Tag Archives: John Schumacher

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:

Playing Simon Says — Paying Attention versus Being Attentive

In Unity Woods Yoga Centers quarterly newsletter (Unity Woods website), John Schumacher responds to a question that students frequently ask him: “Why isn’t my practice at home like it is in class?” He provides some really good reflexions on this dilemma.

“Gathering, coalescing, and focusing your attention creates an intensity of physiopsychospiritual energy that quiets the mind and uncovers the underlying capacity for awareness. To be aware is to be awake, and to be awake in this way is to be alive in the fullest sense of the word. This is the goal of yoga. It is what the teacher guides you toward. And for most of you, because you haven’t learned to do that for yourself, your home practice doesn’t feel quite as good as your class. Yet.”

I’ve found that my pranayama and meditative practice comes very easy now. I look forward to each sessions. By sheer repetition, I have become comfortable with these parts of my practice. On the other hand, I have to force myself to do asanas. Part of the resistance is that I have to think so hard to get them right so I really can’t feel the flow. I know that I am not going to make progress until I work on my asanas everyday because that’s when you make breakthroughs.

Getting beyond a physical threshold

As I was descending into the bowels of the Dupont Circle Metro station, I realized that I was not feeling as though I had been pulled through a wringer and hung out to dry for a couple of hours. I guess it’s a sign that my body had gotten past the shell shock stage with my yoga. That does not mean that I have mastered anything. There are lots of poses today that I could not get into — and it was a Yoga 1 class. I have plenty of weak points. But I am able to get through a class without feeling physically exhausted.

I’ve been thinking that I would like to attend a retreat — not a full week one in an exotic location, just a weekend or one-day yoga retreat. I think it could help me get to the next level. Just 90 minutes a couple of times a week is not going to make up for years of tight muscles. I keep telling myself that I have to be patient with my body and my spirit. But a chance to focus on yoga for an extended period of time would allow me to start building the personal habits and mindset that could be transferred to a daily practice. I missed one retreat given by John Schumacher and Tara Brach, just one day of yoga and meditation — exactly what I wanted, but it fell on weekend when I had to devote some time to my family. We have to keep things in balance.

I will have to keep my eye open for something. In the meantime, I need to take a quick class of meditation — still flying by the seat of my pants. Several centers in the DC area offer starter help.