The Frog That Lives Behind Guruji

by Joanna D.

While at Purple Valley Yoga Center in Goa David and I would practice before the start of class. One of those mornings I noticed a little frog sitting atop an image of Shri K. Pattabhi Jois hanging on the wall just above a simple alter housing a statue of Ganesha.

At first I didn’t know it was a frog. In fact I was a little leery of getting close enough to find out what it was, but as it turns out…

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From down dog I spotted him, hopping through the curtains of mosquito netting at the entrance to the shala. His soft landing would have gone unnoticed had I not been in that position, at that moment. It seemed he was hoping to quietly slip by as he paused and waited for his next move. Timed and calculated. He made his way to the front of the room as we continued through our practices and I would catch glimpses of his slow progression between us. Sometimes he’d be waiting in stillness. Sometimes in mid flight – a dynamic launch through the cool morning shala air.

“Crouch and spring!“ ~ D.G.

He paused in front of the altar, perhaps waiting to catch his breath, perhaps waiting for the right moment, then hopped up into it just to the left and in front of Ganesha. There he sat for some time. Through my several attempts at a seemingly impossible asana, he remained perched under the hanging marigolds as if paying his respects or reciting his morning prayers to the remover and placer of obstacles. The birds continued to sing while the slowly growing glow of the morning sun started to play it’s light into the room. All of us taking our own practice, in our own way.

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In one quick leap he made his move into the darkness at the back of the Altar. Moments later I witnessed his emergence with splayed legs, scaling the wall towards the picture frame holding Guruji’s image. Pausing, still midway through his climb, waiting, observing. Eventually making his way to rest on top of the image where he could easily survey his surroundings.

I thought to myself, “Is this a form of Guruji? Is he watching us?!”

As I came to the closing postures, accompanied by the sound of David’s rhythmic pranayama, our little friend slipped behind the picture to take rest for the remainder of the day. Nestled into his home, between the cool concrete wall and an image of the man who shared Ashtanga with the world.

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My time in Goa and at Purple Valley came to a close quite rapidly. I am not only blessed to have met all of those who were there to participate and to have gotten to know the kindness of the staff but honored to have been there with my teacher David Garrigues.

Here are a few final photos from my time in Goa – enjoy!
Love and light.

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