"Education depends on Dedication"
- Dr. B.K.S. Iyengar
This past week I was exposed. Exposed to the potent possibility of what it means to be a Yoga Teacher. Exposed to the true attention required of what it means to be a Yoga Teacher. I have had my teachers and confidants around me hold a mirror up to my face (or shoved in one case, which was necessary) and I have begun to see what I lack as a Student and - especially as a Teacher. To this day, I feel I have not earned the credit to be called a yoga teacher. In several years, perhaps. My pattern is to go fast, jump from Point A to F, then to B, C, and way over to J, and so on. If you know me... you may laugh. I aspire to be slow, awaken the super conscious meditation state of Being, releasing the radical fire of Doing. I wish to be a good student and PAY ATTENTION to the small details, be meticulous, be tedious in the notes that are taken. Study each asana, their Sanskrit name, their transliteration, their medical benefit- and cultivate a true personal relationship within each of them. How to? Pick up light on yoga and study the shit out of it. I will do that over the next 6 months while traveling. I am experiencing the shadow of doubt- with an upwelling of hope and a call to be brave • with a true seriousness to be the Student of Eddie Modestini, Shri HS Arun, and Manouso Manos- and this is something that is not simply said. It is Earned. It must be proved with action. I am not in the college of yoga yet. For me, I'm practically in grade school. Starting over. What a gift it will be.... to go slow. To be slow.
So.... last week I went to Bellur, where BKS iyengar was born. A small town village... and it truly lives into what it is- a village. Mr. Iyengar's dream was to build a yoga hall in his hometown for all seekers to come and study • and by divine happening, I am blessed to be apart of the first group of yogi's to experience a workshop in this yoga hall taught by Manouso Manos.
Manouso Manos is the senior most teacher in America. This means he has gone through all the hoops and exams to be credited with an advanced senior title through Iyengar Yoga- and this is no easy task. It is clear from the intelligence and keen eye that pours from his mouth- and sees everything on everyone in a room of 40, or 800. I am blessed to have been introduced to this man by Eddie. The gravity of be(coming) his student is hardly able to be recognized by my words, but through deep reverence of my heart. In hopes to retain what he offers..... I pray. More than pray, I WILL SEE.
"Manouso Manos is one of the most capable and experienced of the Senior Iyengar Yoga Teachers. He holds one of only two Advanced Senior certificates granted worldwide by B.K.S. Iyengar.
He began his studies with Sri B.K.S. Iyengar in 1976, and served as chairperson of the First International Iyengar Yoga Convention in 1984. After numerous trips to Pune, India and nearly 4 decades of personal practice, his understanding of and insights into Iyengar yoga are conveyed with authenticity and precision.
Methodical in his teaching, Manouso lays a solid foundation and progressively refines each of the asanas. His sense of humor and sensitivity shine through as his dynamic and challenging teaching style moves his students beyond their perceived limits. "
'Wake the fuck up, Alec!' His internal critic rightfully ringed, with a gentle pour of compassion.
Well . A pour of compassion is too kind. More like a drop. I need to whip myself into shape. Mental shape, if I wish to become a Student studying the subject of yoga- from ascendant Yogi's. I do... buckle up. It's about to be a bumpy ride!
We studied at the hall with Manouso for 5 days. 3 hours asana in the morning, 2 hours Pranayama in the evening. I will share below my daily journal entries. I chose to stay off my phone for as much as I could (I'm addicted to my phone and hope to create a new mental pathway of interest by becoming more present in the world instead of using my phone) • and when I wanted to post or look at my phone, I wrote.
Todays 9-12 asana practice was the most succinct, clear, and high caliber dissection of introductory postures I have been taught before. We touched Tadasana, Utthita Trikonasana, Utthita Parvsvakonasana, Virabhadrasana A & B, Dandasana, Pascimotanasana, Sirsasana, and basic Sarvangasana variations. Manouso's ability to see- to help - is unlike anything I've seen before. I am blown away I am in this room for these 5 days. He is one of the greatest Teachers that I have met and practiced with on my path. The first hour of our morning was him expressing the gravity of how special it is we are in this yoga hall & how humbled he is. To gather on Mr. iyengar's 98th birthday, on a full moon, in his hometown.... auspicious! We are the beta test group for Iyengar's hall of study.
BKS= Bellur. Krishnamachar. Sundaraja.
This is the where the singularity of yoga teaching began, in Bellur. The infinite expansion of what it means to be a teacher- in 1918, a man took his place on the earth and would be destined to change the world with yoga. It is honor to be in a place that birthed yoga. Manouso considers Mr. Iyengar to have taught the worlds first yoga class!
In the afternoon pranayama session, we went into simple breath awareness in a 45 min. Savasana. I fell asleep. Damn. more to write about this soon.
This yoga is about YOU. ME. YOUUUUUU. Exploring yourself, Manouso said.
He also went on to express how teaching yoga is best worst job ever. The best, because we are helping people heal. What a blessing! The worst? We aid people in seeing the deepest depths of life's challenges, pains, and we hold a mirror up to people for them to see their issues that meet them on the level of their souls consciousness. And this is no easy feat to enter. So NO, he said. This is not for everyone. For the brave and the willing.
- side note - Manouso is one of the few men who was in a room with Krishnamacharya. This tall Indian man with deep blue eyes pierced through manos, seeing the wall behind him. Krishnamacharya was often caught chanting the yoga sutras in his sleep.
Morning _ I wake and sit into stillness, chant the first 19 sutras of the first pada (1 of 4 books) it is being retained slowly....
at the food hall, there is an odd comfort in the haze of the fog.
The great Fog of Awareness
A Shroud of the air passes through the foothills of Bellur.
Alas, we cannot see- yet the viryam of the soul is what to believe.
The birds they fly, despite mornings plightful sight in their graceful flight.
Holding an example for us-
to take up-
Only if we wish to release our fight
The wheel of samskara
the drops of klesha
reveals a life sentence to begin a new design • of what it is to be in the light.
with the hand of time- the Gem spins on.
Hurling through space~
the Winds of air move the fog into a new found face.
And now, the birds eye is fine- in its single focused mind.
The fog dissolves- only to return upon a days new break.
And so, we begin again.
until the atman sees• abundance comes as easily as the breath.
Wake up, kid. Pay attention.
"Yoga is a peculiar subject, it is not for everyone, but everyone should attempt to study it. Not everyone will dive into the heart of the issue of yoga. It bubbles up. This is why yoga is to be intensely studied everyday, with no stop." Manouso
Manouso taught very basic poses with incredible complexity. Mainly because the local Indian students were present, aspiring to take up yoga as a teacher one day. The attention brought to our upper inner thighs spinning outwards and upper inner shins moving inwards, with the 3 triangulated points of the inner arches of the feet pressing down while in Prasarita Padotanasana- was WILD! It was complex and insane! In the first of many attempts in the posture - he had thrown us into the deep end and thrown out a dozen cues for us to integrate. Then next thing you here is, "Come Watch!" We all gather around the stage and he begins to explain the incredible challenge this provides for the brain and the body connection. Hearing him say how tough it is, it gave me relief of mind because I was having a great struggle to find the appropriate rolling action of each body part. Then you hear, "You understand in theory? Great! COME ON, EVERYBODY!" And we scatter to our mats to the posture again and again.
Many people have spent years studying iyengar yoga in order to get into his workshops, one year minimum! I feel such gratitude to Eddie Modestini for pushing me into the fire... and helping me become a student if Manouso in just one day! I made the footsteps to walk forward. I chose this. I am willing to change.
"USE YOUR BRAIN! NOT YOUR EYES, ITS NO GOOD! " Manouso
pranayama reflection: i fell asleep again. Once the wave of exhaustion passed- I dropped into breath awareness and watched smooth breaths pass by with manos' guidance. BKS and patanjali taught that the asana comes first. Years of practice must pass before ujayii breath is integrated into the equation. I can see why ujayii breath and pranayama is not taught in this system until years later- especially because I kept falling asleep... I started using Jiva Bandha to stop falling asleep... and this has begun to suspend me in the space before sleep and waking state- lucid presence.
Sitting on the roof with Joovita, Anca, pat, and Bruno was such a gift! Creating friendships with the Austrians was rewarding! This is a gift of mine, to create friendship everywhere I go! They were so warming- in addition to getting some vitamin D sun rays..... making friends with strong yogi's is a blessing! Attracting like minded people in my life. One day I shall visit Austria and connect with them!
Today I chose to write at the end of the day, before dinner. Which has been amazing thus far! I love Indian food! The mornings are filled with a super short sit in bed and amazing fog! I love watching the green parrots fly around. I saw one bird chirp for its flight partner, guiding her to the branch he was pirched upon.
The asana this morning was very technical. Iyengar yoga is strongly intelligent within the bone + muscle structure. More than how my words can explain... I can't do his teaching justice. Yet. If you (if I) space out for even a second, you miss several steps or what is being taught, thus what is learned is different than the offering.
The afternoon I laid out in the sun with my Austrian friends and propped myself up for a yummy nap!
In pranayama I stayed awake the entire time, thanks to the subtle connection of Jiva Bandha. Being in the presence of others is nice- it gives a space to my dynamic of living with Eddie and Kristin, which is a deeply powerful experience. We are all in the fire of india's transformation and vulnerable container!
BE HOPEFUL. BE BRAVE. Listen: watch. Observe. Internalize. Pierce through . Absorb. Be willing". - Manouso
Everyday more, I feel like a relationship of SHISYA&GURU is cultivated while studying within the walls of BKS's dream; a Yoga hall in his hometown Village of Bellur. It is such an honor to be here. I feel like I have a real connection with him- through 3 of his students, 2 of whom spent decades as his pupil.
Tosay is auspicious as I heard my Sidereal astrology reading from Lyn, whom eddie suggested for me. I trust and value eddie's opinion and guidance for me. Sidereal readings are about a momentary glance at the stars and their ever changing nature. Read more here. According to this, my birth time defines me as a picses as my sun sign, sagitarious as moon, and taurus as ascendant. Which is very different from what I've chased over the last years, with a burning fire (like most Aries). Thankfully, I have many planets in my chart residing in Aries. Like mars, it is the planet of appearance! Ha! This is a huge shift in direction, less doing, more being. Calm your fire sweet child.... let the water of your burns and wounds be healed. She revealed great insights about my path in yoga, healing, love in partnership (chase the yoga, and she will come.... due to chasing yoga) finance, travel, and my relationship with my parental units. Keep doing what I'm doing and she will come. Money will come. Keep doing what we are doing.
Set the stage•
Skin softens into the blanket
Into the ground, becoming an earth body•
A guidance of words keep a focus of thought- relinquishing monkey mind•
Lids open, bottom to top
reveals sunset rays above the eye light•
colour pierces through
with floating dust in the spectrum of gold •
top to bottom•
dropping in - silence falls into its sound•
words mold into an etherical melody•
until the phrase is heard...
"Bend your elbows and place your hands somewhere that promotes a sense of peace."
then I realize.
Fuck. Did I miss all that? WAKE.UP.
we start the morning with a group photo- followed by a 1 hour Question and Answer session. That was profound and I got answers to my questions without asking a question. I was nervous to ask a question. Google Manouso manos and BKS iyengar master class - and you'll get an idea of why I was nervous to ask a question. This man is of intensity!
after our final asana class, we gathered around for an asana demonstration of the local youth. It was a profound sight to see!! The kids were sweet and so soft! Later on, we went outside to water the trees we planted! This is an immense blessing !!! I planted a mango tree and then they informed us that in the following years of our return we would see our names in plaques! As the first yogi's to study the subject of yoga in BKS iyengar's dream Hall. My, oh my! What a wonderful world....
Coming back to Bangalore, a town filled with endless honking, an anarchy of cars and rickshaws paving their own way with no mercy on the roads, mixed with the smell of gasoline polluted air..... there was a sense of comfort coming into my heart. Knowing that in the morning I would enter Prashant YogaShraya to study with one of India's senior most iyengar teacher - ArunJi- whom treats me like a student - and guides me with great patience. I felt excitement to be here. I have 8 more days before I fly to New Delhi to spend time with my mom, nanaJi and Nanaji! My Indian family up north - which will be so sweet to be together into New Years. My last trip to India was exactly 6 years ago over NYE..... quantum leaps of evolution since then!
Here is the latest photo of me- taken on the last day of the intensive in Bellur. Feeling naked. Vulnerable. In the past few days, I have wanted to run away, from showing myself to the world and to my peers, my friends, my teachers I am living with. For the first time in a long time (again) I feel like I'm just starting to scratch the surface of practicing yoga. I left my tribe and up rooted myself - so I can plant seeds of exploration, confidence, & super conscious attention within myself.
I stand before you with humility- ready to begin anew.
feeling like I know nothing... but like I now have a place to go. I have direction and I know whom to seek my tutaledge under. 2017 will be a year of student studies with Eddie Modestini, Manouso Manos, and HS Arun. July, October, December, months dedicated to living on Maui, San Fran, and Bangalore. The rest I will be traveling and cultivating a home practice, integrating what I've learned the past 3 months. Studying and dissecting light in yoga. Eddie has shared with me the tools of what it means to be his student and what it truly means to be a yoga teacher in the eyes of the Advanced Yogi's. I've got work to do.
Chase the yoga.