Beginning Again

This academic year, I opted to do only the intermediate classes thinking that perhaps I ought to get out of the familiar comfort of attending a beginner’s class as well. But, I found myself in one again, quite unexpectedly. This time as a demonstrator. It was a trip down nostalgia lane as I listened to all the questions at the end of the session. I remembered my eagerness and the questions I had but never dared voice. The students in these classes are brave, asking the very same things I was too shy to ask. I smile inside thinking about the thirst to know and the need to know if my asanas were the way they were meant to be. I wanted validation then, I wanted to be the best student in the hall. Looking back, there is a fondness for that enthusiastic student quite like how I feel about my children when they were younger.  

The intermediate classes have been cranked up a bit unlike last year when the online medium was still new and there was hope of it being a temporary arrangement for a year or so but this time around, online classes have become more established. I wonder if this mode of instruction will continue once things stabilize and it is possible to have classes in person. It is hard to think of Iyengar yoga and not feel its nature of touch, hard wooden props in the big hall, the buzz of conversation etc. Earlier in the day, I found myself thinking of how rich my time in the therapy classes was. I thought I was observing, what was happening was really an absorption more than just noticing. I remembered two cases in particular and it prodded some additional reading.

While making notes today, it was interesting to think about the Kurmasana that was covered last evening, quite by chance. It was an option among other asanas that we could do. I think part of the reason for choosing it was Speedy. Speedy is a rescued turtle who has been with a friend and is currently with me. It is lovely to see him enjoy basking in the sun, he looks quite sphinx like with his pose. At such times, his reptilian stance reminds me of Bhujangasana. And at others, he can withdraw so completely inwards that there is nothing but a shell visible. While Speedy is a little unusual (he moves incredibly fast for a turtle), he has the capacity like others of his species to remain without agitation. Animals teach us much, little wonder that they figure in the names of so many asanas. Garudasana, Salabhasana,  Adho Mukha Svanasana, Bakasana, etc.

So much is packed in a name.

5 thoughts on “Beginning Again

  1. What a delightful posting. I love the picture! Yes—the names of the poses themselves are so interesting since they seem to apply to “being” rather than “doing.” How fortunate they are to have you demonstrating in the beginners classes. How auspicious to be at the Institute. I know you realize just how lucky you (and Speedy) are.

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    • Thank you! 🙂 I’m so glad and grateful for the opportunity and thank my lucky stars for having been touched by Guruji’s teachings and the lessons of my teachers.

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  2. I taught a private, outdoor class a few months ago with a student who had two rather large desert tortoises roaming his yard. They stepped high and moved quickly. That was back when I was still having to stay distant from my students and give only verbal feedback. I still take some online classes, but I now teach only in person. My studio is a neighbor’s shady patio. Now that my regular students and I are fully vaccinated, I am able to walk around, see them from various perspectives, and even give gentle adjustments. The year of online classes kept me studying with my teachers and teaching a student who had no suitable outdoor space, but I realized–the first time it was safe to touch a student again–how important it was to communicate what words couldn’t do effectively. I’m still not ready to teach indoors again, since we’re far from herd immunity even if the U.S. fairly well vaccinated. It was good, as always, to read your blog. I hope India emerges from this wave of covid soon, and that you will eventually be in live classes again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing. We’re slowing coming out of restrictions across the country but there is still wariness and madness in equal measure. I’m glad you are able to have in person classes, so much is transferred in adjustments.

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