The Greeks and the Iyengars

An Evolving Poly- Eco- Yoga Humanifesto, from Pegasus at the Balance

Thirteenth Deep Breath, and only 7 more to go!

Yogis of the world unite and take your yoga off the mat and into the wider world!!

How to strike a balance between ecstasy and drudgery? As a famed yoga teacher told my ebullient friend who was confused about the place of ecstasy in spiritual practice, Both paths are part of that path—both ecstasy and discipline. They may be one of those beautiful “contraries” in Blake’s terminology, without which the world would not work.
These musings on ecstasy are partly fueled by my ecstatic dance (referred to in the last post), which seems to have kept me quiet for a whole week.
There had been references to “more on the convention” and more in Geetaji and Prashantji. So perhaps I can make that three installments. First, the conventions:
Since last writing, I’ve been able to see online and hear from friends that the Asociación Méxicana de Yoga Iyengar has had their jubilant convention in Queretaro. Abhijata truly seems more relaxed there. Someone pointed out that it almost seems as though she feels like an honored guest in the States, and by contrast, feels at home in Mexico. From attending the last two conferences in 2019 in both countries, I can attest to that. Also, the numbers attending are greater in the US and lower in Mexico, which naturally makes for a more intimate environment.
What strikes me now is her wonderful insistence on being more directly involved with the certified teachers and assessors in each country. Unbelievably, IYNAUS had not scheduled a meeting with her for either group. She “crashed” the assessors meeting, and we are the richer for it. YES, she said, we really mean it: NO clipboards and NO writing during the teaching demonstration part of the exam. Be present. Who was the Greek philosopher who mourned the advent of writing things down because it would mean the end of memory? Socrates, I think, in a dialogue with Phaedrus:
“In fact, it [writing] will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own. You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality. Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing. And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.”—Plato, Complete Works, ed. J.M. Cooper, pp. 551-2

Back to the conventions. In 2019 at Cocoyoc, the site of the AMYI convention in that year, we had, at our final dinner together, a lively band of Mexican mariachi musicians. Perhaps it was the time, the phase of the moon, the general mood, but many people rose up and danced, including Abhijata’s children, Sattvika (and I think her brother, though my memory may not be serving me well here). There was an abundance of joy and goodwill present in the dining room.
Apparently, in Queretaro last week, there was again a band of live musicians. Since I was not present, I cannot attest to dancing. Video and still photographs do indicate joy and goodwill again, however, in great measure. Maybe Philadelphia can plan to have a live band of musicians at the next IYNAUS convention!
Enough, now, about this new generation, and on, in the next two posts/breaths, to write about Abhijata’s aunt and uncle, Geeta and Prashant, B.K.S. Iyengar’s son and daughter.

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