Thursday, May 19, 2005

Ashtanga NY - 25

I woke at 4:15 and got up around 4:30. I showered and made it to the Puck at 5:15. Today there is no Second Series so we knew there were going to be a ton of people. Due to this I took S and T up on their offer to hold a space for me. They did get there early and got us some prime real estate in the first and second row. Of course they put themselves in the second row and put Matthew, H and I in the first. My mat was right in front of Guruji’s chair! I was a bit nervous at first but once the chant starts everything changes focus to just the breath and the practice.

I stood there at the front of my mat and watched Guruji, a foot in front of me, take off his jacket and sari (for lack of the proper term). His eyes are from another place. They gleam and glow like the eyes of only a few people I have seen before. Like the eyes of one who is in love, like the eyes of a sage. I thought of my grandfather. I felt a great deal of peace while watching him. He seemed to move differently from others. He was otherworldly yet profoundly human. I was off to one side, against the glass wall, so he walked away from me, to the center of the row for the chant.

Post chant we immediately went into Surya A and as we did he returned to stand right in front of me. During the second Surya he said “close hands” to me. Meaning that I was to bring my fingers together. I did so and really excelled at the 8 Suryas to follow as he stood there. I was also feeling the drive to do well as Matthew and H were next to me and S and T were right behind me. I had been practicing off on my own, surrounded by strangers, for the past four days and this was my first time practicing next to them. Funny, I practice next to them every morning in Detroit. I don’t know why this was different.

Practice flew by with Guruji standing at the top of my mat often. My problems with Bhujapidasana and Kurmasana and Setu continued but most everything else went smoothly. Saraswati adjusted me and got me to bind in Baddha Padmasana and it was very nice to be able to properly fold forward into the asana. Luckily Guruji was on the other side of the room when we did Utplutih!

We ended to session with the closing mantra, which I had never done before. Afterwards the entire room broke out into applause as Guruji found his was back to his chair and sat in front of me. He was beaming as everyone stood and gave him an ovation. I saw him wipe a tear from his eye and have to say that I teared up a bit as well. It was a beautiful ending to a wonderful week of practice. I changed and got in line with T, S and H to take pictures and say our goodbyes to Guruji and family.

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