I’ve been told by many that being in India changes you in ways you don’t expect. I think before I came here I thought that change would be profound, but so far the biggest change for me is my sleep patterns. I wake before the sun here and feel most productive from 5-8 a.m. Since we have class three days a week at 7 a.m. this new pattern is convenient. And since classes have definitely put me through the wringer, I’m guessing that it isn’t so much that the mornings are different here as that it is just the one time during the day that is before class! Once I’ve been to class, my body is in recovery mode.
Our weekend (Saturday evening and Sunday) has been eventful. Last night our rickshaw driver brought us to dinner at his house. His daughter-in-law and wife made a lovely dinner for us, while Nana showed us pictures of his family and Western friends. We saw some familiar faces in those pictures (Bill!) and could see that Nana has taken care of many yoga people in the past.
The family gracefully sat on the floor where they take their meal, making me, the yoga teacher, embarrassed by my inability to sit still for mealtime. Squirming from crossed legs, to vajrasana (sitting on my heels) and then back to cross legs and so forth, I mused that although chairs may be comfortable, but they sure have contributed to my tight hips. Watch out! I may be getting rid of my kitchen table and chairs when I return!
Their house was about an hour’s drive from Model Colony, the area where we are staying. We traversed dirt roads and empty fields that Nana says are endangered here in Pune. It was nice to see some open space, even if only in short spurts. Their house is modest and homey, and we felt very welcome there.
Today we visited two villages, Saswad and Jejuri, both about a couple of hours drive from Pune, to visit temples. The road was mountainous and yet again a challenge for the “go with the flow” mentality I’ve adopted since I came. But Nana’s son maneuvered the roads with the ease of a seasoned driver and we enjoyed the temples and a good meal in between.
Jejuri is the most spectacular place we have visited so far. The temple sits above the town on a hillside and the pilgrimage to the temple includes climbing dozens and dozens of stone steps through turmeric offerings from the many, many people who live there. The steps were packed with pilgrims too, and the chaos was really lovely. Susan and I were celebrities, being the only westerners there. People stopped us to ask if they could take their pictures with us, and we were thrilled, because it gave us permission to take many pictures of the people, their streets, and their homes.
We were covered in turmeric by the time we reached the top and have since then discovered that bright yellow turmeric dyes white cotton pink when washed. Susan has a new pink shirt!
Below is a link that explains why turmeric is offered at this particular temple and also provides the story behind the location of the temple. Both Susan and I were struck by the archetypal themes within this story. Check it out:
Tomorrow it is back to yoga! Prashant will teach the morning class, followed by practice. We will return in the afternoon to observe the medical class, an amazing display of ingenuity in yoga therapy.
More to come soon!