My conversation with Kanika sometime ago (that’s her in the pic), about her Yoga workshop, made me think about distinct styles that each of my teachers use and the unique learning each of them left me with, without any of them making any obvious effort. Simple but deep.
The first time I ever attempted yoga was around 2001- twice a week, Mishra ji would come to our office in the evenings to conduct sessions. My then relatively younger body had never really exercised (other than active sport that I enjoyed all my growing up years) and even a simple Vajra Asan would leave me (and the others too :) ) in pain.
Witnessing our discomfort, Misra ji, in his inimitable style, would urge us to “Enjoy the pain.” Partly how it was said and partly the seeming irony of that statement would invariably have us laughing, but lo, as we started to ‘enjoy’, the pain would disappear.
I was to subsequently use this learning in challenging times, as I finally brought myself to a point that I could look pain in the eye and smile at it, it would start to melt, soon disappearing. Things would actually start to sort themselves out.
I miss Mishra ji’s classes and would love to go back to them some day.
- A couple of years later, I happened to visit Mini’s studio for her book’s photo shoot, which Amit had invited me to join him for, and decided that I must attend classes with her at some point in time. It happened a year or so later and changed the very way I looked at life. When I started, I was anxious if I would be able to fit the class into my day, but soon- magically-everything in my life started to find its way around yoga – I don’t think I missed too many classes because I was ‘busy’.
From Mini I learnt the value of a Guru – just when I thought I had stretched or bent the max I possibly could, she would give a gentle tug or push, as the case may be, and I would discover that I could do more.
I would wait for class all day and but enter the studio nervously – whoever said yoga is not taxing. Knees would be giving way as I climbed down, post sessions, but enter the car… and ‘peace’ – peace and quiet like I had never experienced before.
- Swami Ji at Mini’s was something else – a bhikshuk, he had left home young and wore from among the two pairs of trousers and a couple of t-shirts that had been gifted to him, for he didn’t ‘buy’ or possess anything. He spoke chaste English; watched television in Divakar’s office; conducted sessions once a week and generally enjoyed life – he must also be the fittest man I have met.
- Sonja, also at Mini’s a couple of years later, easily demolished my belief that I was relatively fitter now – my body was hurting for 2 days after her first class, but craving for more …
- I learnt ‘how’ to breathe from Sapna, my present teacher – many of us, like me, don’t know how to breathe correctly. Her classes also resulted my meeting Rohini, my Reiki teacher and friend and that’s the most wonderful gift I could have received. Sapna’s classes are ‘peaceful’ – combining yoga, meditation, pranayam and more…
Kanika is the youngest yet of all my Gurus. I await the learnings.
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