This journey is bound to be exceptional. It began with a 14 hour teacher training in Tokyo. The Japanese students are among the most polite and conscientious students of all. I began teaching here in part to help pay my way to India, but I ended up teaching here because I love the students. Following the weekend in Tokyo, I began my month long visit and studies with the Iyengars in Pune, India.
In today’s class Prashant, Guruji’s son, stated that you (the nefarious you that is somewhat derogatory) say that traveling abroad builds confidence. “I say that we have all the countries, libraries, fountains, gardens, networks, and adventures are inside. I go inside and the world comes to me.” My first class with Prashant is always memorable, although every class with Prashant is inspiring. His approach to the sadhana of yoga breaks any stereotype or model that one may have about Iyengar Yoga.
In this first class of our month of studies, he introduced the foundation to his vision of yoga. “You all do postures, you do not practice yoga!” He said. “You think that everything is about the mind, and you try and strengthen the mind, a strong will. But students of yoga know that the breath is what we cultivate. The breath can have all the qualities of the mind, it has cognition, it can be conditioned, it can condition, it can be known, the breath can investigate. In a hive, all bees follow Queen Bee. In the same way, the body and mind will follow the breath when you condition it. Breath for the body, with the body, by the body, note the breath for the mind, the body for the breath.”
We did practice asana, albeit there were no technical instructions. Rather, he asked us to take the breath into the back of the body, to fill, flush, to see how it moves, where does it go, how it works. We stayed in poses much longer then we are accustomed to, each of us fully responsible for our own experience.
After the exploration of the back body, we worked with the front of the body, and then the floor of the pelvis. “When you fix up the front of the body, you put make up on, you check yourself in the mirror, you prepare to go out. When you orient yourself to the back body, you go in.” And we did. It was an amazingly deep experience. “The back body is like a dish network, it goes everywhere, so connect from the back body.”
I hope to share some of the insights from the classes here regularly!