“Do you still take classes?” a student asked, upon hearing that I’d be attending a weekend workshop. For a moment I was speechless. I can’t imagine ever not taking classes. I explained that most Iyengar yoga teachers continue taking classes and workshops (and, if possible, trips to RIMYI in India)–for life. That weekend workshop was taught…… Continue reading The humility to learn
When I took my first yoga class in 1997, I had no idea who the “major” teachers were. I didn’t know what “Iyengar” meant and had to ask my first teacher, Sandy Blaine, to spell it. I met Sandy fortuitously since she then taught at UC Berkeley’s rec center (free classes for members!). But I…… Continue reading Knowing “who’s who” among yoga teachers
Savasana versus nap Have you ever fallen asleep in Savasana? I rarely do, but one of my colleagues seems to doze off regularly. Although we don’t attend the same weekly class, we attend workshops together. If I’m in his vicinity during Savasana, I’ve heard him softly snoring each time. Me, I’m just the opposite. I…… Continue reading Yoga, sleep, Savasana, insomnia… and the curious case of Paschimottanasana
In the late 1990s, I took to yoga asana without a second thought. My body immediately loved it. I initially attended three to five classes weekly. My little apartment, with carpet and cat, wasn’t ideal for home practice, but I eventually appropriated a floor and wall space at the UC Berkeley rec center for my…… Continue reading Pranayama, sleep, and other New Year’s resolutions
Last weekend I enjoyed a rigorous workshop taught by Chris Saudek, a senior Iyengar teacher from the Midwest. Since 1980 she has studied with the Iyengars in Pune; now, at the Senior Intermediate III level, she trains teachers in the US and Canada. The asana sessions were challenging in the classic Iyengar way, with basic…… Continue reading Do Savasana first?
At a recent Iyengar teacher training session, we took turns performing and observing different asanas. In Iyengar yoga, being a keen observer is essential to being a good teacher. The great ones can practically intuit students’ weaknesses, habits, and blind spots. I ended up performing Adho Mukha Vrksasana (arm balance or handstand) at a wall for…… Continue reading Are your yoga teachers as eagled-eyed as mine?
I recently took a yoga class with Yves Oberlin, an Austin-based Iyengar teacher who was subbing for my teacher Louie Ettling. He gave us a relatively generous eight-minute savasana, first instructing to find the pose in our bodies, tucking our shoulders under and so forth. Then he said, “After a while, don’t move. Don’t keep…… Continue reading Stop fidgeting