I attended the women’s class taught by Sunita (Guruji’s daughter) yesterday morning. Guruji was at his practice area watching as he sat in Padmasana. He instructs from the side clarifying or changing Sunita’s instructions. He is watching us in Uttanasana.
Sunita instructs us to let the skin of the side body, the skin of the arms, the skin of the back, move down toward the floor. Raya (one of Guruji’s assistants) comes to the front and asks, “Guruji wants to know how many of you are teachers?” Many raise their hands. Guruji asks, “How can you be teachers if you can’t understand what I want you to do in Uttanasana?” He has us do it again, and again, until we understand.
Today’s Practice Session
During the practice session, I set up near the windows not too far from Guruji. I listened to him as he taught his assistants the proper action in Urdhva Dhanurasana, Virasana and Urdhva hastasana. I watched their assent indicating the pose changed with his instruction.
In Urdhva dhanurasana he had an assistant place his hands on blocks and come up. While he was in the pose another assistant slid a wedge between his arms and the wall. The narrow edge of the wedge was placed toward the wrists. I couldn’t hear what was said, but from what I saw, this action encouraged a lift in the chest and an opening in the upper back.
In Virasana he had each of them press down and draw the skin strongly away from the pit of the knee toward the feet, not down and out to the side. More indications of assent were seen as they move in and out of the pose.
Sunita came over to talk to Guruji and he said: (paraphrasing) “Look at that one over there. They come here and their practice is sincere but they are stupid. They don’t understand the connective tissue.” He tells one of his assistants, “Lift your arms up. Where is the connective tissue?” The assistant points to a spot in the arm pit. “Lift your arms from there. What happens? The arms go up!”
stupid?? why this disdain, bert? please find out…and stay healthy! :))
I didn’t see disdain in his face, more frustration. He has been asking people who their teachers are…he may be frustrated by the way we are being taught.
Ouch! Technically, it is the muscles that make the arm go up, not the connective tissue. Better not point that out to him any time soon, though. Hydrate!
What he means by this is that there are certain areas of the body we can engage to make it move more efficiently For example, lifting the outer knee can effect the action of the arms in Urdhva hastasana. It’s all connected…
Now that makes sense. Thanks!
I want to learn and do the asnas correctly but I don’t relish being brow beat. I guess I’m too sensitive.