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Cynthia Bates writes from Pune, India

Iyengar yoga instructor Cynthia Bates has just started her month of studies at the Iyengar Institute in Pune, India, and shares her first thoughts. djn
Let me just start by saying that my second class here was taught by BKS Iyengar himself. Though, I tried not to have expectations coming here, my one wish was that this would happen, so I can leave fulfilled and it’s only been 4 days. Geeta Iyengar has not returned to teaching since her visit to the US for the Iyengar convention in May so Guruji has been filling in some of the classes. Of course he is not standing at the front of the room teaching but instead, laid out in a supported backbend observing the class upside down and channeling instructions to his 26 year old granddaughter Abi. Amazing. He saw everything and although we only did about 5 poses we progressed to new heights. I did the most incredible downward dog utlizing the outer elbows to revolve the thighs up and back elongating the spine so my heart felt pulled up to the sky. And his granddaughter is amazingly confident, funny and kind. I look forward to more in the coming weeks although I already feel overwhelmed with the experience.
I am staying in a wonderful apartment with two other teachers from SF that is about a block from the Institute. We decided to splurge and get a cook to come in 5 days a week which is a wonderful luxury. Along with the maid that comes with the apartment I feel very spoiled and yet grateful for the opportunity to simply be here and experience the yoga. My schedule so far is: meditation, light breakfast, class or practice, lunch, reading, nap, class or practice, dinner, bed – glorious! I am really enjoying the lazy afternoons although I suspect that I will get restless soon and start doing more exploring around the city.
Pune is much less busy and dirty than other places I have been in India and the weather so far has been wonderful – 80s and overcast with occasional showers. After the fog, the warmth is welcome and the practice is very different in this heat which oils the joints. I took a walk this morning with my roommate Nora (from SF) up a hill behind the local college where you could look out over the sprawl of the city with small hills jutting out between buildings.
This is the first time I have felt the desire to be on the computer checking email since I got here but since I have discovered that the internet place is only about a 10 minute walk away I suspect I will be coming more often so let me know what’s up with you!
Happy 4th of July – “ooo” and “aaa” at some fireworks for me, will ya?
much love, cynthia