Class Twenty-two

It was clear from the mat choice of the locals that we were doing pranayama today. Soft mats, bolsters and blankets were gathered. There were only about ten Western faces in the very large class this morning. Many people have departed already. We will go to our last class tomorrow and then head for Mumbai.

Prashant instructed “a supine pose” of our choice to start and we jumped right into to pranayama. There’s no settling time with Prashant except for the instruction to do so. He starts right in. In the early morning the cooking fires a block away fill the air with smoke and I find it hard to breath deeply in any smoky situation so I just hung in there until the air cleared.

During his lecture portion he talked about the breath being internal currency. Like a big bag of rupees is worthless to a monkey (this guy loves animals! I swear they come up in nearly every class) money is not worth anything to our internal selves. It can buy us (our external selves) everything from “essentials” to “luxuries” but when it comes to internal exploration, breath is the currency.

These experiments take place in the laboratory of the body. He talked about practicing to become proficient. Practice the same pose over and over, day after day, and once you know the pose, once proficient, then explore the pose. Study the breath. Experiment in the pose. Use the body as a laboratory. He maintained that Guruji didn’t practice until his death but was proficient in his poses decades before his death. He was experimenting/exploring in those poses until he died.

Like a mother’s touch to her newborn baby, the breath should be as gentle. As our external physical selves like and don’t like to be touched, find which part of the internal self does and does not like to be touched by the breath. Explore theses areas with a breath that is as gentle as that mother’s touch.

Again, after pranayama I feel like an unreliable witness. Prashant is fond of giving choices during class and today he suggested we could change our arm positions, include graphic breathing or directing the exhalation to come from the skull, thorastic region or chest cavity. During our supported savasana he also introduced doing viloma with silent sounds. For instance it might go something like this: inhale with a silent “Goo”, pause, inhale with a silent “guy”, pause, inhale with a silent “ghee”.

It was a lovely class and I am understanding more and more and more and more of his fast paced, accented yogic rap.

Here is the sequence for what it is worth (without the detail of what breathing patterns we did):

Supta baddhakonasana (supine pose of choice)

Supta Virasana

Supta baddhakonasana (supine pose of choice)

Sit on the bolster

Supported savasana

Sit on the bolster

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