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Prashant - 7th February 2020 - Pranayama

Many of you that have pets at home, will have observed that they get drawn by certain asanas. My cat particularly gets excited when I go up into full arm balance, she comes over and purrs like crazy, zigzagging in and out of my arms.

In Pune there are always Black Kites circling above and I found today, when I was doing a padmasana chair sarvangasana on the rooftop, that they came closer and closer, whirling and twirling around each other in the sky directly above me. It was a lovely moment.

In the bird gallery today are an oriental magpie robin, a little green bee eater and a green parakeet.

I again assisted in the medical and Abhi organised a teaching group. I was in the back pain group and we were first shown an adjustment and then assigned a student to work with, going methodically through the poses and adjustments. It was very useful, as although I know many of the adjustments, the method or equipment set up are often different here.

This evening was pranayama with Prashant, though in fact we practiced almost no pranayama at all - it was more of a lecture. I wasn't going to blog at all today, as Prasant's classes are a whole different ball game. Changing slightly the wording or the phrasing for a class write up, could completely skew his intended meaning and frankly, I don't feel up to the task! There is a tiny taster of parts of his discourse below and Judy Waldman, who is also blogging will take this one on! You can find her posts on the Visiting RIMYI Facebook page - you have to be approved to join but all genuine Iyengar practitioners are welcome.

Prashant - Pranayama - 7th February 2020

Some people have leadership quality. The breath is like the Queen Bee. She orchestrates all the proceedings. The other bees only act on her behalf they are her agents. The breath has to orchestrate pranayama not the mind. Mind led pranayama belongs to the mundane world, breath led pranayama is true pranayama. The mind is a terrible leader. You are sat here but for some of you, your mind is with your husband, or your children or somewhere elsewhere.

When you bring up children and you want the best for them, you are careful who they associate with. You choose the right friends and the right company for them to associate with. In this way you have to choose the breath as the right company for yourself. If you look after the breath everything else will operate as it should.

Breath is incredibly sensitive. Sit up straight as you would for formal pranayama and hold your knees. Now go for ujayii breathing. Ok now turn the hands, so that the back of the hand is on the thigh. The breath markedly changed did it not? (it really did). Now fold the elbows behind and again begin the breathing. Is it different? (it really was). Breath is also pre-emptive – it makes a change in anticipation of something. Each asana has a breath. Each illness has a breath. Each state of mind has a breath. Whether you are sensitive enough to notice it or not, breath is sensitive to the tiniest of changes. We should make the breath the priority not the mind. Not to look after the breath is a sin.

He ended with an apology for what was not taught (pranayama practice!) and what was not understood (I wonder how many in the world can follow every single word of Prashant's discourse? Certainly they are few) and said that in the end it doesn't matter, that he plants little seeds in our minds and those seeds will take root regardless, which is funny, because that is exactly how I experience his teaching!

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