I am all settled in to my apartment for the month and have met my other roommates from Britain and Japan. The woman from Britain is from Manchester and knows my other friend from Manchester, so it is a small Iyengar World after all. One of the best things about coming to the Iyengar Institute is the world representation of students all here to learn and immerse themselves in practice.
We woke up early for class with Prashant Iyengar. And I was full of excitement and nerves as usual, filled with joy just to have the chance to be here again…
Some of you may not know that the Iyengar teaching is not just one voice or one man, but a conglomeration of BKS himself, his daughter Geeta and his son Prashant….not to mention the countless other younger teachers (including his granddaughter) that teach at the institute and beyond, but have already spent decades in the presence of BKS as well.
Prashant teaches on a level that is not just physical. I would not even call it “philosophical”, that is even too simplistic. He is one that tries to give you the experience of YOG (not yogaaaaaa, which he sees as the “misknown” more popular yoga of today). He has a mind-bending and often humorous use of words and story that draw you closer to the core of practice. The asanas (postures) go in rounds of about 3 at a time so as to accommodate the whole of the room and repetition and long holds with ropes and wall are usually par for the course. Again, experience is his aim, not the “DOING”. In his observation, most of us “do do do and then die”…we do not take time to relish in the “benevolence of each pose” – the very simple example today being questioned as “when was the last time you did not finish a pose with relief?? What about experiencing relief WITHIN the pose??”.
His common refrain is to have MIND, BODY, and BREATH in service of each other and in balance at all times. Today what sunk in was the example of sitting and listening to him speak in relation to doing an asana. How much of the brain is in play while listening? how much of body? how much of breath? No matter what we are doing, to be in YOG means to have body, mind, and breath all equal in relationship and service.
Without going in to every fin detail, though I will list some of my favorite wording tidbits for contemplation below, the full gist of the class was how do we SERVE OUR SELF?
What do you do for you? with you? in you? How can every action, every breath, and every thought serve YOU, not anyone else, not for some other purpose, not lost on or in other things, but IN YOU, FOR YOU, WITH YOU…(and those who know Prashant know there are at least 8 other representations of this sentence, but I cannot remember them all).
So here are some other gems from this morning…in no particular order…and probably not EXACTLY quoted, but close enough…and a couple I am not even trying to rewrite as I need to contemplate them much more…cant wait for more!
What is the “APPLICATION” of certain action or inaction?
What is the “USAGE” of certain action or inaction or direction?
The “TENDENTIAL MIND” (the mind full of tendencies) is what is often taking over.
“Senses are really NOT sensible” – when you are faced with all sort of delights and sensual pleasures are you in that moment able to sensible??
We are a culture that ages into disuse because we have not learned to use our self wisely. We want to do “I-YOUNGER” yoga that supposedly is yoga being done to stay young, but in the end Iyengar Yoga is the path of becoming useful and not aging into disuse.
We want things simpler and simpler, putting yoga into more simple terms. But this Simple leads to simpler, leads to simplest, leads to SIMPLETONS. Yoga is to be “KNOWN” not “MIS-KNOWN”. We must educate ourselves.