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Day 3 Women's Class Abhijata - Freedom!

Delightful morning light in the park

Still groggy and disorientated when I woke this morning - when possible I like to arrive a few days early so that I can recover from travel in Goa before arriving in Pune refreshed and ready for classes. This time though it was a toss-up between that and missing out on family time at Christmas, so I opted for a New Year's Eve flight - the tiredness does seem to wipe out half of the first week. Pune is cooler than I ever remember it being before, I've been needing a blanket on the bed at night and cardi at times during the day - unheard of!

We had a pleasant stroll through the park to the institute feeling a little nervous anticipation for the class to come - you never know who or what you are going to get until the very last moment and I was definitely feeling that I hadn't really got into my stride yet practice wise. The hall was already pretty full when we arrived and I managed to find a good space not too close to the back where the traffic noise can make things difficult to follow. I found myself in the esteemed company of Swati Chanchani and Gulnaz and had to remind myself that we are all just here as humble students to learn from the excellent teaching, it's not about your prowess or ego.

Raya took to the stage for the invocation and afterwards began a lecture about studio protocol, which they are very hot on here - but with such large numbers to manage, things have to be done in a very organised manner so that the teaching is not eclipsed by equipment issues. It can genuinely take a good 10 minutes just to get the chairs out in a big class! I felt pleased when Abhi unexpectedly appeared in the room - I really get a tremendous amount from her teaching which is very focussed and dynamic and delivered with great gusto -and we were not to be disappointed! First though she put us in upavista konasana while she added her two pennith to Raya's lecture. She told us not to go out alone late in the evening as there have been incidents of ladies being 'teased' (a quaint expression which made me smile). We were to let her know of any incidents and she will see what is to be done - I imagine she is quite a formidable force to have on your side!

The class reminded me of the 'love your parsvakonasana' class we did last time we were here (see This time the theme though was 100 different ways to improve your trikonasana. We started by getting rid of the mats and just working on the stone floor. Here we did some jumpings from AMSvanasana (full sequence below). Abhi worked in a team with Raya who demonstrated how long and high we were to jump, generating the lift from the hips to get that lightness. When we jumped into ardha chandrasana she made us do in two groups so that we could jump high, uninhibited by the fear of hitting a neighbour. The jumpings were immediately followed by full arm balance which I found felt incredibly light and dynamic - a link I had never particularly made before.

I do feel that there is a very special energy here in Pune - somehow the body becomes more responsive - I swear my leg bones become longer! I have wondered before whether it's the heat that causes this improvement in receptivity and of course there is the increase in available practice time and classes, but we've hardly begun here and already I'm feeling it. The class continued in a fast paced sequence, building and building our perception of different actions in trikonasana until the the whole pose felt liberated - all the clonky and stiff bits had become well oiled and alert.