Monday, October 19, 2009

The Guruji

BNS Iyengar. My new teacher. Tiny Indian man of eighty four years and about sixty inches of height. I began my pranayama and asana classes with him, finally. This will be an entirely new world of yoga. The opening of the mind. Asanas can be learned anywhere, he says, but the mind and soul take years and years of practice to open and strengthen. "If you want to eat beans," he says, "you only have to wait a few months...but if you want to eat mango, you must wait several years!" I want to eat mango!

I will learn much from this man. About discipline, about life, about God, about myself. The few students studying with him have all been to India several times to practice with him. They come back as often as they can to learn more. One of his students, a man named Dick from New Zealand, who just turned sixty, has been practicing with the Guruji for over twenty years and is still at what he calls "the lowest rungs on the yoga ladder". I can only hope to gain a sliver of the immensity of his wisdom during the short time I am here.

Last night was the final day of Diwali, and I am glad it is over. The smoke and the noise and the heat started to get to me, and I felt like I was getting a head cold last night. So instead of setting off fireworks, I passed out really early. Slept like a baby through the gunfire and bombing just outside my window. I am slowly learning to desensitize myself to the constant sensory overload, I think. A good skill to have!

I have discovered the rooftop of my hotel, which is perfect for playing ukulele and watching the sunset (or fireworks), and the lives of the Indians living around me. They have such simple, beautiful lives. It is amazing how little one needs to be comfortable or happy. Things like refrigerators, toilet paper, shoes, etc. are not necessities to them, and I am learning they are actually not for me either! The no toilet paper thing was odd at first, but I have found their water-spigot method to be quite chaffing and no waste! (Sorry if this is too much information for y'all...)

I am missing my friends and family a lot, however. I am sending love to everyone all the time, thinking of everyone constantly, and looking forward to seeing everyone when I return. I hope you all are safe and happy.

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