• I found a tale in  Yogasara N.9 (Iyengar Association magazine) which illustrates the the theme of tolerance.

    Tolerance, according to Iyengar is found  between desire and aversion 

    Here is the French version.

    Please ask if you need it translated 

    “Il était une fois un homme qui trouvait sa maison sale et malsaine. Il s’en alla vers un autre village.

    Ce village étant aussi  peu soigné, il partit vers une forêt.

    Alors qu’il était assis sous un arbre, un oiseau lui envoya ses déjections sur la tête. Dégoûté, il quitta la forêt et se mit debout au milieu d’une rivière.

    Là, il trouva un gros poisson qui mangeait les plus petits. Cela accrût encore son dégoût. Convaincu que toute la création n’était qu’abomination, il conclut qu’il n’avait d’autre issue que de mettre fin à ses jours.

    Il sortit de la rivière et se prépara à mourir, brûlé sur un bûcher. Un homme qui passait par là le vit et lui demanda: ” Pourquoi veux-tu mourir mon frère?” Notre homme répondit alors: “Parce que le monde est abominable et corrompu, je veux m’en aller!”

    L’autre lui dit: “Et que fais-tu de nous? Imagine à quel point ce serait insupportable pour nous quand ta chair commencera à brûler, à quel point cela sentira mauvais. Nous habitons juste à côté, comment allons-nous supporter cette odeur?”

    L’homme fut déconcerté et s’exclama:”Mais alors on ne peut plus vivre ni mourir dans ce monde! Que faut-il donc faire.” Le sage Patanjali dit: (Yoga Sutras II,28) “Par la pratique assidue des différents aspects du yoga, les impuretés sont diminuées puis éliminées et la lampe de la sagesse éloigne par sa lumière les afflictions qui nous consument.” 

     

    picture found on Catherine Mazarguil blog. She speaks on Yoga and Art

  • I practiced the “no blinking” exercise with two students the other night. The idea is to fix you attention on a small object or here on the top of a candle flame and try not to blink for a few breaths, getting the mind completely involved in the small flame. When you are about to blink again, close your eyes and watch for the light to reappear in the dark

    Process

    Sit down and place a lighted candle about two feet in front of you with the flame at eye level. Gaze at the middle of the flame until your eyes water, internal Trataka can then be performed, by closing the eyes and allowing the image of the flame to appear. Try to keep the image clear and unwavering. Repeat the process until you can hold the image externally without blinking as well as internally, without wavering.

    Possible benefits

    Physiologically, Trataka “cures” diseases of the eye such as eyestrain, headache, astigmatism, and myopia. The eyes become clear and bright and able to see the reality beyond external appearances.
    Psychologically, Trataka develops clairvoyance, telepathy, and telekinesis as well as strong will power and ekagrata, meaning single pointedness, without which concentration and meditation are not possible.

    The Hatha Yoga practitioner uses the purified and tuned instrument of the body in order to gain true perception of reality. Swami Muktibodhananda writes in the Bihar School commentary on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika* that vision depends not only on the organs of the eyes, which are lenses or mediums for external perception but on the entire optic tracks. When you look at something, an image is projected onto the retina via the eyes, which stimulates the retina to fire impulses back to the visual cortex of the brain where an inner image is mapped out. When the image of the external object is stabilized on the retina, and held there for some time, without wavering, then the image will completely disappear and along with it a suspension of normal mental processes; in other words the mind will be turned off. More info here

  • I attended a meeting organised yesterday in Oxford by the Prison Phoenix Trust (PPT).

    I was interested to know if I could one day teach Yoga to students who don’t have access to Yoga classes.

    I also reflected on my daily practice and thought that if one day I got locked up, the only thing which could help me cope would be my Yoga practice.

    I also found the following video, an interview with Sandy Chubb,director of the PPT. Her path is inspiring. She’s very clear about meditation for instance. Listening to her, I realise that I do meditate a lot. I choose not to teach it straight away, rather helping students to feel more at ease with their body in the various postures. But on my own I very often sit still or walk along thinking at nothing special, but keeping in touch with my breath. I’m sure you do as well from time to time.

     

  • How to forget, the shape and the colour of your body? Why not try Savasana, the corpse posture.

    I sometimes find it hard to relax at the end of a class, as I keep thinking how to add to my teaching the things I’m being taught…. But last Sunday, I practiced at the Iyengar Institute in London with French Yoga teacher Christian Pisano.

    We worked hard on backbends and I felt like starting all over again while pulling my arms back, using ropes tightly screwed in the wall, taking my chest out and tucking the tailbone under.

     I enjoyed the workshop and liked hearing Pisano’s muted voice at the end, asking us to let our body go , “shapelessly”. Forgetting the shape, letting the body melt completely into the ground helped me sinking in the final posture.

    Christian Pisano coruns The Nice Iyengar Institute with his British wife June Wittacker. Both were in London to run the workshop on Sunday. He  was talking through the postures and she was either demonstrating or  helping  the students. There were about 40 of us in the room.

    Pisano reminded us about discipline, tidying up and moving in the space carefully. That was much clearer than the beginnning of the class, when Pisano and Whittacker started reading English translations of Ancient sanscript . Texts extracts that are already hard to understand when you read them yourselves, but become completely obscure when  someone tries to  read loud.

  • I was going to write a piece on Yoga schools battles. if you are practicing happily, you probably can’t care less about who does what and the difference between

    BKS Iyengar, founder of Iyengar school

    BKS Iyengar, founder of Iyengar school

    Iyengar,

     

     

     

     

     

    K. Pattabhi Jois, founder of Astanga Yoga

    K. Pattabhi Jois, founder of Astanga Yoga

    Astanga,

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Swami Satyananda, founder of Bihar School

    Swami Satyananda, founder of Bihar School

    Bihar

     

     

     

     

     

    Bikram Choudhoury, founder of Bikram Yoga

    Bikram Choudhoury, founder of Bikram Yoga

    Bikram

     

     

     

     

     

    But if you are in the ” industry” and teaching Yoga, you might want to read the well researched “Yoga battles“, published last June in the Indian Calcutta Telegraph.

     

     

    imagesCA383SAIInspiring Yoga teacher Wendy Teasdill once told me: “Don’t worry about school battles and do your practice.” I often think of her and practice as well as I can.

    In the UK , a lot of teachers go through the British Wheel of Yoga to qualify. Now if you go to American Yoga Alliance website (they have  recently opened a UK branch), you read:

    Quote 1 “…The BWY are NOT the governing body and you do not require to do their training courses to teach yoga. There is no official governing body for yoga in the UK.

    Quote 2 “…There is no governing body for yoga in the UK. Yoga Alliance UK has been established to promote and encourage high standards of teaching. Joining is on a voluntary basis, and we do not claim (or want) to be a governing or regulating body.”

    My qualifications being certified by Yoga Alliance, I therefore stick to it and do my practice as well I can.