Friday, February 11, 2011

Yesterday in Class: Petros and the art of meditation:)

Petros, one of my evening batch students, is leaving India for few months. So he asked again for a meditative class.. and any case that is easy to do a meditative class with that batch: Claudia, Nathalie and Petros (and Murthy) are like that... centered energies, so it is easy to do this without thinking it is a strain (a meditative class is tough on an instructor  if the class has rank beginners who don't know yoga in it or don't align with the mind-aspect of yoga. or lack the physical stamina to do the poses or has restless walk-in students from another yoga brand which is more hatha) ..

So, the thing about Petros' request, which I like very much indeed, is that it sets the tempo for me... with him, I am always prepared for a meditative class and though the girls may burst into a giggle if they got a pose wrong or find something difficult, Petros himself has shut his eyes, determined to withdraw into himself:) And that reminds others gently that this is to be a meditative class -- the cue comes from the student this time:)

Plus, he is not restless for variations. In a meditative class, attempting variations is also difficult simply because the newness of it, the lack of stamina in it, can disrupt the energies -- people will tilt over or fall, the energy becomes nervous and strained, or comic!..

His other batchmates are also like that, not straining for variations and want to perfect the poses  -- Claudia can hold the crow for two minutes sometimes! She wants to perfect the basic poses -- in the Sivananda chart basics are also difficult -- so that is a great, and best, attitude to have in a meditative class...

So, now Petros is doing a gentle, long headstand... he often stays up, unaware, for two minutes or more, almost three minutes-- swaying lightly, and uses the titali to enter a more soothing space in his mind... For him, the titali headstand variation is soothing! He is also aligned towards pranayama -- another thing which is difficult to inculcate in a class which may be asana-centric .. plus the entire group likes to chant the prayers with me, so I split up the Sanskrit prayer, one word at a time, and it feels very beautiful, the centering, uplifting, co-operative, bonding effort of that... And sets the tone for meditation right off in the beginning...

So, Petros's request for meditative classes has got that type of class, out of my `forgotten cupboard' of memories, and I am dusting the effort (in my mind) required for a deeply meditative and intense class and it feels wonderful. There is a tautness in a meditative class that is lacking in a calm or gentle class -- and that is the effort the instructor must bring into the class deliberately I feel.

I  believe in that sort of class, the instructor has to meditate throughout the class! Her or his energy must be relaxed, taut, calm, content, not straining to maintain a decorum or pretence of calmness!! The last bit can again ruin the meditative experience... which is why it can be rather a strain if the class is not ready as a collective whole for that mood.. Having half the class wanting that and the others resisting that -- that will be one mess.. energies on both sides can be negative!!
 So, yes, when the entire class settles into a meditative state, that is an amazing thing and wonderful thing... but feels, at the end, like Phew!! Yes!! That sort of wordless experiences ... which is what yoga must be:) So, thanks Petros, for allowing me to participate in the meditative classes... and for that sweet invitation of your request:)

Yes, Petros, if you are reading this blog, I want something that is missing in it.... an image of you doing the headstand --  from Cambodia?? Okie:) ?

Hope your practice remains strong there... Have a great stay and  see u this summer, back, more yoga-toned!!

Happy sadhana!

1 comment:

Anila said...

" So, yes, when the entire class settles into a meditative state, that is an amazing thing and wonderful thing... but feels, at the end, like Phew!! Yes!! " ..So true!