On a lighter note: big surf near Maverick Beach. Half Moon Bay! Within an hour of Santa Cruz.
(Photos not taken by me)
Upon my return home, it’s Saturday night here, December 15th and Sunday morning, December 16th in India. The news is just emerging that Geeta Iyengar suddenly passed away.
I do not know any details. I’m not sure there will be much to share. I wanted to let you all know.
I don’t have anything poetic to say, except she honored her Guru and his teaching with tapas, to the very end!
We can honor her passing through the life of our practice.
It’s the last day of class before the celebrations begin. I will be returning home, tonight. I’ve been away from my family long enough.
We began with Pranayama, my favorite class this far. It was familiar in the sense that we worked on sitting with the sternum lifted on both Ujjayi inhalation and exhalation, but the instructions on how to lift the ribs resonated with me. Of course, it’s about how you direct your attention.
Backbends. It was interesting in how we opened the groins to prepare for Urdhva Mukha Svsnasana.
We stood as if we were going to drop back into Urdhva Dhanurasana several times, keeping the lift of the chest. And continued that same action in Ustrasana.
Sometimes, Geeta has stopped to class look at a student’s issue. It makes class less of a flow. However, today we stopped for one of Mr. Iyengar’s longtime student. He is almost 101. They put him in supported Sirsasana. His eyes were clear, and he spoke of being poor, but Guruji would stay with him when he taught in Bombay (he used Bombay instead of Mumbai).
It was a tearful, happy few moments. Geeta was so happy he traveled to be a small part of the festivities.
One message that came through these past few days is the importance of Asana over a lifetime. The body should be treated as you would a child.
We worked up to Urdhva Dhanurasana. And Setubanda Sarvangasana from the floor up to Chatoosh Padasana, putting hands on back as in Sarvangasana and extending the legs out straight.
There wasn’t much time for releasing poses after the backbends, so we went right into Savasana. Not optimal, but manageable.
After class, I said some goodbyes and headed back to the hotel to pack and get ready for a long trip home. I had lunch with some fellow yogis who I really like: one from the U.S., and the other two from England.
The driver Gaude picked me up for the not so far, but traffic filled drive to Pune Airport. My flight was delayed 30 minutes, and a very nice young Indian woman helped me. She had lived in Sunnyvale for a year and was so thrilled to meet someone from the U.S.
Off to Delhi. Where I have about a four hour layover. Then 15 and a half hours straight to San Francisco.
The photo is upon arrival at Delhi somewhere around 1 am. I hope I sleep a lot on the plane!
I might not be keeping the order of what we do when, but we did these eye exercises to create an alert mind: eyebrows up, head level, and direct the eyes upward and open them wide.
I’ve been practicing that when I feel sleepy. Then we argued into eye exercises for glaucoma prevention.
We did standing twists, seated forward bends, and seated twists. The twists are a foreshadowing of backbends to come. Geeta has a lot to say and keeps us in the asana for a VERY long time. It’s almost humorous.
She has been talking of tapas throughout. Today she said, ‘get purity, little by little.’
She also has been meaning asking of svadhyaya, studying the self. Learn the Self.
Pranayama was interesting again. We took two blankets and made a thick roll and lay over it vertically. The head to the tailbone was up and the legs were off, extended out straight to make space in the abdomen and pelvis.
The roll was not even so I felt lopsided and that was distracting a bit. It was an exploration nonetheless.
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting. And keeping my meals simple, eating a lot of yellow dal and rice. (I have not had any fresh vegetables or fruit without a peel at all.)
However, I missed my food opportunity and after class I had to scurry to pick something up. When the Uber didn’t show, it was a low blood sugar moment. I finally finished my errand, and the traffic is so unbelievable. It took almost an hour and a half to go…not very far.
Words cannot really adequately describe the utter chaos of the cars, rickshaws, and the thousands of scooters. Nobody follows the lanes. It’s complete madness, but the Indians somehow seem to make it work. It’s just too difficult to get around which is a huge change from the last time I was here. Oh, and parents squish their child between them on these scooters to secure them.
One more day!