Now the Practice of Yoga Begins 1.1

This title is the first sutra of the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras. Mr. Iyengar says “Yoga has to be practiced without distress, anxiety or fear, so that one can reach the zenith in yoga”.  This was certainly not my experience getting ready for this trip except that every step of the way,  just like the ups and downs of life, I practiced  reminding myself to start again, new, and use the yoga tools to help me find stability where I need it, a different mental focus where I can, a new perspective when I have lost my way. I have always liked this sutra because of its immediacy, now is in this moment ( I get to choose the thoughts, the behavior). I used to identify my practice more from the mat than what was going on in my head or heart. Mr. Iyengar continues that this sutra ” suggests beginning yoga with a disciplined frame of mind”. That is more important to me now than ever before. And I realize that I want my  yoga practice to help me get there so I can call on it when I need it. So this Monday morning at 6:50 I was sitting with all the others crowding in and excited about being here and being more immersed in a subject I love. And its all here—the opportunity to expand my practice and understanding of what yoga is to me—the classes where I am the student and not homeowner, bill payer, teacher, friend, mother etc.  I have this month to be and do yoga. And I felt the excitement of this which didn’t come on until sitting there. I arrived to the Shahani’s house on Sat. morning at 6 am, unpacked and at 8 headed to the Institute to pay and attend the Women’t class at 9:30. I did both, and the class was excellent taught by Raj Laxmi a longtime assistant here and it felt like a Geeta class.  Little sleep took over so it wasn’t until today that I started feeling excited about being here and recognizing how much I appreciate this time . Please remind me what a good idea this is when I start talking about not coming or its a long way, whatever! This is where I am today anyway and I am the new student today. So I enjoyed Prashant’s class- actually had fun! And then there was a practice session afterwards which I did my own practice (backbends). Prashant said a lot of good and interesting things and one of the things I remember is he talked about the yamas and niyamas which could be compared to the 10 commandments. They are ethical practices and disciplines in relationship with ourselves and others-the do’s and don’ts.  He said if you take milk and churn it, that this process will make curds that becomes butter. It is the process that this occurs. He says we read the yamas and niyamas and try to make them happen, I will not steal, I will not lie, I will not be greedy….He says that is not the correct approach. That if we practice our yoga and pay attention to what goes on in that process, we are transformed into these qualities like milk to butter. Not because I say it over and over and hope the transformation will come, but because of what I am becoming from my practice. So its back to practice and intention and clarity. He also reminded us today that you don’t come to India to learn yoga,  that only comes when you practice on your own and becomes transforming when ” the intellect of the head and the intelligence of the heart” is integrated through our yoga practice ( Mr. Iyengar). It is late and I realize I have become very heady and tomorrow what I have written may not make sense. I want to tell you more, but I will stop for now. I think of you all and your smiling faces which makes me smile!! Much love  Lou


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