When I make my daily Skype call to my husband (Internet willing. Thursday is known around here as a "bad" Internet day without any explanation), My response to his question about what I did that day is invariably "Yoga, eat, sleep. Repeat." We have certainly settled into a routine, but my response belies how much we are really doing. This is truly an immersion of an intensity that requires time for assimilation, not to mention calories for refueling and zzzz's for recovery. It is difficult at this point to be articulate about all that has happened with the yoga. Processing time is required. One of the U.S. students who has been here with us since October, says it always takes her two years.
I have found the following from my teacher, Mary O, to be spot on about my time here, "It is so very rich, complex, scary, wonderful—all those things, all the time".
November started with a large influx of new students and a handful of us continuing on from October. Overall it is a much larger group than last month. It was jarring at first as we had to adjust to less room in the practice hall (mat to mat) and having to wait for a favorite prop. My students have probably heard me say more than once when we are cramped for space at the rope wall, for instance, that it still does not compare to India. Overall, it seems the experience level of the students is more mixed this month. In the first Friday pranayama, Geetaji had to go way back to basics--how to sit in Swastikasana. There was frustration on her part (we have heard her say "You are killing me! I am coming to the end of my life. All the time I have to teach over again what you should know"). But she worked with a great deal of compassion with the students she was helping. The results were exquisite, so much space achieved in the chest so there was some chance that some breath could reach there in the pranayama. I have also seen Geetaji work with the Indian teachers on these occasions almost with a sense of urgency to get them trained with what she knows. She cares very much about them.
As the time for my departure nears, I am both excited to return to my family and already nostalgic about my time here. Yes, I have been told about the snow that already came to Morgantown. For some reason my husband was not very sympathetic when I said it had gotten colder here too. I actually have to wear long sleeves for my morning walk to the Institute! Our shared experiences will always connect me to the wide variety of students from around the world that I have met here. It has become comical when Abhi inevitably shouts out during class "RUSSIA! Where are the Russian students?" She wants them to be near each other so they can help translate for each other since many do not understand English well. Sweden, Germany, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Canada, U.K., Scotland, Ireland, Indonesia, Italy, Colorado, South Carolina, New York, California, New Mexico, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Hawaii are all represented.There are also the many friendly "locals" that have enriched our stay; the smiling guard at the Institute gate who has learned our names, the also always smiling lady who sells vegetables to us and fed us in her home, the rickshaw driver who brings me the best yogurt I have ever tasted so I don't have to bounce in the rickshaw to the store, the happy children who wave and shout hello to this tall white woman on my walk to the Institute, the "coconut man" who prepares my refreshing post-yoga coconut milk (watch out for the machete!).