We were all expecting a challenging Women's class for backbending week and we got it. After several Adho Mukha Svanasanas (Downward Dog) we went to (Full Arm Balance) , at least ten repetitions with different instructions to extend up more and more. Then on to Pinca Mayurasana (Peacock).
Sometimes Iyengar is in a supported inversion when he tells Abhi what to instruct or demonstrate. For Pinca he was standing up with a close view of the rope wall and the platform where the first group was to go up. I had set up there and stepped away and someone took my spot. This turned out to be fortunate.
Everyone was up and the instruction was, "Extend your toes towards the ceiling." Abhi repeated this several times and somehow people couldn't succeed in extending their toes. Raya came by and firmly swiped each student's toes upward. After they came down, Iyengar said with a fierce expression on his face, "This is an advanced class. If you can't extend your toes up in Pinca Mayurasana, you should return to the intermediate classes!"
I went to the wall with the second group. We all went up and after that powerful statement from Iyengar, I put my utmost effort into extending my toes upward and I bet everyone else did too. Abhi commented that this group was doing better.
It was impressive witnessing Iyengar's passionate teaching.