A Yogic Journey

Its 7am.  I am sitting in the yoga hall, sweat dripping down my back as Prashant enters to lead the opening chant.  He does it so matter of factly.  Nothing fancy at all.  As he speaks, I realize I can’t understand a word he is saying.  I start to panic and think,  “Shit, I really should have been listening to audio’s of his and Geeta’s so I can get used to their accents!”  I try to relax.  I let go of needing to hear, and I make out a couple words…”Balance the body, mind and spirit”.  Ok, I’m gonna be ok.

Its been around 10 years I’ve been wanting to come to Pune, and this particular trip has been 2 1/2 years in the making.  The excitement and anticipation is huge, just as is the the terror and fright.  As class went on today, though, I felt myself relax more and more.  I could understand most of what Prashant was saying and certainly when the Sanskrit names of the asana’s came out his mouth, I was there.

“Use asana as an end and a means”, he repeated.

“Yoga should be done to you and for you, not by you”, he also espoused.

Even with this wisdom coming through in the teaching, 40 minutes into class I wasn’t convinced.  “This guy’s kind of crazy”, I thought.   He was talking about how you need a different knife to cut an onion, potato, or tomato and I was starting to get frustrated.  “What the hell is he talking about? Make some connection to asana, please!”  Then, just at that moment, he looked around the room, paused, and said, “If you’re getting irritated, you are ready to learn!  If you’re not, maybe you’re not in the right place.”  Boom!  It was like my mind exploded and expanded all at once.  “Ok, perhaps I really have no clue what’s going on here.  I think I can open to that.”

The rest of the class was deep.  Prashant is teaching asana on a different level than what I am used to.  Some of it feels ancestral, more in line with the way the yogi’s were practicing 100 years ago.  And in many ways, it felt real good.

When I returned to the hall, 45 minutes after class ended (to do my own practice), I felt a great sense of peace.  40-50 people were there, all within themselves, all practicing diligently.  The room was quiet.  Raya and Abhijata, two of the senior most teacher’s, were in the corner playing, talking, smiling, and practicing.  I laid down my mat, took my first pose, and got an overwhelming feeling of being home.  The energy was strong and it was coming through in my the practice. The amount of history in this room I can not even imagine.  What Guruji has passed down, the practice he’s done, the great yogi’s that have come to learn……..As I practiced on this morning, I could feel it all.

It has been some time and some great anticipation before I have finally arrived.  Many friends and colleagues have come and gone, all greatly changed from their time here.  For me, it just feels right….A place where I can practice all day long and not be considered weird or anti-social.  I feel like I belong, and I am honored and grateful to be here.

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