Prashant Iyengar is BKS Iyengar’s son. I would say that he is the largest inspiration for my practice. He has been teaching in the shadows a bit but now has taken on a role of leadership. And, finally his message is being heard and understood. He is loathe of the idea that asana is all technique and about the body and reminds us of the true practice of this path of yog. This is not a typo. He makes a distinction between yog- to yoke, to unify which is the sanskrit word and, as he pronounces it, yogaaaaaaa, that which is the one in the magazine focusing on the body.
Just like the rest of us, he has gone online and we receive his teachings weekly. This week he delved into how to practice. If you are interested I will attach the link to the video. It would benefit you to read his book Alpha and Omega of Trikonasana to help orientate you to this talk. And anyone who does watch this and wants to discuss, I would be psyched to start a conversation!
At the end of this talk, he addresses the topic of immunity. Immunity, he said is not just a pill or a pose that you can do and voila you are immune. It is a process. First, your physical health must be rooted in a good digestive system. The food you take in must be healthy and it must be digested well.
Secondly, you must have a good or he says “sound” psychological state. We should distance but not be dis- tense and that we should work to be de-stressed and not distressed. He recommends focusing the breath into the skull and head cavity while practicing to calm the mind.
And finally he mentions you must have a healthy interaction with yourself. You can not be in a battle of like and dislike or love and hatred of yourself. This is aversion and attachment. This is the cause of suffering. I hate, I love, I cling, I need, I reject, I abhor and on and on. This ping pong existence between desire and aversion is a never ending game, a hamster wheel you can’t get off.
The practice of yoga stops the wheel so that the practitioners can address life ups and downs with equanimity and ease. It both magically happens with continued practice and also it happens while consciously practicing all the limbs of yoga.
The last three weekly Wednesday practice supports have addressed Yamas, Niyamas, Asana and most recently Pratyahara.
Right now, there is an opportunity. You can either yearn with desire for the past, stew in fear and anger about the future, rattle around with stress and anxiety or you could take the time to consciously practice yoga to have a sound mind, sound physical health and a healthy relationship with yourself. Allow all that this situation brings up for you be an opportunity to grow. I’m not saying don’t have a hissy fit or a good old cry but don’t just stay there, use it. And use your practice to help.
In terms of aversion and attachment (raga and dvesha), observe the poses you don’t like and the poses you LOVE and make a concerted effort to let the ones you hate become a part of your practice.
Do one part of the pose at a time, identify what is it that you hate? Is it stiffness? Is it ego that you can’t do the whole pose? Is it frustration? Is it a memory? What can you do? What other poses that you can you do share actions with this problematic pose?
If you are anxious, do some restorative poses and extend your exhale twice as long as the inhale.
Sunday’s class Yoga for Uncertain Times is going to address exactly these issues and give you the tools necessary to help yourself during the week between classes. I'll bring in resources to help us during this time and ask you also to share what is helping you. Asanas sequence will be grounding, uplifting, calming and restoring.
Monday, Wed and Friday’s classes will focus on a pose the entire week and we will look at it from different angles. www.jenkagan.net
I'm loving this online format and meeting so many new folks and sharing this practice. I hope to see you online online !
p.s. this was circulating on social media. Probably not written by Einstein it still carries a nice message on the powerful energy of love.