“Learn, do, re-learn, experience”
(pg 112 Tree of Yoga)
The last chapters of the “Yoga and Health” Section of Tree of Yoga are full of examples and reminders of the practical applications for yoga and healing. In essence, the message of these chapters is to become your own best teacher and understand your own self better to come to some sense of balance and healing.
For so many of us, we want the answers to come from outside…even in BKS Iyengar’s case, he speaks of people coming to him for answers and the only real way he knows those answers are because of his own practice. We really have to get out of only using our head and reconnect to our whole body and being – “The yogi knows that he has a brain from the bottom of his foot to the top of his head.” (pg 94)
This is the practicality of the subject…we must learn through practice and not always turn to our teacher for answers. But, we are cautioned also not to barrel forth without information and guidance. Prudence in studentship and prudence in teaching is needed and it is a balance. We may want to try things we see or teach things we just learned, but BKS Iyengar and Geeta Iyengar have been very clear over the years that even in this field of experimentation, awareness, discrimination, and discernment are needed. For yoga to remain as a healing art, we must first fully understand all the layers and complexities that come with this embodiment and be sensitive and reflective as we practice.
Let it not be about what you want to “do” or “accomplish”, but how do you feel and where is your mind?
In the end it always comes down to gaining understanding through practice and striking a fine balance. Not being pulled overly in one direction or another, not pushing too far, or pushing too little. Understanding this kind of balance is when “The asanas help us to remove these dualities or dysfunctions in the body, mind, and soul.” (pg 108)
There is no golden ticket that is the answer for every student and practitioner. For me, as a teacher, I have the knowledge of my self and my experience in practice that I can share and guide my students through. As a student it is always helpful to hear another voice or get a view from another perspective so that I am able to create new experiences within myself.
The beauty that I continue to be in awe of regarding the Iyengar method and BKS Iyengar specifically is the reality of his experience and experimentation over almost 80 years, everyday practice of hours, seeing thousands of students with every possible issue, evolving his practice and teaching with the knowledge he gained, and then sharing it freely without hesitation.
The fullness of it is inspiring and never ending!!