Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar(14 December 1918 – 20 August 2014), was one of the best yoga teachers we have seen in this world. He opened up the world of yoga to many and his influence is felt strongly across the yoga community. I have recently been rereading Light on Life and, thought I would share with you some of Mr. Iyengar’s advice – obtained over many years from an active practice and teaching.
Balance activity with passivity
Some poses seem to be more energetic than others. Resting in chair pose seems to be a contradiction – but can we become more passive and settled even in our most active poses? Is there somewhere in your body that you can relax into even in your more strenuous poses? Are you efforting too hard in an attempt to power into a pose? Perhaps you are missing some of the juicy lessons by going so hard. It may serve you better to approach in a more softer manner. Bring inquiry to each and every pose you do. Allow your mind to focus not so much on the efforting but more on the relaxing feelings in other parts of the body when you do the pose. You may surprise yourself and find relaxation even when you are really struggling.
Pacing your yoga practice
Some of us are Type A – always going at max speed. We are on all the time. I like this poster below. But does this advice best serve us in every activity? Where can we slow down and enjoy when we do our yoga practice?
Bring balance to your whole yoga practice
Bring some balance to your practice by mixing up active poses with the passive ones. Don’t think of the passive poses as just giving you a time to rest and relaxation- really explore what they are teaching. Bring a sense of focus to your body no matter what you are doing.
Extending to relax
Bridge the gap between bringing effort in a pose and brining a feeling of surrender into the pose. To stretch little deeper, go to the place where you feel a good stretch, not to the point of pain, and stay in the pose. It may take some effort to allow you to stay this way. Take a deep breath in, exhale outwards, relax, and try stretching just a little deeper.