Class With Abhi
Today we had the honor of having women’s class with Abhijata. It was a bit of a surprise as a different teacher started the class and only after about a minute of being in Ado Mukha Virasana did another voice emerge from the front of the hall. People’s heads popped up and there was an immediate air of excitement in the room and a palpable deepening of the practitioner’s sincerity.
Abhi conducted an absolutely joyous and brilliant class. The clarity of her teaching, the linked sequence from first pose to last and the un-scatteredness of her approach was remarkably refreshing. At one point, I cried…..at least my eyes welled up. She spoke about Guruji and you could feel his presence come through her. He wasn’t physically there but I could feel him coursing through my skin. It was one of the deepest connections I’ve ever had with him.
She went back and forth between giving directions, quoting Patanjali, and easily weaving a spiritual essence into the class. At one point, while in Tadasana, my mind stopped. There was no thought, just pure presence and sharpness. Its an experience I know well from my years with Manouso, but one I have not gotten since I’ve been here. It was clear I was taking class from a real teacher, from someone who knows so much more about the subject than I do. I felt surrendered and opened to learning.
Abhi was present. You could feel it. She was not teaching from rote or plan, but truly to the group of students that were before her. 10 minutes into class when we set up for Utthita Trikonasana, she saw something she didn’t like, pulled us out, and completely changed the course of class. She began teaching about the groins and low back through Tadasana, Ado Mukha Vrksasana, Uttansana and Sirsasana. It was only about 40 minutes later that we got back to Trikonasana. And even once there, when half the class still wasn’t listening to her, she said, “Ok, come out. We’ll start at the beginning. A is for Apple, B is for Bat.” I’m not sure how many people heard that. I totally loved it.
She spoke about the knees and the difficulty we have opening the backs of them. Guruji once said our knees are like the eyes of a frog, always bulging out. We were learning to take them back, but in proper relation to the rest of our body.
There were a lot of directions, something I’ve been missing here. But I must make it clear….These are not just physical directions. They are directions to concentrate the mind and free it from samskaras. They are here to guide us and help revolve the consciousness around what it knows and move it to places it has not yet touched. “So many people are so focused on the points”, Abhi stated. “On writing them down and teaching them. In doing that, they miss doing the pose and truly feeling and understanding the actions in their own bodies. When they go home, they have no idea what we did.” Right there, I dropped all thought again, all desire to write this blog, and just practiced. And in that, in the presence I brought, I could probably recite the entire class to you.
I left the class refreshed. The room was buzzing. The people I talked to were high. And I admit, and maybe I shouldn’t, I have a sense of sadness. I have been here for 2 1/2 months. There has been no Geetaji, no Guruji, and I feel like I’ve really missed something. Really missed getting to experience two complete Yoga Masters sharing their art. I feel so grateful to have Manouso in my life. Every single thing about me has gotten better since I began studying with him. And I feel grateful for Abhi and what she is bringing to the table. I think as teachers it so important we weave the physical mastery with the spiritual essence. I do my best to do that, but I am young in my understanding. Abhi did that seamlessly and effortlessly today. We, or at least I, have a ton to learn from her.
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