Tuesday, March 06, 2012

In class today -- ga ga over Gajananam

Here is Kiran, Geeta, and Valerie, singing the Gajananam.

I normally use the Sivananda short prayers for the beginning and end of a class. Considering it is Mumbai, considering that I have just one hour to do the class, I used to think that this should do. Back of the mind is the fact that the Gajananam is a very long prayer. And most Mumbaikars, unlike with other city, won't make the effort to learn it or sing it along. I mean to say, as a teacher ur voice sort of rings out alone and the others either do not even bother to say it along or if they do, whisper it to themselves. Some students are just moving their lips and others do not even keep up that pretence!!  I mean, I have certified intstructors who will mumble into their chins, so technically u are sort of on your own. ( I had to once teach a general class in Delhi and liked it that a lot of students -- who were not instructors -- did know the prayer by heart and this makes  it easy for the teacher). And I also liked  it very much that people said it clearly alongwith the teacher.  I recall doing the Gajananam when I first started the Sivananda modules in Nalanda, Bandra, on the Carter road stretch. It was easier there for some reason:) But in the Bandra class, I only did the Gajananam once a week with the Mon-Fri- Wed batch, till this week.

So, yes, the mon-wed-fri batch is good  and their practice seems to be powered by this prayer too:) I mean  they will at least sing or mumble along, including rank newcomers like Naina and Zara. Also Kavita, whenver she makes an appearance. So, when I tried it with this Tue batch I realised despite being given a sheet in hand, they were just looking at it, and not singing along. So, now on, I decided that I will sing it in all classes:) Because this mumbling etc.. what help is that to them or me? I believe the prayer protects, and throws your practice into another level altogether. I am also finding the strangeness of reciting this prayer just once a week in a few classes rather excruciating. It feels strange (and painful) to have a bunch of people sitting quietly in front of you, waiting for the prayer to get over, instead of saying it along!!  So, yes, after the absolutely disastrous recital this morning of the Gajanam in the 7 am class (as well as the long final prayers  I have decided on having the prayer recited before  every class from now on. So, despite my inhibiitions I did carry forward this experiment of trying the long prayer in the next batch at 8.45 am  -- and voila -- the  newcomers to yoga -- Kiran and Geeta (Kiran  is on the left and Geeta on the right)  gave a strong vocal support that promises to keep my decision intact.. behind is Valerie, valorously trying out the Sanskrit words.

So, yes, finally daily Gajananam it is going to be.. so it would be good, if everybody who is my student gets their act together...

Any prayer that forms part of a long tradition is said to create a kavach -- a protectice shield.. It protects you from your foolishness on the mat and outside it.. so yes, it is a prayer worth investing in...learning it and reciting it, before every practice.

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