Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A kind look

A kind look
A kind look,
originally uploaded by yogajournalca.
Mr. Iyengar at the Yoga Journal Conference in Colorado.

At class on Monday, Ruth talked again about the Yoga Journal Conference that she attended a couple weeks ago. It must have been pretty darn powerful. What made it so was the appearance by BKS Iyengar. He's 86 years old and this will almost certainly be his last trip to the US. His tour coincides with the publication of his latest book, Light on Life. He taught at the YJ conference, then made appearances in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston. He'll wrap up with appearances in Washington DC and New York. Both of them are sold out. I'm a bit disappointed that he didn't have a midwest stop, say Chicago or St. Louis. It would have been hard to resist the opportunity to see him live.

At the conference in Colorado, Mr. Iyengar taught for 3 days. Ruth describes it as a life changing event. I don't doubt it. To work with the man who many credit with popularizing yoga in the west would be a tremendous opportunity. This is not the first time that Ruth has worked with him. I believe she went to India for his 80th birthday celebration. That experience really did change her. I noticed a big change in the way that she taught her classes after that.

Ruth has always been an intense teacher and very precise in her instructions. But at some point, and I think it was right after her trip to India, she moved into a whole new realm. She started expecting more of us as students and started working at a deeper level. It wasn't just about getting the postures right anymore. We were moving into a new dimension of mental and spiritual development as well as physical. I had always been aware that yoga was at its core a spiritual discipline, not just physical exercise, but I don't think I really knew what that meant until Ruth started teaching in her new style.

Given that change, it'll be fun, interesting, and most likely challenging to see how she changes as a result of this experience with Mr. Iyengar.