Our Last Class with Prashant Summer 2014


Well, I’ve been avoiding sitting down to write the last post from Pune about Prashant’s class. But after the good bye lunch at Ambience and a couple hours of packing, and a bit of a rest, now’s the time.

I’m actually a bit more emotional about leaving than I expected to be. I almost cried leaving the practice hall. It was funny for the first 45 minutes or so, I actually forgot it was the last practice in the hall and was just practicing.

We decided not to stay all the way to the 31st for a variety of reasons but now I’m kind of wishing we decided to stay another 9 days. But that would have ended up being almost 10 weeks away from home with the travel days on either end and it was seeming like a lot of time to be away. And I’d just be feeling this way 9 days later.

On the plus side, we will get home in time for the Arun workshop in Austin and I love studying with him. I’m excited about seeing Mom and Dad and how they are doing and there’s Milo, the glorious golden retriever awaiting us as well. I started to get worried that he would not remember me and Jeff said, “Well, it really doesn’t matter. Think how happy he is seeing a random stranger who is willing to pet his belly.”

Anyway, enough about my state of mind and its various experiences of raga and dvesa.

2.07 sukha anusayi ragah
Pleasure leads to desire and emotional attachment. (I)

Attachment stems from [experiences] of happiness. (B)

2.08 duhkha anusayi dvesah
Unhappiness leads to hatred. (I)

Attachment stems from [experiences] of happiness. (B)

By the way, I can’t remember if I mentioned what the (I) and the (B) stand for. The I is Iyengar’s translation of the Sutras. The B is Edwin Bryant’s. I got the original transliteration without diacritical marks and the Iyengar translation from Leanne, a former BKS Dallas yoga person. She got it from a student of Mary and Eddy’s. I’ve been adding in the Edwin translations and slowing working on adding the diacritical marks and also the Sanskrit but am not making huge progress on those.

Anyway, here’s a bit about Prashant.

In many ways, I still feel like yesterday was the real last class in terms of the grand vision of the soul that Prashant articulated so beautifully.

We twisted and worked with the breath for most of Prashant’s class today. He didn’t talk as much about the grand vision of yog but more technically about how to use breath with the actions of poses. We worked with altering action before and after and during exhalation and before and after and during inhalation.

In the last part of class, we worked more with Violma actions. He had a funny metaphor for Viloma. We interrupt the breath to increase our overall capacity. He said you can’t eat a bag of cashews or chips all in one sitting, but with various interruptions over the course of the day, the cashews or chips will disappear.

I really have been struck by how much he uses food and drink metaphors. Today, he talked a lot about various Indian food delicacies that we Westerns don’t really have the experience of. Come to think of it he actually talked more in Marathi than he usually does today, so there was time to just take in what I wasn’t understanding and wait for some understanding to come. Which was actually one of his major philosophical points for the day. That learning happens. We don’t make learning happen.

Prashant aimed at getting us to observe the effects of the action more than focusing so much on the doing of the action. I think that’s one of the reasons he uses metaphors from every day life so much. We are in a sense experts at tasting food and knowing the effect and knowing preference and we don’t often reflect necessarily on the process of knowing around those everyday sorts of knowing and doing and receiving the effects.

What would it be like to know our practice, its actions and its effects, as intimately as we take in the foods that we eat?

Even though yesterday’s class was more inspiring, today’s was a more practical take home message. The power to learn is within you. You already have it. Learn to observe beyond the realm of doing. Learn, observe, relearn. Cultivate the literacy of your own practice.

As always, there’s more to say.

Practice was great. Jenn and I worked on the hips, Jeff did a really nice Hanuman IV. Lunch was also really nice. Got to talk with Jose and Andrea and Chris Briney a bit. Hakka Noodles are quite tasty at Ambience, by the way. Also, though I did not have it today, the tandoor cauliflower is fabulous!

We had great timing getting home before the rains. We packed and showered.

Jory stopped by to pick up some laundry detergent and I gave him the umbrella that Lisa left for me.

Jenn, Jeff and I were just having a conversation about learning and suffering and access to teaching and being willing to share more of what it like to be here.

Now, we are all off to Gulnaz’s class.

Posted by Anne-Marie Schultz at 4:46 AM

Labels: #Pune2014


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