Touch

"CONNECT", 2003, 40" x 40",  oil, plaster, panel

"CONNECT", 2003, 40" x 40", oil, plaster, panel

 

Many years ago I attended a yoga convention in California which hosted Mr. Iyengar,  the father of yoga in this country as far as I can tell.

His yogic system is rigorous,  precise,  all about alignment and the peace and perfection that come with an experience of all your insides stacked where they should be.   What happens when everything is right feels like a waterfall of nectar seeping through each cell and feeding it till you think you can’t bear the goodness of it all..

That said..  I practiced Iyengar yoga as an ardent student for 10 years or so.  Because of my study I know what EASE in effort feels like as well as the WORK of compensating when we are out of alignment.

I still use what I know these days but have seriously backed off moving my body because it either hurts or is exhausted or I can’t bear the knowledge of the current state of weakness I now live with.   Pesky ego…

I went to that convention for one main purpose;  to find out why this genius of a man is known for hitting his students when they are not doing a pose correctly and really looking and behaving kindof abusive all the while carrying an immense archive of 70 years of practicing looking inside his body and making minute adjustments toward perfection.  He is a true anchor of light on the planet and I wanted to know how these seemingly disparate parts of him could exist in one human.

While at the convention we students separated into small classes taught by senior teachers.  Mr. Iyengar visited each class and meandered around silently looking and assessing and occasionally making small corrections to a fortunate student.   We all wanted his focus to be on us.

We were doing a pose where you sit crosslegged on the floor and clasp your hands turning them inside out and reach your palms as far toward the sky as you can.   At the exact moment when I was about to collapse out of the pose,  he came forward and touched me.   He touched me very,  very softly at the exact apex of the pose closest to the ceiling as my palms reached above my head.

In that touch all effort dissolved and a silken rain of peace washed over me.  He had transferred some of his archive to me..

After that experience I didn’t forgive him for how he treated some students but I think I understand.

He knows things.

He is getting older.

He NEEDS his students to know before he dies and he is afraid they don’t and won’t.

That’s my take on it,  anyway.

I have never again experienced that level of love and compassion he built into that touch.

I did learn that such a touch IS possible and that effort is NOT always the way toward peace though our culture values it so highly.

It seems that ALLOWING  or YIELDING is more the thing.

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