Geeta has a way of shifting time. When you are in a typical class there are lots of poses and it seems as if you hold them for seconds and seconds until they turn into minutes. And yet the class is only two hours and that is not possible. And yet at the same time it can feel like you have barely begun before it is over. So great is her ability to both sequence, to read the class to see what is needed and to take the mind into what we are doing that time looses its usual dimensions. Often after class people are busy writing down what was done; remembering the sequence, the instructions and the “points” that she made. But you can’t capture in writing the essence of what goes on during the experience of the class. It certainly misses it if you get that written list with barely an outline of what she was teaching. Just doing the sequence will give you the physical experience and can give you the learning of doing the poses, but you can never quite get that being away from the normal sense of time and its passage that you get from being in class. And that is really what this subject is heading us toward. It transports us away from our customary modes of thinking and doing. Not only from the awareness that physically we can do more than we realize, and these classes will most certainly give you that, but they also transport us mentally and emotionally beyond where we normally are. They are remarkable.
Today was a little different. We did not do many different poses, we did not lead up to the “main” tier of poses. We just did. The four weeks during the month are organized: first week is standing poses, the second is forward bends and twists, the third (this one) is back bends and the last is pranayama. It is a good organization for those of us who have traveled half way round the world. The standing poses help get us here and get adjusted. The second week is a good relief and settling in week and then back bends can be vigorous and energizing. The last week is like the icing on the cake.
Today began as many of Geeta’s classes do with Adho Mukha Virasana, (kneeling and extending forward). This gives her a chance to see the class and organize where she needs to as well as the class to begin. Then a short Adho Mukha Svanasana (dog) and Uttanasana (standing forward bend). Then a 15 minute Sirsasana (headstand.) Her comment was: “you have to learn to stay.” Then immediately Urdhva Dhanurasana (pushing up from the floor into a back bend).We continued with this pose and moving from it to Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (where you take the head down and interlock fingers as in sirsasana) for the next hour. There was some rest between takes. Then another brief Adho Mukha Virasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana and Uttanasana then Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) for 10 minutes or so Halasana (plow), again her comment “you must stay like for Sirsasana for 2 1/2 minutes”. Then Savasana.
So not so many actual poses, but instead repetitions. And in doing so we were taken deeper and deeper into being strong in the body but quiet in the brain.