My wife and I have been actively doing Iyengar Yoga for over three years now. We go 2-4 times a week. On Sunday, the class we go to is two and a half hours long. We try never to miss. We do it at home in bursts sometimes. The truth is when you really start to get into it as you move through your day you notice things about your body and try and adjust it so it’s balanced.
If you ever brought up Yoga to me in my 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s I’d have told you it’s just bullshit. I would have made fun of you for sure. In my later 40’s I tried a few different styles of yoga and never found one I liked until I found Iyengar. I wish that I had started practising it in my teens. I would have been a better basketball player and a significantly better trader.
At the beginning, everything is hard. As you start to work through the kinks in your body, it’s still hard but you start to try and figure out how to actually move your body. You also start to notice how out of imbalance your body is. Old surgeries and breaks and sprains come back. It took me a couple of years to be able to start to move a shoulder I had surgery on when I was twenty-five. I have finally gotten to the point where I can get up and hold a headstand.
The next stage is working on your mind. Of course, the first day you went you were moving your mind as well as your body but you just didn’t realize it yet. There is a book about the philosophy, Light on Yoga, that I started reading. It’s not easy reading.
I have tried to meditate, but my mind is too busy to do it. I am able to calm my mind in yoga. I think meshing the physical with the mental helps for me.
Material things mean a lot less to me than they used to. I live in a very small apartment in Chicago and my place in Minnesota is 625 sq ft. It’s really about people and experiences. Of course, I own some material things that I love. I love them for the reasons that I acquired them. I have a rug that reminds me of a trip to Istanbul with my family and a painting from Bali that reminds me of my family. Another painting reminds me of our place in Minnesota.
I suppose this whole journey started when we came home from vacation and our house was destroyed by water in 2001. Stuff started to matter less to me then. Then 9/11, a friend passing suddenly, and a few years ago another friend who valiently fought and passed from pancreatic cancer. You can’t take it with you but you can use it to create memories while you are here. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for those memories.
I think it’s silly to compete on those kinds of things. To each his own. As long as you appreciate it and feel good about doing it and share it with people that care about you-and your care about.
I found this talk by one of the revered yogis in the Iyengar practice. His name is Manouso. He teaches in San Francisco and is the top Iyengar teacher in the US. In February I am going to try and take a class with him at his studio. I thought it might be interesting to listen to on a Sunday.