अपरिग्रहस्थैर्ये जन्मकथंतासंबोधः ।३९।
Sutra 2:39- Knowledge of past and future lives unfold when one is free from greed for possessions.
Translation by B.K.S. Iyengar in ‘Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’
I miss my teacher already. There’s just one class left to go and the academic year will be over. It seems just like yesterday that I was nervous and excited about starting out. So much has changed in the last 11 months! There is an easy familiarity with the Institute now and a sense of comfort in the hall and premises. The folks who help out there are always happy to say hello and we exchange a few words every time we meet.
I have signed up for two classes a week beginning June and wonder who my teachers will be. I hope I get my teacher again but it is a want, an attachment, a greed. Much as my head tells me that I will get who I need, my mind wants different. It throws a silent tantrum, “I want my teacher”.
I didn’t get my preferred timings as those classes were sold out in no time, within half an hour, someone mentioned. So I took whatever I could get. It’s going to be a year of jugglery as I manage to squeeze work and home between 2 odd batch timings. The interesting thing is I got one women’s intermediate class so that should be a different experience. Will it be any easier? I doubt.
The last class was a welcome surprise, we did restorative asanas and began with a favourite, Supta Virasana. Some nights I do it before sleeping, on the bed itself and wake up with the lightest legs the next morning. I’ve fallen asleep in it too and woken up when the legs went to sleep.
It is a pose not easily accessible to a lot of people and we learnt how to use props for different problems. The ‘Royal’ Supta Virasana was reserved for an elderly gentleman in our class who had some trouble. He looked so relaxed propped on all those bolsters and pillows. We learnt the adjustments for the knees, ankles, back, head etc. and spent a fair bit of time in it. My current struggle in the pose is feeling the evenness in both the buttocks and a stiffness in the front of the left foot. The thigh also takes its while to settle into a calmness. It is very interesting how small areas are unlocked to work on and once there is a little familiarity with that part, another one needs attention. It’s like building the asana in parts and then one fine day putting it all together to make a fully integrated structure. These are just asana adjustments at the grossest level and it will be a while before it can penetrate the outermost kosha and gives me a glimpse of the depth available. I could study my entire lifetime and learn something new every time!
Japa practice is just sitting and chanting everyday but something is changing. I now read a very short commentary on it before sitting in the morning and take up one or two words to ruminate. Commentaries are a helpful way of soaking in the ancient language and learning the way to study. While having a Guru would be ideal, it is very much possible to start with whatever is at hand. A good book is a good teacher indeed.
During japa, my mind wanders and I notice, it wanders again and I notice again and the cycles are completed. But now it is not frustration, it is learning to stay and call the mind back, like repeatedly telling my kids to tidy up. Another change is the ability to sit without dropping for a while. Repetition is abhyasa and being regular somehow makes things accessible. The mind can be made an ally but it needs the gentle discipline of regular, everyday action come what may.
Tomorrow is Hanuman Jayanti and the Institute has organized a program. It is always something to look forward to, old timers sharing the memories about Guruji and what they have learnt.