Tag Archives: B.K.S. Iyengar

Straps have been yoga props for centuries

There was so much information saturating us during the yoga symposium that I’ve barely had an opportunity to review my notes and impressions. One of the things that came up was that several people noticed that many of the Indian temples showed figures of yoginis (female demi-gods, not the current use as female yogis) using yoga straps (yogapatta) to bind their legs in cross-legged position, leaving their knees raised off the ground.  I did a quick search through the PDFs of the Yoga: The Art of Transformation catalog (page 146 for one reference) and found at least three illustrations that demonstrated using a strap to hold a seated posture:

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Continue reading Straps have been yoga props for centuries

Keep it simple, Eve

I keep having to remind myself that for most people, yoga can appear really intimidating, complicated and alien. After six years, I love to plunge into the history, anatomy or psychology of yoga, but most beginners are worried that not nailing trikonasana as on the Yoga Journal cover will somehow impair their practice. That worry, bordering on fear, impairs their practice more than incorrect alignment.

So I appreciate a resource that tries to make yoga accessible. Today, I chanced across Five-Minute Yoga, belonging to Eve Johnson, a Vancouver-based Iyengar yoga instructor. Another reason for liking her blog is that yoga is her second career: she worked as a journalist  mostly for The Vancouver Sun and CBC radio, similar to my case. She has a set of no audio tapes of five-minute yoga sessions left aimed at beginners. You can even get it on a USB flash drive and take it anywhere.

Eve Johnson published a insightful review of Stefanie Syman’s book, The Subtle Body, in the Vancouver Sun [no longer available / MLS], which is how I came across her site.

Kino MacGregor: Passion on the Mat – Part IV

Final installment of Donavan Wilson’s interview with Kino MacGregor. Photos are provided from Kino MacGregor’s website. Contact Donavan at dwilson95 AT gmail_com.

The American Yoga Scene

Photo: portrait of Kino MacGregor with resting student in background
Kino MacGregor headshot

“I loved how many people are doing yoga today,” commented Kino as she offered her perspective on the direction of American yoga. “I think it’s great. What is really inspiring is how dedicated people are, not only in the U.S. but all over the world and how many people are getting turned on to it. The most inspirational thing about the American Yoga community is its embrace of yoga as lifestyle,” she said. “Also, what else that is exciting is the generation of children born into Yoga families and who have the exposure to a lifestyle committed to inner peace at an early age.” Continue reading Kino MacGregor: Passion on the Mat – Part IV

East-West Convergence

At the workshop this past weekend, Beryl Bender Birch drew a picture that caught my imagination. Back in the days of the Palace of Mysore when the trio of future gurus of classical yoga (T.K.V. Desikachar, B.K.S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois) were studying under Krisnamacharya, the father of hatha yoga (it’s his 1938 video to the right), the Maharaja of Mysore was also patron to Western gymnastics that was brought to India by the British colonial regime. The two groups of students stood at opposite sites of the courtyard that served as classroom, copying techniques from each other. She said that a lot of the sequencing of vinyasa come from that cultural cross-pollination. It struck me as ironic that the East-West convergence influenced the formation of classic yoga. And today you’re getting another round of convergence as yoga meshes with American (and other Western) culture.

You can see a historic video of Iyengar from the same period.

The Body of His Work

Washington Post The Body of His Work — Yoga Master B.K.S. Iyengar Visits the West, in the Flesh and the Spirit: “This is Iyengar’s first visit to the country in 12 years. He largely has stopped teaching classes, except he can’t help correcting “when these people commit mistakes,” he says, gesturing to a group of followers who have gathered at Schumacher’s home before his public appearance. These days celebrities like Annette Bening and Ali MacGraw follow Iyengar, whose grandson is accompanying him on this trip. He says he feels like it is time for him to move aside and allow others to become known for their yoga teachings.”

This article came out yesterday (October 19). Other papers and websites have been broadcasting the good news for the past few weeks, but the newspaper material may not remain accessible for long: