It is December 1st and this month holds a lot of celebration of holidays, but this year in particular, the Iyengar Yoga community is also celebrating a BIG milestone of what would be BKS Iyengar’s 100th year.
BKS Iyengar passed away in 2014 at the age of 96, leaving behind a legacy of almost 80 years of yoga practice. But, “Iyengar Yoga” is not only what BKS left behind. It is also the culmination of his son and daughter’s experience, his granddaughter’s experience, and all the students and teachers that share his vision around the world.
And what was that vision? I think that if you ask 5 different “Iyengar Yoga” students/teachers that question, you might get 5 different answers. Since his death, I think that there is a big question for all of us how we answer that more cohesively and collectively for the world. Iyengar Yoga really is not ONE THING. If you pin point it at all, you have to pin point it down to the actual definition of yoga given in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – ultimately the goal of stilling the fluctuations of the mind.
But how each and every Iyengar Yoga practitioner goes about that might look entirely different. We are told over and over again by Geeta and Prashant Iyengar to study our self. To use all the tools given to us through yoga to come to know our fullness, our expansiveness, our truth. And in my opinion THIS is what sets Iyengar Yoga apart from other forms – its use of the ENTIRE HOLISTIC APPROACH to yoga without ignoring any aspect.
And this is difficult. To read The Yoga Sutras and figure out how to practice every aspect of the path is a lifetime achievement. It takes time, effort, dedication, and focus – most of which our modern lives do not allow. To just “do” some asana is not yoga, to only sit quietly in meditation is not yoga, to only do Pranayama breathing techniques is not yoga. YOGA is a union of EVERYTHING – all aspects of our being – all 8 limbs.
For me, this celebration of yoga and celebration of Iyengar means a celebration of the path I might aspire to, even if I trip along the way. I celebrate the focus and dedication of BKS, Geeta, and Prashant! Acknowledging the differences in our lives, but striving to find similar dedication through my own distractions. I celebrate the expanse of knowledge that I admit I may never achieve! I can accumulate knowledge of my self, but to then be able to share that knowledge so profoundly that it touches people around the world is a whole other gift! I celebrate the time I have been able to take to practice and experience the Iyengar’s in their home and at their roots, this I know is a privilege.
For all of us who practice yoga, we should celebrate the mere fact that we know about yoga! For those who may never have practiced yoga because of ailments or issues, we must celebrate the props and the system of Iyengar that brings detail, stability and alignment. For those who do a physical practice, begin to realize and celebrate the rest of the practice that awaits you!
Come celebrate with us on December 14-16 ! Wish Iyengar a Happy Birthday, but wish yourself a life lived well in yoga!