Subject of the month:
This month we will honor B.K.S. Iyengar. Mr. Iyengar passed away August 20th at the age of 95.
Mr. Iyengar definitely changed the shape and face of yoga, for the benefit of us all. It was 1956 when Mr. Iyengar first came to this country and introduced yoga to the population. There have been many wonderful tributes chock full of information on Iyengars life published, so rather than doing a so so job of writing about him, his teachers, and the way he came to practice yoga, I encourage you to click through to a few articles listed below.
Here is a quote from Mr. Iyengar in the BBC article that I love:
"When I still find some parts of my body that I have not found before, I tell myself, yes I am progressing scientifically... I don't stretch my body as if it is an object. I do yoga from the self towards the body, not the other way around."
As you can see from this quote, and if you have read any of Mr. Iyengars work, you understand that while he focused so much on the placement of the body, it was not the body he was ultimately interested in. Here are some other quotes that drive the point home, and may help to answer the question: Why do we do asana anyway?
“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
"Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open."
Pose of the month:
For our poses this month we will focus on the use of PROPS! This is something that Mr. Iyengar used extensively in his teaching. Props do many things for us- they assist in modifications, they can intensify a pose, or lessen the effort and strain we may feel from injury or anatomical "stuff". Also, they do not lie! We can fool ourselves without props, but once we use the wall, chair, block or a strap in a particular way we most likely will find which hip is open, which is not, if we are curling forward or staying straight up and down. Did I mention they can sometimes be very fun?
Props can seem daunting, clumsy and unnecessary. This month we will learn how to use them so they are not such a mystery. They are just another one of our tools for illumination.
Another quote from Mr. Iyengar sums it up-
"Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it."