Half way through my month of yoga seems a good time to send greetings. Especially in this week when BKS Iyengar has been acknowledged worldwide through the media of Google. We, the students here at the Iyengar Institute, could hardly believe it on Monday morning when laptops were switched on to find Iyengar yoga poses played on the Google home page. We were preparing here for an evening celebration of what would have been Guruji’s (Guru—teacher and ji—most respected) 97th birthday. The Iyengar family had invited the extended family of teachers and students from across the world who are gathered here, to join them. It was a moving and inspiring evening.
Little could I imagine when, as a newly qualified teacher, I first came to classes here over 20 years ago that Iyengar yoga would have such reach. Last week at the special Intensive conducted by Geeta Iyengar 1200 of us from 42 countries were present. The biggest contingent were Chinese. So this man from such humble origins has literally brought the yoga we love to millions of people. What a force for good.
At the end of the Intensive in the large stadium, the stunning photos that hung from the ceiling were auctioned off to raise money for Bellur, the small village where Guruji was born. I couldn’t resist bidding. I admit to not really thinking through how I was going to get this giant poster home but thankfully, with the help of a plumber’s drain pipe for protection and a generous chaperone it is on its way to London now. Look out for Ardha Chandrasana at the Yoga Centre in the New Year.
Now I am back in the more gentle routine of classes and practice at the Institute. It is very hot here so the walk there through a leafy park is most welcome. As is the chance to not only do classes but observe others in the range that is offered here.
Christmas seems a long way away. I will be spending it with our much loved teacher Firooza Ali at her home in Mumbai. But I woke this morning to the sound of carols being rehearsed by the children at the school nearby. India at its best is indeed a land of fusions and inclusions.
So let me send festive greetings, warmth (literally) and peace from this side of the world in whatever form it arrives.
Frances with Geeta Iyengar 2011
On this chilly morning, it is hard to believe that this time next week I will be in class at the Iyengar Institute in Pune, India. Four years on from my last visit the main change will of course be that our Guruji BKS Iyengar is no longer alive. However I have no doubt that his daughter Geeta (pictured above) will have stepped into his place with great authority.
I feel very lucky to be taking classes with her and attending the 8 day Intensive on Pranayama that she will teach mid December. I will also be assisting her and the other Indian teachers in the medical classes. Nowhere else does one get the chance to observe and learn how to help with so many medical conditions. I will do my best to bring back and share what I have learnt throughout the month, both at my classes and in the New Year Workshop on Sunday 10th January.
We are delighted with our new ramp at the Centre, we are now able to welcome wheel-chair users into the Centre–here are some photos of Helena, our first, very happy user of the ramp.
Thank you to everyone who attended our events at the Centre over our 10 Year Anniversary programme. Each event was well attended and we had lovely feedback that they were enjoyable. Alongside our workshops–tasters for those new to yoga; a full day with Frances and three with our regular visiting Indian teacher, Firooza Ali, we also had a range of events that explored yoga in different ways. Here’s some photos that give a taste of what has taken place at the Centre.
Our programme of celebrations for the 10 year birthday at the Centre commenced on Friday night. Friends, teachers, students and their families came to the Centre bringing flowers so we could make a large flower mandala in the front hall. Memories of the Centre were shared, poems read out and cake eaten! The theme of the mandala, cycles and circles carried on in the workshop on Sunday with Frances. Here are some photos from Friday.
The second celebration weekend is coming up and there are still spaces for our talks, workshops and even slots for head massages. Please book using Eventbrite: http://sheffieldyogacentre.eventbrite.co.uk