Here in Pune, we haven’t seen the sun in days. The rain is relentless. But the sun of yoga is shining brightly! There is so much learning happening at such a pace that it is difficult to choose what to write about!
One thing that stands out is my recognition that my practice at home has little comparison to the way I am practicing here. Here I am steadier, more focused, calmer. I am both willing and able to hold poses for a longer time. I am more aware of my breath and my mind, rather than relating primarily to my body. I am more sensitive to my asymmetries and able to work with them more productively.
So it occurs to me to consider the reasons why this contrast is so profound. I have been fortunate to train with excellent teachers who have guided me well, and I do my best to practice well. But in this environment, some vibrant combination of awareness, motivation, inspiration, concentration, interest, participation and aliveness has been awakened within me!
The most obvious or outer level of this enhanced mode of practice is due simply to my freedom from other duties and distractions. Having no other obligations, yoga is the central focus of every day. I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to prioritize yoga for whole month! Another layer is the influence of being surrounded by a group of dedicated practitioners, each person striving to penetrate the depths of this profound subject. Their alert, intelligent and devoted practice creates an atmosphere conducive to practice. Another huge factor is the incredible teaching we receive each day from Abhi, Prashant, Sunita and all the institute teachers. Each class is full of treasure, and I feel very wealthy as I receive instruction from this amazing yoga family. It lifts me up, opening my mind and body to fresh experiences and new understanding.
While receiving teaching of this caliber is fantastic, Prashant also repeatedly reminds us that everything we need is within us. Yoga is integral to who we are. But we have to wake up to its possibilities and get educated on how to access what lies within.
Perhaps the biggest influence of all is the invisible one – the energy of the practice hall where B.K.S. Iyengar and Geeta Iyengar taught and practiced for decades. The vibration of their presence is palpable and I feel it continue to guide everyone who comes here. As Lin Manuel Miranda wrote in Hamilton, we are “in the room where it happened” and it is fantastic to be here!
The photo in this post is really a photo of a photo. Since my last trip here, this large scale image of B.K.S. Iyengar has been installed on the second floor of the outside of the family home, facing the institute. The photo is huge, spanning the whole second level of the house. Guruji stands upright, looking right into the windows to the practice hall. It feels as if his watchful gaze is upon us, reminding us to take the journey inward toward profound awareness, and blessing us with his grace.
With love and light,