There’s nothing to do but tolerate a fifteen hour plane ride. I settled in to my twenty by twenty inch space, strategically placing pillows, blankets, and not much more, since I took up the rest of the space. About five hours into the trip I awoke and made my way back to the restroom area where there was just enough room to maneuver and I began to stretch. All around me contorted bodies tried to sleep. The poses felt fantastic, so much better than a regular practice at home because my body was yearning to move. My feet and ankles were swollen and my knees achy. The movement made me delirious with relief, reminding me of the most basic benefit of yoga- physical release.
There were these little boxes on the wall that were perfect props allowing me to get a hand hold for twists and revolved poses. Occasionally, someone would join me while waiting for the restroom. Once a guy came up and OPENED one of the boxes, voila a chair! It was a jump-seat for the flight attendants. I hadn’t even realized. As I stretched up in Tadasana with hands interlaced in Baddangullyasana, I opened my palms and miraculously pressed them to the ceiling! This never happens for someone 5’2″. I was reminded of “really tall Earle” from yoga class who reaches the ceiling and floor in this pose all the time. It’s a useful prop the ceiling. Or my good friend and former student Tim, who upon arriving at his first class looked down at me and I looked up at him, “You must play basketball”, I said. “You must be a jockey”, he replied. Touche! I laughed and thought, short people have some advantages, they can do yoga on crowded planes and tall people can use the ceiling as a prop. I guess the lesson is we are all the same.
This is a view from The Leela Hotel in Mumbai. We sprung for a fancy hotel since we wanted a good nights sleep after the long journey. The hotel was very nice by American standards with beautifully kept grounds. In the morning I pried up the shades to get a good look at Mumbai and this is what I saw. Looking down you can see the palm trees and some of the landscaping in the parking lot. If you look to the left you will see the blue tarps of roofs of the shanty town that is adjacent to the hotel grounds. I watched in wonder for a while as a group of kids kicked a ball around and a woman walked barefoot through the lot to a mud puddle where she stopped and washed her feet before continuing. The proximity of wealth and affluence to poverty and deprivation was stunning. With gratitude, I bid you good-night.