“Asana is the perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit.” II:46
At my first class in December at Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute, Prashant Iyengar wasted no time and urged us to “not merely do, do and go on doing” in asana (yoga posture). His style of teaching differs from many other Iyengar Yoga teachers including his father, our beloved Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar, and his sister, Geeta Iyengar.
Prashant often puts us into a pose and proceeds with what I call “an interval” in between sides of a pose or before we move on to the next pose. In music, an interval is the difference between two pitches. An interval may be described as horizontal, linear, or melodic if it refers to successively sounding tones, such as two adjacent pitches in a melody, and vertical or harmonic if it pertains to simultaneously sounding tones, such as in a chord. During the “interval,” Prashant elaborates concepts of yog (study of yoga) using analogies, metaphors, logics, direct observations, and most powerful of all, humor. If you consider this as “talking,” you miss the significance of the learning time and the timely cultivation of our consciousness.
During one of the “intervals” on December 1, 2016, Prashant elaborated 2:46 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. He pointed out that asana is not just a position for the body, and it is not merely a physical activity. Sthira means ease and sukha is joy. Both of them denote a state of being, not a description of activity. They have the expression of a “gesture,” the continuing extension of a violinist’s bow after having finished a passage, the resonance after the note played. What is the gesture after you have completed the posture?