Postcards from Pune

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Frances on the stage at the Institute in Pune

Frances on the stage at the Institute in Pune

Half way through my month of yoga seems a good time to send greetings. Especially in this week when BKS Iyengar has been acknowledged worldwide through the media of Google. We, the students here at the Iyengar Institute, could hardly believe it on Monday morning when laptops were switched on to find Iyengar yoga poses played on the Google home page. We were preparing here for an evening celebration of what would have been Guruji’s (Guru—teacher and ji—most respected) 97th birthday. The Iyengar family had invited the extended family of teachers and students from across the world who are gathered here, to join them. It was a moving and inspiring evening.

Geeta and Prashant  Iyengar signing books at the birthday evening

Geeta and Prashant Iyengar signing books at the birthday evening


Little could I imagine when, as a newly qualified teacher, I first came to classes here over 20 years ago that Iyengar yoga would have such reach. Last week at the special Intensive conducted by Geeta Iyengar 1200 of us from 42 countries were present. The biggest contingent were Chinese. So this man from such humble origins has literally brought the yoga we love to millions of people. What a force for good.

The stadium with hanging pictures

The stadium with hanging pictures


At the end of the Intensive in the large stadium, the stunning photos that hung from the ceiling were auctioned off to raise money for Bellur, the small village where Guruji was born. I couldn’t resist bidding. I admit to not really thinking through how I was going to get this giant poster home but thankfully, with the help of a plumber’s drain pipe for protection and a generous chaperone it is on its way to London now. Look out for Ardha Chandrasana at the Yoga Centre in the New Year.

Packing the poster!

Packing the poster!

Frances with the poster.

Frances with the poster.


Now I am back in the more gentle routine of classes and practice at the Institute. It is very hot here so the walk there through a leafy park is most welcome. As is the chance to not only do classes but observe others in the range that is offered here.

Firooza and Frances at the Pranayama Intensive

Firooza and Frances at the Pranayama Intensive


Christmas seems a long way away. I will be spending it with our much loved teacher Firooza Ali at her home in Mumbai. But I woke this morning to the sound of carols being rehearsed by the children at the school nearby. India at its best is indeed a land of fusions and inclusions.


So let me send festive greetings, warmth (literally) and peace from this side of the world in whatever form it arrives.

Frances