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First Day at the Institute

So this is how this month long session is set up.  One hundred students come from around the world to study here.  So far I've met people from France, South Africa, Malaga, Britain, Australia, and China. The United States is well-represented. We're each assigned to one class a day and there's a three hour open practice period.  The classes are taught by Geeta Iyengar, Prashant Iyengar, and B.K.S. Iyengar and his granddaughter Abhijata.

Monday morning is my first open practice. Students come in to the main classroom and independently practice the asanas they choose.  I started in swastikasana, cross-legged pose which we start all our classes at Live Oak Studio. Right then Iyengar strode swiftly by not even five feet away!  He was on his way to his corner of the room where he practices daily.  At the age of ninety-three his practice consists of primarily inversions and supported backbends.  And part of the value of open practice I quickly learned was to be able to look over and see how the greatest living yoga teacher practices. He holds poses a long time 20 - 30 minutes.  Mostly he's silent, of course, but sometimes close students come to ask questions.

While he was practicing Viparita Dandasana, inverted staff pose supported by ropes (that we do in class using a chair) a Chinese woman brought  her two young grandsons to greet Iyengar.  Hanging upside down, he shook hands with them and warmly smiled at them.

He stopped practicing for a half an hour to teach his granddaughter, Abhijata who is in her late twenties and a primary teacher here. Again fascinating to see how he worked with her and how hard she worked for him in Urdhva Dhanurasana, upward bow. He had her do this from a chair like we do in class, but he made her  hold each repetition for a lot longer than we do.

Lessons everywhere I look.

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