I’d like to start by saying that this was such an excellent class that it will be impossible for my notes to do it any kind of justice. Almost every sentence spoken carried something of importance and of course there’s no way for me to remember it all. For those who were also at the class this morning please do remind me of the bits I forgot or got confused and I’ll update the sequence for all.
The first phase of the class was quite active – padmasana in sirsasana and chair dwi Pada viparita dandasana (here she reminded us in Guruji’s earlier days this would have been full pose from the floor, legs extended) as we were lifting up for a prolonged stay in chair chatushpadasana, Abhi explained that Guruji had told her that the pranayama class needs to be active or we all fall asleep “Are you sleeping now?” she said. Resounding “No!”. There were many interesting teaching points (read full sequence by clicking link at bottom of page) – when we were in supta baddha konasana she asked us to observe the skin over the tailbone. Was it apparent that on one side the skin tends to spread and one side that skin tends to get caught? When this remains unadjusted, the side of the tailbone skin that is shrinking, that side lung will also shrink – observe that. Now take both the hands and simultaneously adjust both sides of the tail bone to spread (not one side then the other).We also had to adjust the skin of the neck so that the top half the skin moved towards the head and the bottom half belonged to the back. Try it! not using the hands but adjusting the neck, from the neck itself.
Her teaching technique today really allowed for a thorough understanding of what she was trying to convey. It was the first time all month I have been well enough placed in pranayama to properly explore what I was being taught. Abhi’s skill in teaching is remarkable. For someone with my type of brain her methods work perfectly – she knows she has to keep the class moving, she knows that she has to vary her techniques so that you never know what is coming next and that even liveliest minds will remain engaged throughout. She can hold a thought or theme seamlessly from one end of a class to the other, gradually building instruction upon instruction at a pace you can handle. To say I am impressed is an understatement.
She said, You may think that I am only giving you physical techniques but what about the nerves? When you adjust the skin there is a network of nerves – nerves belong neither to the physical body nor the psychological body. The nerves are the gateway – so when we make these physical adjustments we can adjust much more besides. Referring to the techniques she was explaining, she told us Guruji had said “Do you know how long I have saved you in your practice by showing you these things?” He has saved us years, decades even births by showing us – she reflected that we are blessed indeed to have lived in the same incarnation as Guruji.
We went home for a delicious lunch cooked by Sushila – over the month she has gradually understood our needs better and better. Lots of veg, more flavour less spice and the best ragi flour chapati I’ve had. Am definitely going to miss this aspect of our life here – super healthy and tasty vegetarian food appearing like magic in front of me twice a day. We had ordered a car from Roots and Wings for the drive to Panchgani which turned up promptly and with a safe (by my new amended standards) driver. It took about two and a half hours, the last forty minutes climbing steadily upward. Many of the crevices of the hillside were on fire and at one point there was fire on both sides of the road. Apparently monsoon (or just after) is the best time to visit and it’s not hard to see why – at the moment the hillside is dry scrub and fires, whereas
presumably with the rain comes greenery and waterfalls.This is strawberry country and our eyes lit up as we saw the roadside lined with stalls displaying mountains of strawberries and chinese gooseberries – our two personal favourites.
I was not bowled over as we pulled up outside the Mount View Executive – it looked pretty ropey. However things improved dramatically once inside; the Manager Firdaus has excellent English, is completely switched on, friendly and helpful. He started out by offering to get us any special food or drink we would enjoy having during our stay and we wasted no time dispatching him for fruit salad items! When he showed me to my room I actually did a little jump for joy – it’s not a posh hotel but it suits me perfectly here. A bay window above the pool with a panoramic view of the valley, a comfortable double bed and lovely bathroom. Louis, you would love it here – solid wooden doors, big snooker table, table tennis and a very friendly house Alsation. Had a swim, some yoga in the last of the day’s sun on the terrace and a game of table tennis with Jenny. Feeling good!