Saturday, September 19, 2009

The new girl in yoga class

Lucky grinned. From the second week on her class had been full and it had remained that way ever since. Most of the inmates were making progress-clumsy progress, but progress nonetheless. They no longer confused the striking cobra pose with push-ups, or turned the proper names of the asanas into sexual innuendos or bickered like high-school boys at recess. (P.123)

While all the asanas or poses are basically the same, there are various schools of Yoga practice. Yoga class seems simple especially when you are on the sidelines watching. Over the years, I have been to several yoga classes beginning with the simple gentle ones and gradually going on to more vigorous, dynamic yoga.

I can never forget my first class ever at the Iyengar school. Bright and early, I went inside the class which was waiting for the teacher to arrive. There was pin drop silence and all the students were busy doing some pose or the other. Some of them were sitting in a meditative pose, others were lying down in the corpse pose, a few were standing on their heads, while yet some more were hanging upside down like lemurs from the ropes suspended on the walls. I was quite intimidated by their proficiency! Despite my years of practice, I seemed like a novice.

After the class began, I realised that the method of instruction in this class was simply to observe the person in front of you and get into the pose. Then, our master, Kobad, would come around randomly and either correct the errant pupil or praise someone's exceptional pose. I quite liked this system and I was enjoying the class, till I saw him approach me from the corner of my eye. My heart began to pound . What would he do? Would he yank my arm into position, kick my leg back or simply praise me for my perfect pose?

I found out soon enough. He grabbed my upper arm and began kneading it while he yelled gleefully to the class : "Look at this butter ball - a perfect example of Porbandar's Pure Ghee!"

While the class snickered, I died a hundred deaths and tried hard to keep the pose without burning up in embarrassment.

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