Guruji’s picture of Matsyendrasana was my anchor before invocation in the previous class and I sought it again this Friday. It reminded me of the cover picture of the Mundakopanishad as well as a painting in my house.
In the pose, Guruji’s eyes look beyond like the bird that is established in the Self. It’s an asymmetrical pose, twisted and intense yet there is a certain samatvam, I can see a central axis. It is a pose for a shoot and yet there is a calm that the grainy picture exudes. And then I think about his mind as his body radiates stillness. Fifty years ago, what were his thoughts as he practised. Those images show an extremely fit and agile body but what thoughts ran through his mind, did he have the same doubts as I?
This Friday, my mind was not the same and the experience necessarily different. While waiting for the prayers to start, I was musing over how woefully inadequate my asanas are. Nevertheless, I show up and do my little thing. Except for some assistance in placing a stool in ek pada sirsasana, I can manage on my own. It’s a solitary practice in a hall full of people. And, I found myself wishing I was part of one of the groups just so that I could follow instructions. It is harder to be my own silent teacher as I remember the cues I was taught.
A foreign student/teacher mentioned that the trikonasana I was in against the trestle was beautiful. I’ve noticed that a lot of the visiting students say encouraging words and so didn’t really think too much as I thanked her. Post the class, I went down to the office and a lady who helped me with a prop remarked, “We were watching you practice and it was beautiful.” Her companion piped up, “We learned a lot from you today.”
It was ironical that my outsides looked good to someone while my insides were a question mark to myself. It’s a little disconcerting when I hear something good about what I do because then I feel that I’ll just mess it up. Nevertheless, it was a brief moment of pleasure that I must have been working in the right direction.
Yesterday’s home practice was pretty much the same routine as the one in class except for a little playing around in the ending. At home, I end up in setuband sarvangasana as opposed to ardha halasana simply because of the lack of a proper stool and the necessity for a certain level of activity I would need for the rest of the day. The latter asana makes me very reflective and quiet. I treat setuband sarvangasana as savasana and more often than not, get new sensations, for the lack of a better word. As I scanned the body from my feet to the top of my head, I could sense blockages, sometimes on the left and at times on the right side. The only place where there seems to be a little evenness is the chest area. I thought of the nadis and it seems uncanny that I should read what I read when I looked up Matsyendrasana in the Light on Yoga later. One part of me watches these unfoldings resting in the sureness of experience while the mind leaps like a monkey trying to make rational sense. While I may not have enlightened masters in the flesh and blood, I can have them in my heart, like Eklavya. In the absence of a Guru’s light, how can there be freedom?