PRAYERS, FOR DIVINE BLESSINGS
Before class or personal practice time we sit (the word “asana” translates to “seat” or a “posture one assumes for Yoga, which is meditation”) and organize the organs of action (karma+indriyas) and organs of perception (jnana+indriyas) in their proper position around the polestar, the spine, which is the symbol of Purusha (the individual manifestation of the divine).
Listen to Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar chanting the Invocation to Sri Patanjali, the codifier of the teachings of Yoga into the Yoga Sutras.
Read Dr. Geeta S. Iyengar’s explanation of who Lord Patanjali is, why to chant the invocation and how important it is to understand the meaning of the words that comprise the prayer.
The GURU STOTRAM, the hymn in praise of the Guru, honors the three aspects of the Divine: Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the sustainer and Mahesv(w)ara, the one who destroys so that creation can begin again. Click here to chant this prayer “call and response” with Geeta Iyengar.
Gurur Brahmā Gurur Viṣṇu Gururdevo Maheśvaraḥ
Guruḥ Sākṣāt Parabrahma
Tasmai Śrī Gurave Namaḥ
The Guru is the creator, the sustainer, and the destroyer of all.
The Guru is the infinite essence of all three.
Salutations to that Guru.
Translation, compiled from various sources
INVOCATION TO GURUJI B.K.S. IYENGAR
vaijñānikaṃ pravakt ṛtva
yogābhyāse ca tattvajñaṃ
vande’haṃ sundaraṃ guruṃ
To the one who was a scientist in his teachings,
an artist in his asanas,
and in the study of yoga – a philosopher, a knower of the ultimate truth,
to Guru Sundararaja, I bow.
yogavṛkṣo hi loke’smin
yogācārya guro tubhyaṃ
sundarāya namo namaḥ
The one by whose impetus, by whose inspiration,
the tree of yoga has grown and flourished in this world,
to you Guru Sundararaja, salutations and salutations!
Click here to listen to the composer of the invocation, Guruji’s grandson, Srineet Iyengar, chant the shlokas (verses) dedicated to his grandfather and Guru.
B.K.S. Iyengar: www.bksiyengar.com
Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS): www.iynaus.org
Iyengar Yoga Association of New England: www.iyane.org
Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York: www.iyengarnyc.org
Light on Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar
Light on Life, by B.K.S. Iyengar
Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by B.K.S. Iyengar
Light on Pranayama, by B.K.S. Iyengar
Astadala Yogamala, Volumes 1 – 8, by B.K.S. Iyengar
Core of the Yoga Sutras, by B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga in Action: A Preliminary Course, by Geeta S. Iyengar
Yoga in Action: An Intermediate Course, by Geeta S. Iyengar
Yoga: A Gem for Women, by Geeta S. Iyengar
A Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health, by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden
Woman’s Yoga Book, by Bobby Clennell
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by Edwin F. Bryant
The Bhagavad Gita, by Winthrop Sargeant
The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation, by George Thompson
The Bhagavad Gita, by Eknath Easwaran
The Upanishads, by Eknath Easwaran
In this section of the video, “Yoga Unveiled,” B.K.S. Iyengar shares this yoga story. He was born during the influenza pandemic of 1918 and was suffering from the effects of poor health and extreme poverty when he arrived at the home of his brother-in-law and Guru, Sri T. Krishnamacharya.
This is a video of B.K.S. Iyengar demonstrating postures (asanas) at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. He is 69 years old.
The following Yoga props are recommended, yet not required. You really only need yourself to practice!
1 Wall – with some blank space and, if possible, in a corner
1 Yoga Mat – use a thickness that allows you to feel the floor underneath your feet
1 Bolster – which can also be made by rolling two of the Mexican-style blankets together
1 Backless Yoga Chair – these can be ordered but there are excellent how-to videos online as well
3 Blankets – the Mexican-style striped blankets are readily available
2 Blocks – if ordering wood, see that the edges are user-friendly and if ordering foam, see that it is hard enough to support the weight of your body
2 Belts – 6 or 8 feet is useful for average height bodies; if you have long legs and/or stiffness order one that is 10 feet long