Today (November 10, 2018) is the first day of classes at Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute after the Diwali holiday. Classes with Prashant Iyengar (Prashantji) and with Geeta Iyengar (Geetaji) in the morning were both of a smaller size. To truly and honestly share what both Prashantji and Geetaji taught or conveyed in today’s classes requires a lot of reflections and integration. So here is just a raw prelude, a brief but not casual collage of preliminary reflections on my part.
As Prashantji pointed out today, we don’t really learn in class through direct perception; we often rely on memory and inference. Often our mind is in a “messed up” state and to reach a state of YOG (citta vrtti nirodhah), so we have to study the mind, rationalize the process of the mind’s activities as we arrange a messy house. As a student of YOG, develop a habit of objectify the mind. When I stretch and pull in an asana, what does the mind do? What does it receive? How does it change as I stay in a pose? Svadhayaya (Study of the self) is to become a better ME in an asana: what is to become in me, what to remain in me.
About 90 minutes forward: Geetaji brought up meditative state in Ardha Chandrasana. “You just want to do a beautiful Ardha Chandrasana. To reach the meditative state is very difficult.” Through the demonstration of a few students, she addressed how our mind didn’t “go there.” We often go on doing without checking whether we, as students of Yoga, have identified the mistakes and properly corrected them. We allow the back of the head in Ardha Chandrasana to drop as we enter into the pose, and the brain got heavy. When that occurs, there is no meditation. To be a better ME in an asana, it is not to do a better pose. Am I tapping into the meditative state of watching my body, my mind and how they interact? If I were to balance perfectly without wobbling in Ardha Chandrasana and I feel proud and accomplished, isn’t it illusory? What is there to be inferred from the techniques? What is there to give and take?
This morning around 6:45 the sky was a spectrum of colors. I could not parse out the sky from the Sun and smog. Was I going classes to learn “things”? Or a gravitational pull to a different space within me?