Friday, November 27, 2009

Here are a few pictures. This man was an amazing magician - really. I normally don't stop on the street for magicians. (every one on the street in India is trying to sell you something or get money from you) But, this man had some mind boggling tricks. If you are ever in Pune, he is out side of the Pyramids in Koreagan Park.

And, the other picture is what we look like in rickshaws. I have spoken of the pollution before. It is necessary to wear a mask. Already I have had a few sinus infections from the pollution even with the mask.

hello from pune

I've been in Pune for 2 weeks now, and am really enjoying my daily rhythm of yoga practice, lunch, reading, yoga class, and Ayurvedic clinic and lecture. My friends, the Aussies, have convinced me to join them on retreat in Bali next year. Why not? Tropical beaches, good clean food, and 2 weeks of yoga. Looking forward to it.

Geeta has been teaching some amazing Pranayama classes. For those of you who are not familiar with the format here in Pune, the last week of the month, all the classes are Pranayama. The first week is standing poses (more or less), second week is forward bends, and the third week is back bends. I will be teaching more Pranayama when I return, especially during the week intensive I am planning for the first week of January. (more on that to come)

Tonight I attended an Indian wedding, but I missed the ceremony, and made it in time for lots of food and many desserts. Late dinners and sweets and chai are very common here. Oh well, at least it is fun.

I am off to Mumbai tomorrow, just for one night. I am bidding farewell to my great Australian friends (who I met a few years back here in Pune). We are going to stay in a fancy hotel, and go swimming on the rooftop with an oceanview. This so does not feel like India. When you are used to wearing clothes to cover your skin, and then go swimming in a bikini it feels quite strange. But, it will be a nice change of pace for a day. Then, I am back to Pune for 2 more weeks of yoga and Ayurveda study.

I know I have said this before, but here goes again. I feel sooooo blessed to have such teachers in my life. Dr. Lad is unparalleled in this world, and to have the opportunity to study regularly with the Iyengars is so fortunate. I daily promise myself to practice and study this knowledge, and not take it for granted. I only hope I can embody it, and help others to understand and practice it as well.

Enough for now, it is way too late for me to be up writing. It was all those sweets at the weddding . . . hee hee.

Love you all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I have made it to Pune. JinSung went home yesterday, and I flew to Pune. I was greeted at the airport my good friend Rohan, with an Indian sweet in hand. I have now taken a few classes with Geetaji, and will continue taking 6 classes/week with her until I come home. Tomorrow, I start sitting in on clinic and lectures with renowned Ayurvedic Physician Dr. Lad, and will begin an internship with another Ayurvedic Doctor here in Pune.

Pune is like a second home for me. Everything feels familiar since I was here for 3 months a few years ago. Some friends I met last time are again here, so my initial loneliness has fallen away. It is nice to have time to myself, just to practice and learn, and enjoy life.

Of course, the incessant noise and pollution of an Indian city can wear on one’s nerves, but Pune is the most optimum city in India to be from my travels so far. Guruji (Mr. Iyengar) has been working with his granddaughter (the next-in-line teacher) a lot during practice sessions. For those of you that don’t know, there is a practice session lasting 3 hours almost everyday. At this time, and the current Yoga students, as well as Mr. Iyengar, Geeta, and Prashant, come to do their personal practices. However, Mr. Iyengar often observes the students while practicing and thus ceases his practice to teach and correct. Most notably, he does this with his granddaughter. It is great to be able to watch a living master.

My cousin got married today in Hawaii. I am very sad to have missed it, and have been processing sentimentality over the past few days. I am the only member of the family not there, and would love to be there.

India is my place for now. This I know and love, but there are always ties pulling from other places.

As for class, today Geeta taught forward bends in the women’s class emphasizing that we all really look at what we are doing and why we are doing it and the effects on the body, mind and breath. Instead of performing an asana in a way which is comfortable, but may cause harm and pain later, she encouraged us to really practice evenly now, even if it hurts, in order to create more balance and harmony now and for the future.

I won’t write the sequence here, but soon, I will write a few sequences here for you students to practice while I am away.

By the way, it is almost impossible to stay on my eating regimen (for those of you that know me well, you will know what that means). Thalis, dosas, Bhel Puri, Indian sweets, and chai have lured me away from structure at moments, but at least I am enjoying it.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rishikesh, Haridwar, New Delhi

A few days ago, the whole lot of the yoga students went on a field trip. I felt like I was in grade school again, but the bus was much less safe, and the landscape much more AWEsome. We traveled to a temple at the top of a large Himalayan foothill to take in the views of the great Himalayas on one side and the Ganges going through Rishikesh on the other side. It was spectacular. Then we traveled to Rishikesh, and I swam in the Ganges (after borrowing a sarong from a friend). It is disrespectful for women to be in bathing suits, and so, I had a time trying to get into the Ganges without getting all my clothes for the day soaking wet. We then went to Haridwar for Arati to the Ganges. There are some pictures here that you can check out.

We stayed at the yoga center a few more days, and yesterday boarded a train to New Delhi.
Whoa! So, we left Old Rajpur, sadly. We made great friends, and the location was divine. We ended up in New Delhi yesterday after a 7 hour train ride, with a very sweet Nepali woman named Sunita, who offered me tea and chapati numerous times. And, she did not believe that I was 29. She continued to say how I was like her 21 yr old daughter.

New Delhi is not a place I would visit in India for more than a day. Pollution is as thick as porridge. YUK! We are off to the Taj Mahal in Agra this morning, and will be back in Delhi tonight. Tomorrow I leave for Pune to begin studying with the Iyengars and Dr. Lad again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Home sick, but it gives me time to write

India is definitely magnificent, but the pollution has gotten the best of me. Too many trips out of Old Rajpur into Dehradun breathing smoke and exhaust. This has led me to catch a cold. And, so, I opted out of Asana class this evening to rest, practice Pranayama, and catch up with those of you reading this.

I am not sure how to post pictures in an organized manner, but here goes. If you look closely at the group picture, you can see the gargantuan Himalayas in the background. A few days ago, about 12 of us from the Yoga and Ayurveda Program at Yog-Ganga in Old Rajpur went for a hike to an old hill station called Mussorie. It was quite a hike - 4 hours in the blazing sun. No highways intersecting the backcountry made it impossible to change your mind once you started the excursion. Amazingly, there were many huts in the middle of these foothills with the nearest town 1-2 hours walk away. Most of these homes were self-sufficient, with crops and the like surrounding them.

There is a picture here of a student in the program dancing Odissi dance. He is from Malaysia, of South Indian origin and has been studying Odissi for 15 years. It was a powerful performance which brought be to tears because of the pure beauty of the form and the presence of the performer. This is something I have not felt from a performance in many years. It inspires me to start dancing again.

The other pictures are from the home I where I am staying. There are nine of us from the yoga program staying here. It is a good mix of people. Among us are Americans, a Peruvian lady who now lives in Japan, a Mexican woman who now lives in Miami, a Frenchman who now lives in England, a Brit in Britain, and a Malaysian. We share dinner every evening, which is always delicious.

As for the yoga and Ayurveda, it is simply nice to be practicing so much everyday. Some classes are disappointing. Others are great. There is no complaining on my end. I just feel blessed to be in India and to have the opportunity to devote my life to the study of Yoga and Ayurveda.

More to come soon. Send me a note if you get the chance. I'd love to hear from you.