Sarah P-C and Georgie practiced with John this morning; he helped them practice the vinyasa count, so they could lead us for the start of class. Because they both counted us through sun salutations, we did 5A salutations, 5B salutations and then 5 more A and 5 more B. It built a lot of heat in the room.
I woke up with a bit of a strain on the right-back part of my neck, so I was careful as I moved through the series. Nothing hurt, and my neck felt much better by the end. Later in the day, it was aching again, so I used my body rolling balls, and again, it felt much better. I'll probably use them again before I go to sleep.
Lucy made us some delicious vegetable pancakes and salad for lunch.
We started the afternoon session with sitting practice (led meditation) with John reminding us to find vertical with our spines, to relax, to breathe (continuously), and to use the count (as mantra). His guidance has helped me be much more relaxed in sitting practice. My back used to ache a lot, and it hasn't been aching at all during sitting here.
Since we finished sitting practice with a short time in resting pose, it was a bit difficult to come back to focusing on class afterward, but we all tried our best. The time in our classes flies by.
We discussed working with beginning students as well as with students who have had other teachers. John talks often about learning from his first teacher, Derek, as well as from Guruji, back when there only 4-8 people at the shala. At that time, the shala was in Lakshmipuram, and now it's much larger and in Gokulam.
John and Lucy went back together to Mysore last year for Guruji's 93rd birthday (he was born on the full moon day in July, 1915).
Several people went out for a long walk after class to lift their energies up, but I chose to stay here and work on my neck, read, relax, and call Tim and my parents. With Daylight Savings having just passed, now the east coast is not 18 hours behind, but 19. So, at 5:30 AM when I'm up to practice with John and Vayu tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, it'll be 10:30 AM Monday in Philadelphia.
Tonight, we had leftovers, and Vayu made some very special, very tasty miso soup. I felt like I was transported back to Japan, where I visited 20 years ago. Tomorrow, Vayu is going to make one of my favorite soups: miso with udon noodles. The best I ever had was at a car rest stop on a road to Yokohama.
Just a few moments ago, Vayu was practicing Tai Chi on the terrace of the shala. It was fun to watch.
Everyone else is hanging out in the lounge or in their rooms. The moon is rising in the sky, and by Wednesday, it'll be a full moon.
Time to head to my room so I can get a good night's sleep before early morning practice.
Maybe I'll try to put up a few pictures.