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VOL. 16 NO. 2

FALL 2012 / WINTER 2013


like a beginner

Photo by Ewa Wardzala, taken in Pune, India.

CO N T E N T S Letter from the President — Chris Beach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 News from the Regions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Sarvabhauma Yog: 2013 Iyengar Yoga National Convention and Regional Conference — Michelle D. Williams . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Begin Again — Cynthia Bates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 The Education of an Iyengar Yoga Teacher: Part II, Present Programs and a Look Ahead — Pat Musburger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Teaching and Learning: An Interview with Geeta Iyengar — Robin Lowry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 How They Began: An Interview with Manouso Manos — Heather Haxo Phillips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Musings, Love and Mastery — Kim Peralta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Samachar Sequence: Something for Beginners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 IYNAUS Store News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 IYNAUS Financials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

YOGA SAMACHAR’S MISSION Yoga Samachar, the newsletter of the Iyengar Yoga community in the United States and beyond, is published twice a year by the Communications Committee of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS). The word samachar means “news” in Sanskrit. Along with the website,, Yoga Samachar is designed to provide interesting and useful information to IYNAUS members to: •  Promote the dissemination of the art, science, and philosophy of yoga as taught by B.K.S. Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar, and Prashant Iyengar • Communicate information regarding the standards and training of certified teachers • Report on studies regarding the practice of Iyengar Yoga • Provide information on products that IYNAUS imports from India • Review and present recent articles and books written by the Iyengars


YOGA SAMACHAR IS PRODUCED BY THE IYNAUS COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE Editor: Michelle D. Williams Copy Editor: Denise Weeks Design: Don Gura Members can submit an article or a practice sequence for consideration for inclusion in future issues. Articles should be well-written and submitted electronically. The Yoga Samachar staff reserves the right to edit accepted submissions to conform to the rules of spelling and grammar, as well as to the Yoga Samachar house style guidelines. Submissions must include the author’s full name and biographical information related to Iyengar Yoga, along with email contact and phone number. Submission deadline for the Spring/Summer issue is March 1. Submission deadline for the Fall/Winter issue is Sept. 1. Please send articles to

• Report on recent events regarding Iyengar Yoga in Pune and worldwide


• Be a platform for the expression of experiences and thoughts from members, both students and teachers, about how the practice of yoga affects their lives

Yoga Samachar will begin accepting paid advertising with the Spring/Summer 2013 issue. Full-page, half-page and quarterpage ads are available for placement throughout the magazine, and a classified advertising section is available for smaller ads. All advertising is subject to IYNAUS board approval. For more information, including rates, artwork specifications, and deadlines, please contact Phyllis Rollins at 704.996.7460 or

• Present ideas to stimulate every aspect of the reader’s practice

Cover photo by Ewa Wardzala, taken at the monastery in Hemis, India.

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


IYNAUS Officers and Standing Committees



Some committees are still being formed under their new chairs. Check for a complete list in early 2013.

Dear Fellow IYNAUS Members,

President: Janet Lilly Vice President: Michael Lucey Secretary: Denise Weeks Treasurer: David Carpenter

This will be my last Letter from the President to appear in Yoga Samachar. In November, my four-year board term expires, and by the time you are reading this letter, IYNAUS will have a new president and eight new board members.


Eric Small, Chair Kim Kolibri, Director of Archives Lindsey Clennell, Elaine Hall, Linda Nishio, Deborah Wallach

By-Laws and Governance Committee Janet Lilly, Chair

David Carpenter, Kevin Hainley, David Larsen

Certification Committee Mary Reilly, Chair

Marla Apt, Linda DiCarlo, James Murphy, Lois Steinberg

Elections Committee

Alex Cleveland, Chair Chris Beach, Patrina Dobish

This year, in keeping with the Pune Constitution, IYNAUS conducted its elections by asking regional associations to select their own representative to the board. I believe that this new system will encourage a more active role by the regions in the governance of the national association and will create more effective communication between the regional and national communities. The new board structure is being phased in over two election cycles, and by 2014, we expect to have a fully representative board with either one or two members from each region. The newly elected board members for 2012 are Alex Cleveland, Kevin Hainley, Michael Lucey, Tori Milner, Kathy Simon, Eric Small, Nancy Watson, and Denise Weeks.

Ethics Committee

Rebecca Lerner, Chair Joan White, Sue Salaniuk, Michael Lucey

Events Committee

Nancy Watson, Chair Patrina Dobish

I would like to take this opportunity to mention some of the accomplishments of this board. Of the many projects that were undertaken and completed during the past four years, these are what I consider to be some of the highlights.

Finance Committee

David Carpenter, Chair Chris Beach, Chris Nounou

Membership Committee Phyllis Rollins, Chair

IMIYA – Leslie Bradley IYAGNY – Elisabeth Pintos IYAMN – Elizabeth Cowan IYAMW – Becky Meline IYANC – Risa Blumlien IYANE – Kathleen Swanson IYANW – Tonya Garreaud IYASC-LA – Kat Lee Shull IYASC-SD – Lynn Patton IYASCUS – Michelle Mock IYASE – Diana Martinez IYASW – Lisa Henrich

Publications Committee Tori Milner, Chair

Carole Del Mul, Don Gura, Richard Jonas, Pat Musburger, Phyllis Rollins, Denise Weeks, Michelle D. Williams

Public Relations and Marketing Committee

In 2009, we conducted an organizational audit, which included a legal review of all our processes and activities as well as improved accounting and bookkeeping practices. This audit also resulted in our securing tax identification numbers for the Iyengars to help facilitate their ability to teach in the United States. At the same time, consolidating all of our operations (the store, office of the general manager, mailings, etc.) into a single location in Seattle rather than having them spread out among many volunteers has facilitated our record-keeping and allowed easier communication with members. Another boon has been having our general manager, Sharon Cowdery, stay in the job for four years, which has provided continuity for the organization. Over the past three years, we oversaw the transformation of IYNAUS to be in closer accord with the Pune Constitution, including the creation and adoption of new bylaws. This process was begun by former board secretary Pat Musburger and completed by current secretary Janet Lilly.

Tori Milner, Chair

Regional Support Committee Alex Cleveland, Chair

IMIYA – Melody Madonna IYAGNY – Ann McDermott-Kave IYAMN – Katy Olson IYAMW – Jennie Williford IYANC – Heather Haxo Phillips IYANE – Jarvis Chen IYANW – Anne Geil IYASC-LA – Kat Lee Shull IYASC-SD – Lynn Patton IYASCUS – Anne Marie Schultz IYASE – Alex Cleveland IYASW – Lisa Henrich and Josephine Lazarus

Scholarship and Awards Committee

Another major accomplishment has been in the area of events. Since 2009, when the first regional conference was held in Providence, R.I., IYNAUS has helped launch and oversee three regional conferences (hosted by IYANE, IYAMW, and IYASE), as well as the 2010 national convention in Portland, Ore. IYNAUS has worked with a number of the regions to help with the reformation of regional associations and the creation of a new region, the Iyengar Regional Association of the Southwest (IYASW).

Denise Weeks, Chair

Since the creation of a new website several years ago, one of the major priorities of the

Chris Beach, Leslie Freyberg, Richard Jonas, Lisa Jo Landsberg, Pat Musburger, John Schumacher

board has been to improve the functionality of the site, while adding new features that

Service Mark & Certification Mark Committee Gloria Goldberg, Attorney in Fact for B.K.S. Iyengar Rebecca Lerner, Board Liaison

Systems & Technology Committee Kevin Hainley, Chair

will benefit our members. Among these are automating the assessment registration process; redesigning the website to allow more timely publishing of articles and enable blogging; upgrading our systems to substantially reduce the hours spent on data entry; developing a membership administration portal so that regional

Ed Horneij, David Weiner

Yoga Research Committee Kathy Simon, Chair

IYNAUS Senior Council 2

Chris Saudek, John Schumacher, Patricia Walden

Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

IYNAUS Board Member Contact List Please contact your board members at: /iynaus/iynaus-board-staff

membership chairs can access updated membership rosters in real-time; and adding a continuing education update module so that teachers can easily update their continuing education information. One of the most important IYNAUS committees is certainly the Certification Committee, which oversees the organization of assessments for teachers who would like to become certified Iyengar Yoga teachers or upgrade their level of certification. From 2010 to 2012, 18 assessments were held each year, resulting in certification, upgrades, or Introductory I status for more than 400 teachers. Our Iyengar Yoga Certified Teacher community is now close to a thousand and will no doubt top that for the first time in 2012. I want to extend my thanks to the two excellent certification chairs with whom I have worked—Kathleen Pringle and Mary Reilly—as well as the many assessors and venue hosts who make this process possible. Finally, I want to thank the four other members of the IYNAUS Board whose terms are ending for their generous, dedicated, and unflagging service: Patrina Dobish, whose tireless work on events and elections deserves everyone’s applause; Leslie Freyburg, who not only provided regional support but also served as our in-house Sanskrit scholar; Elizabeth Hynes, whose countless hours of work as membership chair brought us all closer together; and Christine Nounou, whose organizational acumen and calm, professional attitude helped keep everything running smoothly.

David Carpenter Alex Cleveland Kevin Hainley Rebecca Lerner Janet Lilly Michael Lucey Tori Milner Mary Reilly

Please contact your Board Members at: Phyllis Rollins

Kathy Simon Eric Small Nancy Watson Denise Weeks Sharon Cowdery (General Manager)

With best wishes to you all for your continuing travels down the path of yoga,

Contact IYNAUS:

Chris Beach, President

P.O. Box 538 Seattle WA 98111 206.623.3562

Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States

Workshops and Continuing Education Dear IYNAUS Members, Go to the WORKSHOPS page on the IYNAUS

I’m honored to introduce myself as the new editor of Yoga Samachar. It’s been a thrill

website for an extensive listing. All workshops

working with board members, senior teachers, contributors, and the magazine staff to

are taught by teachers certified at the

put together my first issue with the theme of “Start Like a Beginner.” While I bring a

Intermediate Junior I level and above.

couple decades of experience as an editorial professional and student of Iyengar Yoga to the table, I am approaching this new role with open eyes and an eagerness to learn.

If you’re a teacher, Intermediate Junior I or

I welcome all feedback and suggestions for the magazine. Please send comments and

above, and want to list your workshop, just

ideas to

complete the online submission form.

Namaste, Michelle D. Williams Editor, Yoga Samachar

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar





IYAMN Yoga Day participants Emma Addison shares her in-depth knowledge of the many benefits of Ayurveda during IMIYA Yoga Day.


The newly formed InterMountain Iyengar Yoga Association

Jennie Williford’s students at Pranayama Yoga Studio in

(IMIYA) sponsored a Yoga Day on Oct. 27 to raise awareness of

Rockford, Ill., are excited that they now have a rope wall. The

Iyengar Yoga and to recruit new IMIYA members. The event,

studio held a workshop in late September to introduce students

held at the Iyengar Yoga Center Denver, featured yoga classes

to the practice of yoga karunta. “Karunta” means “puppet” in

taught by certified Iyengar method instructors from around the

Hindi. Yoga wall ropes offer students support and a way to

region, Iyengar-focused video screenings, and short lectures.

experience greater freedom of movement, agility, and lightness.

The day culminated with a vegetarian potluck.

IYAGNY The Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York (IYAGNY) is celebrating its 25th anniversary with plans to open an Iyengar Yoga Institute in Brooklyn in 2013. A celebration and fundraiser for the Brooklyn Institute was held on Nov. 14 in New York City— stay tuned for photos from the event in the next issue. To make a donation or find out how you can help make this dream a reality, please call 212.691.9642.

IYAMN On Saturday, July 14, 2012, the Iyengar Yoga Association of Minnesota (IYAMN) held its biannual Yoga Day in La Crosse, Wisc. Chris Saudek and the Yoga Place staff donated the facilities, and Joy Laine donated her teaching. Class was followed by food and information about the national and

The ropes wall at Pranayama Yoga Studio in Rockford, Ill.


regional associations, as well as news about our upcoming

The Iyengar Yoga Association of Northern California (IYANC) is

workshop with Jawahar Bangera.

proud to announce the IYISF blog. Started as a way to build a learning community online, the blog offers tidbits from

IYAMN plans to host future Yoga Days outside of the Twin Cities

members’ trips to Pune, practice sequences, musings on the

on a more regular basis to expand participation beyond the

IYISF chai, and lots of perspectives from Iyengar method

Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and to give members a chance

teachers and practitioners. Check it out at

to visit other studios and communities. Free Yoga Days are held twice per year, as a benefit of membership. Typically the event

The next session of the Advanced Studies/Teacher Training

includes a class plus a social gathering afterward with food. It

program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco will

is held once in July to celebrate Guru Purnima and once in

begin in January. Classes meet one weekend per month. Both

December to celebrate Guruji’s birthday.

200-hour and 500-hour program options are available. For details, email


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013


The region also held an election this year to replace outgoing

The Iyengar Yoga Association of New England (IYANE) held its

board members. New members starting in 2013 include

annual meeting and fundraiser asana class in October. Newly

Kimberly Healey of Ashland, Ore.; Michelle Ringgold of Seattle,

elected board members include Jarvis Chen, president; Karen

Wash.; and Margrit von Braun of Moscow, Idaho. The board

Bump, treasurer; and Kathleen Swanson, membership chair.

thanks everyone who ran and welcomes its newest members.

They join Patricia Walden, vice-president, and Mary Wixted, clerk/secretary, on the 2013 board.

IYASCUS The Iyengar Yoga Association of the South Central United

Proceeds from the fundraiser taught by Patricia Walden and

States (IYASCUS) has a new website. Check it out at

other board members went to a teacher in the IYANE

community who has been diagnosed with a serious health issue that has forced her to stop teaching while she undergoes

In early December, IYASCUS will be holding board elections for

intensive medical treatments over the next few months.

the next two-year term, which will begin in January 2013. The current board includes the following members:

Colleen Duggan of Camden, Maine, received IYANE’s first Community Service Project grant for her work bringing yoga to

– President: Pauline Schloesser, eligible for re-election

underserved populations. Colleen held weekly classes from September to mid-November at Coastal Opportunities, a nonprofit organization in Camden with a mission to help

– Vice President: Anne-Marie Schultz, not eligible for re-election

developmentally disabled adults become participating members of their social and economic communities.


– Secretary: Stacey Jones, eligible for re-election, willing to serve another term – Treasurer: Sandra Torngren, not eligible for re-election – Membership Chair: Rose Bily, not seeking re-election – Scholarships Chair: Suzy Shapiro, not seeking re-election IYASCUS members will elect the new board through an email survey. Texas teacher training is taking off. Austin Yoga has started a new teacher-training group. Clear Spring Studio in Austin continues to have advanced practices on Friday afternoons and is also hosting teacher practices, a one-hour class open to

JLYC students enjoy picnic fare and conversation.

everyone for discussion related to teaching and general assessment prep.

Students at the Julie Lawrence Yoga Center in Portland, Ore., gathered at Laurelhurst Park for a summer picnic in July. This annual gathering builds community and gives students a chance to interact away from the studio. Tonya Garreaud’s homemade ice cream is always a hit!

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


Sarvabhauma Yog 2013 IYENGAR YOGA NATIONAL CONVENTION AND REGIONAL CONFERENCE BY MICHELLE D. WILLIAMS The San Diego Iyengar Yoga Community in conjunction with IYASC-SD is immersed in preparations for the 2013 IYNAUS Convention, Sarvabhauma Yog. The event will be a combined conference, May 10–12, open to all yoga students, and teachers’ convention, May 13–15, reserved for Introductory I and certified Iyengar method teachers. Both events will be held in San Diego at the Town and Country Convention Center. With this combined event, IYASC-SD would like to bring the local yoga community together to experience Guruji’s teachings. “Like the ocean waves change the face of our shoreline here in San Diego, we want to change the face of yoga in our community,” says Cyndy Cordle, president of IYASC-SD, who along with Gloria Goldberg co-chairs this event. “We want Guruji’s teachings to be carved more deeply into this community. We want to include practitioners of all styles and all levels of yoga, as well as children and teens.” The idea for this event was taken to Geetaji for review. She suggested the name Sarvabhauma Yog. Sarva means “relating to all, fit or good for all.” Bhauma suggests “relating to or ruling over the whole earth, comprising the whole world, known throughout the whole world.” Further, bhauma can also mean “relating to all conditions of the mind.” These translations beautifully convey the theme of the event, which is that yoga is universal to all. Convention planners have asked the faculty to devise a curriculum that addresses the physical realm, as well as helping participants begin the profound journey inward promised in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

A Two-in-One Event One of the goals of IYNAUS is that an Iyengar Yoga conference, open to everyone, occurs annually and is hosted by one of the regional associations. Introducing the Iyengar method to a wide audience, which may or may not have taken an Iyengar Yoga class before, is the purpose of the conferences. IYNAUS conventions, usually only open to Introductory I and certified teachers, are held every three years, making 2013 a year in which both events will take place. The conference and convention provide wonderful opportunities for exposure to a variety of teachers, and teachers have a chance to build community while continuing their education. “We get a chance to step away from our daily lives for a deeper study of yoga,” Cordle says. “Everyone benefits from the sharing of Guruji’s teachings.” With Guruji’s blessing, Birjoo Mehta will be traveling from India to guide participants. Birjoo began studying as a young boy and has grown up with the Iyengar family. He comes from a family of dedicated Iyengar method teachers himself. He recently traveled with Guruji to China, where he spoke eloquently to the attendees on the topic of the Iyengar method, summarized Guruji’s teaching, and addressed a group of businessmen on the relationship between yoga and business approaches. The faculty also will include 24 teachers from around the United States—almost half of them from the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn Guruji’s teachings via this talented faculty. Each day, conference participants will be able to choose pranayama and asana classes, including standing poses on Friday, seated poses and forward extensions on Saturday


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013


morning, twists and inversions early Saturday afternoon, restorative poses late Saturday afternoon, and backward extensions and/or balancing poses on Sunday.

Birjoo Mehta

Afternoon specialty classes will address a variety of physical and emotional

Manouso Manos

conditions. Classes on yoga philosophy and how to start a yoga practice also will be

Patricia Walden

available. In addition, the conference will include classes for children and teens. IYNAUS will hold both an assessors’ and general membership meeting during the weekend.

Lois Steinberg Neeta Datta Gloria Goldberg

Open to Iyengar method teachers from around the world, the convention will begin with an opening ceremony on Sunday evening, May 12. Classes begin the following day and conclude on Wednesday, May 15 at noon. The focus of the 2013 convention will be on observation and correction through hands-on adjustments.

Dean Lerner John Schumacher Joan White

“Wisdom of Iyengar Yoga,” a set of video interviews with Guruji and Geetaji made in Pune in November 2009, will premiere at the conference. Produced by Mary Obendorfer and Eddy Marks and filmed and edited by Francois St. Laurent and Marie Giroux, a DVD copy of the interviews will be included in all conference attendees’ goody bags. In addition, copies of the DVDs will be available for purchase during the teachers’ convention. All proceeds from the sales of these DVDs will go to charity per Guruji’s wishes.

Carolyn Belko Cathy Rogers-Evans Ariane Hudson Eric Small Marla Apt

For complete conference and convention registration details and to see clips of the DVDs, please visit

Volunteers, Vendors and Practical Details The convention’s success depends on a dedicated crew of volunteers. The steering committee has been working since November 2010 to bring this event to fruition, and a number of volunteers will be needed to help with a range of logistics and details during the event. For more information on volunteering, please visit The convention store has limited space available, and potential vendors should apply early. For application details, please visit the convention website at Town and Country Resort and Convention Center offers reasonable rates for conference and convention attendees in nicely appointed rooms with a tropical garden setting. By staying at the Town and Country, attendees actually help to keep costs for the event down. For more information or to make reservations, please visit

Rita Lewis-Manos Eddy Marks Mary Obendorfer Lisa Walford Aida Amirkhanian Paul Cabanis Roger Cole Aileen Epstein-Ignadiou Aman Keays Sunny Keays Carla Levy or call 619.291.7131. Be sure to indicate that you will be attending the Iyengar Yoga event. San Diego offers a variety of diverse activities for family members (San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, Sea World, and amazing beaches), so consider adding a few days at either end of the trip to explore.

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar



Having a beginner’s state of mind means being open to each moment like a child. Most children are entirely receptive to learning something new. When we are young, we live in this state because we have to. We don’t know a lot of things. To survive and grow, we must be open and attuned to each moment. But as adults, it becomes more and more difficult to capture this state— and even more difficult when we are “beginning again” at something we know very well. Our fears of failure, of being thought of as silly or dumb or inferior get in the way of the space needed to truly learn. In an act of selfpreservation, we go back to what has comfortably worked in the past rather than being open to what is needed right now. As an adult spiritual seeker, we must cultivate a “beginner’s mind,” to use the Zen term coined by Shunryu Suzuki in his famous book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Tuning into the present state, clear of preconceptions, social “shoulds,” bad habits, and other baggage allows a pregnant pause (akasha) into which primordial intelligence (vikeka khatir) can dawn. A receptive, open, childlike mind allows for dynamic intelligence.

Photo by Ewa Wardzala, taken in a church in Old Goa, India. 8

Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

I went to Pune this past summer for my second visit to study with the Iyengars. Over the course of a month and a half, I heard the following message delivered over and over again in different formats from both Guruji and Geetaji: “You are all here just to collect points. I cannot teach you. You are not here to learn.” There is a famous Zen story about a cup of tea that illustrates what I think they are trying to say:

Underlying the genius of the sequence and actions he taught was a relentless herding of my mind into the present state.

Nan-in, a Japanese Zen master, was serving tea to a visiting

My mind tried to escape the present moment by crying, “I’m

university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served

tired, and I can’t stay in Sirsasana any longer. My neck is going

tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full and then kept pouring. The

to break!” But then I told myself, “Wow, he has been teaching

professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain

for 75 years and has heard every excuse in the book at least

himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

5,000 times. Stay in the pose, Cynthia.” When I started to feel some mastery, like I was “getting it,” Guruji would say, “You

“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and

people are just here to collect points so you can teach them.

speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your

You are not here to LEARN.” Every time my mind tried to get

cup?” (Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki, 19).

up and “go to the bathroom,” Guruji was standing right in front of me—kind and compassionate but unyielding. He

As adults—or long-time yoga practitioners—whose teacups are

kneaded and shaped the clay of my mind until the asana was

full, we need to make space for the skill, knowledge, ability, or

fired into a fine bowl, and then just when I had almost given

information we seek. We make space by beginning again in the

up, he exploded the bowl into a million shards of intelligence.

present moment. We have to empty the cup. As adults, we can’t simply accept a new cup of tea each time. Instead, we must

In the practice hall, I would excitedly start to work on the

allow the tea of the present to blend with the milk of true

things Guruji had taught the day before. One day, however, I

knowledge and be sweetened by a sense of sattvic amusement

had a sinus infection and so was doing Adho Mukha

and awe. This is the difference between simply being a child

Svanasana in the ropes with my heels up the wall. Guruji had

and cultivating a beginner’s mind as an adult.

been teaching an action of grounding the heels the day

The Present Moment: Akasha

before. While my head was down, I felt his presence as he glided across the floor to his practice area. I heard him say,

On my recent visit to the Iyengar Institute in Pune, I had the

“Why do I even bother teaching. No one here is practicing

honor of being in classes taught by B.K.S. Iyengar and his

what I taught.” I thought, “Uh oh, he’s talking about me.”

granddaughter Abhijata. Underlying the genius of the

Shortly thereafter, one of the assistants came over and asked

sequence and actions he taught was a relentless herding of

me very kindly to ground my heels. Going through my head

my mind into the present state. Guruji went through what

was, “But can’t you see that I’m sick?” and shortly thereafter,

appeared to be a methodical set of actions but would stop

“I’ve heard that excuse 5,000 times before, Cynthia.”

frequently to ask, “Do you ever practice this way? Do you stop to observe and watch? What is working, what is not

The opposite can also be true, though—we sometimes hold

working?” It forced me into a very concentrated, present

on too tightly to what we learned the day or month or year

state of mind. In that state of mind, I was able to drop my

before. My teacher Manouso Manos has related a story of

preconceptions and create space for what I was learning.

practicing with Guruji in India. Manouso was in the practice

Even though the poses were ones I had done many times

hall working on the actions in a pose that Guruji had given

before—Adho Mukha Svanasana, Parvatasana in Virasana,

him specifically the day before. Guruji came by and said,

Sirsasana—I found something new and exciting, something

“Why are you doing the pose that way?” to which Manouso

that became part of my experience and part of me.

said, “Sir, because this is how you told me to practice.” Guruji replied, “But that was yesterday.”

III.11: sarvarthata ekagratayoh ksaya udayau cittasya samadhiparinamah The weakening of scattered attention and the rise of one-pointed attention in the citta is transformation toward samadhi. (Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, B.K.S. Iyengar) Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


What was Guruji really saying? I believe he asks us to apply what we’ve learned, to test and experiment, but to do this with a fresh eye each time.

Smrti, memory or experience, is like the furniture in your room. You cultivate beginner’s mind by clearing and cleaning the room and then bringing the furniture back in one piece at a time without preconceived notions of where the furniture should be or how it should be used, if at all. In this way, memory serves us as a vehicle for emancipation. However, this is not how most of us work. Instead, we want to hold on to all the furniture and our room becomes very crowded. Why do we hold on to memories of past experience? According

What was Guruji really saying? I believe he asks us to apply

to the yoga sutras we are either trying to recreate a positive

what we’ve learned, to test and experiment, but to do this

experience or run away from a bad experience in the past. For

with a fresh eye each time. Observation of the present

example, all of us have had an “aha moment” in class or in our

moment, the creation of space in the mind and in the body

own practice. A moment of awareness. If we didn’t have them,

creates a gateway to intelligence. Guruji is not asking us to

we wouldn’t stay on this path. They are the proverbial carrot or

be in a naïve childlike state but rather to cultivate an

the breadcrumbs that we follow toward that elusive goal.

intelligence and strength in body and mind “so that we may not be shattered when spiritual light dawns” (Light on the

When we have these experiences, we want to write them down,

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, B.K.S. Iyengar, 117). This presence is

to record the exact sequence and poses and actions so we can

the difference between truly being a beginner or a child and

recapture the same feeling. On the one hand, it’s beneficial to

cultivating the power of a beginner’s mind.

understand why and how we had the aha moment so we can

A Double-Edged Sword: Smrti Smrti (memory), like any of the other vrttis (movements of

teach what we learned to heal others or ourselves. However, there is a danger that we will simply attempt to recreate that aha moment from the past rather than reflect on the present.

consciousness), can be activated as a means to keep us in the world of sensory stimulation, or it can be used as a tool for

For example, you might think to yourself, “Last Thursday I sat

liberation. When we cultivate a beginner’s mind, we can use

in this chair in front of that window and watched the sunrise. I

memory with skill. The knowledge or expertise that we acquire

experienced a moment of peace and bliss. Now I must sit in this

through our yoga practice is valuable. It helps us when

chair in front of that window at sunrise every morning so I can

something goes wrong physically, emotionally, or psychologically.

feel that state again.” It seems ridiculous when outlined in

If we are a teacher, it aids us when someone comes to us with

those terms, but how many times have you practiced a pose in

an injury or a problem. Like a Google search, we can bring up

a certain way with particular props looking for a past

the information we have within ourselves. But if we simply rely

experience of freedom you felt in the pose?

on the information from the past, we could be missing what is manifesting in this very moment.

We also use our memory of unpleasant experiences from the past to try to avoid recreating them. In one of the classes that

Shunry Suzuki in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind offers a wonderful

Abhijata was teaching with Guruji during my visit to Pune, we

analogy that I think mirrors what Guruji is also asking us to do

went up and down in Sirsasana several times, holding for five to

in our practice: “You must take everything out of your room and

seven minutes each time. I have a chronic neck and shoulder

clean it thoroughly. If it is necessary, you may bring everything back

problem, and I began to experience fear that my neck would

in again. You may want many things, so one by one you can bring

give out and that I would be nursing it for the rest of my stay

them back. But if they are not necessary, there is no need to keep

rather than having my full capabilities. Just when I thought my

them” (111–112).

neck would break, Abhi started teaching variations in Sirsasana and my mind was screaming, “Come out of the pose!”

II.18: prakasa kriya sthiti silam bhutendriyatmakam bhogapavargartham drsyam Nature, its three qualities, sattva, rajas, and tamas, and its evolutes, the elements, the mind, senses of perception, and organs of action, exist eternally to serve the seer, for enjoyment or emancipation. (B.K.S. Iyengar) 10

Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

There is a risk that true beginners will stay in Sirsasana longer than is healthy and injure themselves simply because they would like to please the teacher or satisfy their own ego. An intermediate student who “knows too much” might come out of the pose too soon because fears from past experiences are overwhelming the present state. When I’m back in San Francisco studying with my teacher and this state comes up, I can ask my teacher, “I am having fear

I did not have the luxury of coming out of the pose and asking Guruji, “What do you think?” I was forced to walk that razor’s edge on my own.

come up in this pose. Should I stay or come out?” Most often he tells me to stay in the pose. In fact, it was a defining moment in

Viveka khyatir, discriminative wisdom, is very different from

my practice when one day he said, “Instead of eliminating

accumulated knowledge. It is an intuitive intelligence that

poses that hurt your injured knee, you need to find a way to do

provides the clarity to make the “right” decision at any moment.

ALL of the poses FOR your knee.” The message being: Find a way

The picture I always get is of being able to observe the direction

to nourish yourself in EVERY pose. However, this time in Pune, I

a stream is going and simply swim with the current rather than

did not have the luxury of coming out of the pose and asking

trying to swim upstream or holding onto rocks and branches.

Guruji, “What do you think?” I was forced to walk that razor’s

You must be willing to pour the tea out of your cup first, to let

edge on my own. And the beauty was that it forced me to begin

go of the expectations, fear, dreams, and other baggage that

to distinguish between the evolutes of the mind and the truth.

prevent you from seeing the truth. Then the path becomes clear. This is the beginner’s mind in which primordial

In his discussion of Yoga Sutra I.5, B.K.S. Iyengar writes that “the

intelligence can awaken.

klista form of memory (smrti) is bondage in psychological time; the aklista form is the function of discrimination.” When we

While I was in Pune, Geetaji was teaching pranayama on Friday

cultivate a beginner’s mind in our practice, our memories and

evenings. I was very excited because I had never had the

experiences of success and failure are furniture (or props in our

opportunity to experience a class with her before. She has been

case!) in the room. We are willing to bring them in but are not

a huge influence on me through my female teachers in

attached to having them there. We can take what we learned

particular. She has given me the courage to teach as a woman,

and practice it again with an open mind. We can collect

from a woman’s perspective. I arrived to the first pranayama

experiences that help us, but we do not let them determine the

class and found a seat near the platform in front, eager to take

way we act in the present. Rather than hoard a treasure trove of

in what she was teaching and looking forward to doing some

poses, sequences, and setups, we can use those experiences as

pranayama. However, we ended up doing very little—or so it

part of our toolkit on the road to freedom.

seemed. We sat and sat and sat without the benefits of the

Opening to Primordial Intelligence: Viveka Khyatir

thick mats, my feet going numb while she ranted and raved about the lack of quality students she had in front of her. “You show up here and just want to take something from me. This is

According to Guruji, “Unfluctuating sound judgment with

why I am sick!” she called out. “You come for the advanced

uninterrupted awareness is the essence of true knowledge, the

pranayama class, and yet you don’t even know to cut your

sole means to eradicate ignorance and free the seer from the

fingernails. I can see that there are not many people in this

seen” (129).

room who actually have a regular pranayama practice.”

II.26: viveka khyatir aviplava hanopayah The ceaseless flow of discriminative knowledge in thought, word, and deed destroys ignorance, the source of pain. (B.K.S. Iyengar) The means to liberation is uninterrupted discriminative discernment. (The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Edwin F. Bryant) Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


IYNAUS Photo Archives

“She’s not talking about me,” I thought, and sat as patiently as I

opening myself like a sunroof and allowing the breeze to touch

could, waiting for the pranayama class to begin. An hour and 20

the top of my head.

minutes later, we did about five minutes of Surya bhedana digital pranayama inhaling through the right nostril. We were

When I got home, I was telling a friend about my experience in

not allowed to do the breaths consecutively because we weren’t

Pune, and she asked, “What did Geetaji teach?” I replied in all

ready for that, Geetaji said. My feet numb, my body tired, we

honesty, “Does it matter?” Geetaji was not simply trying to open

finally lay down in Savasana and the lights went out. As soon as

my mind so she could pour her own stuff in. No, she was

I closed my eyes, the roof above me seemed to open up into the

freeing my mind so my own intelligence—our shared

expanse of the universe. I almost laughed out loud with an

intelligence—could flow. A beginner’s mind is receptive;

exclamation of childlike awe. It reminded me of a time years

intelligence is dynamic. But energy cannot flow unless there is

ago when I was transporting a young child in the back seat of

a space for it to flow into. And the real genius in true yoga

my car, which had a sunroof. It was a warm day, and I opened

masters comes in not showing you how spiritual and

the sunroof. The boy screamed with delight, “Wow! That is so

enlightened THEY are, but to wake you up to who YOU are.

cool!” Geetaji had “broken” my mind and allowed me to be

When your cup is too full, they help you empty it. When your

present and at one with the universe. In that space, I was like a

cup is too empty, they help you fill it. When you no longer need

child again, like a beginner. I arrived at Geetaji’s next pranayama

the cup, they break it.

class with a whole new level of presence and intelligence,

I.41: ksina vrtter abhijatasyeva maner grahitr grahana grahesyu tat stha tad anjanata samapattih Samapatti, complete absorption of the mind when it is free from its vrttis, occurs when the mind becomes just like a transparent jewel taking the form of whatever object is placed before it, whether the object be the knower, the instrument of knowledge, or the object of knowledge. (Edwin F. Bryant) 12

Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

I observed the students in Adho Mukha Svanasana, and I felt the reams and reams of information stored in my body begin to unfold. My fears about not having anything to teach abated, and a new fear of not having enough time to teach arose. Begin Again

the following words come out of my mouth: “What are you

I took a workshop on chanting the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali last

doing in the pose right now? What is talking to you? Are you

year with a scholar who was visiting San Francisco from Pune.

reacting to certain pains in your body? Are you going over a set

Over the course of the weekend, we ended up chanting all four

of instructions that you always do in this pose? Are you simply

padas of the Yoga Sutras, which was amazing. When we

holding on for dear life, waiting for me to say ‘Release’? What is

completed the fourth book, the teacher, Dr. Saranjpe, chanted,

going on in the pose for you RIGHT NOW? Use this pose as a

“Atha yoga anusasanam.” She explained that it is an Indian

diagnostic to observe your current state.”

superstition to never end on an ending but instead to begin again. This was such a simple and clear acknowledgment of the

I observed the students in Adho Mukha Svanasana, and I felt the

cycle of birth, life, and death that we exist in. This is the

reams and reams of information stored in my body begin to

beginner’s mind, a mind that is always open and willing to

unfold. My fears about not having anything to teach abated,

begin again.

and a new fear of not having enough time to teach arose. But rather than try to retrieve all the information, I simply let it

In fact, even in the writing of this piece, I have found myself

unfold naturally in a rhythm with the students in front of me. I

beginning again several times. I even put the computer aside at

felt freedom. I felt connected. I felt whole. I felt the class and I

one point and got out a pen and paper and simply wrote

were one organism that I was gently guiding. And just when I

“Beginner’s Mind,” allowing the first thoughts that came up to

thought they had had enough, one more asana emerged in an

be recorded. Instead of holding on to statements that I felt

attempt to spread the intelligence before laying them down in

proud of, I deleted them if they weren’t working. In other words,

Savasana. I heard the following words come out of my mouth,

I moved all of the furniture out and moved some back in, and

“It is very possible that the last hour and 20 minutes were

in the end, I hope I have created a piece that is like a functional

simply preparation for this pose: Savasana. Free your mind.”

and aesthetically pleasing room. Six weeks in Pune studying with the Iyengars and my whole

Cynthia Bates is a Certified Iyengar Teacher at the Introductory II level.

understanding of the practice has changed. I came back to my

She lives in her beloved city of San Francisco where she is a student of

home in San Francisco feeling full, light, and contented. But,

Manouso Manos.

when it came to the first day back teaching, I suddenly felt a wave of fear. “What will I teach!?” My heart clutched. When in doubt, I often start class with Adho Mukha Svanasana. I heard

III.55: tarakam sarvavisayam sarvathavisayam akraman ca iti vivekajam jnanam The essential characteristic of the yogi’s exalted knowledge is that he grasps instantly, clearly, and wholly the aims of all objects without going into the sequence of time or change. “Exalted in understanding, clear in action, he dominates and transcends nature and reaches, through yogic practices, the light of the soul.” (B.K.S. Iyengar) Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


the education of an iyengar yoga teacher: part II PRESENT PROGRAMS AND A LOOK AHEAD BY PAT MUSBURGER

“ As a teacher, you have taken on a heavy responsibility. You do not work for yourself alone. You must study for the benefit of others. Even when you are tired, keep up your courage. You can do no less. I want no more.” —B.K.S. Iyengar

Manouso Manos demonstrates Sirsasana. Michael Wells Photography


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

Julie Lawrence adjusts a student in Sarvangasana.

Julie Gudmestad shows how to use straps in Supta Padangusthasana.

Dean and Rebecca Lerner share their expertise with students.

In the first part of this article, published in the last issue of

to have a background in the Iyengar method. Some programs,

Samachar, we traced the development of the Iyengar teaching

such as the institutes in New York, Los Angeles, and La Mesa,

methodology and the IYNAUS certification process. With that

Calif., require weekly classes at their institutes. This

as the starting point, Part II focuses on education programs and

requirement makes the program geared more toward students

workshops available in the U.S. for future and current teachers.

who live in the vicinity. Others, such as the institutes in San

To be clear, we’re not attempting to list all current offerings nor

Francisco and Austin, center their on-site training around

make a recommendation of one program over another. More

weekends and allow for some or all weekly classes to be taken

than 125 teachers in 32 states qualify to offer teacher training.

off-site with other certified teachers.

We sent requests for information to these teachers in addition to conducting Web research and talking with many students

All the programs we found expect a long-term commitment.

and teachers. The goal was to identify some common

Janice Vien, who directs a program in New Hampshire, feels

approaches among the programs as well as unique aspects that

that the committed group environment helps foster self-study

help create an extraordinary array of educational opportunities.

and supports “personal transformation throughout the two years together.” Written materials make it clear to students that

One request from many of the teachers we spoke with was to

completing the program does not guarantee passing or even

create a forum for sharing ideas. Because our community is so

recommendation for certification by IYNAUS. Senior Teacher

geographically divided, we would like to use the blog on the

Lois Steinberg of the Yoga Institute of Champaign-Urbana says,

IYNAUS website as a venue for sharing ideas (see details on

“Not all practitioners are destined to be teachers.” Some

page 22). We hope this article inspires further investigation and

students in these programs may realize they are not meant to

offers new resources for all teachers who strive to deepen their

teach after all, or they simply may not possess what it takes to

knowledge and improve their teaching.

make a good teacher. Many programs require membership in

Basic Education Programs

IYNAUS, and some specify the regional association that students must join.

The IYNAUS Certification Manual lists 16 teacher-training programs that, in themselves, fulfill candidates’ requirements

This long-term commitment varies from 14 monthly workshops

to apply for Introductory I assessment. These programs vary

over two years to one workshop a month over a three-year

greatly in their construction and admission requirements. Most

period. Two programs we looked at allow a great deal of

require students to have between one and three years of

flexibility. The Institute in San Francisco gives students up to

Iyengar Yoga experience. The Iyengar Institute of Greater New

four years to complete the 200-hour program or six years for

York, however, requires students to be practicing at a level that

the 500-hour program. The program at the University of

includes a five-minute Sirsasana (head balance) and Urdhva

California Riverside, the only complete program we found being

Dhanurasana (backbend) from the floor. In contrast, The Center

offered through a university, can take as long as needed to

for Yoga in Seattle recommends but does not require applicants

complete the course of study.

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


In many of the programs, the hours of study and material covered will qualify students for registration with Yoga Alliance. Program directors acknowledged the need for this registration to teach yoga in facilities such as gyms, athletic clubs and Ys. IYNAUS’ ethical guidelines for teachers charge them to not only study and teach but also to disseminate and promote the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, which often means taking the

In the Iyengar method, the principles stay the same but the points may change. And so it is in the approaches taken for teaching teachers.

teaching to the students—wherever they are. When Jito Yumibe set up her program in Campbell, Calif., she made sure that the

includes a mid-term and final written exam as well as an

Yoga Alliance criteria were met because she felt students

assessment-style demonstrated practice at the same time. She

“would want to end up with a registration that would help

also has students create or participate in a community service

them with potential teaching jobs.”

project such as working with kids, teens, seniors, rehabilitation facilities, or underserved communities.

In addition to the two- or three-year programs, there are a plethora of single weekend, multiple weekend, and three- to

In structuring her workshops that meet five times a year, Anna

four-day workshops. Students often travel to different locations

Delury combines a pose category with a particular emphasis in

to study with the same teacher(s) or travel to that teacher’s

teaching. For instance, while teaching standing poses, the

studio several times over a two- or three-year period to obtain

emphasis might be on the student teacher’s presence and voice,

the training hours needed for assessment. These workshop

forward bends might focus on clarity of instruction, backbends on

programs exist for higher levels of certification as well.

pacing and class control, and inversions on stability and maturity.

Class curriculums for most programs use the IYNAUS

“I have been doing it so long and so many teachers keep

Certification Manual as a guide. Therefore, most classes or

coming, I change the focus a little each time,” wrote Chris

workshops include asana and pranayama from the

Saudek of her program, which meets three weekends

appropriate syllabus, yoga philosophy, anatomy, sequencing,

throughout the year. But she added that there is always a

use of props, principles of demonstration, observation,

philosophy discussion and homework.

instruction, and correction. Most programs assign homework, and many require a practice log. Reading assignments

Janice Vien’s student teachers participate in a variety of fun

coincide with the required knowledge in the certification

activities that she has developed including “Sanskrit Password,”

manual. Peer teaching—a major part of most curriculums—

“Simon Says Anatomy,” and “Name That Pose.” When Theresa

can vary from teaching just one pose to teaching a full, mock

Rowland’s students peer teach, each person in the class makes

assessment class.

a list of three positive elements and three areas for improvement as feedback.

In the Iyengar method, the principles stay the same but the points may change. And so it is in the approaches taken for

Joan White asks her students to keep a practice journal for the full

teaching teachers. For example, before students arrive for

year of the program. In their “Joy of Teaching” workshops, Joan and

teacher workshops with Dean and Rebecca Lerner, they receive

Patricia Walden help students understand the continuum of how

pre-workshop homework. In addition to assigned reading, they

poses evolve from one to the next and from one level to the next.

are asked to list five poses they would like to teach and asanas

Finding the origin of action in a pose gives a better understanding

they would like to see taught. In scheduling the teaching, the

of the pose as well as how to sequence it. According to Joan, this

Lerners make sure that students teach at least three of their

approach has “taught us and a lot of others.”

requests and observe the others. They also include a specific anatomical or philosophical concept for each student to

Many programs use the chanting of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

introduce to the group for discussion.

for a number of reasons. The sutras are the basis for discussions on philosophy, and the chanting helps with Sanskrit

Carolyn Belko’s teacher training includes a portion on taking

pronunciation and breath. Leslie Bradley’s program is one of

care of yourself as a yoga teacher—something we did not find

many using a Sanskrit teacher as a member of the teaching team.

listed in any other program. Peggy Kelly’s two-year program


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

“I make myself available. I don’t have a syllabus; I have a relationship.”—Joan White

good teachers share one trait: They are “authentically present in the classroom, deeply connected with their students and their subject.” These ideas resonated so closely with the teachings of the

Quite a number of teachers expressed a desire to alter the

sutras that Patricia, along with her program co-director, Peentz

emphasis of teacher education so that it is not so centered on

Dubble, began using Palmer’s book and recommending it to

the assessment process. Though there is a necessity for some

other teachers. Employing Palmer’s thesis and yoga philosophy,

“teaching to the test” if only to allay anxieties, many program

she developed a program to help teachers learn more about

directors strive to de-emphasize the assessment. Dean Lerner

themselves. The first yearlong project for new teachers centers

quoted Geeta Iyengar as having said that “a teaching certificate

on the Yamas and Niyamas. Students use any medium they

is a certificate for further learning. If love for yoga and joy in

want to illustrate or explain what these principles mean in

teaching are present, the rest will follow.”

their lives.

It is this love and joy that many programs are striving to

The results, presented at the group’s final meeting, have been

nurture. Some years ago, Patricia Walden came upon The

diverse, moving, and gratifying to both teachers and students.

Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life

They have included photographic posters, poems, mandalas,

by Parker J. Palmer. The premise of this book is that “good

and our favorite: a recipe book titled The 10 Ingredients with

teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes

vegan recipes, each expressing the essence of a Yama or Niyama

from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” Palmer posits

(author Thea Daley might consider presenting this book to

that there are many ways to be a good teacher but that all

IYNAUS for publication).

Teacher Training and the Silent Demonstration Our first assignment in teacher training was silent demonstration of asana. “Silent?” I said to myself, “No problem. I don’t have to say any words; that’s easy.” But when it was my turn to demonstrate, I noticed my fear emerge as I realized I would be watched while showing a pose—in my body, just myself, no words to mount a defense. Then I noticed each person’s fears, their nervous habits, often talking, questioning, filling the air time in some way before settling down to begin—and even then, often interrupting the silence with a comment. It took months in the program before I began to see—and it has taken years to really appreciate—that the silent demonstration is communication, and it may be the most effective communication of all. What do we—what can we—communicate with silent demonstration? We can show the shape of the pose. We can show specific actions. We also can show what practice is. When leading our teacher-training program, along with James Murphy, Mary Dunn told us to “undo” the pose before we tried to show anything. She showed Urdhva Hastasana by raising slightly bent arms, hunching her shoulders a bit, dropping her chest in an ordinary way, and then slowly extending, expanding, growing. It wasn’t done all at once, and it didn’t end. She showed lifting her chest through the stretch of her arms. She also showed yoga. What were the obstacles to silent demonstration that my fellow teacher trainees and I faced? First, we were pumped with adrenaline, charged and in the pose before we had completed our first exhalation. It’s hard to soften when you are nervous; it’s hard to “undo.” Second, we didn’t yet know that communicating just one thing is a big deal. Showing an action in a pose and allowing oneself to be completely absorbed in that one thing—that takes calmness of mind, complete self-acceptance, and clarity of purpose. It is a fruit of practice. It is practice. When a silent demonstration shows that, it is powerful indeed. Julia Shaida attended the 2005–2007 session of the teacher-training program at the New York Institute of Iyengar Yoga. She is certified at the Introductory II level.

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


Julie Lawrence demonstrates Virabhadrasana III.

Manouso Manos adjusts Lisa Walford.

Mentoring and Apprentice-Based Programs

talk about their practice, teaching them more about using

The majority of long-term programs provide mentoring and

props and so on. But they need to be seekers.” After regular

apprenticeships. In addition, teachers certified at the

class attendance, spending time talking was the most

Intermediate Junior I level and above can mentor and have

consistent item listed for successful mentoring.

apprentices. Teachers applying for the Introductory I and II certification are required to have one teacher who agrees to

Practicing together is another way for a mentor to observe not

mentor them through the entire process. The IYNAUS

only the poses but also the maturity of the student. Judy Brick

Certification Manual refers to the mentor’s role as a

Freedman has her students format the starting practice

“responsibility.” Mentoring is a long-standing form of teaching

sequence so that she is not always giving and students

and learning a skill. The word “mentor” comes from The Odyssey,

receiving. Lois Steinberg requires her student teachers to

in which a character named Mentor was an advisor to

practice with her one day a week so she can observe them.

Odysseus. Teachers of all levels welcome wise counsel. But

They submit a practice sequence a week in advance.

mentors receive knowledge as well. “The pupil also teaches the master,” says Mr. Iyengar. Parker Palmer explains the beauty of

Setting boundaries and informing the student of expectations

the relationship this way:

was high on the list of what a mentor needs to do. Mentors observe the classes being taught by the student teacher and

Mentors and apprentices are partners in an ancient dance, and one of

offer feedback. Some mentors do this on a one-on-one basis

teachings’ great rewards is the daily chance it gives us to get back on the

and others do it in a group or teachers’ class. Julie Lawrence

dance floor. It is the dance of the spiraling generations, in which the old

feels that if you have more than one person you are mentoring,

empower the young with their experience and the young empower the

it makes sense to meet with them together. Kim Peralta

old with new life, reweaving the fabric of the human community as they

summed up the mentor’s role when she wrote us: “I am always

touch and turn.

available to share my own experience and offer advice and encouragement.”

More often than not the teacher supervising an apprenticeship is also the mentor. Having a strong relationship is key to

Apprenticing is generally a more formal arrangement than

mentoring. Joan White writes, “I make myself available. I don’t

mentoring. Nearly all apprentice programs begin with the

have a syllabus; I have a relationship.” Mentors are meant to

student observing classes, then moving into assisting, and

advise, but student teachers also need to be self-directed. Chris

end with teaching one pose or more under the watchful eye

Saudek feels that the student should be the one to take the

of the more senior teacher. Only after this progression do

initiative to arrange meetings with his or her mentor. “They

apprentices start teaching classes on their own in most

don’t use me as much as I think they should. I would gladly

beginning teacher programs.

spend time answering questions after class, getting together to


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

Observation skills are not nurtured when the student teacher is busy doing an asana or writing about it.

will teach under supervision. They also create their own training manual that includes all of the information they will be responsible for at their assessment. For people working toward Intermediate Junior level certifications, Lois Steinberg holds what she calls “gathers.” At these three-day intensives, teachers take class, observe, assist,

At the Iyengar Institute of Greater New York, students begin

and teach. Lois also believes a lot of mock assessment classes

observing and assisting in the second year of the teacher-

are extremely helpful.

training program. They fully apprentice as part of the continuing education program at the institute. To apprentice at

Julie Lawrence makes it clear to her apprentices that there is no

the San Francisco Institute, students must have completed

note-taking or doing poses in the class in which they are

more than 50 hours of the training program. After observing

assisting. Observation skills are not nurtured when the student

and assisting, they then set up their own class and teach at

teacher is busy doing an asana or writing about it. Julie and Joan

least 42 hours. All sequences, attendance, and other

White both advocate having apprentices, on occasion, teach an

information about the class is documented. These student

asana with little advance notice. Anna Delury, like many other

teachers are observed and evaluated by the institute faculty.

teachers, requires a two-year commitment from her apprentices. In return, she offers them a private tutorial each month.

For the programs in Los Angeles and La Mesa coordinated by Gloria Goldberg, following the initial period of observing and

Ray Madigan and Shelley Choy, co-directors of the B.K.S. Iyengar

assisting, apprentices are asked to design, print, and distribute

Yoga Center of Honolulu, offer an interesting perspective on

a flier announcing an introductory eight-week course that they

apprenticeships and teacher training in general. Their program

Teaching as Practice Mr. Iyengar says if a pupil comes to you with a problem, imagine that problem is within you. Then make a self-inquiry as to how you would proceed for yourself. The process of self-inquiry will give you the subjective experience to help your students. Mr. Iyengar’s idea is the basis of an exercise we practiced at several of Dean and Rebecca Lerner’s teacher-training sessions. Half the class would perform a pose, say Parivrtta Trikonasana, and try to imitate problems they had seen their own students have in the pose. The other half of the class would pick the “student” who seemed to best embody common issues in the pose. Then as a group, we would try to improve the student’s pose with words, learning the art of observation and correction. This exercise has had a lasting effect on my teaching. Before, I hadn’t considered imitating my students. I have incorporated these ideas into my teaching preparation and practice. I practice the pose as I see it performed in my classes, or I imagine that I have a physical limitation, and I try out different props and modifications on myself. By direct experience in my own body, and by trying out possible corrections and solutions, I have more empathy for students’ struggles that may not be the same as my own. Geeta has been known to say, “Start like a beginner.” This phrase, this way of thinking, can also enlighten and inform our teaching practice. Sometimes I have been forced to start like a beginner. For example, after being ill for a week, my return to practice has found me stiff in body and dull in mind. Even standing in Tadasana can feel unfamiliar and challenging. I noted how I felt at these times and tried to relate this feeling of body and mind to how a new student might feel trying yoga for the first time. Other times, starting like a beginner can be the purposeful focus of my personal practice. I ask myself to identify the main ideas that a student needs to know to attempt a pose for the first time. Then I practice those ideas to see how they feel in my body, and if they get me into the shape of the pose. Some ideas are modified and tried again. Other ideas are discarded as being overly complex. Practicing these simple ideas brings clarity and understanding to my practice and my teaching. Our task as teachers is to help those who come to us. We can do that only if we meet our students where they are, starting like beginners. Nina Pileggi is an Intermediate Junior II teacher and is the director of Sunset Yoga in Portland, Ore.

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


The opportunity to study with the Iyengar family in Pune may be the pinnacle of teacher education, but the depth of instruction available to teachers here in the U.S. is testimony to the dedication and wisdom of our senior teachers.

Rebecca Lerner observes a student teacher teaching Vrksasana.

aims to build up their school from within by training only their

thigh, all students immediately practice to feel how Utthita

own students. In this way, they “avoid training our competition

Trikonasana stretches the gracilis muscle while Utthita

and provide a teaching staff that is committed to our center

Parsvakonasana stretches many other adductors but does not

and its values.” Being a bit more isolated from the general U.S.

stretch the gracilis.” Courses for teachers include other

Iyengar community than other centers, this feels like the best

specialized classes such as observing and adjusting and

approach for them.

restorative yoga, all with an emphasis on anatomy.

All of the apprentice programs we looked at require students to

“Engaging delivery of what can be a dry, tedious subject” is how

continue taking classes at their level of practice in addition to

Senior Teacher Stephanie Quirk described Laura Antelmi’s

participating in the apprentice class. Chris Saudek encourages

anatomy workshop. By working with clay, students learn how

student teachers not only to take classes but also to observe

the bones, muscles, nerves, and joints coordinate with each

them. Chris tells student teachers that “the best way to learn

other and gain an understanding of what happens beneath the

how to teach well is to spend as much time as possible

surface. Then using asana practice, students map the anatomy

watching a senior teacher teach regular classes—not

knowledge directly to the human body. The experiential

workshops.” Mentor and apprentice programs truly continue

knowledge gained from anatomy and asana study is essential

the yoga tradition of Parampara, the sharing of one generation

for teachers.

with the next.

Enrichment Classes

A large number of our teachers are also licensed massage therapists or physical therapists. Their in-depth knowledge of

No matter the level of certification or years of experience,

the body is often the focus of workshops. Julie Gudmestad, a

Iyengar method teachers have an ethical charge and a desire to

physical therapist, has workshops at her home studio in

study. This study includes a full range of subjects in addition to

Portland, Ore., as well as throughout the country. Julie helps

asana that affect both practice and teaching.

students see muscles in action and learn their movements. From this comes a better understanding of how muscles

An extended knowledge of the body is beneficial to teachers and

interact to form movement patterns in asana. Though these are

practitioners on a number of levels. Two members of the Iyengar

not teacher-training workshops, Julie feels this knowledge

teaching community who provide rich resources in the study of

enriches and improves the clarity of a teacher’s offerings and

anatomy and physiology are Roger Cole and Laura Antelmi. In

helps everyone become an advocate for the value of proper

addition to teaching at their studios, they travel throughout the

alignment in the asana.

country for teacher training and student workshops. Classes or workshops in Sanskrit and chanting are offered at Roger Cole’s anatomy courses focus on musculoskeletal

many studios. Learning the Sanskrit names of the asanas is

anatomy applied directly to asana practice. He gives this

essential for teaching in the Iyengar method. But there is more

example: “When we learn about the adductor muscles of the

to it than that. Learning Sanskrit shows respect for the


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

Rebecca Lerner observes as Edith Savadove teaches Sirsasana.

Roger Cole illustrates an anatomy point.

Laura Antelmi (kneeling) helps a student understand the alignment of bones.

tradition, honors those teachers and students who have

One of the most extensive therapeutic yoga education series is

preceded us, and connects us to the culture that originated

the one developed by Senior Teacher Stephanie Quirk. This six-

yoga. Leslie Freyberg, who is an integral part of Patricia

part, three-year program is open only to certified Iyengar

Walden’s program and conducts Sanskrit and chanting

method teachers. Organized around the kosha model of the

workshops throughout the country, calls it “asana of the tongue.”

body, year one explores the appendicular and axial skeleton

Using the sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and traditional chants, Leslie

(Annamaya Kosa), year two explores the physiological body

says that the language “teaches us about vibration, a powerful

(Pranamaya and Manomaya Kosa), and year three explores the

tool for healing the body, mind, and soul.” In addition, chanting

nervous system and mental health (Vijnanamaya and

in Sanskrit enhances the practice of pranayama.

Anandamaya Kosha). The Greater New York Institute and Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics in Los Angeles hosts Stephanie each year, as

Many teachers have students with special physical needs

do other centers around the country.

ranging from knee problems to high blood pressure, scoliosis, multiple sclerosis (MS), or neurological conditions. When a

Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics (IYT) is a nonprofit organization

student is otherwise healthy and the condition is considered

devoted to helping people manage diseases and conditions

common with minor risks, all certified teachers may help that

through the therapeutic applications of yoga. IYT participates

student. However, more serious conditions such as cancer,

in research projects and helps promote the therapeutic benefits

difficult structural anomalies, or heart conditions are to be

of the Iyengar method. Most important to our purpose is that

referred to a teacher certified to hold therapeutic classes.

they provide continuing education to Iyengar method teachers.

(According to the IYNAUS Certification Manual, teachers

Workshop and class subjects include autism, fatigue, anatomy,

certified at the Intermediate Senior I level and above are

MS, and neurological conditions. The faculty includes Laura

qualified to teach therapeutic yoga, with some exceptions. See

Antelmi, Marla Apt, Gloria Goldberg, Diane Gysbers, Garth

page 8 in the 2012 manual for more details).

McLean, Stephanie Quirk, Eric Small, and Lisa Walford.

One of the most common problems teachers confront is

Part of the teacher education program offered by Lois Steinberg

scoliosis. Students with even mild scoliosis need extra guidance

is assisting in her weekly yoga therapy class. It is required for

to benefit from yoga asana. Senior Teacher Elise Browning Miller

teachers Intermediate Junior II and above. In addition, Lois has

has developed a workshop for Iyengar method teachers that

a weeklong intensive open to all certified teachers. The

provides training so that they can better work with these

workshop begins with instruction on how to conduct an

students in a classroom situation. Under her guidance, teachers

investigation of a student’s condition and how to prepare a

work with students with scoliosis to become aware of the

sequence based on that investigation. Observing and assisting

various patterns the spine takes and learn hands-on

in the therapy, back, and women’s classes give teachers a full

adjustments and teachings. These workshops held throughout

range of therapeutic yoga experiences. Classes and workshop

the country are beneficial for the individual student’s practice

opportunities abound in other areas including yoga for seniors,

as well as for the teacher.

teaching kids and teenagers, women’s and men’s special

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


“ I planted the seed, now you must work a lot. Otherwise, the tiny plant will die.” —B.K.S. Iyengar

concerns, and restorative yoga. The opportunity to study with

Modern technology is also having an impact on teacher

the Iyengar family in Pune may be the pinnacle of teacher

education and assessment for certification. Email, Skype

education, but the depth of instruction available to teachers

video conferences, and DVD recordings are being used

here in the U.S. is testimony to the dedication and wisdom of

more and more for teachers and mentors to communicate.

our senior teachers.

The application process for certification has moved online,

Future Developments

and candidates get initial results by email within hours of their assessment instead of having to wait days for snail

The IYNAUS Certification Committee is currently working on

mail. Perhaps one day, portions of the assessment may be

a mentoring document to be distributed in early 2013. This

done by video.

document will include practical information for all teachers who mentor, including how to structure a plan that best

Current IYNAUS Certification Chair Mary Reilly would like to

prepares their student teachers for the certification process.

see more syllabus training rather than assessment training. She notes that each level’s syllabus has an integrated quality.

At least 18 states require licensing for yoga teacher training

She believes that teachers could benefit from continuing to

programs. That number has grown substantially over the

study the syllabus in depth even after they pass assessment.

past few years because states have been looking in all

“Many teachers who form study groups for assessment find it

directions for ways to increase revenue. Initial registration

enriching, and it doesn’t have to stop there!”

costs range from $100 to $3,000, and annual renewal fees vary from $150 to $1,500 or a percentage of revenue earned.

Finding Teacher Education Opportunities

These regulations often keep Iyengar method teachers who

The opportunities for teacher education in the Iyengar

qualify to offer teacher training from having a program at

method are unlimited. This is one reason our teachers are

their home location. These teachers must either pay large

renowned for the quality and consistency of their instruction.

fees and complete legal paperwork or offer only limited

As mentioned earlier, this article has not provided a complete

options. Many travel to other states or incorporate teaching

listing of opportunities available nor is it a recommendation

methodologies into “master classes.” Some teachers caught in

of one program over another. Rather, it is meant to be an

this situation expressed a hope that IYNAUS would help find

overview and a sample to whet your appetite and share

a solution to the problem.

information. Talk to students and teachers, check listings on your regional association website, or go to

One idea proposed at the 2010 national convention was for

for listings of training programs and workshops. But never

IYNAUS to look into the possibility of becoming licensed in a

stop looking and never stop learning. Mr. Iyengar has told us

way that would allow individual IYNAUS teachers to fall

that to be a good teacher, you must always be a good

under an umbrella license held by the national organization.

student—and he is a learner still. Out of gratitude and

Unfortunately, according to legal advice IYNAUS has received,

respect for Guruji, teachers in the Iyengar method continue

there is little that IYNAUS as a national organization can do

to learn.

to address this state-by-state issue. It may be necessary for teachers within each state to join forces and become licensed as

Pat Musburger (Intermediate Junior I) is the director of Tree House

a group to share the expense or work together to convince their

Iyengar Yoga in the Seattle area. A former IYNAUS board

state governments to exempt yoga teacher training from fees.

member, she is also past president of the Iyengar Yoga Association of the Northwest. She would like to thank the teachers who helped her gather information with special thanks to Chris Saudek and Patricia Walden.

Share Your Thoughts and Resources Check out the IYNAUS blog at to share your thoughts about certification training, workshops, and ongoing enrichment opportunities. Post questions about teacher education for the larger community or offer comments in response to this series of two articles by Pat Musburger.


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013


IYNAUS Photo Archives

As part of my dissertation research on yoga curricula for young people, I interviewed Dr. Geeta S. Iyengar several times. This article presents responses related to the student-teacher relationship.

Teaching and Learning: The Teacher’s Responsibilities to Self and Students

at least be working on their own psychology before they can help students?

Robin Lowry: What can yoga philosophy teach teachers of all disciplines?

GI: When we talk about health, Guruji is not saying only physical health; he is asking us to impart all aspects of health, including moral and mental health. We have to take care that

Geeta Iyengar: Yoga philosophy can teach teachers to discipline

we don’t introduce extra philosophy; it won’t help the students

themselves, to concentrate on work, to do the work honestly, teach

if explained as theory. A teacher also acts as a guide regarding

students devotedly, and develop the skill of teaching and

moral aspects and has to be practically following them. For

imparting knowledge. They can learn to have more patience while

example, you may say, “Do not hate. Hatred is bad.” Will it help?

teaching and understand the levels of grasping power of others.

It cannot. The teacher has to watch his or her students to see

Through yogic philosophy, they can learn to maintain their health

under which situation hatred comes. If the teacher has the

and have a balance of mind and clarity of intelligence. For

same weakness, then he or she cannot solve the problem.

teachers of all disciplines, it is necessary to understand how

Teachers need to correct themselves first; merely knowing the

physical, mental, and emotional health is required.

psychology does not help. Yoga being a practical subject, even the teacher is also a student. I can point out the wrong mental

B.K.S. Iyengar says we need to impart the health aspects of yoga to our students. Do you believe it is first necessary for teachers to be clear about their own klesha (afflictions) tendencies or, as Krishnamurti said, to know or


Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar

deliberation only when I watch students and understand human weaknesses. So pratipaksha (opposite thought/action) bhavanam (contemplate upon; cultivate) is very practical. Though connected to deliberation, it is not an armchair deliberation.



Using a “teachable moment,” when something is occurring in the classroom.


So you have to be very rajasic at times with the students but stay quiet inside.

GI: Exactly. Suppose a child has an apple and does not want to

GI: Yes. As a teacher in school, you have to always show a smile

share with her friend because yesterday she fought with this

on your face even though you are not in a smiling state. You

friend. The teacher has to make the child understand and guide

have taught from morning until evening and you are really

her development.

tired, but still you cannot lose your temper. All these emotions are really there. I won’t say you have to them, but it’s a

RL: As

a teacher, should you model your processing of problems to help students understand the process of self-reflection?

continuing process whether you are a householder or a teacher in school. In the office, you have to behave in front of your boss in a different way. There is no running away from it when that tension or stress you feel cannot be removed. Though

GI: As a teacher you are guiding students. You have to know

philosophy tells you to uncover yourself, it may not be possible

that you are teaching them for their own good, that you are

at that time. You cannot sit in front of your boss and say I will

disciplining them not because you are angry about their


indiscipline. You should not respond to their foolishness with your anger. You have to know the cause behind their

RL: Meditate


indiscipline. There has to be a reason behind your interaction and reaction. The reason why you are disciplining the students

GI: (laughing) Yes! You cannot say I will just do Viparita Karani

has to be clear to you and the students. All teachers, and I am

(a restorative pose) here. But you have to have peace of mind on

not just talking about yoga teachers, but teachers of all the

your face, control over your tongue. You have to listen to what

faculties as human beings will have kama (lust), krodha (anger),

he or she is saying to you; you cannot argue. All such things pile

lobha (greed), and moha (attachment). To tell you frankly, if you

up stress and that stress has to be taken off.

have conquered these weaknesses, then you won’t be a teacher; you will be a saint and you won’t be able to use these weapons against the student’s behavior. But when you are a teacher, you

Otherwise you are exhausted and the stress is still there. RL:

have to have this judgment, otherwise how will you teach them the process of self-reflection? As teachers, we also have faced

GI: Yes. I always advise teachers—especially teachers because

such situations. For instance, if I am teaching and some

the teacher-student relationship is deeper than any other

students are not getting it or not behaving in spite of my telling

professional relationship. If you don’t like your boss, you can

them, it is likely that I will lose my temper. I have told them so

leave the job and go somewhere else for a new job. But teachers

many times how to do something and have explained in several

and students—wherever you go, it is the same relationship. And

different ways to help them understand, but after many

that is why the mental pressure increases. There is a depth in

explanations, they are going against what has been taught; they

this relationship like a mother and child; until the child is

are not in a state of concentrating or absorbing. Then my anger

grown up, that child is in front of you. You cannot just neglect

is like a weapon with which I finally get their attention, the

the child, or the child cannot neglect you. It goes both ways.

desired results. Ten times they may have failed, but still it is my

And the moment there is negligence, problems arise. Parents

duty as a teacher to teach again and again until they get it, and

may think they can get rid of the problems by putting the child

if they still do not absorb, then you can use anger as a weapon.

in foster care or a discipline school, but no, lifelong that

If they are capable of having self-reflection, then a teacher is

problem will remain. I see very often students or teachers of

not needed.

yoga who have told me how they were treated as children—bad experiences, bad imprints. They do not go away. The anger

You can dramatize anger, disappointment, or frustration with the student to get their attention? RL:

GI: Yes, but then you have to see that it is out; it is over. As you come out of that situation, say, “Let me just be quiet.” As a teacher, you have to learn to calm yourself. Teachers have to speak a lot in their classes; they get physically exhausted

increases. They think that the whole world is their enemy.

For students who may have difficulty being in a relationship such as the one between teachers and students, can yoga serve to help fulfill some of the needs or lacks from which they suffer because of, perhaps, abuse, neglect through drugs, death, poverty? RL:

and mentally frustrated while dealing with students of various levels.


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

GI: It is the teacher-student relationship. Yoga certainly helps,

Fear of Teaching, Fear of Learning

provided the teacher teaches with a sense of responsibility and sensitivity.

That relationship connects the student to the benefits of yoga as well as a meaningful relationship? RL:

When Guruji says we use paksha pratipaksha bhavanam (looking at both sides) to adjust the physical body in asana, is this the method for learning in all subjects, applying this discriminating process that we cultivate in yoga practice? RL:

GI: Yes, whether a teacher in any educational institute or a yoga teacher, the teacher-student relationship can make a difference

GI: Yes. That is the practical side. The more students visualize

to a great extent. That’s why I say that teachers and students

the situation, see more clearly what is right and what is wrong,

have a unique relationship different from other relationships,

this checking and rechecking assures their actions and way of

and this has to be remembered. The introduction to the yogic

thinking. In your head, you can hold pratipaksha bhavanam—

method certainly helps students. For example, as a yoga

deliberation, but to hold it in the heart, you need the great

teacher, I may not know the background of all students, but

imprints—samskara. Today social and relationship problems are

somewhere it projects itself; the divorce, the anger, the sadness

increasing—in the teaching profession too. In the olden days,

expresses out in class behavior or is reflected in practice. For

teachers were very strict; they would inform parents directly

this reason, we as yoga teachers have an ethical weight on us.

when their children were not learning or paying attention

Ethically and morally we have to behave and be good role

properly. But these days, parents don’t want to listen to

models for students. We are training them for their future

teachers, and they want to know why the teacher is interfering.

betterment. If we misguide them or don’t pay attention to their

This kind of approach is not going to help. The gurukula system

problems, then we are just letting them go whichever way they

helped because there was dialogue and nearness between guru

want and that would be an irresponsible reaction. So the moral

(teacher) and shishya (student). What you are asking now, how

responsibility of a yoga teacher differs from any other job, and

you are questioning me—this is the dialogue system, the

in this sense, a yoga teacher has to get really involved. Yet, the

Upanishad tradition. The student can ask the teacher, the

involvement has to be such that one can protect oneself as a

teacher can ask the student, and if they are not satisfied with

teacher with certain practices.

the answers, then a discussion takes place, counseling takes place. But these days, this kind of interaction or discussion

I’ve often said that teachers have to use their voice with

happens less. One should not hesitate to give a clear picture of

caution while using words. The physical body is exerted in the

what society should be and how it is now. Give students an

teaching process to a great extent apart from the mental body.

ideal picture of society. Otherwise, they will think it has always

Staying in contact with students is also stressful. You really

been this way. While teaching yama, niyama, or asana, make

need to know your students, whether they are well-behaved or

them learn to observe the pros and cons. They should be made

not. For teachers, the practice of yoga is very important. It is

aware that if they do things one way, here’s what happens; if

very important that teachers learn how to cool down, how to

they think another way, here’s what happens. The paksha

calm down themselves, how to have a balanced vision of

bhavanam and pratipaksha bhavanam—or good effects and bad

everything. All students are not the same; they do not have the

effects, correct decision and incorrect decision—all has to be

same facilities, backgrounds, or intellectual levels, so the

thought of and well deliberated.

teacher requires tremendous skill and effort to handle them. Teachers, as far as their health is concerned, have to take care

When you teach them asanas, they begin to understand what

of themselves so that they do not have a nervous breakdown.

happens when they do a particular asana. These intellectual

Most of the physical problems that come along with the

processes you teach practically. Still, even after many years of

teaching profession can be dealt with through the practice of

asana practice, people wonder why they get osteoporosis. In the

yoga. A teacher requires a lot of patience to make the students

beginning, if you make them understand what osteoporosis is

observant, to give a comparative study with practical

and help them technically to understand where they may be

experience. Yes, that is an art!

going wrong while practicing—whether the bone is going into the socket or coming away from the socket, how you stretch in order to keep it connected to the joint—then osteoporosis is avoidable. Otherwise it is inevitable. I do not teach for prevention or cure of osteoporosis, but for the whole procedure of doing asanas correctly. In such approaches, the results will be presented to them, but the information is not given as a

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


temptation but as knowledge, as sensitivity. We are protecting

direct instructions will be helpful, such as open the eyes,

them. As the yoga sutra says, “heyam duhkham anagatam” (the

broaden the chest, breathe properly, balance evenly, and so on.

pains that have not yet come may be avoided). The awareness

When the fear goes, they open up themselves; the mind opens.

in doing yoga sadhana is important. The goal of yoga is not merely bringing social awareness. To bring yoga into practice is important. You asked me about pratipaksha bhavanam. How

Do you think all fear is abhinivesha, fear of death? RL:

many are aware of it? Yama is applicable everywhere by everyone, but where is awareness? Awareness has to come;

GI: Yes. Patanjali says, “All fear, clinging to life, fear of death is

niyama has to be followed individually by everyone, which then

the fear.” That is definite, only the degree changes. Why do I get

causes yama to come into the picture. If niyama has to be

that fear? I may bang my head. I may injure myself. It is not the

followed, asana and pranayama have to be done genuinely. Fear,

fear that I will die, but that I will injure myself. It is the fear

laziness, negligence, the causes behind all of these refusals can

that there will be an impediment in the flow of life, an inability

be avoided, provided that you practice.

to perform one’s duties, dependency, and so on. All these kinds of fear come from abhinivesha. We are clinging to something. It

Sometimes though, there may still be fear, as you said in class, the fear complex. RL:

could be gain or loss, success or failure, name and fame, all kinds of dualities. Clinging to life means what? Our life is designed for something. You may be a mother to someone, a

GI: Yes, you don’t face what has to be faced; fear is hidden in a

doctor to someone, or you care for your mother, so you think,

subtle form inside. That is what I made everyone in class aware

“Oh! This teacher is making me do all these things, and if I hurt

of, and many of the students did it again and uncovered the

myself, who is going to look after my mother?” The fear is that

fear. Children also have that fear complex. When I used to

you may not be able to help or serve those who are dependent

teach yoga in the schools, many times I noticed that if I didn’t

on you. So that word abhinivesha is very peculiar in that way.

show them, they would have fear, but if I did it with them, the

Abhinivesha is also a kind of inner force. You can be adamant.

fear went away. They thought, “Oh! She is doing it, so I can also

Your adamancy itself could be out of fear of losing something.

do it.”

The responsibilities also come out of fear. You want to serve the near and dear ones. You begin to take pride in it, in your duty.

But as they get older, some students have more fear; they are afraid of their bodies. Even if you show them, they resist. How do you address the fear complex, the “elephant in the room” without stigmatizing them? RL:

That is attachment. Whether it is attachment or aversion, the fear exists. Abhinivesha is like, “Who are you to tell me?” You resist, and that inner ego gives the attachment, so you resist. Any kind of ego-pride expression is connected and rooted in abhinivesha. That is why you cannot explain to children, “Oh! You have fear complex.” They will never admit it. They will say

GI: That is the skill of the teacher. There is not a single solution;

only that it is painful, and that is why they are not doing it.

it is the approach. Fear won’t vanish by closing the eyes. I ask

Behind that not admitting to fear is hidden fear.

them to open their eyes nicely and see; that makes the brain alert. You cannot be blind to face fear; you have to be cautious.


They act as though they are not afraid.

When I teach Urdhva Dhanurasana dropping back on their own, putting their hands on the wall, etc., anything that is new,

GI: Right, they say they are not afraid, and that is the pride of

difficult or complex creates fear. You have to be alert but not

childhood, but the abhinivesha exists. “I am not afraid of

careless. Fear makes the body, mind, and intelligence contract.

anything; it is only pain that is stopping me from doing Urdhva

These are all expressions of the fear complex. You need to give

Dhanurasana.” This comes from abhinivesha. That is the base. It

them confidence. Your presence itself should give courage.

would not go with deliberation. Here pratipaksha bhavanam does

Touch, verbal expression, the conveying process, the knack of

not help. Abhinivesha is affliction. The affliction is attenuated; it

doing, the presence of mind, encouragement and will power on

is so deep that it cannot be dissolved by the analyzing process.

the part of the teacher work well.

One has to ask oneself why the kleshas exist in oneself. Everyone has to find out. Suppose my joints are stiff to a

So it is a skill. You should not point out the fear complex

certain point, then I will not be able to bend, but am I stopping

whenever you see it; it should not create an obstruction. They

myself before that point of flexibility? That is the abhinivesha.

should not refrain from doing. Certain instructions give

I’m not positively trying to find out why I am stuck there. I do

freedom to the body; otherwise, they will contract. You cannot

not see whether I can proceed further. You limit yourself

just tell them, “Don’t have the fear complex. You should not be

because of fear. You have to see that you are not limiting

nervous.” This kind of advice does not help. That is later; at the

yourself out of fear. Normally, we introduce everyone to the five

end, you can tell them. But when one is actually having fear,

vrittis: pramana (correct knowledge), viparyaya (illusion), vikalpa


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

(delusion), nidra (sleep), and smriti (memory). You can explain to

the application of skill. You can be really clear about the way

them the meaning and the theoretical part—What is pramana?

you are helping that person, giving them the easier methods,

What is direct perception, inference, and so on? But do we

the earlier steps. You understand? It is not always pushing

explain the five kleshas to them? We make them understand

yourself all the way at once, unless you already have a

and identify them in themselves. That is how the theory and

judgment. You need to judge who can do how much. That is

the practical have to be properly blended.

why the various approaches have to be taught.

What about teachers overcoming their own fear of teaching—the overwhelming responsibility for the student, to inspire practice, but also curbing their (or our own) recklessness or ignorance, which can lead to injury?



You teach to different levels.

GI: Yes, different levels in the same class according to each one’s capacity. It’s not good to push everyone to same level. You are the judge as you are teaching. At the convention, I was clear about it: The teacher has to recognize the capacity. The students, too, have to learn to recognize their capacity. I do not appreciate

GI: Teaching should be based on experience from the teacher’s

when someone just does Setubandha Sarvangasana on the brick

own practice. Teachers will become psychological patients if

without watching the spine, shoulders, or chest. The students

they are always thinking too much and fearing all the time.

should not do it any way or just to their liking. Otherwise,

Teachers need discrimination and experience. Knowledge based

where is the awareness, discrimination, or discipline? One has

on self-experience gives confidence. Teachers have to involve

to understand what one is doing. In the process of trying, you

themselves. They have to think from the head and teach from

need to approach somewhere near to what has to be. You

the heart.

cannot just choose an alternative, something that is ineffective or incorrect. If the teacher asks the students to do

These are more my concerns when teaching adults. I am not afraid to challenge children because they tend to be more fearless, whereas with adults, I tend to worry more about injuring them because I can’t ultimately control exactly what they do, but then I worry that my caution can create fear in them. RL:

multiplication and they cannot, they should not just do division, they should do the steps of multiplication properly. A teacher needs to understand and guide that. You can use two bolsters or a bench if you have one. The asana should be somewhere near to Setubandha Sarvangasana. That’s most important. So when you teach older people, the ages may differ greatly; you see in my classes there may be young people or older people around 60 or 70. I know their limitations. I guide

GI: No! That should not be the problem. You have to

them to do the same asana with a different approach. But when

understand the limitations of the grown ups and also you have

you are teaching a large group of the same age or school

to have your own experience, while learning that exactly what

children of the same level, you can certainly tell them how it

you did is important. All of us have had limitations, lack of

has to be done, how to conquer the fear complex. But when it is

skills. How did you train yourself? How did you conquer fear?

a big group of different ages and capacities, you need a different

That gives you the vision of how others will be able to do and

attention as a teacher, a multiattention awareness. That is a skill.

how you will encourage them to get the mobility. Sometimes your help may be required. You have to literally go and ask them. Other students also have to be watchful. They have to

Well, Geetaji, thank you so very much for your clarity and time. RL:

observe how you are helping them. So your helping is also a skill. Informing the other students is also a skill. You cannot

GI: You are welcome!

hurry always to teach everything.

When you say informing the other students, do you mean continuing to teach them while helping that one person? RL:

Robin Lowry has been studying Iyengar Yoga since 1987 and is certified at the Intermediate Junior I level. She teaches at her home yoga studio in Philadelphia. She has been a public school Health and Physical Education teacher for 18 years and currently teaches at

GI: No, what you are doing on the person who is not able to do.

the K–6 level. Her dissertation, “A Survey of Youth Yoga Curriculums,”

You have to explain why you are doing it. The others also have

was completed in August 2011 at Temple University in the

to know because they are able to do, but they may not have

Kinesiology Department.

seen a person who is unable. So they have to watch and observe

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar




manouso manos

Michael Wells Photography 28

Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Heather Haxo Phillips:

Manouso Manos: Well, the truth is, I never grew up, but my childhood was spent in Akron, Ohio, when it was still a rubber town. My father was a doughnut-maker, a Greek immigrant from the isle of Crete. My mother grew up among Greek immigrants and did not speak English until she went to kindergarten. Eventually, my father owned a corner store, a convenience store. He was an independent owner, but the store was similar to a 7-Eleven. HHP:

What was your childhood like?

MM: I answer this question differently depending on how I feel. The truth is, my father was a raging alcoholic. My mother was particularly ill and had a seven-year bout with cancer before

Iyengar Archives Guruji adjusting Manouso in Utthita Trikonasana in Pune.

she died when I was 13. I have two older brothers and a younger sister. The good news for me was I had a particularly good

hour and a half, two hours, and I never looked at another book.

public school education. I had an astonishing group of teachers.

I was so intrigued with it. We were all broke. We’re not talking

In today’s society it’s almost unheard of to get the education

about minimally broke—we’re talking about really broke. All of

that I got. I escaped into my brain and let that be the spot

us—there were three of us—we all reached in our pockets so I

where I could be by myself.

would have enough money to buy my first copy of Light on Yoga. Then we all went home because there was no more money for

I know a little bit about how you found Iyengar Yoga, but for the record, how did you find Iyengar Yoga? HHP:

MM: I had a friend years ago who became interested in all kinds of things New Age. That was in the late 60s and early 70s. At some point, he found a book that espoused the real wonders of yoga. He was reading the book while I was reading something else, and in his disgust, he said, “It says here that yoga is hope for the hopeless.” Then he tossed the book across the room at

anything else. So that’s how I found yoga, and then I studied out of Iyengar’s book for almost two and a half years.

He said, “It says here that yoga is hope for the hopeless.” Then he tossed the book across the room at me and said, “You’re hopeless. Try this.”

me and said, “You’re hopeless. Try this.” Now what he was talking about was a lot of things, but my

After that many years of studying on my own, I decided I might

lower back had been aggravated and in pain for years on end.

be doing something wrong. So I decided to find a local yoga

I had sought out much Western medical and even Eastern

class. I had seen a poster somewhere in Los Gatos, where I was

medical help and had gotten nowhere with it. I went home

living at the time. I found a community yoga class with a

and started looking into the subject of yoga and eventually

woman named Ruth Barati, who had studied directly with Indra

started reading yoga books and tried some of the postures. I

Devi. So I went to her classes, and they were remarkably cheap.

realized very quickly that I was getting better. It came as

I’d like to tell you I remember, but I don’t. It was either 12

quite a shock to me.

classes for $18 or 18 classes for $12, but I know she was remarkably cheap. So I began studying, and I think I might have

At that time, I was in California. I went into Shambala Books in

taken two series with her when I had to say to her, “You know,

Berkeley and asked the guy if there was maybe an intermediate

I’m actually too broke to take these. I really don’t have any

book on yoga that he would suggest for me. He said, “Well, why

money.” She said, “Well, we’re not going to worry about that. You

don’t you try that silver book with orange letters, Light on Yoga.”

keep coming to class.”

My friends were in that bookstore looking around for almost an

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar




Iyengar got out of the car, and he looked at me and he said, “You teach in there?” I thought he was sizing me up to try to see how insane I was. I said, “Yes, sir.”

She had a prejudice against Iyengar Yoga. She had taken a couple of Iyengar Yoga classes and really did not like the teacher. So I was studying with a fellow named Joel Kramer, who was living up in Bolinas, and during his weekend workshops, one of the things he would do was get in the hot tub. I happened to be there when someone waltzed in to tell him: “Have you heard Iyengar is coming to Berkeley?” I said, “What?” The fellow then repeated that Iyengar was coming.

Not long after that, even just a few weeks later, I got a phone

Honestly, I did not know that Iyengar was alive. I thought I was

call from her, and she said, “I’m in the hospital, and I want you

looking at pictures that were shot in the 40s. I thought that the

to come and see me.” So I went into San Jose to see her. She

copyright on the book was the American copyright and had

said, “My appendix burst. I’m not well. I want you to substitute

nothing to do with when the book was written, and the

my class that you’ve been in.” I said, “No. There have been

possibility of me trying to get into a class with the man whose

people studying with you for 10 or 12 years.” She said, “No. The

book I had dedicated myself to was just overwhelming to me. I

first time I saw you, I knew you were going to be a yoga teacher,

spent the next year trying to find my way into that class. That’s

and I want you to teach the next class.” I said, “Okay. What do

my basic yoga history; that’s how I found Iyengar Yoga.

you want me to teach?” She said, “It’s up to you. It’s your yoga class.” After she got well, which took several months because her appendix had burst, she said, “I am not the right yoga teacher for you. We need to find you someone else.” She was

How did you begin to study? Did you start from the beginning or did you go by the numbers? HHP:

tied in with the yoga community as it existed back then in the early 70s, and she began sending me around to this one and

MM: Oh, no, no. Well, I could tell you that I was that smart. I

that one—so I studied every brand of yoga available at that

would look at the pictures and then try the pose. Then I

point with one exception.

would read what he said about it, which was never enough information, and then I’d try the pose again. It was

Michael Wells Photography


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

completely haphazard. After I had done that for months, I started reading the sequences and decided that they were all too simple for me. Then I skipped to the middle and realized those were too hard for me. Then I gave up in disgust. Then I went back to kind of haphazardly working my way through what was going on. I did pick up some principles of what he was doing. I realized he was building them up rather than throwing this one and that one together. There was a rhyme and a reason to these sequences, and I picked them up relatively early even though I couldn’t follow them all. In one case, the sequence was beyond my capacity for learning in terms of my intellect and ego. In another case, it was beyond my capacity physically. But I told myself it was okay. I would just keep reinventing things on my own. HHP: Tell

me a little bit more about what excited you about yoga in the beginning. MM: Oh, I’d like to tell you something quite profound. I will not pretend for an instant to be one of those fellows who was interested in enlightenment. My real interest was always in

Michael Wells Photography

As this unfolded, I didn’t know it at the time, but my life was changing.

trying to get my body in shape, because of yoga’s instantaneous results on my back. It was only much later that I became

then, I was already attempting to teach yoga to others, even

interested in these other aspects of what yoga had the potential

with as little as I knew about the subject. Because no one was

to do. In other words, I only saw the physique, and I realized

interested in studying yoga with me, I began to work with an

that Iyengar’s bead on the way that the human body worked

outreach program for yoga in prisons. I was teaching at the

was very different than anything I had been oriented to before.

county jail in San Francisco. One of the other people in the

That attracted me.

program unbeknownst to me had invited Iyengar to come and go into the prison and maybe even give a class to some of the

HHP: So when you first met him, what was that like?

prisoners. As the class in Berkeley ended, the other fellow came to me and said, “Iyengar is going to the county jail. Will you

MM: It was very, very peculiar. I had never been given a spot in

meet us there?”

the main course that was being taught in Berkeley in those years. I’d been given the observer’s spot where I was able to

So I rushed home, I grabbed Rita, and I said, “You’ve got to see

watch class, and then I was allowed to come to one evening

this guy; it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. This guy is the real

class. So the first day I arrived really early because I had to

deal.” We went to the jail, and just as we got there, Iyengar was

cross the bridge and I didn’t know how long it would take or

coming out of the main gate. I said, “What happened?” They

where it was exactly—I had to find my way up to Tilden Park, to

said, “Well, they scheduled you for three hours ago, and you’re

the Brazil Room. I was waiting outside, and Iyengar got out of a

so late.” [Because Iyengar’s class in Berkeley had run so long, we

car. Before he could barely hit the ground to start walking

were all late in getting there.] But you don’t just walk into a jail

indoors, I said, “Mr. Iyengar, I’ve got back pain, can you help

when you want. So Iyengar had signed a few books and left

me?” He turned to me and said, “Umm.” I said, “I couldn’t get

them behind. As he came out, they stopped the car because I

into the class.” He said, “I was not responsible for who got in. I

was standing there. Iyengar got out of the car, and he looked at

told them 40 people. They’ve now brought in more than 60.

me and he said, “You teach in there?” I thought he was sizing

You’re going to have to come to Pune to study with me.” That

me up to try to see how insane I was. I said, “Yes, sir.” He said,

was my first interchange with him.

“Good. Very good.” That was my first day of actually being faceto-face with Iyengar. Then I watched him teach every morning

That first class was scheduled for, I think, two hours. It went

that week. As this unfolded, I didn’t know it at the time, but my

almost four and a half. There’s a weird thing that went on. By

life was changing. I knew my orientation to the subject was

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar




changing. I knew that I wanted to do this very, very badly. I had never seen anybody as a better teacher on any subject than when I watched this man. That’s still the truth I feel today. HHP:

So nobody wanted to study with you?

MM: Why would they? Yoga wasn’t popular, and I had nothing

One thing that’s unique about your teaching among other Iyengar method teachers is your dedicated orientation toward using the poses to fix the body. Is that rooted in the story you just told me, because of how you were drawn to Iyengar Yoga? Or is it just a way that you happen to love to teach? HHP:

that would allow anybody to ever want to. I was putting up little posters around town to try to attract people to the subject. I’d get one student, and they’d get discouraged. Nobody was coming back. So I said, “Okay. I’ll try to figure this out.”

How has your relationship with Guruji evolved since then?

When I got to India, Iyengar took me apart and put me back together.


MM: No, I don’t think it’s either of those. That’s the strangest part. Number one, the average person who walks into a yoga

MM: Well, I went to India, and after the first class, I said, “I’m

class has no interest in enlightenment. They’re tying to get rid

the fellow who asked you in America about my back, and you

of pain. Now there are all kinds of pain that we relate to—

told me to come here. Can you help me?” He whispered because

emotional pain, intellectual pain, spiritual pain. The one that,

he had talked very loud during the entire class. He leaned into

strangely enough, is the least threatening is physical pain. This

me where no one else could hear and he said, “Your back pain

orientation allows people to become attracted to this subject. I

will become worse than it’s ever been, and then it will go away.”

think they’re very much like me. I’ve often thought about

He spent the next three weeks literally taking me apart and

myself as very special, but I’m realizing that, in the long run,

putting me back together. … The place where he teaches in

really I’m like everyone else. What brought me to this subject

India is on the second floor of his building, and I used to have to

and what keeps me in this subject is that I can start to deal

almost crawl up those stairs for many of the classes—I’d put

with those real sorts of upsets and sufferings in my life. The

my hands down to get from stair to stair because my back was

easiest part to deal with, strangely enough, is the body.

hurting me so badly. I had faith in what he was doing, though, touch those points to awaken that area and start to take control.

So how has your teaching developed over the years? How is it different?

As we were coming to the end, Iyengar—he was called “Mr. Iyengar”

MM: I wish it had. We all pretend that we’re making some sort

or “Sir” then, we were not allowed to call him “Guruji’—walked into

of evolution, but every day is a new struggle and every day you

the room where there was a crowd of people, walked straight over

hope that you’ll do better than the day before, but the

because it became very clear to me that he could make me

to me, ignoring everybody else, and said, “You have to go home to teach this way.” I said, “Oh, no,” because I was convinced that I was


Manoli, Manouso, Zarah and Rita Manos with Guruji at Disneyland in1990.

going to get a regular job, that I was going to keep coming back to India to study with him. I was so diminished in what I knew compared with him that I thought I would never teach again. He didn’t give me any squirming room on that. He made me come back and do it again. Then Rita and I began—or I by myself—started coming back every year or year and a half and he realized that he was stuck with me at that point, and then it started to come to this relationship that we have now. I was also very inquisitive; I still tell people to this day, in some ways I am sure I am his worst and his best student. I’m his best student because I pay close attention to him, because I really think he knows what he’s doing, and I’m his worst student because every time I don’t understand something, I make him go over it again and again and again with me until I start to get it. 32

IYASC Archives

Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

Michael Wells Photography

challenges are always there. If you think I become more adept

other systems had nothing. There was nowhere to turn; the

at the body or I become more adept at being able to see

teachers could not even help themselves.

students, all that’s true, but in the long run, it’s never done. Every time you pat yourself on the back and think you’ve got it

But I’ve always seen that aspect of Iyengar. You ask about my

down, you find out you’ve got more learning on every aspect of

development with him. There is a small possibility that I’m the

the subject that there is. That’s never going to end. I know that.

first Westerner who ever assisted in the medical classes in

I get up thinking I’m going to master this, but now I’m just

India. In fact, I’m really quite sure that I was. Years ago, that

trying to figure out what it’s like to get a little bit more than I

first year that I went with Rita, I would get up very early in the

had the day before.

morning and show up at the institute and watch Guruji practice. Then I would stay for my class, and then I would show


have this idea in my mind that you started teaching poses and that migrated toward your current orientation of teaching actions that address pain over a period of years. Is that true?

up and watch every single class that was being taught at the institute all week long. In those years, there was exactly one medical class and that was on Tuesday afternoons, and I would show up for that Tuesday. There were exactly four people working then. Now there are tons of assistants. It was B.K.S. Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar, Prashant Iyengar, and Shah. Shah is the

MM: That’s just the orientation. The actual sequence of asanas

guy who’s been around forever.

themselves has tremendous benefit even for people who really don’t recognize they’ve had suffering and pain. In other words,

I watched those classes and there were so many people that

you can use this for body development. We’re not confused

they were trying to help. There were blood pressure patients

about that. It creates a remarkably dynamic, healthy, good-

and stroke victims and heart attack patients and people who

looking individual—male and female. If someone comes in just

had lost limbs. There were all of these people in this medical

for that kind of help, absolutely—we’re supposed to give that to

class. It was during that time, maybe the first or second time

them. I’ve never been oriented just toward the suffering and

that I ever watched one of those classes, that Guruji turned to

pain, but I’m rather adept at it. I also realize, too, that I was

me and said, “Can’t you see I need help? Go get me a block. Put

seeing so many people who were coming to me to try to help

your hand up here.” And I never went back to just watching.

them with their knee or back pain. In those days, people were doing yoga and would suffer and get injured, and some of these

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar




What brought me to this subject and what keeps me in this subject is that I can start to deal with those real sorts of upsets and sufferings in my life. The easiest part to deal with, strangely enough, is the body. Manouso demonstrating at IYLA in 2004. Photo by Karen Lee Fisher


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

It was during that time, maybe the first or second time that I ever watched one of those classes, that Guruji turned to me and said, “Can’t you see I need help?” The very next week, I was in my shorts and I was standing and asking, “What can I do? What can I do? Where am I going to go?” In those years, it was only, “Hold this.” It was like the child who’s helping her mother or father wrap gifts. “Put your finger here,” and then they would tie the bow around it. “Now move your finger.” That’s as much as you were trusted with in those days. When I came home, it wasn’t that I was adept at it, but I was a witness to him making dramatic changes in the health of others. When people came to ask me what Iyengar Yoga was, that was certainly one of the things I could offer them that was unique compared with all the other yoga going on. We still offer that. They come to us injured in many cases, and then go back to their systems.

What was it like for you as a beginning student yourself? HHP:

MM: I was in a tremendous amount of pain. I was able to

IYASC Archives Manouso teaching Parivrtta Trikonasana at IYILA in1990.

more seasoned teacher. I’m wondering if you could explain what that experience was like for you or if you’ve had it yet?

control what was going on at home, but it never completely went away. When I got to India, Iyengar took me apart and put

MM: I walk into every single class terrified. I know walking in I

me back together. He helped redevelop the way my muscles and

do not know enough. I’ve actually gone over this—the question

tendons and joints and ligaments were interacting with each

was formed a little bit differently between myself and B.K.S.

other. Meanwhile, every single day, I was watching this

Iyengar, but I asked him one day how I could get over that

remarkable master of a teacher unfolding this subject that’s so

frightened feeling that I get before every class. I asked him what

old and so ancient and fresh. I was just so intrigued by what

I could do about it, and he said nothing. He said, “It’s supposed

was going on that I ended up dedicating my life to it. In those

to be there.” He said, “In fact, it’s part of what keeps you sharp

early days, the transformation going on inside of me was really

and keeps you aware and will demand a better practice out of

quite frightening. I still tell the story today. I had never been one

you to get ready for that.” He’s right. It’s never gone away for

who had trouble sleeping or going to sleep, but during that first

me. Now, I do recognize that, “Oh, this one has a knee like the

trip to India, there were several nights that I woke up in a panic,

other person I helped, and this one’s back.” That kind of

sweating, and did not know who I was. I think it was yoga

adeptness I’ve got.

changing me right down to the very quick of who I was. The orientation of who I thought I was and the ego and everything

Years ago—you’re too young maybe to remember it—there were

else that was invested in that ended up being changed by those

these fellows [Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull] who

very few weeks that I was with Iyengar in the early years.

wrote a book called The Peter Principle. Their theory was that in corporate America you rise up to your level of competency and

For most beginner teachers, their experience is to be completely overwhelmed. There’s a moment when they look around and realize that they have actually a little bit of a clue about what’s going on and they become a HHP:

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar

then come to rest just barely above that and that’s where you get frozen in corporate life. In other words, you can handle up to here, so they try you at the next level. If you can’t do it anymore, then they won’t promote you, but you’ll stay at that job and get stuck there. If you’re at middle management, that’s




Photo by Paul Cabanis Chris Stein (L), Manouso, and Anna Delury (R) at Geetaji’s and Guruji’s 2004 Birthday Celebration in Pune.

not a bad place to be, but you can’t get above that if you can’t

could find was as a truck driver in Manhattan. After that, I

do the job. I mention this because I think for some reason the

moved out to California and opened a steak sandwich

world works in strange ways, and it will keep throwing more

restaurant—like a Philly cheesesteak sandwich restaurant in

students at you until you can’t handle any more. If you can

Campbell, Calif. Then I was a house painter and a yoga teacher

only handle eight people in the room and the ninth one comes

at the same time. Then I was a bartender and a yoga teacher.

in, things start to break down. Eventually, you start to get better,

Then I was a waiter and a yoga teacher. Then I just became a

so your classes can grow because your attention can be in more

yoga teacher.

than one place at a time. HHP: Do

you miss any of it?

When I go into a yoga room and there’s 60 or 100 people in it, I have to just lock down individual to individual, though there

MM: I miss things like waiting and bartending because a) I like

are people I have to watch. This one’s got a bad knee, this one’s

dealing with the public and b) when you walk away from that

got a bad back. I can’t let this one do an extended neck or

job, you’re done for the day. This job stays with you 24/7, and

everything goes wrong. But from my perspective, I also start to

there is no getting around that. I’m not talking about living

see the imbalances in the room overall. I see all of these hands

with guilt that I could’ve taught this or that better. But it’s

in the air when we’re doing certain poses. If one hand is doing

pervasive. My life becomes oriented around this is the way I

something peculiar, my eye will pick up on that flaw. There’s no

should walk and this is what I’m looking at and next time I

great way to teach this; that comes only, if you will, in the field

need to remember to talk to that person about such and such.

of battle because you’ve done it so many times. It develops a

The yoga just keeps expanding its way into your life. At the end

familiarity that you have to keep revisiting.

of a shift of bartending, I had a fistful of money from tips in my pocket and I could walk away and not think about it until I

HHP: Another

kind of question—did you ever do another type of work?

showed up 16 hours later to start another shift. That shift does

MM: Oh, yes. I have a college education. I actually have a


not come to a yoga teacher, not a good teacher anyway.

You said you like dealing with the public?

degree in history from Ohio State. After that, the best job I


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

MM: Sure.

When I talk to people about learning how to teach, I tell them that they have to revisit how bad and uncoordinated



they felt when they walked into their first yoga class. Most of us actually lose that. I remember how I would look across the

MM: Yes, and that’s hard to believe because I’m so

room and say, “Oh, they’re so flexible. This one’s so strong.

tremendously introverted. I’m not shy, but I am introverted. You

They knew all the names of those poses.” I remember how

understand that when you’re the bartender or the waiter, they

upset I was and how inept I felt. It’s very important for every

are at an arm’s distance from you emotionally. You can look

one of us who is a yoga teacher to go back to that and never

into their lives, and in fact, they will in many cases treat you as

lose that. The first time they come to see you, we are already

if you’re a piece of furniture. Anyone who’s ever gotten in with

off-putting. No matter how good your reputation is and how

those jobs has been a witness to things between couples and

much they may think about you, the first time they walk in,

between individuals that no one else in the world has ever seen.

they’re afraid. It’s new and it’s disorienting. We all have to

They’re talking about some of their most intimate secrets and

recognize this as yoga teachers.

arguments and doing so with someone who they think they’ll never deal with again. I did that.

In my own way, I have to become so humble when I go back to see Iyengar because he knows so much more about the subject.

The orientation of a yoga teacher to the public is very unique.

I have to be willing to interact with him with what I do know

We are the first and last people to find out certain pieces of

and also be willing to throw away what I know to try to find a

information about people. For example, we’re often the first one

new way of seeing it through his perspective. And then interact

to know that a woman is pregnant because she doesn’t want to

with him to understand what that really means.

tell her friends until a certain point. We can be the last person, in many cases, to hear about some of the ups and downs of their lives because a yoga teacher is not inside of that group of

Anything else you want to tell me for this interview? HHP:

friends, so we are not intimate in that way. Nevertheless, many students do let down the veil of secrecy with their yoga teacher.

MM: Yoga can change people’s lives. It’s like everything else in

It’s really a different bird’s-eye view of humanity in the

this world. You kind of get out of it what you put into it. If you

individuals I deal with as a yoga teacher than in the other types

put in a few more minutes, the gains are still huge. If you orient

of jobs I’ve had.

yourself toward dedicating your will power, your brainpower, your emotional power, as well as your physical power, the gains


come back to that idea of being a beginner—a beginning student or a beginning teacher, how do you interpret the idea of “beginner’s mind”?

will come across so many levels of our lives—who we relate to, who we are. The questions that most of us have brought up in our lifetime—I’m not talking about the mini questions but the really big questions, even the ones that don’t get answered outright—we come to more of a state of peace with these

MM: The beginner’s mind should never go away. I don’t think

questions. Yoga has had that effect on me and many of the

Iyengar has ever lost his beginner’s mind, and again, I don’t

people I’ve run into over the years.

like the words because “beginner” implies someone who is new. Now if you talk to me about someone who literally is trying to figure out the subject brand new and from a

Heather Haxo Phillips (Intermediate Junior II) lives in Oakland, Calif.,

different perspective, I relate to that completely. It’s that

and is vice president of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco.

remarkable kind of orientation that goes on inside of

When not teaching, practicing, or talking about yoga, she can be found

someone when they do their practice not by rote, but as they

teaching vegan cooking classes or digging in her garden.

try to figure out what might be a little different and how they can look at it from a new perspective and how this pose or that pose can be changed. Every one of us should keep trying to relate ourselves to that orientation.

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar


Musings The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are of no use to us if our only grasp of them comes from the head. Until our understanding of them resides in the heart, they have little value. How does each sutra relate to our practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation? How does each and every one of those marvelous gems of wisdom help us to become better teachers? What do they have to tell us about our modern society, the way we collectively live? Are they of practical use in our lives today? Can we find in them something to help us? To guide us? To give us courage and support?

This May Sound Familiar … Many of us sat in history class, struggling to memorize the names and dates of old battles. Which battle lead up to which? What were the names of the generals? How many soldiers were killed? When some of us asked, “Why?” we got the usual response: “To pass the test.” “To get good grades.” No one ever suggested we could explore the relevance of those events to our lives now. So we assumed they were not relevant. We assumed that to be a smart person, a successful person, we had to obey and memorize. Otherwise, we would fail.

Follow the Love Great musicians practice scales. But practicing scales does not make great musicians. True musicians are passionate about music. They enjoy practicing. It is love of music that calls the musician to practice, again and again. The same is true about any field of human endeavor, be it art, science, philosophy, sport, yoga. Real mastery of a subject requires that we find meaning in it. Love for the subject calls us. We follow that love and gain some degree of mastery. Where does love reside? Where does true understanding reside? In the heart.

Good Night Brain Intelligent practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation relaxes the brain and opens the chest. The head acknowledges the ascendancy of the heart. And the heart is lifted, supported, and opened, revealing its wisdom—if we care to look. So good night brain, rest now. You have been given too much responsibility in our lives, and you are very tired. We will relieve you of the burden and rely more on the heart. And in this way, we will gain some mastery over our lives.

Kim Peralta is a certified Intermediate Junior III teacher in Brooksville, Maine.


Considered one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, the late Yehudi Menuhin was devoted to practice. He met and befriended B.K.S. Iyengar in 1952 and became his lifelong student. In the above photo, taken in the late 1950s, Guruji adjusts Menuhin in Setubandha Sarvangansana at Menuhin’s Chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

“ People speak about philosophy because they have read books. Philosophy is a way of living, not something to study.” —B.K.S. Iyengar, Sparks of Divinity

IYNAUS Photo archives Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar




Something for Beginners As taught by Guruji in China By Manouso Manos


The IYNAUS store was created to provide props, reference materials, and study aids to enhance the practice of Iyengar Yoga and raise funds to support our operations in the United States. The store focuses primarily on items produced in India that are not available from popular retail and e-commerce sources. Additional inventory items include books, audio CDs, and DVDs from senior teachers in the U.S.

In China, Guruji taught the following sequence in the first class. I found it to be so profound that I have given

A few of the more recent additions to the inventory include

the sequence and his instruction as best as I can

the following:

remember it in almost every town where I teach. Yaugika Manas Guruji actually announced that these are the poses

By B.K.S. Iyengar

beginners should be taught. I give this sequence to beginners because it teaches so many principles

This book is an articulation of the

needed for all practitioners. It brilliantly links actions

thoughts of Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar and

throughout the class and challenges practitioners to

is a study of the mind by the mind to

carry some actions from pose to pose and to change

reveal the mysteries and enigma of the

others—because it teaches straight leg and bent leg

mind. A substantially expanded version of

actions; it teaches twisting principles as well as

B.K.S. Iyengar’s 2009 Guru Purnima

stability; and it connects practitioners to their feet and composes the entire body into a cohesive unit.

address, it focuses on how the dual mind becomes polluted and how to purify it through yoga. Guruji explains how astanga yoga is inherent in and covers all aspects of sadhana in the yoga sutras, from gross to subtle. He


links various yoga sutras, supported by quotes from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, Ramanuja, Vaisesika, Vedanta, and Ayurveda. Elaborating on Light on the

Utthita Trikonasana

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a prerequisite, he explains how yoga philosophy gives depth to practice and how practice reveals the depth of yogic philosophy. The volume is well-referenced with

Utthita Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana

copious use of transliterated Sanskrit, a five-page glossary of terms, 15 tables, and several illustrations. The clarity of Guruji’s mind is evident in the very lucid manner in which he has eloquently unraveled the enigma of the mind. It is recommended that the reader have a basic understanding



of the material in Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

Patañjala Yoga Sutra Paricaya

that the senses of the eyes are for seeing, ears for hearing, skin

By B.K.S. Iyengar

for feeling, and nose for smelling. This book explains how the functioning of the senses is not just mechanical—i.e., the eyes

This writing was a birthday gift in 2011

being like cameras or the ears being like a tape recorder—but

from Guruji Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar for

how these senses are affected by the mind, intelligence, and

yoga sadhakas (practitioners). This book in

emotions. It explains how the organs have their own mind and

English is the first of Guruji’s to be

how they are influenced by the emotions. For example, the

published by the government of India.

heart beat rises with physical exercise and also with fear.

As the title conveys, it is an introduction

This book opens up our horizons to shift the way we “look” at

(paricaya means introduction) to the yoga sutras and is

our organs and senses. Ultimately, this understanding can

dedicated by Guruji to the children of India. Children indicates

naturally influence the way we practice our asanas and

not only those who are chronologically young but all those

pranayama, as these in turn influence and are influenced by our

young to the subject of yoga and who would like an

organs and senses.

introduction to the depth of knowledge that flows in the sutras. Paths to Happiness Each sutra is given in Sanskrit followed by a transliteration in Roman script followed by the sutra split up, making it easy for

This DVD brings together B.K.S. Iyengar

even those uninitiated in Sanskrit to clearly articulate the

and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a

sutras. Simple English translations of each word in the sutra are

historic discussion on the Paths to

followed by a straightforward explanation. The language is such

Happiness. Together they share their

that modern-day youth can easily relate to the ancient wisdom

wisdom and their expertise on how each

to understand the purport of yoga.

one of us can find happiness and avoid suffering in our own lives. This knowledge

Organology and Sensology

has come from intense practice and inner realization. Run

in Yogashastra

time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.

By Prashant Iyengar To purchase any of these items and view the store’s full This pocket-sized book by Prashant

inventory, please visit the website:

Iyengar opens up a whole new

Certified Iyengar Yoga teachers can place discounted bulk

dimension to our understanding of how

orders for props and books by calling 206.623.3562 or sending

the organs and senses work. It gives us

an email to

an interesting combination of modern, physiological perspective on the organs and senses and the yogic understanding of the same. The general understanding is

A CALL FOR MUSINGS Yoga Samachar is pleased to announce a new column called “Musings.” Our idea for the column is to include a range of short thought pieces from members. These might be more philosophical in nature or perhaps they will focus on practical topics—for example, a great idea for managing your studio or for creating community in your hometown. For this issue, Kim Peralta, an Intermediate Junior III teacher from Brooksville, Maine, contributed “Love and Mastery” (see page 38). Please send your own Musings to

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar




IYNAUS members have often raised questions about the

withhold federal income tax on these payments. One of our

association’s finances. Until recently, our accounting systems

accomplishments in the past two years is that we obtained

did not provide us with an accurate picture of our financial

federal taxpayer identification numbers for Iyengar family

condition, but in the past two years, we have largely remedied

members, enabling us to withhold federal income tax at a lower

this situation. We will now begin to include a report on the

rate and facilitating their trips to the U.S. to teach at

association’s finances in each issue of Yoga Samachar.

conventions or otherwise.

I have been the IYNAUS treasurer for a little more than a year.

Similarly, IYNAUS collects other revenues that are earmarked

I was selected for this post because I am a lawyer and have

for specific purposes. The most significant of these are the fees

served on boards of other not-for-profit corporations. IYNAUS is

paid by candidates for assessment. All of these revenues are

similar to many not-for-profit associations in that it is a viable

used solely to cover the costs of the IYNAUS assessment program.

entity today but faces substantial financial challenges in the

In addition, we serve as a collection agent for the Iyengar family

future. Otherwise, IYNAUS’ finances are quite unique.

and receive certain funds (e.g., Bellur contributions and royalties on DVD sales) that we remit to India upon receipt.

First, IYNAUS’ finances are complicated. In part, this is because IYNAUS receives revenues from a variety of sources. Most of

Second, the revenues that IYNAUS receives do not even begin to

this revenue is “unrestricted” and available for use for any

pay for its activities. IYNAUS has been able to provide its

purpose. Other revenues are “restricted” or “earmarked” for

various programs successfully only because members of the

certain purposes.

Iyengar community have invested phenomenal amounts of their own time and resources in IYNAUS programs. For

We have three primary sources of unrestricted funds. One of

example, the association has only one-full time employee—our

these, of course, is the annual dues from members. IYNAUS

general manager—and IYNAUS board members do the work

also operates an e-commerce store, which requires investments

that paid professional staffs perform in other organizations.

in inventory (the goods sold) and thousands of annual transactions. IYNAUS also derives revenues from conferences

Similarly, IYNAUS has been able to charge affordable fees to

that it jointly sponsors with regional Iyengar associations and

assessment candidates because assessment committee

from the IYNAUS convention that occurs every three years.

members and the individual assessors donate their time and

IYNAUS sometimes provides seed money and other support for

because Iyengar studios allow IYNAUS’ to use space rent-free

these regional conferences, and it receives 50 percent of the net

(including during prime teaching hours). For these reasons,

revenues the regional conferences earn (or a 50 percent share of

IYNAUS’ cost of administering the assessment program is

any losses). To put on the triennial IYNAUS convention, IYNAUS

limited to the travel expenses of assessors and some

must make substantial up-front investments and other

miscellaneous items. Even with these generous contributions

financial commitments with no certainty that it will recover

by the committee, the assessors, and studios, the total

the investments, much less profit from them.

expenses for our assessment program exceeded the total amount paid by candidates in 2011 and may do so this year

In addition, IYNAUS has certain restricted funds. Under our

as well.

agreement with Guruji, we are allowed to retain 40 percent of the annual certification mark licensing fees paid by U.S.

Third, even if IYNAUS were simply to continue operating as it

certified teachers. These funds are restricted because they are

has in the past, the organization would face substantial

deposited in a certification mark account that is jointly

financial challenges. In 2011 and likely in 2012, our expenses

controlled by IYNAUS and Guruji’s attorney-in-fact in the U.S.

significantly exceeded our revenues. Over the past two years,

(Gloria Goldberg)—and these funds can only be used for specific

the association’s revenues effectively consisted of only member

programs. The remaining 60 percent of the licensing fees are

dues and our profits from the IYNAUS e-commerce store.

remitted to Iyengar family members, and IYNAUS must

IYNAUS realized some $35,000 in profits from the financially


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

successful IYAMW conference held in Chicago in 2011, but

from other programs to pay for an audit. I think this is a

these profits were almost entirely offset by $24,000 in losses

prudent financial decision. Because we will not have audits,

from the regional IYASE conference held in Washington, D.C. in

however, it is incumbent on the board to continue to enhance

May 2012. IYNAUS is financially viable today because it earned

our accounting system and to ensure that all IYNAUS funds are

substantial profits from the 2010 Portland Convention

used to achieve their intended purposes. We pledge to continue

(approximately $150,000), and these profits have subsidized our

these efforts.

operations for the past two years. Against this background, here is the current balance sheet for In this regard, we have high hopes for the May 2013 San Diego

the association, which summarizes its current liabilities as well

convention/conference because it promises to be an exceptionally

as its restricted and unrestricted assets. As an accounting

rich and rewarding event. But in these uncertain economic

matter, IYNAUS’ current “net worth” is $287,259, which includes

times, there obviously is no guarantee that it will be a financial

$154,618 in illiquid assets such as store inventory, computers,

success. If the San Diego convention/conference does not

and amounts due on loans to regional associations. We have

generate substantial profits, IYNAUS’ ability to perform its

$143,525 in cash or cash equivalents, but because much of this

historic functions may be in jeopardy unless IYNAUS can find

is restricted, we have only $73,484 in unrestricted cash at the

other sources of revenue.

moment. So we are now operating with a very small financial cushion. When we receive dues later this year, our cash position

Fourth, the board does not believe it should stand pat and do no

will improve.

more than continue programs that were successful in the past. The business of teaching yoga has changed considerably in recent years, and in an ideal world, IYNAUS would like to

IYNAUS BALANCE SHEET (as of Oct. 31, 2012)

develop new programs to promote Iyengar Yoga, support


certified teachers, and provide additional services for our

Unrestricted Assets

members. The board attempts to be proactive and is launching

IYNAUS bank accounts and cash equivalents

a strategic planning exercise to identify options and help set

Accounts Receivable

priorities. That said, the board understands that it may have to

San Diego conference /convention loan


find ways to increase revenues if it is to launch new initiatives. One possibility is that IYNAUS would begin actively seeking

IYASE Loan ($30,000 less $24,000 that was forgiven)


charitable contributions. To date, we have received relatively

Store accounts receivable


few monetary donations to IYNAUS, but there may be

IYNAUS store inventory


opportunities to increase these amounts if we can develop

Prepaid expenses


ideas for programs that are attractive to prospective donors.

Computers and equipment


Finally, I should mention that the complexity of IYNAUS’ finances has prevented me from achieving one of the objectives I formulated when I became treasurer. My goal was to arrange annual audits and provide the membership with a certified


Restricted Assets Certification mark bank accounts





financial statement for IYNAUS each year. For the time being at

Accounts payable


least, the board has determined that we should not implement

Long-term notes (international archives)


this idea. Because the association has so many different



sources of revenue and engages in so many discrete financial

EQUITY (Net Worth)


transactions, we have learned that an annual audit would be



very expensive relative to the association’s resources. The



board’s judgment has been that we should not divert funds

Photo : Lois Steinberg

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Yoga Samachar




In addition, the following Profit and Loss statement shows IYNAUS’ revenues and expenses for all of 2011 and the first nine months of 2012. Because our revenues will greatly exceed our expenses for the rest of this year, the results for 2012 will not be as bad as these data make them appear. For simplicity, I have shown net figures for each revenue item and have allocated all revenues and expenditures associated with IYAMW’s “From the Heartland” conference to 2011 and all revenues and expenditures associated with IYASE’s “Maitri” conference to 2012. I also have shown the results when these event revenues are excluded.

IYNAUS PROFIT AND LOSS STATEMENTS 2011 and 2012 (as of Oct. 31, 2012) REVENUES


2012 (through 10/31)

Dues (less regions’ shares)



Event revenues (including receivables)



Store revenues (less cost of goods)



Charitable contributions to IYNAUS





Assessment fees and manual



Bellur donations






Salaries and employment taxes



Production expenses for Yoga Samachar



Assessment expenses



Legal fees (in connection with tax IDs)



Website design and maintenance



IYNAUS board meeting travel expenses






Office supplies and expenses



Merchant and bank fees (for store)



Non-employee insurance and taxes












Unrestricted Revenue

Restricted Revenue Certification mark (less payments to India) Earmarked Revenue


I hope this information enhances the membership’s understanding of IYNAUS’ finances. David Carpenter IYNAUS Treasurer


Yoga Samachar Fall 2012/Winter 2013

Artwork and calligraphy by Carol Nichols, Quincy, Ill., in honor of Yoga Raja B.K.S. Iyengar. Language in this piece comes directly from the teachings of Mr. Iyengar and Patanjali.

B .K .S . Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States P .O . Box 538 Seattle, WA 98111 www .iynaus .org

Artwork by Carol Nichols

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Yoga Samachar - Fall 2012 / Winter 2013  

The newsletter of the Iyengar Yoga community inthe United States and beyond, is published twice a year by the Communications Committee of th...

Yoga Samachar - Fall 2012 / Winter 2013  

The newsletter of the Iyengar Yoga community inthe United States and beyond, is published twice a year by the Communications Committee of th...

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