Day 30 – Geetaji Pranayama

30 Jan
One of many local Ganesh Shrines.

One of many local Ganesh Shrines.

Woke up pre-dawn from a deep and sound sleep and lay listening to the quietness gradually transform into a cacophony of sound. The birds voiciferously announcing the rising of the sun, slamming doors, revving engines, unselfconscious footsteps on the staircase – an Indian city doesn’t tiptoe around the wishful sleeper.

Hopped out of bed with a spring in my step, more singing in the shower. My mood is noticeably chirpy on the mornings where I have a Guruji class to go to – Is there any better reason to get out of bed?

Arrived at The Institute enjoying the much more chilled atmosphere in comparison to the frenetic early days. Many have gone home and those that remain know there’s no point getting too territorial about mats and space cos nine times out of ten someone from the Institute will come and completely rearrange things.

Sure enough we were told to remove all our carefully placed sticky mats and instead we had military lines of thick mats, three per mat.

Reya led the Invocation and when eyes were opened there was Geetaji! She keeps telling us she is retired and it’s the last time we’ll entice her out and then she’s back.
She was noticeably more at peace than the previous classes and was able to give her beautiful teaching unhindered by irritation… ok, well almost: (Uttanasana; AMS; Virasana Seated – eyes closed, coiling the back ribs in, lift the lower breast UP; Sirsasana (menstruation chair back arch) – Be on the crown of the head. Connect the legs into the hips, if you do in dull state, stay for 15 mins, what’s the point? When buttocks go back mind becomes dull, buttocks forward mind is sharp, becomes a mental challenge; AMS; Prasarita Paddottonasana – For menstruation don’t roll the buttocks up; Chatushpadasana; Sarvangasana (Menstruation setu bandha on viparita karani box, bolster for head, feet level) Other schools of yoga (incorrectly) teach with the legs forward, buttocks back – this is the only way they can soften the throat. Use this viparita karani shape to bring the soft well to the throat and then maintain as you assume the correct pose; Paschimottonasna – Not to take the head down in isolation from the spine. Whole spine has to move DORSAL /BACK RIBS IN/ DOWN to the floor to take head down. Hold feet strongly, open armpits; Supine Pranayama – Allowing (rather than pulling) the breath to fill the vessel slowly. Extended, smooth exhalation – let the inhalation follow but don’t force. Exhale smoothly and with that exhalation wash everything away; Seated Pranayama – If you must have a sense of ‘I’ somewhere, make it in the chest (not the brain). Anta Khumbhaka retain inhalation Listen to the voices inside – they will tell you what has to lift, what has to move.

“Lift your diaphragm UP and make a kind of plinth for the Lord (Krishna) to be seated. You cannot make a small seat for the Lord”

Guruji's Lift

Guruji’s Lift

As the class finished , I realised that for many this was their last class of the month (I’ve got one more medical tomorrow). I’m so sorry to be leaving but so glad to have been. Any of you Iyengar teachers and students that have always been meaning to come to Pune, I strongly urge you to get organised if you want to be here while Guruji is still teaching. He is 95 next year – you do not have time to lose!
We did a trial pack to see how much the suitcases weighed – there is a guy called Vasant who sells Iyengar kit and also offers a posting and packaging service. It’s quite pricey to send stuff home – about £80 for 20 kilos (that’s six bolsters and some belts) but of course so much cheaper for the actual purchase. Currently in the Institute shop a bolster costs 330 rupees (less than £5).

Last day tomorrow 😦

Offerings for Ganesh, Jenny bought a wreath for Ganesh in our apartment.

Offerings for Ganesh, Jenny bought a wreath for Ganesh in our apartment.

Today’s sequence in full here:day-30-geetaji-pranayama



One Response to “Day 30 – Geetaji Pranayama”

  1. Jenny Jones January 31, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    I hope this isn’t “positively the last experience” of Geetaji’s teaching. Very exquisite pranayama, with a lot of helpful imagery – she never ceases to be able to find helpful metaphors to help us grasp the essentials of this wonderful practice. As an aside, she pointed out forcefully that there is no point in attending a pranayama class if you have a cough or a cold. She urged us to think carefully before taking up precious space in the studio, in class or in practice.

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