It’s been raining non stop in Pune for the last 3 days. The last time I experienced rain like this was in Wellington. There the rain was accompanied by mist and the smell of Eucalyptus and Citronella. Here I’m hurrying to RIMYI as quickly but as carefully as I can so as to make it to class on time while avoiding getting muck on my shoes and clothes.
The 7 am class this morning was taken by Abhijata. We started with the Uttanasana and the Adhomukha Svanasana. We frequently start classes with these poses. Then we were asked to get bricks and then started the series of standing poses. We did all the standing poses without a break. We did the entire sequence on both sides taking a break in between. It took us only about 10 minutes. Abhijata then told us that we can do the entire sequence of standing poses every day and in only 20 minutes. In Iyengar yoga we start with the standing poses. These poses are sort of like the entry point to other poses and also the entry point to start correcting alignment issues. Structural and postural defects can be corrected only once the corrections from basic standing asanas are experienced by the body.
Another reason we begin with standing asanas is because while doing the asanas you focus on nothing but the asana. It’s difficult to think about how much you hate your boss when your thighs are screaming in Virbhadrasana 1. So for 20 minutes (while you are performing the sequence of standing poses), you get a mental break from whatever thoughts disturb you for the rest of the day. This state of focus and concentration is what meditation tries to get you to. In Iyengar yoga we use the asanas as a means to attain the meditative state.
When you try to sit and actively concentrate on emptying your mind or focusing on an object/word/thought, it’s difficult. It could lead to frustration as well (the opposite of what we hope to achieve through meditation). However, practicing asanas with consciousness and with an attention to detail ensures that for the time you are practicing you are also in a meditative state.
Perhaps this explains why I feel a sense of lightness here. (Starting to wonder if I want to make it back to Bangalore….)