Sri BKS Iyengar
I went to an Iyengar class this morning.
Iyengar is a lineage of yoga parallel to Astanga that comes straight from founder of modern yoga system Sri Krishnamacharya.
This practice is famous for precision and perfection of alignment. Asanas are held for longer periods of time than in Astanga and use of props is extensive. Simply saying, there is no pose you can do without at least a belt or a blanket. Bolsters, mats of varied thickness, different blocks, bricks, chairs, even tables (as I learned today for halasana), bandage (instead of eye pillows) and of course a must have in Iyengar yoga studio ropes and hooks. (Those last ones I always feared as they look a bit like a wall of torture...) They are all great props if used reasonably with good guidance and tuition. And this is what I want to write about today.
After qualifying as a yoga teacher I took an oath. It clearly states I should follow the ethics of yoga which also means not saying or doing any wrong to other fellow teachers.
But there are things that have to be said. So what I did is I wrote the letter to Yoga West owners:
Hello Diana and Mike,
I came to your Intermediate 2 class this morning.
As you know I am not an Iyengar teacher myself but I just wanted some challenge and variety. I came open minded and compassionate. But as it turned out it was not for me. It is a horrible thing to complain and I never do that. If I don't like a class, I just don't come back, but this time I think you should know that the teacher you employ and who speaks for the whole school was just not right.
I think yoga is a practice of compassion as well as linage. It was quite an experience of what not to say to your students in a class and of what not to do. I learned a lot from this and I certainly benefited on that level.
In the end I just had to laugh it out. Goodness me who is Kirsten to be so rude and impolite to others! There was just a stick missing in her hand or a whip to punish my body for unorthodox behaviour. Medieval times!
Cheers to all Iyengar teachers putting up with this on regular basis.
Blessings to you,
So if you ever go to ANY yoga class, and you come across one of these:
- "What is your level of practice and why are you here?" (err I do not practice Iyengar and I came to learn from you Missus).
- "Look at her, everybody, this is how you shouldn't do that!" ( I always like to be an example to others).
- "Don't do this pose, just lie down" (But I am well able to do it and I want to experience it! I am well aware of my body abilities).
- "Do not cover yourself with this blanket, you didn't come here for a nap" (In savasana - the room was cold and I wasn't wearing much, and there were two relaxations each about 10 min. Isn't that a torture?)
- "If you have an injury you shouldn't come to this class" (well I do not have an injury, sometimes my back just hurts).
- "Do you have a cold or what?" (No I actually have a hay fever, sorry about that).
...Then just change a class. Or complain.
Oh, and if a teacher wears these just get suspicious:
Also I have discovered that it is the heart that you put into your teaching and not the age or experience that makes you great teacher. How much more I enjoy teachings of young passionate teachers who are miles away down on the ladder of "yoga success". "Teach from the heart and you can't go wrong" my teacher said. And she wasn't wrong. Thank you Teresa.
Good luck with your practice, enjoy it - it is all about what feels right.