27th October - Geetaji Pranayama
Our penultimate women's class and it was inspirational. From the very start, Geeta taught with clarity, depth and beauty. As we sat for the invocation we adjusted our bodies very precisely in order to lengthen and align the throat "Find out what is the well at the base of the throat. Find out what is the space there, how it goes on and on. Stay there and experience it" then we chanted and it was the most beautiful chanting I have ever experienced, as it emanated from this great space. Truly a beautiful moment.
She was in great form today, eyes sparkling and completely engaged with her teaching. After the sarvangasana she taught a strong urdhva mukha paschimottonasana . Here she used her voice with incredibly powerful effect to motivate us into full spinal extension and concavity. "Maha Mudra action – lower back IN! Raise chest UP! LIFT ribcage! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! Go UP with the back GO! GO! GO! And now release – how I had to shout for you to get the concavity, but actually did you not enjoy the concavity?" We repeated once again – "Maha mudra action – sacral region concave! Lumbar region concave! Back rib concave! Dorsal concave! Sternum chest lift up! GO! GO! GO! 32 times I could say GO!" (for each one of the spinal vertebrae has to lift and become concave). There was a time I might have felt intimidated or stressed by the vehemence of her instructions, but now as a teacher I just felt the pure energy she was channelling into us, compelling us to go beyond. I found myself grinning like a cheshire cat with the sheer brilliance of it and then realised I'd probably better stop, in case she saw me and thought I was being flippant and goodness knows I did not want to incite the wrath of Geeta!
Sadly I could not recall the detail of the Pranayama, so will have to buy the recording to get that - I guess it's a good sign that really I'm absorbed as I should be at these moments, but I would have liked to be able to share it too. Numbers in the hall have massively dropped as many have already left for home - it'll be interesting to see how it is on Wednesday ...
After lunch we had a walk around the grounds of the Agricultural College, which is amazingly quiet, considering its proximity to the huge and busy Ganeshkind Road. You can feel the peace almost as soon as you slip through the roadside rusty gate. Lunch digested, we returned to teaching practice and finished off the day with an excellent meal at Charu's. Pune is gearing up for the approaching Diwali celebrations (see above pic) and below Sarah making us giggle sashaying around displaying the latest batik apron designs from Dimpex. Marriot tomorrow, to make the most of the sunshine before we return to the chilly UK after class on Wednesday.
27th October – Geetaji Pranayama
Swastikasana When the throat becomes tight we make a blockage there, energy is blocked. Release the inner walls of the throat. Length of the throat, clarity of the throat. Don’t look down with eyeballs into the chest as this will close the throat. Find out what is the well at the base of the throat. Find it open it and experience it. Find out what is the space there, how it goes on and on. Stay there and experience it – then we chanted and it was the most beautiful chanting I have ever experienced as it emanated from this great space. Carefully aligning the throat and finding the length meant that we were sitting very, very tall, straight and light.
AMV Hands wider to open armpit chest. Side trunk bring forward.
First attention has to be given to the legs. Open the legs, lift the thighs, extend the sides of the trunk, lift sit bones higher. Do not let the neck hang there! Whole spine has to elongate away from the neck and then cervical neck has to extend for the head to release down.
Place the palms by the sides of the feet. Outer leg has to find the opening. CCB Uttanasana Come onto the finger tips and open the side chest. Whole spine concave.
Sirsasana 10 mins (Menstruation DPVD on the bench)
Open the windows of the armpits. When you press the forearm bone fully down, fleshy area has to go down, find out what happens to the upper arm, shoulder blade and armpit. Upper arm ascending, armpit opening forward. Even on the Viparita Dandasana bench, where usually we keep the elbows folded, take the arms over the head and put the palms on the floor to get that armpit opening.
Feet ascending up. Tailbone forward, maintain space in shoulders, don’t clench the teeth, mouth can be free. Jaws separate, space in there. Junction between top of leg and trunk – open there – it’s not the joint, it’s the skin that has to spread. To open it you have to take the legs back (beginners can’t do this, but once you are experienced you can go on spreading there, taking the legs back to open that area)
Do not look up in sirsasana – look at the floor and do not bring gaze of eyes too far forward, eyes slightly back. After some time in the pose notice how the weight distribution changes, be attentive to that so that you can make correct adjustments – it won’t be the same after some time in the pose, you have to go on refining. Small misalignments may not matter so much right now, but later they come to matter very much, so we have to pay attention to that.