My day with Gulnaaz Dashti
Like most of my yoga friends at the Maidstone Yoga centre I got very excited when I saw that Gulnaaz Dashti was running a day of yoga at the centre. Prompted by Lin, with one space left I rushed home and enrolled, the prospect of being taught by one of Guruji's and Geetaji's direct students was very exciting.
After hearing so much about the "Indian" experience from Leo, Erika and Lin our chance to get a taste of this true and pure form of Iyengar yoga was upon us. As I got in my car to make the short journey to Maidstone I have to admit to some nerves and self doubt creeping in! would I be able to cope with 5 hours of India? would my body hold up? would I let Lin down? Would my 5 years pale into insignificance against the years of yoga maturity in the room? As I approached the centre I gave myself a little slap and reminded myself of Lin's favourite saying "lets do it" so I said to myself "Yes Ali Lets do this"… I eagerly took my place in the class and was immediately struck by Gunaaz's smiling face and calmness, her no fuss and incredibly observant approach quickly put us all at ease and off we went. The morning flew by, 3 hours filled with hard work, laughter and some lovely words. A short break and then back for the afternoon. Now I understand the India experience!!! My groins and hamstrings have never been so stretched! Gulnaaz's helping hand – literally hands on! and assertive words resulted in progress and that stubborn dullness started to wake up. I can certainly relate to her metaphor of the fruit on the trees only dropping when they are ripe, parts of my body certainly felt like hard unripened fruit, so yes I now know I still have a long way to go before my muscles and mind are truly soft. My time with Gulnaaz has reinforced my belief that Yoga is a life journey and you have to be patient. Patience is not one of my strong points, but through Yoga Im learning about balance, that we don't need to rush, that if we feed our body's with goodness, learn to let go, work hard and be disciplined we can achieve more than we think possible. This was the best 5 hours of my Yoga journey so far, I came out of the class feeling a great sense of wellness and energy, I felt like I had been treated to a boost of the most wonderful fertiliser. Thank you Gulnaaz, it was a real privilege, you have given us in our little town of Maidstone a flavour of Pune. Now I know I want to visit your studio in Baner, although I also recognise I have a little more ripening to do if Im to survive more than one day in your amazing hands! In the mean time under Lin's excellent tutelage I will continue to understand that "strength is soft" that I need to "let go" more, "lift up", not "try so hard", "do less" and laugh more.