Wussy westerners

We seem to have fallen on our feet with our accommodation.  The owner, Prashanth, is a yoga student of BNS Iyengar – not to be confused with the recently deceased legend that is BKS Iyengar. Both BNS and BKS Iyengar were students of Krishnamacharya (that must have made for confusement in class) and BNS Iyengar is still alive and well at 89 years old, and one of the most respected teachers in Mysore, himself a living legend. Anyway, it turns out BNS Iyengar (I will try and find out what those initials stand for!) would like to use this place to teach in, and hopefully he will be starting a one month intensive pranayama course here within a week or so. Needless to say, I am on the waiting list!

This morning we volunteered our ‘western bodies’ to help Prashanth assess a new teacher, also a student of BNS Iyengar – they clearly take student-teacher lineage really seriously out here. Prashanth would like this teacher to take classes at our accommodation, but first wants to see if he is able to adapt his adjustments for westerners. I asked what the difference is and apparently it mostly comes down to us westerners being a bit wussy – Indian adjustments tend to be strong and abrupt, whereas for westerners they ease their way into the adjustments over the course of the five breaths. Also, apparently Indian yoga students tend to have a quicker breath than westerners, which surprised me.

Anyway, I certainly found the adjustments this morning stronger than I was used to, but very effective. The teacher clearly knows what he’s doing. Poor Chris got a bit of a beasting though – adjusted on nearly every posture as there were only four of us in the room and I sensed they were a bit reluctant to touch the girl!

Incidentally, this new teacher is apparently a gold medal winner of the northern districts yoga tournament and a referee in this district’s yoga competition. I find the concept of yoga competition hard to get my head round, but it’s certainly big out here, and has been for a very long time. I hope to attend a competition soon to see what it’s all about and will of course report back!

It feels absolutely wonderful to be out here, and I actually can’t quite believe that it’s taken me so long to come to the homeland of something that I teach for a living. Indians I speak to about yoga generally assume I’ve been before and I have to put them straight sheepishly. Oh well, everything happens when it should, and I certainly feel ready to soak up as much learning as I can and definitely feel that this is exactly where I should be right now. I’m not sure Chris feels the same though!

In fact, as I write this, Chris is test-riding a second hand moped outside, preparing his Mysore escape route – a trip round India on two wheels (or possibly three if he gives in to his desire to buy a tuc-tuc!).

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