The month is over and I haven’t had a moment to reflect. My group arrived and their adventure of yoga, dance, food and culture has begun. One chapter closed and another began and I haven’t had time to reflect on the first chapter ending. Geeta’s pranayama class encouraged us to “find out your own answers.” She was in her peak state of course getting frustrated by our inability to know our own imbalances and our own twists and turns. This theme of going to the edge of your breaking point in order to have some sort of transformation was a theme. You must die before you are reborn. This is different than Prashan’ts doing doing and dying. Doing with purpose for purpose. As we learned to turn our foot properly in Swastikasana she said, “Oh people think Geeta is physical yoga….it’s ok. He knows,” as she throws a glance to the sky. Prashant spoke of our minds and expanded that the citta is of many levels and there are fluctuations on every level of our being. From the physical into the spiritual. Geeta may speak about turning of the foot and Prashant asks us to watch the effect of exhaling profoundly on the body and the mind. When I asked him that it’s overwhelming all that there is to do he said, “ I must give you a lot in your baggage to take home….schemetize your practice and exploration.” While on the first day of class I felt that breathing from and in my shoulder blades literally change my emotional state and the spinal confinement of breath making my mind sharp and clear, I know wondered who is watching and who is doing? These are the kind of conversations we have over ginger tea at the Chetak. I’m just gonna quote my good friend Jennie as she wrote this right after class when it was fresh and says it so well From the physical to the spiritual and back again, there is so much to learn on this subject of yoga, and as Prashant said this morning, "we must be our own entertainment". There is no reason to be looking outside of ourself for such distractions when right within us there is so much to discover. On the personal front, it was indescribably wonderful to share this experience with Jennie. We met there in 2008 and I just loved having a pal on this journey! I love all the people I meet here. The friendships are deep and connected. Columbia, England, Japan , New Zealand , Italy, Brazil- these are some of the countries of my new friends. THE TOUR BEGINS Now is the third day of the first group I’ve ever brought to India. Two of the women are sign language interpreters and found a deaf school that showed them a yoga demonstration. So impressive it was that Devki is going to follow up with visiting and connecting with the school. Tomorrow we are going to meet up with the Deaf folks I ran into at the Chetak to see the light show at Shaniwar Wada. It’s Diwali so a light show seems apropos. I like not planning much because it’s these surprise experiences that make one’s experience here meaningful. I want to stay out of India’s way and let her do her thing. Gaya took us on the most amazing food tour. I have fallen in love with India again. First, there was the most delicious lemongrass kissed chai followed by a tour of the market. Then we ate a tapioca dish, upma/ semolina , pohe/pounded rice dish and a sweet semolina followed up with what is kinda like an empananda with fresh peas and coconut. Each dish was a cacophony of flavors and textures, soft and crunchy, warmly spicy and sweet. I have never in the many years of coming here experienced such extraordinary food. We were then taught Baratynam, folk and Punjabi dance by Devki’s niece. Devki then told us the story of Pantanjali in the form of Adisea desiring to learn dance and how first he had to come to earth in a human form to learn yoga. She connected the spirit of dance to that of yoga and we entered a glorious and well needed savasana and meditation. A large part of this meditation is the act of forgiveness, both forgiving and asking for forgiveness. Many reached a very vulnerable state and when asked if they could cry Devki replied with a song in her voice, “Why nooooot!?” Hearts were definitely opened. From this inside world, Gaya brought us out into the out into the bustle of Pune to a non-veg restaurant as she was excited to share this local place with people who eat meat- Everyone seemed really happy. My failing is that I can’t write about something I don’t understand. The sticky ghee rice I had was pretty good. And there is a yogurt drink with a fruit that Gaya had me try at her house- it’s like a tamarind flavor sweet and tart but bright purple in color so the drink was a lovely pink color. On the way back, we found ourselves in a home textiles shop and the gals went crazy. I was happy to say that I knew where his sheets came from having visiting Sanganeer in Rajasthan a few years ago. Gaya’s friend, Parvain joined us. His smile and something about his whole demeanor just made me like him so much. He was so quiet, intensely knowledgeable about food and brought such a nice energy to the group. Who did he remind me of? Over coffee, asking him about his future software engineering days back in his home village town it hit me over the head- though far more understated and steady, he reminded me so much of my ex who also can have kind eyes and a mesmerizing smile. Funny how when you least expect it, something happens to make you remember the good things, the open heart things and the pain and anger fade to the background. I am eager to go back to the sacred space and practice asana and meditation. I think it’s doing something!