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Day 18 - Sunita Advanced Class - Ropes.

I've had a challenging few days managing my mysterious back problem - I've basically had to throw the rule book out and start from scratch on what I believe I know about back problems. No supported Ardha Halasana, Ardha Uttanasana, Pavanmuktasana or forward bending of any kind. Abhi's take on this was 'Good! A chance to learn something new then?!' and perhaps I'm maturing as a practitioner as I can accept this, even though of course when I planned a trip to Pune, this was not what I had in mind. I attended the practice session yesterday in order that I could contine the programme I started in Medical class with Abhi on Wednesday. I won't say it's one step forwards, two steps back, but it has been one step forward, one step back - I keep making some improvement and then doing a pose that sets off the tenderness again.

I came home to continue practicing and had a wonderful breakthrough, simply practicing Angular Trikonasana with a chair - somehow I was able to extend out of the painful part and that combined with Ardha Chandrasana using the terrace wall as a trestle, I started to feel almost normal again. I carried on practicing as it got dark and ended up in one of those rare and beautiful moments of complete presence - in Sarvangasana looking up at the night sky, toes wriggling in the gentler evening warmth, stars beginning to peek out and enormous fruit bats overhead flying home to roost. I had a glimpse of the elusive 'effortless effort' that comes after a few weeks in Pune, where I have had endless time for classes and practice combined with the weight of life's responsibilities being taken from my shoulders. And that is what I dreamed of when I pulled out all the stops to make this trip happen. This wouldn't have been possible without the help of so many people back home - my partner Louis taking the double load, my work partner Justin working his socks off to cover the whole of Gloucestershire in my absence and Naomi Maggs doing an amazing job covering my class.

Sunita's class this morning was all about ropes and I wasn't at all sure I'd be able to write it up as it's so visual - a video would be much better. However both Sue and Maggie took great notes and I was able to utilise these to provide the sequence and some of the main teaching points. When we reached Urdhva Dhanurasana she explained that the rope could support the body in different places according to the experience of the practitioner - when fearful, the rope can be kept higher around the waist and then as confidence develops, it can be brought lower and lower (Though around the sacrum is the 'correct' place) . Guruji even had them take the rope around the calves for drop backs. Smiling she said that one gift that Guruji gave to all of them, was to instill a sense of fearlessness in them - he removed the Klesha of fear. After class we went over to 'One O Eight Lifestyle Cafe' out Koregaon Park way for a lovely lunch with the gang.