Geeta Iyengar said that B.K.S Iyengar (Guruji) always used to say:
“When doing yoga, break the body into pieces, you have to really SEE everything within, then you will have peace of mind.”
Yoga poses often have an effect on the body. The contact of our foreheads on a blanket in a forward bend makes the mind quiet. Can you “see” the chaos in your mind settle? Can you look at the face muscles, the jaw and watch them relax? Guruji wanted us to understand that we can find peace of mind through the body.
At the workshop I attended in Pune in December, one of the students introduced only as “Eddie” gave a talk that is worth repeating here.
Eddie said that Guruji could do a small skillful movement in just the right way in order to tap into the divine power of the body.
Eddie used the example of Urdvha hastasasna, (putting your arms straight up over your head). If you move the upper arm back behind the ear, the arm is stacked on the shoulder, which is stacked on the shoulder blade and you are no longer working against gravity. The shoulder blades push the back ribs and the chest is opened. A small skillful movement leads to something important, in this case opening and awareness in the heart center. When you put your forehead on a blanket and get quietude, do you see that the small skillful thing you did produced a huge result?
Guruji let the divine (nature, gravity) work for him when doing yoga. If you use too much of your personal energy you will exhaust yourself. Many older yogis quit doing yoga in their 70’s or 80’s but Guruji did not quit until shortly before he died at the age of 96. Why? Because he was not working only with his own personal energy, he was tapping the divine.
Guruji’s message to us is to understand this and do it. We should do a small, skillful thing and take support of the divine. The divine will come to help us, awakening every cell that is dormant.
Bringing awareness and intelligence into every part of the body is something that Guruji emphasized.
When we are “seeing” every cell, this is complete absorption. It is meditation. There is no need to force the mind to concentrate, yoga asana are a natural and dynamic meditation.
This is the “peace of mind” to which Guruji was guiding us.
Quote for the day from Guruji
“The body is my temple and asanas are my prayers.”