Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mind of a scientist, Soul of a poet

Iyengar has illuminated much of the yoga practice and philosophy for me. The more I learn, the more I am drawn to him.

A teacher, scientist, poet. His body is his laboratory. On his 80th birthday he did 108 dropbacks in a row. He holds kapotasana for 15 minutes.
Kapotasana... for 15 minutes.

If you have ~8 minutes, I highly recommend watching this video below. (So grateful to Grimmly’s blog for sharing this!)

Why practice:
“Freedom. From each and every part of our body. Until freedom is gained in the body, freedom of the mind is a farfetched idea.” 
The 8 limbs can all be found in the practice of asana and pranayama:
“These two steps of Patanjali are the ladder for you to reach the rightness in your wisdom.” 
The practice of asana:
“Our practice of asana is not for the sake of the body -- that is only a support. If that is not there you cannot walk. Can you walk on water? So, asanas are the foundation… they make us the light of the soul.” 
Purpose of practice:
“No doubt I have said, “My asanas are my prayers.” But now I say “practice is my mantra.” The purpose will come as one goes on practicing. So practice practice practice.” 
I also really liked this essay that Grimmly posted, written by one of Iyengar’s students, Patricia Walden. I love her description Iyengar:
“With the mind of a scientist and the soul of a poet, he has spent thousands of hours using his body as a laboratory, experimenting, exploring, observing, and creating.” 
And a few more gems from Iyengar…
“When I was young, I played. Now, I stay.” 
"Make the mind feel the stretch. Awaken the mind of the little toe." 
“If you keep your armpits open, you won’t get depressed.” 
“When confronted with difficulty, take an action, no matter how small." 


  1. GReat post. I have always worked out and stay in shape, but added yoga recently to my workouts. AWESOME...Going to yoga class makes me smile, big time! Enjoy your day.

  2. Thanks for your comment! I was excited to discover your blog, and love seeing that you have time to write, spend time with your family, workout, do yoga... all while working as an ER doc!