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31st October - Geetaji Pranayama

Tiny metallic blue sunbird

I had the strangest experience this morning, when walking through the park to get the daily veg. As I walked in, every single person was frozen stock-still, some mid stride. It was most peculiar and I was completely unsure what to do. As I dithered, an unspoken signal seemed to pass around the park and everyone started moving again, as if nothing happened. So strange! I asked the fruit seller what was going on and he just looked at me like I was crazy and had no idea what I was talking about. I am wondering whether this had been organised in solidarity with those protesting the murder of Kashoggi. At the time I wondered if I should have taken a photo and then realised that it would have looked exactly the same as any normal photo anyway!

I am sitting and writing my final blog post from the roof top terrace in perfect temperatures and reflecting on the month gone by. We've had a full month of Geetaji, who despite having concerns about her own health, actually seems to be incredibly well. Fully articulate and as committed to her teaching as ever, we have been blessed indeed. Thanks to Sarah for warming up meals and doing the washing-up so that I could have the time needed to write classes up while the memory is fresh and thanks to observers who at times shared their notes with me, saving me the pain of wrangling over which uttanasana came where! And thanks to Louis and Frances (and all my cover teachers) back home who have been holding the fort for me. Please bear in mind (especially with Geetaji classes) that my notes have been passed through the very crude filter of my memory and understanding and therefore much of Geetaji's subtlety and depth of understanding will have been lost - there is no substitute for classes here and I hope that by sharing my blogs, I de-mystify the process of coming and studying here so that more of you will feel the confidence to come and do it. And those for whom that is not a possibility, it is especially for you that I am motivated to share this information with. Until next time .....

31st October – Geetaji Pranayama

Swastikasana Invocation and Guru Chant

Arrange your external body so that you find the space in your internal body. Make that space everywhere so that every bit of your body breathes.

Uttanasana

Penetrate the heels into the floor and get the extension of the back leg -lift of the thighs at the back to give the release of the side trunk down. Elongation, extension downwards. CCB Uttanasana stand up.

AMS

After giving us some time to get established in the pose, she instructed us to reach the head and trunk towards the feet – “Surrender the head to the feet, In that manner GO!” “Observe where you get caught and GO!”

Sirsasana (Menstruation viparita dandasana on the bench)

Whole body upwards, once we focus on one part we forget the other parts. You have to be aware everywhere. Extend from your waistline to your outer feet, the prana has to reach everywhere. What part of the shoulder goes up? Armpit, inner shoulder? Everything is connected – shoulder, neck collarbone. Where doesn’t respond? What is the contact of the back of the skull left and right side? She spoke extensively on the importance of correct alignment, which is not something that can be grasped with notes in your notebooks giving technical points. When head / neck / shoulders are misaligned EVERYTHING is affected. Brain, nerves, prana, energy flow, thoughts - all goes wrong, do you realise this? And this changes according to how long you stay – your sirsasana of 3 minutes is not the same sirsasana of 8 or 10 minutes, how we get that upwards pull when we first go up – where does the shakiness come? Where does the pose give way? All this you have to observe instead of being so easily satisfied – I am up, I am comfortable – it is not about comfort. Use the corner of the room to feel the energy distribution evenly.

Prasarita Paddottonasana

After giving us time to establish the pose, she observed then the refinements can come, improvements can be made.

AMVrksasana (Menstruation Paschimottonasana)

Elongate side trunk fully upward, armpit area UP! Keep space between shoulder and cervical neck. 2nd attempt kick up with the other leg and try to find out why one side is so much weaker – where does the failure come from, what is failing? 3rd attempt – both legs jumping.

Halasana (Menstruation setu bandha on bench)

Arms outstretched behind and then LOY interlock (not the easy one) pull the shoulder bones completely back, so that entire cervical neck is supported and ex