Sunday 09/10/16 – Stories of Guruji, Gulnaz and the Rope Trick

I'm so lucky!

First class with Gulnaz at her little studio, some way from Pune Central and the Institute. Gulnaz herself I had known about for some time. She had been mentioned with reverence when I still lived in the UK. She is bright, effervescent and skillful. We sat for a few minutes before the start of class, she talked on many topics as students arrived. There was talk, at length on hamstring issues. Gulnaz made a point of identifying the sacro iliac instability goes hand in hand with this problem, and stabilization of the attachment of the hamstring at the top of the back of the thigh was paramount in aiding the fix of this troublesome, long-lived problem when it occurs. So, with that said we did the very Iyengar yoga thing of tying our legs up. Not together, but taking two belts and looping them around the buttock, so that they grabbed the buttock bone, looped up towards the top of the hip, almost but definitely above the greater trochanter, over the inner front groin, the mid groin and back up again. You have to get intimate with yourself, and keep readjusting the belts as you go. But it’s a deep exploration into the imbalances in the body. We all of us tend to develop one side of the body stronger than the other. 
Gulnaz was effusive about making stiffer students do more and the more flexible of us should back off.
The rope trick:
For AMS step into the middle rope, face the rope wall and take one leg over both strands of the rope. Have the knot so it pressures the sacrum in the pose

Asana:
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Walk forward
Uttanasana
Trikonasana
    -    Adjustment for stiff student at the trestle as Abhi did with the student in the room yesterday.
    -    A less stiff student was adjusted in the room
       o    Support the top shoulder; student hand on hip
       o    Stand close and use the  knee into the front leg buttock to move it forward

Belted as described above
Prasarita Padottanasana
    -    People with hamstring issues hate this one the most
    -    It was most investigatory, striking difference between the right and left orbits of the hips, thighs and sit bones.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Uttanasana
Trikonasana
Parsva Konasana
Ardha Chandrasana
    -    Similar adjustment to Trikonasana. Very able student had the top hip guided upward as the shoulder was stabilized and the buttock of the standing leg was moved forward
    -    Student held the ankle of the person adjusting
AMS – in the rope
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana with a block at the sacrum

Gulnaz told a very touching story about her working with Guruji. In years after many of the teachers started traveling abroad, eventually there would be just herself and Guruji in the practice hall together during his practice time. He would get her to help him, do certain jobs for him to help him sharpen his pose. One day he asked to put him into Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulder Stand). She shook with nerves as she positioned the great man; her guru, the expert of experts. Adjusting him was difficult enough; his skin soft as a baby’s, his muscles more pliable still. There was obvious emotion in the telling. Her guilt at not positioning the prop (wedges under the shoulders) correctly. Guruji stayed in Sarvangasana for 50 minutes. Usually for 45, but he stayed longer and then told her of her mistake and a wave of guilt washed over her. Guruji said it was ok, he knew what to do anyway. Still tears in her eyes from deep affection for this man. One of many great stories from those that knew him personally.

Tricia AmheiserComment