What does the breath have to do with my knees?

Finally managed to switch the evening class with a morning one. Every new teacher brings a different experience to the 90 minutes. While the class is about asana, the experience is about being here, now. 

Sometimes I wonder what is it about asana that I like. I don’t have any goals of being able to do an independent handstand although it would be nice to do that. I don’t have any fitness or body building aspirations even though I run. Both asana and running make me feel alive. I suppose it is bringing balance and stillness to my body and mind that I seek. The irony is stillness comes through movement, is it the predominance of vata? Perhaps that is why tadasana is always fresh. It is a pose I find myself in everyday even if only for a brief while. I’m grateful for the limitations that push me to study and practise. If not for them, I may have been insufferable.

This class is conducted by an old timer and he is the only teacher who did not demonstrate any pose. Just short, crisp instructions that seemed to adjust our bodies by the power of their utterance. The first thing I noticed was his knees and the class revolved around knees. Earlier my problem child was the feet but they seem to have found a way to learn how to work. The knees give me trouble in some of the bent leg asanas and I have been asked to prop it. I don’t think it is something with the knees but it just shows up there. Surprisingly, in yesterday’s class, janu sirsasana was painfree without any support! The last two classes I didn’t want to come up from the pose. It just felt quiet and as though I could stay forever. Same with paschimottanasana

The class was peppered with hints about practice and the pen in my head scribbled furiously for sometime before I let go. Too many to remember and I can only hope they have been stored in some corner and will make themselves experential reality in time. It sounds a little fantastic but a thought that popped in during class was that the teacher seemed to be channeling Guruji. 

“Where does the inhalation end? Where does the exhalation end?” This prompt from the teacher in savasana is an interesting thought to ponder. Lately, I have taken to identifying the breath as soon as I wake up and at random times during the day. There is a sense of almost unbridled energy when the breath moves without obstruction through both the nostrils. Perhaps that is why it occurs for a short duration and at intervals. 

This whole thing with the breath is almost as though an internal radio is adjusting the frequency and I’m catching bits of a station alongwith static. I’m not tuning it neither am I shutting it down. Let’s see where it goes.

In my reading yesterday, there was a very interesting point made about the rarity of a true sadhaka. How many lifetimes before my sadhana can be undivided… Vedanta and yogasana dance together in my feeble attempts to be a good student. More often than not, a thought from the Upanishads finds reference in Guruji’s works. It just makes the idea clear in a practical way. There is much to read between the lines…

poster at the institute for guru pournima celebrations

Offering my sadhana, flawed though it be, at the feet of the guru.
Hari Om

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