Over the next many months I will strive to explore, understand, and share what I learned at the Iyengar Yoga National Convention in Dallas, 2019.
Abhijata crammed an amazing amount of detail about asana, pranayama, transformation, family, community and parampara (succession, tradition) into 6 short days. My head, heart and spirit are expanded – and I’m still spinning a bit. It will take a while to “unpack” some fundamental changes she taught so that they can be integrated into the practice, teaching and training. IYNAUS will release the complete video at some point. Please come sit with me to view and review parts or the whole thing – or trust that I will be a reasonable channel for transmission of this significant work.
The passing of the leadership from BKS Iyengar to Geeta Iyengar to Abhijata Iyengar is one of the many big shifts in our community that is still unfolding. I am buoyed that the steward of our tradition is a young woman, mother, intellect, student, inspiring teacher, and sisya to BKS Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar and Prashant Iyengar. She is steeped in tradition, with both feet planted firmly in the present time.
Some changes were clarified at the convention (e.g., where and how to place the hands in sirsasana). Other issues – like ethics training, the double-edged sword of “touch,” the support of all those who have been affected by the events regarding Manouso – were introduced and discussed, but not completed. I left with a sense that these issues will require further discussion and reflection at many levels – personally, in our local community, in the national association, and in society at large.
Change is what happens to water – it turns to ice, to steam, and back to water again.
Transformation is what happens to the caterpillar – it becomes a butterfly and can never go back.
Like all matters of human transformation, it begins with who we are being and how we communicate with ourselves and each other. To paraphrase the Four Fold Path described by Angeles Arriens (one of my early teachers,) we show up and choose to be present; pay attention to what has heart and meaning; tell the truth with/out blame or judgment; and stay receptive and non-attached to any particular outcome.
The Four-Fold Path aligns with the practice of Iyengar Yoga, the path laid out in accordance with Sutras of Patanjali.
- I am present: on my mat in practice, as a student in class, as a teacher of students, and as a member of a community.
- I pay attention to the experience of learning, appreciation, acknowledgement and validation. This includes paying attention to my own health and well-being, the health of well-being of other humans, animals and the planet.
- I listen for, observe, and express myself with honesty, authenticity and integrity. I listen to you in the same way (yes, say when my pose is not aligned, tell me when I’ve made a mistake, let me know when I get too serious.)
- I work on the mat and off the mat to be receptive to all outcomes, attached to none.
So, what is Iyengar Yoga now?
- A spiritual path
- Abhyasaand vairagya– practice and non-attachment
- Tapas,svadhyaya, iswarapranidh
anam– purifying and devoted effort, study, and surrender
- The external, inner, and innermost quest.
- The dissolving of the veil that covers the shining light within.
The mat offers a place to work out the details for life off the mat.
See you on the mat.