With the replacement of two books in my post-Katrina library, one classic (BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga) and a modern interpretation and condensation of that classic, with great illustrations and “work in the posture” tips (Iyengar students Silva, Mira and Shyam Mehta’s Yoga: The Iyengar Way), I have again begun practicing yoga. It’s been a long time since I was able to comfortably do padmasana (the lotus position), let alone matsyasana (the fish), and it’s definitely been at least 75 pounds since my last sirsasana (shoulder stand)! I must admit, my previous practice never made it all that far – years of sitting at a desk had even then seriously reduced my leg flexibility – but let me tell you, it’s not EXACTLY like riding a bike. Very difficult to pick up where you leave off, particularly when the “leaving off” can be measured in dog (or tree) years.
But I’m back at it; working in the garden lately has reminded me of just how stiff, unlimber and soft I’ve become – and trying to get back into the swing of regular meditation with a body that unprepared for stillness is no picnic.
I can’t say enough positive things about Iyengar’s book: his discussion of breathing and the philosophy and art of exercise dovetails quite beautifully with my other current re-reading of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (the Swami Satchidananda translation and commentaries). And the Mehta’s book, although missing a number of key poses and definitely reduced in scope for a less comprehensive audience, particularly on the spiritual aspects, is very good with respect to step-by-step written and photographic instructions. Both works inspirational, and highly recommended for all.
I only managed about 10 minutes worth today; but already I can tell the difference.
Om namah shivaya, ya’ll 🙂