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Pranayama Pathways

finding new roads...

sunny 26 °C


This last week has been busy, busy. I was doing asana practice twice a day until the end of the course and then collapsed in a heap the end of last week. My neighbour Adolfo who's from Southern Spain and entertaining and adorable pointed out to me that I was always running around and should take a rest. He was languidly knitting a pair of socks and I thought 'actually, you have a point'... So I sat down with a pile of Indian childrens books- the 'Tell Me Why' guides to all sorts of things- the history of revolution, the environment, well-known mysteries and the like and drank some coke and sat in the sun. I've also been hitting the swimming pool a bit more. I have a more intense exercise routine at home thats not really feasible if you've been doing a lot of the physical Yoga practice so swimming feels ok, just gently.

The focus of this week really has been starting Pranayama classes with BNS Iyengar. He has his own course that he teaches in 2-3 weeks as and when. So myself and a girl called Jill turned up the same day to learn and we have him all to ourselves. He's fantastic. I think he was Ajays main teacher actually. He must be at least in his sixties now and he's a real character... The first day I turned up to meet him for a class he barked "We start tomorrow!!!" so I left. And then according to Shanthala five minutes after I left he was going "Where is she? we'll make a start now...". Then on Sunday he turned up half an hour early and as we had not turned up yet, just went home... Anyway, entertainment aside, he's a great teacher. The breathing exercises we have been working on this week are 'Vishama Vritti'- that is, alternate nostril breathing to a ratio, varying the ratio so that it becomes more challenging daily. Today felt really intense- there was a long retention to work with and fifteen rounds of this particular exercise took just over an hour and when I came out of it I could only feel one of my legs. I have sadly neglected pranayama this past few months and whenever I do it I don't know why. When you have a good teacher especially, and the right practice, you get this sublime feeling of travelling outside of yourself. Its like finding yourself on a road that you think you've travelled down before, it looks vaguely familiar, but its still new enough if that makes sense... Its definitely takes you somewhere else, and on the way there you can passively observe your thoughts. I noticed that I seem to think about sex and death a lot (I'm such a goth)and I have quite a few arguments going on within. But thats ok, thats just the way it is, no point fighting yourself. Just maintain the practice. I was exhausted after the class today.

I have been reading 'Bitten by the Black Snake: The Ancient Wisdom of Ashtavakra' which is a very old text consisting of 6 sutras. Brief and to the point, with a great commentary by Manuel Schoch who also wrote 'Yoga and Time Travel'. Basically this text cuts to the chase. It says all we have to do to achivev liberation is to be constantly aware that we are the observer, and observe from within. Not react. Scoch makes the point that we so very often tailor our behavior according to whatever it is we think other people are thinking about us, whether thats good or bad, and henceforth we live in a state of near- schizophrenia- that is, creating scenarios around issues we only imagine to exist as we will never know exactly what is going on with someone else. Our patterns clash with other peoples patterns and our perception is skewed, henceforth we are always in a sense, vulnerable. And it occurred to me as I digested this, that maybe the Yama of 'Satya'- telling nothing but the truth is so important in the practice of Yoga. That its not an entirely moral issue but also a way of maintaining personal freedom. And then an image came to me of a thorny gorse bush which was created from lies and skewed emotions. Easy to get entangled with, difficult to escape from, and the more you struggle with it, the more injured you get. And realized I must learn to relax, learn to detach. This realization helped me this morning when my asana practice was physically not all it could have been due to a very sore shoulder. I felt a new kind of lightness... And my hips have never been so open...

Quite a few people have left the Shala now, it seems to be quieting down a little for the Christamas period so Ajay is going back to just teaching the two classes. Which is a good thing, he works incredibly hard and gives one hundred percent to anyone that attends his classes. As well as attending college and all sorts of other things he has going on. He's studying Sanskrit diligently. I'm so glad I did the course with him. Today in the afternoon I got together with Nuk, one of the girls from my course and we met up with Nagaraj and practised our adjustments again. I'm teaching the evening class this Friday evening and don't want to mess up. Nagaraj is so fantastic- such a kind and helpful person who never cuts corners. Afterwads we needed a break so we jumped in a rickshaw and went to the Corner House in Gokulam for ice cream. Ohmigod their honey and fig ice cream is possibly the best thing I have ever ever eaten. And they have their own generator so its safe to eat ice cream there as you can be sure it hasn't been melted and refrozen 10 times due to power cuts... Afterwars we went to see Aparna at the Pottree, a cool handicrafts shop nearby, Aparna is ever so nice and used to live in the Uk so lots to chat about, and hopefully going to have lunch soon.

Its a new moon tomorrow so no practice. Just sleeping, reading, and hot towels on the sore shoulder. The weathers a little cooler now. Still at least 10 to 15 degrees in the morning though. The kind of weather where I might think about putting a cardigan on but probably won't bother. Then a bunch of guys walk past wearing fleeces and earmuffs!!! Even the cows look like they're shivering...
I'm going to head into Mysore with Nuk, look at the night market, eat some curry...

Posted by victoria8 03:14 Archived in India Tagged women

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