Beginner to Intermediate

A few more classes and I will complete a year of the beginner’s course at the Institute. The notices for admission renewal and new batch timings have been up since last week and I had earmarked a couple of beginner batches whose timings were suitable.
I hoped to get one intermediate class in addition to a beginners one but that would depend on what the teacher thought. We were allotted our classes today and my card read ‘Intermediate 1’. I told her I wanted 2 classes so would it be a beginner plus intermediate and she said “No, 2 intermediate 1 classes”.
For a moment I was stumped and then I did a mini whoop inside and the next or almost simultaneous thought was oh no, will I be able to cope?

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In my teacher's hand

The Intermediate class is for 90 minutes and if the classes I have seen are any indication, a lot of hard work. It’s exciting too and I find myself thinking that I should get more serious about practice during the summer break. I’ve been on a high all day and find myself daydreaming a bit. It’s an interesting thing with Iyengar teachers, they are a little detached when it comes to students and seem keen to dispense all they know to encourage students to cultivate a personal practice. We did a continuation of how to practise forward bends at home and it was interesting. I went further in my forward extensions than I have ever gone before and it was comfortable enough to get the classic clasp of the wrist. My spine felt as though it was parallel to the floor. A beautiful sensation, a first in the forward bends. Usually, it feels like hard work but today it flowed. It is a pattern I have noticed in asana. After repetition for a while, there is a breakthrough moment and then again a period of striving until there is another breakthrough. Most of the practice is just that, striving.
Today Sirsasana was a different story. I sweated buckets as we were in a long hold and I ended up with trembling in my legs. While in the pose, I remembered that I have the ability to endure far more than I think I do. It’s a valuable lesson I have learnt from running long distances. We have been asked to increase our time in the pose gradually to atleast 5 minutes.
Inversions have been a good part of my home practice lately and I can feel the difference. Geetaji mentions in the Preliminary course book that “these asanas help one to strengthen will power, improve memory, increase intellectual capacity and bring emotional stability, provided they are regularly practised. They help to build up character and improve behavioural patterns.”
I have been constantly surprised at how soon yoga asanas start to change things inside. Not just quick relief from pain, fatigue or restlessness but even at the level of thoughts and feelings.
For now, I’m just enjoying the happiness of being given 2 classes. It feels like a promotion from kindergarten to middle school. I hope I can be a worthy student.

Hari Om

2 thoughts on “Beginner to Intermediate

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