.
After the interview, we had the opportunity to give our salutations and respect to Guruji, taking turns to bow to golden sculptural images of his feet, garlanded with yellow marigolds. This evening was also the book release for two new works, Light on Yoga in Marahti, the native language of this area, and a new book, Beloved Guruji, based on stories and recollections from his students. We then flowed downstairs to purchase our books, have them signed by Geetaji and Prashantji if we wished, and to enjoy some prasad. “Prasada” literally means a gracious gift. It denotes an edible food that is first offered to a deity or master and then distributed to be enjoyed. The prasada is considered to have blessing residing within it.
So that brings me back to digestion! How can we digest such a rich meal? How can we integrate teachings that are so profound and vast, while also being rooted in practicality and common sense? Only through our regular, attentive and devoted practice can we receive the nourishment that this yoga has to give us.