I was first introduced to yoga through the Iyengar teaching. This was over 30 years ago, when it was difficult to find a yoga teacher in Manhattan. Yes, it’s true, yoga was not the popular activity we all know it as today. There was a handful of teachers and even fewer Iyengar teachers. But, a small community did exist and we all took classes and studied together and years later would set up the New Yoga Iyengar Institute, at which I am still a core faculty teacher.
I had been drawn to the style of Iyengar Yoga, having a background in gymnastics where precise alignment of the body was essential and the use of equipment was part of the technique. I often thought that if I hadn’t been exposed to Iyengar yoga, I might not have found the idea of yoga so compelling. The profound concentration and the deep therapeutic alignment recognized as the Iyengar technique, along with “yoga props” made this form especially creative and interesting to me.
Last December, Mr. Iyengar or Guruji as has students called him, passed away. Everyone who is practicing yoga today has been influenced by Mr. Iyengar’s teaching and his ideas on yoga. Anytime you hear an alignment instruction - that comes from his teaching. Alignment was not an issue until he recognized that through concentration on alignment consciousness expands and the possibility of a single posture becoming a state of meditation and even spiritual achievement could be attained by all practitioners. And further more, any prop you see - mats, belts, blocks, bolsters…all props come out of his creative practice and a desire to enable all bodies this possibility. What the props are able to achieve is to give all students the opportunity to realize a depth of accomplishment within the pose that might otherwise be impossible. Props are not suppose to make a asana easier, but deeper and more accomplished.
I am pleased to offer Iyengar Yoga classes at DIG Yoga, and hope to see you there.
Jeanne-Marie offers Iyengar Yoga on Mondays from 9:30-11:00am April 6-27. For more information, visit our workshops page above!