Twist and …


Today was one of those days that was just a perfect balance of work in asana and rest and surrender in simple Savasana and Pranayama (Abhyasa and Vairagya). Twists are a category of pose that started for me as such a chore, but they have turned out to be a source of what I feel to be the closest thing to the experience of yoga in asana that I have encountered. Today I was absorbed into the practice so much so that I do not remember the words of guidance given, though I know I was following. The Savasana after was also a deep and enveloping experience of the freedom and rhythm of the breath.

Standing, Sitting, and balancing on our hands (Parsva Bakasana) we twisted. Deeper and deeper we drew into the twists of the abdomen and ribcage, lifting and entwining, folding and extending…there is nothing untouched by these poses that take full attention. To lie down after all that work is bliss. From the tight squeeze to the soft release, the breath moves without hindrance.

In the afternoon, Abhi gave us more gifts of Savasana – two ways. With the sensitivity we have developed, she had us on a vertical and horizontal support to feel the subtle difference in breath movement. After some seated Pranayama and a brief Q&A, Abhi shared with us a movie from BKS Iyengar’s 93rd Birthday celebration.

Each time I watch these compilations of interview, photo, and video of Guruji, I am struck by the sheer joy of his sharing this path with others. He is fully aware of his process and amazes with his stamina and determination in practice. As Abhi explained in the answer to a question of “who are the youngsters” she sometimes refers to in class, BKS Iyengar even at 95 was a boy at heart…age is in the brain, not the body. There was always a glint in his eye and an enthusiasm for life that is palpable in every image, word, and frequent laugh. I am always left with a smile plastered on my face and my heart filled with gratitude.

As we wander through the hotel, it is also great to see Abhijata so accessible to us for greeting and thanking! Also, with the same joy and smile that her grandfather carried.

The day ended a bit earlier than usual as many met to discuss Ahimsa (nonviolence) in Action – within our community and beyond. The subjects of race, gender, and social activism are not often dealt with in yoga communities that tend to be full of white, well off, skinny women…ours included. How do we address such discrepancies within our own Iyengar spaces and also make ourselves accessible to those underserved so far? This is just the beginning!!! I feel it was a great addition to all the changes happening in our Iyengar Community at the moment.

So, I thought I would be in bed early tonight…blog written and rested…but that is just not the nature of these events. I am drawn to soak up every moment in time with the people around me and the energy of practice. Rest can wait when I am home assimilating all that I have learned …

Jennie Williford CIYT

Jennie Williford (CIYT Level 3) is a transplant to LaCrosse via Montana, Illinois, and originally Texas. Throughout her life moves and 5 trips to India, Jennie has acquired a well-rounded and multi-faceted approach to Iyengar Yoga since her start in 1998. Jennie loves the experimental and explorative nature of yoga in accessing deeper knowledge of the Self on every level. The practice of yoga can be intense and introspective, however as practitioners we can be light-hearted and open-minded in our discipline. Jennie is intrigued by the philosophy of yoga and hopes to share this depth of subject while teaching the physical and mental benefits that come from the practice of posture.