Sorry for the long delay in writing it has been one thing right after an another that has kept me away from writing. Not the least of which is that we had no internet for 4 days last week when I was hoping to get this going.
However, Pune is as always an adventure. This year prices have gone way up on everything which means that Pune, at least, is no longer cheap. The institute has not raised its prices and hopefully it won’t. January is a very crowded month and when I got here just in time to take the Thursday evening Pranayama class the room was totally packed so much so that we all had to fold our mats in half and we could only lie down with our legs crossed. Gradually people have left making it a bit more comfortable which is good. On Tuesday all the February students will start and I think it will again be really crowded.
Mr Iyengar (Guruji) has been teaching the ladies classes that meet on Wednesday morning and on Saturday morning through his grand daughter Abhijata. He is practicing and he is telling her exactly what to teach and what to say. He has her come over next to him and do the pose while he explains to her what she has to do and what we have to do. She then races back to the platform and immediately teaches this to us. It actually works really well most of the time.
Prashant, Mr. Iyengar’s son is now teaching now teaching 6 classes a week rather then four because Geeta is not teaching at all. The rest of the classes are taught by some of the assistant teachers who came to the convention in May and they have been very good. The one problem is that one of the teachers has not learned how to multi task and tends to leave us in poses for way to long while she is having a conversation with one of the students. This can be a challenge if you are doing back bends or inversions and she just forgets you are there. I am allowed to take all the classes and I believe others are now allowed to do it as well. This has meant that the men’s class at 7 am is filled with western woman and not that many men. This is the first time I have seen that happen. Many of us take the men’s class and the ladies class back to back which can be fun or it can be exhausting and is usually a combination of the two.
Shopping in Pune has always been a big pass time for students and it hasn’t changed. Prices have gone up but there are now even more shops to choose from. For those that are reading this and have been here Rima has left Lishkara and opened her won shop quite near the institute and Manju, the owner of Lishkara, is not at all happy about it. She should have gone into a partnership with Rima but she didn’t and she is losing business.
There is a huge increase in the number of 5 star hotels and now there is even a 7 star hotel which I haven’t seen. Pune has become the “in place” for big business to open their hubs so money is flooding into Pune. Korregon Park, home of the bombed German Bakery, is just loaded with fancy shops, fancy hotels and new palatial houses. Some family has built and 89,000 sq ft house. I can’t even imagine it. Women buy jewelry as if it is going out of style. Some woman came into the jewelry store that I like and dropped $3500 on some stuff to wear for a luncheon and the jeweler told me that she doesn’t this practically every week and usually it is considerably more than she spent when I was there.
We had institute day to celebrate the founding of the Institute which meant that we had to go to an event on Saturday night from 6 to 8 and then on Sunday morning we had to be there from 10 to 1 with lunch following. It actually turned out to be really good esp. the Sunday morning when they had wonderful indian music sung by all women with one of them playing the harmonium and a male tabla player and a male cymbal player and they were great. Then they has some children singing and reciting which was fun. However, the big entertainment was a demonstration of Rope yoga by three girls who have won major titles in India. You would not believe the poses the did on a rope hanging from the ceiling. This is a special type of yoga which is either this sort of rope yoga or for the boys it is doing yoga and a tall wooden pose with a very narrow top which has to be seen to be believed. It really was a treat to see the three girls who performed. Lunch was prepared for about 700 people and consisted of rice, dahl, fried little balls that are known as Baji’s which often have something like spinach inside. This was accompanied by very heave little fried paratha’s that were a heart attach special. Desert was these orange things that look like pretzels but are deep fried and then dipped in some sort of very gooey sugar syrup that has been flavored with rose water. It was all in all a very nice avent.
Prashant has been teaching his breath work for the entire time and I always enjoy working with his ideas although sometimes he talks so much that we don’t get much done. We usually hand from the ropes in headstand for about 20 minutes. Sometimes he takes headstand on the floor with variations and that lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. We did a great many rounds of hanging over chairs in back bend positions. One day the entire first hour was rope sirsasana and chair backbends and the second hour consisted of multiple back bends, uttanasana and more back bends doing many different types non stop. You just never know with him. I got here at the end of the forward bends and had a very good class with Raj Laxmi which I really liked. Then we went full on into back bends and did them for 8 days in a row than last week was pranayama week which should continue into Monday and then Tuesday we will switch to forward bends since it will be Feb. 1 and all the people who are coming for Feb. will be in class.
Today, sunday I went with my roommate Debra to see some of Pune’s temples which I hadn’t seen before. Temples are amazing places and each one varies from the next even if they dedicated to the same god using the same sorts of statues. Their are so many permutations or each god it becomes an art in itself to recognize which form you are looking it. For those who are familiar with the dancing shiva shown in a round ring of fire with the figure in the middle might be interested to know that their are actually 16 different forms of a dancing shiva and that in addition to being called Shiva he is also referred to as Nataraj.
I am also working on interviews with the Iyengars about Guruji and what it means to be a Guru for inclusion in a book on Guru’s. No I have no idea when it will come out by my chapter is being done in collaboration with Prof. Fred Smith who is my long term friend and sanskrit consultant. Hopefully I will speak to all of them before the end of the week.
I am living in an apartment right next to the institute on the 9th floor with two other people one from Belgium who left yesterday and one from Chicago who will leave tomorrow. I have enjoyed getting to know them. i held three yoga classes in our apartment so my student from Hawaii could teach at the Sr I level and the man from Belgium could teach at the Senior II level. I actually insisted that I be in the classes and then would stop them or show them other ways to do something but mostly I really enjoyed being a student with such good teachers. We all felt like we learned a lot . We started with 5 people and it rapidly went to 8 which was the absolute, absolute limit that we could fit into our living room.
Lastly, and most unusual was the arrival of a beautiful owl on our window sill one night. It had a beautiful heart shaped face. We had a very strong eye to eye contact for several minutes so that if I moved my head to the said it moved its head to the side. Then it flew away but came back briefly for a very few minutes and I managed to snap a really good picture of its head which I would attach if I knew how to.
Todays or actually it started yesterday, crisis is that my phone was shut down with no warning. I get a message that says i have to file more papers which is totally bogus. Now I have to find my way through the pollution to my phone store which is more than likely not open since it is Sunday to find out what I have to do to get it working again. I only have 6 nights and most of the 7th day to use it and not having it is a very big inconvenience to me and to everyone who is trying to get a message to me.
OK that’s it for now. I am about to brave the pollution again which I am not looking forward to. The number of cars has probably nearly doubled since August of 2009 which means that the pollution level is much higher and it has become really difficult to cross most streets. The weather is not helping because the temperature after being un-naturally cold have shot up into the 90′s which is un-naturally hot for the beginning of Feb. Basically it has gone straight from winter into summer even though it is quite chilly at 6 am when I have to get up to get to class before 7. It is not surprising that people are endlessly coughing and getting colds.
That’s it for now. Don’t forget that classes being on Monday Feb. 7. If you haven’t registered please send in your check or register on paypal.
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Fellow teachers and aspiring fellow teachers,
I have decided to make this year a bit different from the past years.
There will be four teacher training weekends this year. You are welcome to attend all four.
All of them will cover up to Jr. II but there will be a weekend in May devoted just to the needs of Jr. Intermediate levels I and II.
The dates are:
February 11 – 13, 2011
May 20 – 22 – Jr. Intermediate teacher training
The cost for 3 classes is still $850 and you can choose the ones that you want to attend.
The cost for all four is $999.00
The cost for individual weekends is $350
In addition to what we usually cover we will be spending more time learning hands on corrections at all levels.
Please note that I will be doing a four day teacher training in La Mesa, CA with Gloria Goldberg May 12 to 15. If you do both you will have done 7 days just on the jr. Intermediate levels.
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I hope that you will all get a chance to check out my new website.
Omega is coming up soon and so is the Joy of Teaching. Omega is a really fun week of doing yoga, pranayama and philosophy in a beautiful tranquil setting. If you haven’t come or if you haven’t come in a while, come for this year and experience all the changes on the campus. For more information check the website under workshops.
The Joy of Teaching is for people who are interested in improving their teaching skills at all levels. It is especially useful for those going up either this year or next for certification. There are more details under workshops.
While on the subject of workshops I am doing a very special workshop the last weekend in August at Kripalu. It is based on finding the spiritual in the physical practice of yoga but it includes insights on the meaning of spirituality. In addition to our physical practice we explore various texts on how they express the idea of spirituality. For those who only have time for a weekend this is a great opportunity and it is right across the street from Tanglewood so you could combine your trip with a concert on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. Again for more information check the website under workshops.
There are two new books which just came out on yoga that maybe of interest to you. One is by Geeta Iyengar and two other authors on Yoga and Pregnancy and the other is on Yoga and Osteoporosis. Both of these books can be found under references on the website.
Make sure to check the practice sequences if you are either a beginner or an ongoing student looking for some sequences to practice. You can also use the information you will find there to construct you own home practice. I am excited about this new feature and will be adding more sequences from time to time.
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