Saudade is a potent Portuguese word that is untranslatable in the English language. It defines missing something that is very much a part of you that you can no longer access. Like one's homeland. For me sometimes a state of saudade comes when I think of childhood memories growing up in Pakistan. Being a Pakistani is very much a part of me but Pakistani-ness is something to which I no longer have access. I have assimilated to American culture and the sub-cultures here within. Saudade describes something that's lost but is still here. Its an absence but also a presence. I love this kind of dichotomy. The absence becomes part of who you are.
Saudade is also a common state of mind that comes from heartache. A kind of heartache to which you chose to attach yourself. You don't wish to let go of the heartache because in doing so it would mean letting go of that person, place or thing that you long. So that longing carries with you. But not in a depressing way. Like the thought of loved ones that are no longer alive. You want to keep them close to your heart, and even though the thought of them no longer alive is a heartache, it also soothes you to think of them. Its a moment with absolute presence of the person, place or thing.
You can even have saudade of things you haven't done, things you don't know, places you haven't been or people you haven't met. It can be amorphous and complete at once. For example personally the thought of Guruji BKS Iyengar since I never met him during this lifetime. Saudade can also be hopeful. Saudade of food or music. It could be for something so special but it hasn't happened yet.
Saudade is a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy. You can hold saudade dear to you. Isn't this a beautiful word?
I have chosen the asana Viparita Dandasana over a back bending bench as a way to express saudade for my time spent in Brasil last year. This video was taken during one of my practice sessions at a most well designed Iyengar center Premavati studio in Uberlândia in the state of Minas Gerais. I am also happy to announce my return back here to hold workshops and celebrate Guruji’s centenary birthday on Dec 14th, 2018. More info and registration here.