Iyengar Yoga cannot be defined

This reblog of a post by a yoga practitioners speaks very to issues that apply to tai chi and qigong, at least to the manner in which I approach them. As meditative practices that seek inner awareness and knowledge this approach to yoga and tai chi are related. I hope readers of my tai chi blog agree at least to some degree.

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BKS Iyengar was often quoted that he did not name his practice “Iyengar Yoga,” but that was a term his followers used to differentiate his style from others. He said at at a Guru Poornima lecture that there are many “write ups” about his teachings and that they are focused on his “physical alignment.” Guruji said that those writers did not have the discernment to tell that physical alignment is only part of the story. They were not able to tell that he was also teaching “prana-shakti” of the muscle movement which leads toward deeper aspects of Yoga. “Can you not do Dhyana (meditation) in poses other than sitting?” he retorically asked.

As a practitioner for a few years in Iyengar’s method, I can appreciate his frustration. Even more nowadays, this style is even described as “less physcial” than others like corporate driven vinyasa. And in silly blurb descriptions, like…

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The mood of tai chi

IMG_0354Tai chi and qigong are moods–somewhat of an ephemeral notion to a novice perhaps, yet real to a long-term practitioner. If you skip practice for a certain amount of time, you begin to miss it. Your body might even crave it and you won’t feel content until you practice. Both tai chi and qigong place you in a feeling of being more fully present in a moment–a mindfulness moment.

Something about that feeds the spirit.

When you do the moves that make up these systems of exercise, you’re tapping into the flow of energy prevalent in the universe. Imagine yourself dipping your toe into a river … the vast energy of life. How long you can go without a feeling of being swept up by the rush of the current, or the wind lifting your spirit?

Greatest source of unhappiness?

“. . . . the greatest source of unhappiness in work is risk aversion — which leads to stagnation and resentment,” says Howard Stevenson, a professor (emeritus) at Harvard Business School (http://www.npr.org/2016/03/17/469822644/8-ways-you-can-survive-and-thrive-in-midlife). I would also say the same about life in general. Not that joining a tai chi group class or taking private lessons are risky. But you still have to get up and out of your inertia to start.