What an absolutely outstanding class – backbends with Abhijata. Her teaching is completely focussed; she gets through the poses, gives clear and relevant teaching points, paces herself perfectly so that there is time for all the inversions but still gives plenty of reference to yoga sutra and philosophy. She pushes you hard but is not at all intimidating. I am in awe and extremely grateful for her efforts – she is striving for and attaining excellence.
Once again I found myself in the position of having my pressing yoga needs miraculously met. As I mentioned previously, I ‘lost’ my sirsasana through having to relearn from scratch and spend some months working against a pillar. Every day for two years I have been trying, retrying and trying again to work it out – perhaps I need a tri fold blanket, perhaps I need to stand on some height in ardha sirsasana to get the dorsal working properly, perhaps I just need to sweat it out, and on and on. I’d pinned a lot of hopes on this month for sorting it out and was feeling an increasing sense of desperation that I am still experiencing real problems. I had been working with Jenny to get some feedback on what she sees and thought I had cracked it, but as I solved one problem, another one popped up. Yesterday I issued a silent prayer to Guruji. The first thing that happened was someone posted a 40 minute clip of Guruji teaching sirsasana on Facebook. In it he teaches about the ‘brain’ of the forearm and how this area has to be pressed inward to make the shoulders respond. I finally got a real sense of stability and lift. Then in Abhi’s class today she continued this teaching, refining the point still further (full sequence attached below). Any remaining fears I had about going up in the centre of the room were completely banished by at least 12 drop backs, building up another layer of instruction each time we went up, until I felt so much more accomplished in the pose. It was just fantastic.
Yesterday I was telling Jenny I feel like I need another month here as I have so, SO much I need to work on – my hips aren’t gripping, my knees are dropping inward, my shoulder blade and trapezius have popped up – all of these things needing sustained and focussed attention to put right and that’s on top of my daily Diabetes programme, my injured knee, my broken sirsasana and my preparation for Senior 1 assessment. It felt overwhelming. Today Abhi spoke about how recognising what is wrong is actually a positive sign; she quoted Guruji who said “Once we have recognised our ignorance, the discipline can begin”.
Towards the end of the class we repeated full arm balance and the pose felt amazing – students in the class said it felt much ‘lighter’ but that was too mundane a word to capture how it really felt – my whole body felt suffused with a sparkling awareness.
The Ambrosia Resort
After class we packed our bags, booked an OLA cab and headed off to the Ambrosia Resort for an overnight stay – to swim in the pool and enjoy the sunshine. Our cab arrived but the driver didn’t speak English and there seemed to be some problem that was preventing him from leaving. After much fuss, 2 passers-by hauled in to help us translate, 25 minutes of confusion later, it transpired I had accidentally booked 2 cabs and he couldn’t leave until I had cancelled one. Finally on the road, our sunbeds beckoning we headed out for a 40 minute drive on the Mulshi Road. When we got there it wasn’t such a nice environment as I’d hoped – very built up and a building site all around and they had messed up our booking and only given us one room. 20 minutes later we had that sorted and asked to be shown to the pool. Blank looks, “The pool? No pool mam!” Turns out the pool had closed down and a new inside pool is under construction. There was absolutely no reason to be there except for the pool, so thoroughly disappointed we explained that we no longer wanted to stay and asked them to book us a cab home again, giving The Ambience Hotel, Model Colony as the landmark. One hour later the cab finally arrived – they’d booked us the budget option – no air con and no seat belts. Still we’d waited so long we weren’t about to complain and off we went. We thought it strange that we were in such an unfamiliar looking area, it’s a drive we know fairly well and sure enough the driver pulled up outside a completely different Ambience Hotel in entirely the wrong district of Pune. We had been extremely clear about our instructions, but it turned out that when the Ambrosia had booked the cab, they had provided a written address (sadly completely the wrong one) that the driver was following and so he just hadn’t listened to what we said. Off we sped again – it’s extremely alarming to be driving at such speed in such busy traffic with no seat belts on – at one point I actually hissed at the driver and tapped him sharply as he got distracted by his mobile. So several hours later we arrived back home hot, sweaty and dusty and many rupees lighter and trudged upstairs to our apartment to unpack. Ah well, off to the Mariott tomorrow instead. I soothed myself by making some toasted nut, seeds, dates, cocoa and cream coconut truffles and next weekend we will try a visit to Panchgani.
These construction workers are many storeys up on tower, balancing on single scaffold poles!
20th February – Women’s Class – Abhi