Holly in Utthita Trikonasana, Pisa Italy

BKS Iyengar’s theme for the 3-day Yoga Summit he is leading in Guangzhou, China (July 16-19th, and yes, I will be there:-) is, “Inheritance. Connection. Communion.” Since beginning to teach Iyengar Yoga classes in Istanbul, Turkey, I have become profoundly aware of what a blessing my own “Yoga Inheritance” has been: from Guruji and Geetaji, to Joan and Patricia, to me, to the next generation, and so on. During one darshan I had with Geetaji she said to us, “If you are practicing Yoga in this lifetime you have had an auspicious birth.” Those words she spoke that day were etched on my heart and I am filled with gratitude for the kriya yoga of my ancestors.

My inheritance is as a teacher of Iyengar Yoga, who has been spending time in another country and teaching classes to students of all styles of Yoga, with various levels of experience and a wide range of English-language comprehension. Taking myself out of the comfort of my studio at home, where everyone not only spoke English, but also spoke “Iyengar Yoga English”, I now understand the absolute importance of making a personal connection with each student at some point during each class. Like the student on Monday, who was clenching her jaw in Supta Padangusthasana I (Me: ”Ask yourselves: is my tongue doing the work or “dharma” of my leg?” She: Opened her mouth and laughed) or the student from last night who stopped in the hall after class (She: ”I love yoga. I practice it everyday now. Is that ok?” Me: “Absolutely. Practice and use that practice to learn about yourself.”). It is this connection that transforms the teaching from one where the students are just receiving information and integrating it into their bodies, but also taking that teaching into their minds and hearts.

The saying goes: “Many paths, one Truth.” I have lots of stories but the truth, inherent in each of them, is the same: when you teach Yoga, you have the opportunity to teach people to make deep and meaningful connections to themselves. The other night I mentioned to my partner that when I teach a class, it’s not just one class: there are as many classes being taught as the number of students in the room because every single one of the students is having a different experience. As the teacher, it is my responsibility to be absolutely present to what I am teaching, who is in front of me, how I will teach those students, and why I have chosen to teach each pose, sequence, etc. and then reflect back on the teaching, learn from it and then weave it back into the fabric of my vocation: this is communion.

Om Tat Sat.