Day 1 of Classes

Namaskar. I’d like to begin with the Centenary Message that we received in our packet:


“Yoga is for one and all”, this was the conviction that led
B.K.S. Iyengar to undertake the journey of yoga for himself,
and make yoga available to anyone who sought it.
Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar stood graciously like a lighthouse
for all those who came to yoga. The year 2018 will see
the 100th birth anniversary of this great being.

Maharshi Patanjali postulated that ashuddhikshaya
(destroying impurities) and vivekakhyati
(sense of discrimination) are achieved
by the anushthana (devoted practice) of yoga.

Along with these two, Guruji radiated two things –
unconditional love for creation and everything in it,
and gratitude for whatever life offered to him. In this sense,
Guruji has effortlessly woven gratitude as an effect of yoga.

Throughout his life, Guruji wove the two-pronged sadhana-
accepting the exuberant creation as a part of oneself and
simultaneously surrendering oneself into creation. He gave
much more than what he received -this was his character.

Guruji’s palms folded in namaskar, denote his warmth for
fellow beings and thankfulness for life itself.
The zeros in the hundred appear in the form of infinity
suggesting that we move from the finite figure of the ‘100’
towards the Infinite. Guruji’s teachings being eternally
contemporary goad us in that direction.
There are approximately 1300 students participating from 56 countries!
Prashant Iyengar led the day. We did not see Geeta yet.
Our practice was not very physical today. It was interesting in how Prashant talked about the body, mind, and breath.
And how the body can work for the body, for the mind, and for the breath;
the mind can work for the body, mind, and breath; and
the breath can work for the body, mind and breath.

He continued with the body can work in the body, mind and breath.
with the body, mind and breath, etc., etc.

There was a break where lunch was served. I did not eat the Indian lunch today, but I did get a fresh coconut which is always a treat after class.

The afternoon session was mostly a lecture. It was fascinating to hear stories about Guruji and the developing of his practice and teaching. Some of the highlights, briefly and interestingly:
Prashant discussed how Mr. Iyengar thought in his native language, but had to use English to teach and to write, and what a difficult task that was for him. He discussed how tireless Iyengar was in exploring the effects of asana on the body, mind and spirit. He shared how Light on Yoga came about and the years it took to capture the asana in photos. Guruji would start a practice, and if it was a good forward bending day, he would quickly go to the photographer’s studio to capture those asanas. It took about 5 years to take those photos.

He used not a timer, but a stop watch in his practice, so he could observe how long certain effects of the same pose would take: when the body was warm, when the body was stiff; when he was fatigued. He would do a certain practice on a particular day of the week and see how the different state of the body and mind would manifest in his asana. On Thursdays he would start with a thirty minute Paschimottānāsana!

Well, my mind and body are tired from absorbing and still getting accustomed to the time difference.

Until tomorrow.