The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali begins with “Atha yoganusasanam” (Now begins the instruction of yoga.) This introductory sutra calls for our attention by the word “atha,” NOW, HERE, the PRESENT MOMENT, for EVERYONE. When we talk about yoga, we often refer to yoga poses such as Triangle Pose, Downward Dog Pose or Sun Salutation. What is often missed in the discourse of modern yoga is that the practice yoga encompasses more than just yoga poses. The practice of yoga is the practice of being present, whether or not you are doing Downward Dog Pose or watching your breath. It is a practice of uniting the body with the mind, with the breath. It is an internal practice of resolving our fragmented existence.
When we study the details and refinements while in a pose, it is less about making the pose perfect or getting it right. It is more of a mental practice of staying present, being where we are, right here, right now. In Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose), we work on the equal extension of the knee joints, balance of the strength of the quadriceps and the length of the hamstrings and calves. Our mind attaches itself to the inward journey of these body parts. When we notice or are reminded that a part of our body is not opening, we bring our attention “here and now” to create space and lightness in these “black holes” in our body.
Geeta Iyengar, the daughter of the late B.K.S. Iyengar, recently conducted a yoga intensive in Pune, India. The theme of the intensive is Yoganusasanam. More than 1,200 participants from over 52 countries around the world have gathered for the 10-day study of yoga. READ MORE. During these ten days, Geetaji honored her father’s lifetime dedication to teaching yoga according to the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Able and unable bodies worked on a variety of yoga poses as a group. One of the participants is a motivational speak from California, USA., Mark Zambon. He lost his legs as a soldier in Afghanistan in 2011 and was introduced to Iyengar Yoga soon after he began his recovery. In this video, Mark explained how Iyengar Yoga allowed him to fully live his life in his new body. It gave him a sense of connection to his lower body even though he no longer has his legs. It is a practice of bring a “wholeness” in life, a practice of being one with the present, no matter how broken you feel.