She is featured in Amy Wentraubs book Yoga for Depression as someone who can find healing through the practice. Healing for herself and for her daughter. Penny was in our world and her own world. Hovering between the worlds. She wasn’t about pleasing or getting students to show up. She didn’t really care. She was openly flawed and in her openness to reveal her flaws it allowed us to own ours both freely and safely.
She did care enough to make us happy and we were. I felt humbled to be with others (many older but a few younger) who had been practicing with her for years. She always included pranayama like kapalabahti and nadi shodhana and sequenced more creatively than anyone I have even taken class with. Toward the end of each class we got to play with any poses that we wanted to end with. Play time!
Then we had a long savasana. At the very end of savasana she would invite those who would like to join her in a circle for a (candle) meditation. I would always join in. Staring with a fixed gaze at the candle. It wasn’t threatening at all because Penny who seemed very zen, but was profoundly human would move and squirm as her body deemed necessary throughout the 10 minute or so sit. She taught us that it is ok to be with your body in any way that you need to. I remember her playing these Sheila Chandra chants (links below).
Chandra means moon. It represents the hidden and feminine. Another memory that I have is thinking once in viparita karani, “I just want to go home.” I yearned so much that day to go home. To return to my true Home. I had a taste of what it was like in her classes and it left me wanting more.