Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Founders Day at the Institute!

This weekend was the annual celebration of the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute - year number 36! The whole center is completely spiffed up, and every statue inside and outside is adorned with fresh garlands of flowers. And just for the record, it's not really possible to use one's imagination to believe just how many statues there are... this is no small job! The main Patanjali statue in the practice room is decked out from head to toe and well beyond!

The Annual Day celebration is put on by the students. Saturday night there was a very nice little talk by a student on reflections from practicing at the Institute over the last year, followed by a really enthralling slide show & lecture on the history and symbolism in Hindu Temples. It was great! In the morning, we resumed with some wonderful performances: classical dance, and beautiful, beautiful music. This group, which includes a very regular student at the Institute was truly amazing. Smiles, tears, clapping and listening. It was incredible how much emotion they could evoke from the audience.

The morning was followed by the much anticipated afternoon... the children's program! Kids from the children's class put on the 2nd half of the show with all sorts of performances: yoga performances, classical dance, singing, Karnatic singing, sanskrit recitation, talks... and last - but NOT least, these three daredevil girls brought the house down with some amazing gymnastics done while hanging from the ceiling and wrapping this giant rope around their ankle or big toe or something perilous like that ... all while doing incredible yoga poses or acts of strength hanging in the air. It was positively amazing.

After all the performances, everyone lines up and is served a totally delicious South Indian meal. It was so good this year - fritters, puri breads, wonderful sambar, deliciously spiced cauliflower and veggies, sweets... Such fun! Plus, it's really nice to have a chance to visit and meet people and share a meal together as a community.

This celebration is a fun part of coming to the Institute in January - a chance to experience some Indian culture, and to see the broader community of people who are a part of the Iyengar Institute.

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