Hello readers! We hope you are enjoying reflections from the Adeline Yoga teachers on the power of Mr. Iyengar’s teaching. Today’s installment: Michael Lucey’s reflections on BKS Iyengar.
Please join us on December 14th for a Community Celebration of BKS’s life and legacy; there will be a potluck, movie and kirtan. You can find all the details here.
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When I was serving as President of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States, I would always include a simple quote from BKS Iyengar in the signature field of my official emails: “Trust in yoga as I do, and practice regularly.” Simple, but profound.
Trusting yoga is an ongoing process. It’s something that you learn more and more about as you practice. Iyengar was quite open about the fact that sometimes even he went through periods in his practice where things felt stuck, as if nothing was happening. But somehow he trusted that the process of practice would lead out of those stuck spaces and open new horizons.
Sometimes physical injury can be challenging and lead to doubt: maybe I shouldn’t practice right now…. Stiffness was for many years a major obstacle for me, and it still is on some days, or in some poses. Patience, trust, and a steady, stubborn devotion to practice have helped me understand that stiffness is not an inevitable part of who I am, not a permanent condition.
Over the years, I’ve learned, from the examples of BKS Iyengar and his children Geeta and Prashant, that if you trust your practice (and if you practice sensibly, with the right mixture of courage and caution), then your practice will, over time, leave old obstacles behind and take you into new areas of awareness, new forms of experience of yourself and the world.
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Michael Lucey is a certified Iyengar yoga teacher at the Senior Intermediate 1 level. He holds the highest level of Iyengar Yoga certification in the East Bay. Michael stumbled into an Iyengar yoga class in England in 1982, while he was a student at Oxford University. From his very first class he has been fascinated by the many ways yoga can transform your relation to your body, mind, and breath. He has been fortunate to study with many senior teachers from around the United States and Europe. He has also made 11 trips to Pune, India to study directly with the Iyengar family at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute. His most recent trip was in December 2018. Michael is also a professor of Comparative Literature and French at the University of California, Berkeley, and served as President of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States from 2014-2017. Visit Michael’s blog at assortedpracticalities.blogspot.com.