Rx for India

Every morning I take Florastor, a probiotic, and Malarone, an anti-malaria drug, with my breakfast. I don’t know anyone else taking an anti-malarial. In fact, I debated about filling the prescription for Malarone, which cost more than CA$200 for a 40-day supply. But I decided to err on the safe side. Three or four months before I left, I visited Vancouver Coastal Heath Travel Clinic. I opted to get boosters for all recommended vaccines: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, typhoid. My prior vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella didn’t need boosters. In addition, to counter gastrointestinal trouble, I took Dukoral, a two-dose … Continue reading Rx for India

Early morning classes with Prashant

Students seem either to be enthralled by Prashant Iyengar‘s manner of teaching–or not to relate to it. Either way, his classes are memorable because they are unique. After four classes with Prashant in one week, I’ve found them both compelling and frustrating. I’m compelled by his attempt to go beyond asana: Prashant is trying to teach us why we do yoga, not how to do asana. A charismatic speaker, he has an impressive facility with the English language. To make a point, he uses imagery, analogy, simile, or metaphor. He can speak intelligently, off the top of his head, for hours (literally). He often wraps up his … Continue reading Early morning classes with Prashant

A few examples of Prashant talk

Prashant’s classes always leave me with indelible images. I jot them down at home, hours later. I know full well that recording any class is prohibited, so bear in mind that the following paraphrased statements are my interpretations. Don’t do asana strictly for the body. Think of a fountain pen. Now, if there’s a fountain pen made of gold or covered with diamonds, suddenly it is not a pen anymore; it’s something else. In asana, if you go beyond the body, it also becomes about something else. In a group, if there’s one person who works hard, sometimes the others will react by … Continue reading A few examples of Prashant talk

On the home front

Booking an apartment was my top priority. I was late to start, especially since regulars book their places a year or two in advance. I ended up choosing a new, untested listing in Bobby Clennell’s guide. The owner was prompt and articulate in his email messages, and it had the makings of a match: single apartment across the park, 200m from RIMYI. At first glance, it seemed old and lived-in, but comfortable. Once a family home, it was vacant for years; now the eldest son was renting out a bedroom and adjoined bathroom, a living area, and a kitchenette (another bedroom and the kitchen are off-limits). Then I noticed the quirks: … Continue reading On the home front

Mumbai to Pune by bus

To get from Mumbai to Pune, I made a last-minute decision to ride a bus. I’d already booked a train ticket. Trains are the iconic mode of travel in India (think The Darjeeling Limited) and I figured that the three-and-a-half-hour journey would be a good initiation. But my host friend’s housekeeper strongly recommended the Shivneri Volvo bus service as faster, safer, and definitely better. Also, my train would depart from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (better known as Victoria Terminus or simply VT), which would mean driving south from Mahalaxmi and backtracking north, away from Mumbai. The train ticket cost 333 rupees; the … Continue reading Mumbai to Pune by bus

Do you have a Geeta story?

A rite of passage for Iyengar yoga practitioners is a trip to the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune—to study directly with the Iyengars. Of course, BKS Iyengar is 92. Unless you met him in the 1970s or ’80s (or possibly the ’90s), it’s too late to make a personal connection now. It’s probably likewise with Geeta and Prashant, the son and daughter carrying his mantle. They, too, have taught thousands of students worldwide. Does it matter that I’m only a “grandstudent” of the Iyengars? Mr Iyengar is a conceptual teacher so I can certainly learn from his writings and … Continue reading Do you have a Geeta story?