Tag Archives: Iyengar birthday

Post holiday reflections

It’s a nice rainy day after Christmas in Hawai’i. Probably the closest we’ll ever get to a White Christmas. A good day to reflect, sip tea, and write. According to my jyotish calendar, I am right smack in the middle of Sade Sati, or a seven-and-a-half year period of intense personal challenges. Given the way things have gone in the past two years, I’d say that I am starting to have more belief in my chart. That being said, Sade Sati is supposed to conquer one’s ego and strengthen one’s resolve.

There are certain remedies for Sade Sati, namely an intense yoga practice, mantra-s and songs for Shani who represents Saturn (the astrological placement during Sade Sati) and Hanuman who represents intense devotion and resolve. Also doing good deeds for the less fortunate also decreases the malefic effects of the current planetary placements.

In this morning’s early class I had one student show. She braved the rain and post holiday hustle and bustle to make to class. Small classes are a gift for teachers as they allow you to explain things in greater detail, use more props if needed, and even discuss more philosophical aspects of yoga.

I was able to help her with her pronunciation during the seated invocation to Patanjali and give more of an overview on why we chant this before class. I taught this student how to use a wall rope for adho mukha svanasana for spine traction, and also hang in rope sirsasana. We did supported sarvangasana with a chair and cross bolster setu-bandha. It was a supported, inverted sequence to take the edge off the frenetic holidays.

Now that the pressure is temporarily off for assessment, I feel I can teach with a bit more freedom and go back to poses that I have neglected teaching for a while–the basic salt and pepper poses that season a good practice. There will be plenty of time this year for the more exotically spiced asanas.

My good friend Sonia emailed me an audio recording she took on her phone of Geetaji’s inspiring speech during Guruji’s 99th birthday celebration last week. Geetaji pointed out that Mr. Iyengar never had to get a certificate, he just had devotion to his teacher and his teachings. He just had his practice which spoke for itself. Geeta said that one day Krishnamarcharya’s granddaughter asked Iyengar whom he considered his best student. She said Iyengar replied “Sundararaja.”¬†Sundararaja was his best student. Now if I can only find this “Michael” guy and teach him a thing or two…

Happy belated birthday to Geeta and Mr. Iyengar! Thank you for all that you teach us.

An early birthday tribute to B.K.S. Iyengar


guruji pali II

Courtesy Penney Sing

This Sunday will have been B.K.S Iyengar’s 96th birthday. I would like to dedicate my 100th post as ¬†a tribute to him and his teachings. When he passed away in August, he left a legacy of a renewed interest in Yoga worldwide, a beautiful system of instruction for those who want to learn Yoga, and his children who are continuing his path to train and teach his style of Yoga.

Manouso Manos, a senior teacher said that Iyengar is a “500 year yogi” meaning that there is only one teacher of his kind to inhabit the planet once every 500 years. Many of us are lucky to have been alive at the same time as him even if unable to actually attend his classes. I feel very fortunate to be the last graduating class of Iyengar teachers with a diploma that bore his signature.

Many in the community are still mourning his loss, and probably will continue mourning for some time. Since his passing, many in the community have even drawn closer together. This past week, Geeta Iyengar, B.K.S.’ daughter, conducted a 10-day retreat in Pune, India attended by thousands from around the world.

Even if you practice another style, there is a large chance that what you are learning has been influenced by this great man. So on Dec 14, set aside a space in your mind for B.K.S. Iyengar, the 500 year yogi.

Thank you Guruji for all that you have given to humanity.