I awoke early to a menagerie of different sounds flowing into the room – bird song, loudspeaker aerobics class in the park (familiar from last visit!), revving engines and fruit sellers each with their distinctive call.
Felt quite unwell, low in energy and something definitely not right. Was very worried that I was coming down with something serious (Lynda had a terrible virus in Goa which left her unable to teach) so I practiced a very gentle restorative sequence focussing on inversions to boost the immune system. Felt much better afterwards having tapped into that inexhaustible alternative source of energy that yoga provides, even when the body fails. It was only much later in the day I realised my insulin pump had blocked and it hadn’t been delivering insulin since yesterday afternoon meaning my blood sugar had got very high and that the body’s cells were being starved of energy. Once I knew this was happening I was able to correct the problem. I was HUGELY relieved not to be getting ill, would HATE to have to miss classes while I’m here.
Our new cook / maid appeared at midday. Her name is Sushila and she cooked a fantastic meal for us – this bodes VERY well for the rest of the month. She cooks enough for lunch and dinner so we don’t have to worry about cooking at all and can just focus on the learning we are here for. Last night we had visited the fruit and veg market – I was looking forward to coming back to Pune for the beautiful fruit almost as much as the yoga! – So fresh figs, watermelon, pomegranate and tiny bananas full of flavour all topped off with curd and fresh coconut. YUM!
Blood sugar problem sorted, we headed off to the institute for the 6pm intermediate level 2 class, if I’m honest, full of trepidation. Am I up to it? Who would be teaching? How busy would it be? When we arrived at the Institute we found that a new bust of Guruji had been placed next to the bust of his wife Ramamani after whom RIMYI was named. I felt quite emotional – this is my first visit since working with Guruji in the medical class in 2014 the year he died (see tamarahockey2014.wordpress.com). We stopped to pay our respects there and even though I knew he was gone, I (like many others no doubt) rounded that corner half expecting to see him sat on his porch taking in the evening sun or sat in his spot just outside the door of the institute, waiting to greet and be greeted by the students as they arrive.
Once inside we were pleasantly surprised to find that Abhijata (Guruji’s granddaughter) was taking the class and it wasn’t too busy. Class began with a resounding invocation that seemed impossibly loud as it filled the room (nothing like the tentative warbling I sometimes hear back home!). And then whoosh we were off! I thought we might be eased in gently as many of us would be recovering from international flights etc. but this was definitely not the case. Abhi’s teaching is strong and thorough often employing the technique of deepening an action dynamically and progressively “ONE push! TWO push! THREE push! FOUR push! FIVE push! NOW HOLD! MAINTAIN! STAY!” so that you go right to the edge of what you can do and then some more. The class was engaging and interesting as well as challenging and strenuous – in dog pose I could actually see the sweat plink plink plinking from my forehead onto the mat below. Somewhere around this point Abi actually came and told me not to be working so hard. I wasn’t sure if she remembered working with me in the medical class but this made me suspect she probably did.
Non-yoga readers can tune out here! The sequence focussed on the standing forward extensions, repeatedly coming back to urdhva prasarita eka padasana throughout the class. We did full arm balance jumping up with two legs and bhakasana for those that could. By the end of the class, even those that struggle with forward extension were flowing downward well and the sarvangasana at the end was light with a looong abdomen. We left the class feeling exhilarated and thoroughly cleansed – just what was needed after the long build-up of waiting and apprehension. As we floated home through the park we came across the open shrine on the other side all brightly lit with a joyful clanging of bells and singing of a happy group of worshippers.
February 1st – Abhi Intermediate 6-730pm
- SBK no belt
- Supta pad 1 belt – outer hip rotate away, but don’t lose the line of the knee – inner knee stay back. Take buttock bone to the heel. Animate the feet. Flex toes towards you and take inner heel up. Mounds of toes towards the ceiling. Fill out the backs of the knees, fill out the backs of the thighs.
- Prasarita Padottonasana – with supta padangusthasana legs – filling out backs of legs.
- AMS – heels up to draw thighs up and back, then lengthen arch of foot to take heel down. Take the buttock bones to the skin and notice what you have to do to achieve that. Buttock bone to the heel. Raise legs into urdhva prasarita padottonasana action – feel where the leg originates at the root of the thigh and from there extend the leg – extend from the root of the thigh the leg away.
- Supta pad 1 – climbing up the belt, catching either side of the foot OR catch belt but not one handed catching big toe. Left leg bent drawing foot more over and then straightening down leg.
- Repeat One , two, three, four, five times pressing front thigh away and drawing leg closer, maintain and the go again, on the 5th one maintain.
- Supta pad 2 – take small loop – one, two, three bring leg closer to the shoulder, one, two, three bring leg closer to the floor.
- Prasarita Paddottonasana – inflate the back thighs.
- AMS into parsvottonasna – abdomen further down the leg
- UTT urdhva prasarita eka paddotonasana
- Paschimottonasana, urdhva prasarita padasana, navasana x 3
- Full arm balance
- Urdhva prasarita eka paddottonasana – back foot to wall – NOT like AMS when hands are forward, but keep the leg vertical and the hands back by the feet s you stay on the legs.
- Utthita hasta padangusthasana 1 – one arm up
- Malasana (rolled mat under heels where needed) really hugging the abdomen and lengthening the abdomen to the thighs (pasch if relief needed) then take head to the floor x 6. Then keeping abdomen climbing along the thighs and straightening knees for full uttanasana.
- Bhakasana – those that know bhakasana do, otherwise AMS
- AMVrksasana – jumping up with both legs, use 2 bolsters if needed. Be a little away and do not push your head into the bolster to start, it will press there as you go. Once you are up do not continue pushing your head into the bolster.
- Utthita hasta 1 and 2
- Sirsasana – eka pada – buttock bone to heel – do not tilt the lower back, buttocks need to stay even
- Urdhva prasarita eka padasana
- Sarvangasana – variations if you wanted – eka pada and pindasana