(WARNING : This post may require you to pull your copy of LIGHT ON YOGA off the shelf!)
How ? I mean really, HOW ? has Iyengar Yoga gotten the reputation of being “slow”, “rigid”, “alignment strict”, etc… etc… you name it??
Geeta Iyengar taught today, and though she is aging and sits on the stage, she still has the eyes of an eagle and a sense of humor that sends her into laughter and jokes (probably sometimes at our expense, but also just in her play of words like Prashant).
We moved…we rolled…we see-sawed back and forth. Oh and let me not forget that she started us off first and foremost in Paryankasana actions (the Couch Pose where you are in a backbend with the crown of your head on the floor) in every seated pose leg position possible – Swatikasana, Baddha Konasana, Virasana, Ardha Padmasana, Padmasana, and Upavistha Konasana – in quick succession bending back each time.
To “cool us down” she had us work on our Baddha Padmasana and full Supta Vajrasana (look that up in Light on Yoga) – where only about 3 people in the class were even close.
From there we worked on Janu Sirsasana (head of the knee seated pose) and Parivrtta Paschimottanasana (twisted seated forward bend) with the rolling from one buttock to the next. In Janu Sirsasana to help get the knee down and in Parivrtta Paschimottanasana to help get the twist and catch…you could also call that “toppling” as it can be fun to play the edge of toppling over.
And NO PROPS (collective GASP!)!!! Even with questions about back and knees, her approach was one of play and experimentation. To mirror Prashant’s ideas of finding your teacher within and your own learning process, Geeta ALWAYS wants us to try first and not go running for every prop we just “always use”. THIS, she also reminds us is the way BKS Iyengar always taught.
The fun didn’t stop there either. Sirsasana brought kicks to our own butts with Virasana legs and twisted, and hops from Eka Pada to Parsva Eka Pada. In Sarvangasana we see-sawed back and forth from Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana and Eka Pada Sarvangasana.
So, as usual, during my days here in Pune, I wonder how we got to the point of Iyengar Yoga in the West being the yoga that doesn’t move, doesn’t flow, doesn’t “have fun”?? I was giggling and rolling all the way to Savasana … got deeper and had more freedom in my forward bends…
And then at rest, my whole body breathed…