Continuing On 2/3 – 2/8
Three classes with Prashant and three with Geeta, including last night’s pranayama. The week has flown by. The classes with Prashant meet Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7:00 am. But to get a place where I have a chance to hear much I need to get there about 6:35, which means I leave my apartment 15 earlier. I am not sure how many mornings there is a class before that, but I learned by Thursday to get there and “que” up along the stairs so as to be able to go up when it let out. Within a very few moments the room will fill up. I don’t need to be right up front, but it is nice to be toward the left side of the platform (facing toward it) so as to be away from the most of the traffic noise. The first two days I ended up on the other side toward the back at first and although I worked my way up as the class shifted poses, I was still hampered by the competing noise, even that early in the day. (More on driving at another time.) It is worse with Geeta’s Wednesday 9:30 Women’s class and the pranayama class because they have more people I think.
Prashant’s classes are taught differently than what most are used to. He assumes you know the mechanics of the poses so you have to do those and then go on. He calls doing the poses with just the mechanical points in mind as “body asana” or “postures of the body”. He is interested in going beyond that, coming into a meditative state using the asana, the body, the mind, the breath to observe and make changes.
As such, and because the classes are so big, he typically divides things up. For instance one day ladies started on rope Sirsasana (head stand) while all the rest of the group began with Trikonasana and he gave instructions, not about body parts, but about how to observe the body and mind in the pose while you do certain things. Also typically holds are long so you have time to observe. After a bit groups shift and another batch gets to do Sirsasana etc. Eventually the standing pose shifted to Utthita Parskakonasana then coming back from that directly into Trikonasana. I believe at the next change he added in Utthita Hasta Padangustasana using a grill that goes across the window at the back and straps looped across a support close to the ceiling. So at this point there were three groups doing separate things. In between switching groups he calls everyone to the front to sit and listen to him explain what he is doing. Eventually everyone gets a chance to do everything and the class evolves deeper and deeper into the concept he is teaching.
Interesting he rarely ends with Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) even though you may have hung in Sirsasana for 10 minutes.
There is a 3 hour practice session set aside immediately after Prashant’s class, from 9-12 where we are free to use the room. Free is a relative term here as the room is packed nearly as much as for class. Mr Iyengar is there too and he will often instruct one of the assistants or sometimes one of us. It is possible to get up and go watch and try to listen.
I meander home after that, stopping sometimes at one of the street vendors to get fruit or veggies. I have a cook who is making my lunch and she has it ready by 1. I will get a picture of lunch soon to post.
Today is Saturday and practice is 4-5:45 and when I came out of the Institute the sun was beginning to go down and the light was lovely on the street outside. There are some lovely old trees lining the street that overhang it making it appear tranquil. Although there is so much traffic now that it is rarely quiet anymore.