A Beautiful Ladies Class with Devki Desai
Today was my last Ladies Class at the Institute. What a great note to end the asana classes on. Devki Desai taught. She is absolutely wonderful in everyway imaginable. I was reading a bit about her on line and found out she has studied with BKS Iyengar since 1984 (that would be the year I graduated from high school- 30 year reunion coming up in September ) and has been teaching at the Institute since 1995. (about the time I started teaching at Baylor). That’s a lot of time teaching and learning.
Another blogger described her as the perfect blend of BKS, Geeta, and Prashant. I was probably most palpably aware of Prashant’s influence having listened to him for two months now. It was really amazing to see how she integrated so much of his teaching in a way that was so, well, Feminine.
Prashant mentioned several times last month that we have lost the feminine in yoga. Well, it is alive and well in Devki Desai that’s for sure.
The class on an asana level was fun-filled and action packed, jumpings, AMVrk (lots of good technique about how to get up with two legs, some backbends but the most amazing aspect of the class was her ability to connect us with our inner teacher what she called the “soft voice within each of us.”
She told this story about starting to teach because BKS Iyengar wanted her to teach the Women’s classes. He wanted “his women” (her words for what he said) to have the influence of her soft voice. She told the story in a charming way, suggesting that she did not even know the power of this quality she had, but he recognized it.
She went on to say that we all have this soft voice within ourselves and that we need to learn to practice in such a way that the voice speaks to us.
It was not that she wasn’t detail oriented or interested in making us work hard. We definitely did. She talked about the importance of breaking the “hidden rigidities of the mind” and keeping on working right at the moment where we thinking we cannot do anymore. Time and again, that’s where breakthroughs happen. Partly it was certainly just that her tone or affect was gentle, lyrical, her pace of speech a bit slower. So all the instruction and the continuous exhortation was somehow easier on the psyche.
She has that same ability that Navaz does to speak the language that the soul hears. True melody.
It reminded me of how Guruji translates the ahimsa sutra to include non-violence in speech, thought, and action, when that happens enmity vanishes.
|2.35||ahimsapratisthayam tatsannidhau vairatyagah|
|When non-violence in speech, thought and action is established, one’s aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence. (I)
In the presence of one who is established in nonviolence, enmity is abandoned. (B)
Similarly, she brought up many of the same philosophical concepts that Prashant mesmerizes the mind. However, the way she talked about them was different. Jenn put it this way over lunch. Devki talks philosophy in such a way that the heart hears it as well.