Sunday, August 28, 2011

Letter from my rope yoga teacher: feeling the healing, already:)

Udayji is my rope yoga teacher(Contact details: Sri Samartha Vyayam mandir, Shivaji park,,contact number 24457870/ R- 24308574/ M: 9869119916). He belongs to the old school where he does not charge anything for his teaching -- (I cannot even begin to be like him, since I charge for my classes:) So he is on another level altogether. In the last class, before my knee cracked up, I had done the pole in my life for the first time. I sat on the pole, released my hands, placed them overhead, impossible things for me, even a few years earlier. The wonder of him, is that he never says or asks, how old you are as a student.(At 49 to try mallakhambh!!).  He has an instinctive feel for how much a student can do on the rope/pole  and how far to lead her or him. In fact, the pole is never taught to women as a rule. But he just invites you to do it. It is amazing, how u can follow the instructions, over the clamor of pain (rope cutting into you and the muscle dragging against the pole) and overcome the film of sweat (that makes both slip:), and over the anxiety of your mind and its static chatter to follow his instructions blindly because he has that sort of energy:) In the last few weeks of my practice, I was fortunate to have practising with me some lovely girls from the Terence Lewis Dance Company. And Sheela Sharma, who has been doing rope for a few years. Very accommodating, they will help you into new poses, practice, encourage and be happy you have done what you did. Such attitude is not there in all health classes -- a lot of envy may be there, and some undercurrent of competition. But these girls were all so naturally giving, esp Shruti Jasani who is a dance teacher. She too wrote me such a long, lovely sms that I have saved it up, since it moved me so much:) 
So, yes, when Udayji  says do this, do that, on the rope, and says, let go of your hands, you just trust blindly and follow the instructions. In fact, in certain situations it seems like an impossibility, and dangerous, like when he says drop into the forward bend in the rope, releasing your hands, and u are hanging by your hip and facing the ground!! U feel the sense of falling head down, but u do it, and get a deep paschimottanasana, even on the rope which can hold u back, if you are nervous!!! 

And often, you can surprise how much he has made you do, beyond your wildest dreams. I learn a lot on how to be a teacher, just watching him. He can also be very very firm, ticking you off sharply if you are foolish. U have to hear him tick off students to know why a great teacher has  that right and must, in fact, use it!! In fact, if he did not do it, we cannot do most of what we do on the rope or pole. So, yes, that also, I believe is part of a good teacher.  Some of what gets done on the rope and pole too, is extreme, and if he did not have a military style of teaching, it could be rather dangerous for silly students. So, we all take that firmness for what it is, a protective shield that cocoons us (Some of my students react so violently when I adopt firmness!! They call me names, say I am negative...  I worry at what these people will learn).

 So, here is his letter, from Germany, from which he will return middle of next month:) See what he is telling and why I also like adopting that style, of reverting to health, in a controlled fashion, even in injury:)And why I believe him, and will go to him, with my knee still in splints to try what he is saying:)

Dear Shameemji,

Very sorry to hear the news about your Knee injury. Please take care and let it heal as fast as possible. I pray to God that you be recovered at the earliest. On my return on the 12th of next month, I am sure, we can start on the Rope and do the elements, where, you will not be required to use the left knee much. This also underlines the importance of proper warming up before beginning any sports activity. I am sure with your sound Yoga background and the the strong will power, you will recover soon. All the best.

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