I am bright and early for my yoga class. The earlier instructor is taking another batch, so she won’t be teaching us any more. This month, we’d have a new instructor. I missed the first class of November (on account of running around Juhu beach at midnight, for which I am not sorry at all). I have no clue who she is. So, I’m sitting in my yoga room, watching the faint, winter morning paint the spit-and-polish granite floor. A man walks in. Fit, speedy, somewhat short. He looks at me and says, “Good morning.” He’s the instructor.
There are no mats in the room. Usually, the instructors are supposed to have the mats in the room, open the windows, draw the curtains, etc. etc. Generally, set up the class so to speak. But if any of the students reached early, we do the same.
Since I’m there, I ask him if he’d like some help getting the mats from the store room. He blinks and says, “Maaf kijiye. Aap krupya Hindi main baat karengi?”
So I repeated it in Hindi. He looked a little perplexed. He came up to me and said, “Aap Hindi main bolengi, please?”
I nodded earnestly and told him, “Maine aapko Hindi mein bola.”
He looked, if possible, even more confused and replied, “Woh Hindi thi?”
I mean…if that’s not insulting…
Then the class began. And man, is this guy tough! Sure, I’m better at yoga now than when I started out, but this teacher definitely pushes the limits. My personal best is doing 20-25 suryanamaskars easily. I’ll sweat a bit if there are variations where you hold a pose for 15 counts longer or you do the Bhujangasan with your knees off the ground or you do the knee-chest-chin dip with your body two inches off the floor. But overall, I thought I was good. Until today.
I think he must’ve made us do 50. Then 20 more with variations. And since we had time to complete all the other pranayams, etc., I am guessing this gut-splitting routine must not have taken up more than 15-20 minutes. By the end of it, everyone in the class is probably re-thinking the sanity of performing exercises that were developed by people living in mountains eating berries.
Then we do the other stretches. The instructor just didn’t let up. I mean, sometimes, if I have eaten sensibly over a few days, I can bend and touch toes and forehead to knees, etc. etc. But last week, there have been…ahem…indulgences. So, no…I couldn’t make the two ends of my body meet. Of course, the instructor thought otherwise. He snapped something about ‘aalas’ (laziness) and insisted that my head and feet get re-acquainted, whilst my back played spoilt-sport. I did think I was damaged for life.
But I have to say that I actually feel so light and limber today. It feels as if the ligaments and muscles have just opened up. It’s a beautiful feeling.
But the remark about my Hindi – that still hurts.