In these pages we would like to share with you some insights into what it means to practice Iyengar Yoga, in the form of Questions and Answers from various articles and essays. Check back often for updates and archives.
INTERVIEW WITH GEETA S. IYENGAR
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Geeta Iyengar by Rose Richardson and Sue Salaniuk. It is published in "Yoga 93" - the magazine of the American Iyengar Yoga Convention - August 1993 - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Q: I am reminded of a comment that you made in the lecture given at the opening meeting of students this year in June. You said that you wanted the students to know that more is going in the classes than just asana and pranyama. Yoga is also teaching them how to live in this world. Can you comment on that?
A: I am glad that you understood. You see this is an Institute where you come to learn something. People have the idea that if you keep on talking about the Yoga Sutras or the original texts which give this spiritual knowledge that you are teaching something spiritual. If I were to hold a lecture daily on the Bhagavad Gita or on the Yoga Sutras, people would consider that a spiritual practice. They consider the rest non-spiritual practice or physical practice.
Anything that you do always has a touch of the Supreme, even if it is a simple house-hold duty, when you do it with devotion or understanding. To give you an example, suppose you have to cook for several guests. If within you feel a struggle about much work have to do because these people came, you are unhappy and you may muddle everything in spite of being a very good cook. Your mind is polluted at the time and in serving them you lost your happiness. Outwardly, your behavior is ok. But if you do the same work with love and devotion then your mental attitude itself changes and you don,t feel pressure. When people come to the institute, you cannot stuff them with heavy talks unless they are interested. People come to the institute for physical health and mental balance. But in the teaching process you can't introduce everything. In the beginning, you mostly create discipline in them. You bring them to the understanding of how they have to work to bring inner alignment, and how to bring this inner alignment there has to be devotion. Your mind cannot be wandering and bring inner alignment.
Those who come here for years know that it is not just asana and pranyama that is taught. There is also a spiritual aspect and it is taught in a very direct way. At that time your body, mind and soul are brought to a new level of spirituality. even a slight shakiness of the eye is enough to distract you. And it is not only mental distraction, but you have lost that inner connection, that inner link that you had. It is said in the texts that the flow of concentration should be like oil when you pour it When you pour old from one vessel to the other vessel you see a smooth single flow. These words are one thing. But to bring on that experience is very difficult. You will get bore if I go on telling you the simile. I have to very carefully choose the words so you will not get distracted. That is the teaching process. That is the way of putting spiritual experience in a practical way.