After catching up from being away for the 2016 Iyengar Yoga Convention, I finally have a moment to reflect on that amazing weekend gathering. Even before time for reflection came, though, I brought home with me a warm glow created by the joyfulness of 1200 Iyengar Yoga practitioners coming together to do yoga and celebrate the genius of B.K.S. Iyengar and the teachings he left us.
Those teachings were transmitted so beautifully by his granddaughter, Abhijata Sridhar, whom he personally taught daily for the last fourteen years of his life. A woman of remarkable maturity and presence, especially considering she is in her early 30’s, she has absorbed much of his knowledge and his unique method of bringing a profound and deep level of awareness to every aspect of yoga practice: asana, pranayama, and philosophy. She taught all 1200 participants in six mega classes with an openness and sweet sense of humor that made the intensity and depth of her teaching accessible to all.
For me, the essence of her teaching was that practice is the avenue that carries us from the periphery to the core and back (which was the theme of the convention), and for that practice to be effective, we must bring constant awareness and tremendous energy to our actions. She emphasized repeatedly the need to overcome mechanical, habitual practice, to leave yesterday’s practice for yesterday, and to be present for today’s practice. Now. In this moment.
All could feel the power of this teaching, which brought a warmth and spirit of maitri (friendliness) that shed the light of yoga, of unity, on the entire event. Old friends and new friends smiled and shared the delight of being in such a beautiful place with such a wonderful teacher.
Kudos must go to the organizers, led by Colleen Gallagher, Carol Fridolph, Suzie Muchnick, and Nancy Watson, whose tireless efforts produced a smoothly run and immensely enjoyable experience for everyone.
And I have to add my heartfelt appreciation for all the Unity Woods teachers and students, a large contingent of perhaps 30 or so, who attended and who took the time and trouble to place a full page ad in the convention magazine expressing love and gratitude to me. It is I who am grateful for having such dedicated and enthusiastic pupils. Your devotion toyour practice and Guruji’s teachings inspire me and touch my heart.
Yours in Yoga,