In just a few hours I will head for the airport and begin the long journey home. Today I feel mixed emotions – joyous anticipation of seeing my husband and friends, and sadness at leaving this place of pilgrimage. I have discovered new depths within myself and experienced fresh possibilities for my continued growth. Learning and practicing yoga here at RIMYI brings intensity of action and awareness. I have worked strongly and can feel the changes in my body and my breath. At the same time, I became relaxed and mindful here, and found that my practice had a quietness that I have not felt before now.
Especially due to the brilliant teaching of Prashant Iyengar, I have had glimmers of what it is like to keep the mind steadily placed on one thing, whether it is a place in the body, a particular quality of breath, a sense organ or a Sanskrit vowel. I am reminded of an aphorism from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra I:32, which states:
I recognize that at home, my practice is usually far from “single minded.” While I may do my sequence of asanas and work with physical effort and clarity, my mind often remains distracted and cluttered with the demands of daily life or my own conflicted emotions. I realize that my practice lacks depth because I have not been disciplining my mind to fully engage in whatever asana or practice I am doing. The irony, of course, is that proceeding this way is more work and less effective, because of the lack of presence.
Through the month of study here, I have had glimpses of presence. Moments of relaxed awareness that help me understand what is to be done and how to do it. Prashant said that observation guides intuitive action. When we become silent and fully engaged with one single focus – one action, one idea – the surface of the mind comes to a restful state and we can access the deeper intelligence that shows us how to proceed. This is the key to true transformation.
My prayer is that I can continue to practice with a quiet awareness and focus even amidst the busy tumult of my daily life. B.K.S. Iyengar was a householder, husband and father. He gave us a shining example of being able to achieve the heights of yoga while still experiencing worldly life. Here in the hall of the Iyengar Institute, the teachers and the teaching inspire us to go inward. I look forward to the joyful challenge of bringing this approach home to my own little yoga room.