Monday, January 12, 2015

A Response to "Light On Life" by B.K.S. Iyengar

Sometimes we acquire a book by synchronicity. A calling, to be received and answered somewhere. And the universe cuts a path to make it happen.

This is one of those books.

At the time I was curious about the kosas (sheaths of the body) and the integration of all five as a true aim of yoga.  Somehow, without looking, I ended up with this book about the same time. As I started to read the introduction and into the the first chapter my response was "yes, yes, yes!"  It all made sense to me. Iyengar has a profound way of putting yoga into words that is so brilliant, practical, aspiring, and easy to understand. It is also very satisfying reading and studying a book written by a great master and father figure of yoga.

This is my third time reading the book and it seems to penetrate into my practice and teaching even more potently.

Integration is key. In fact, it means wholeness; to make whole. I believe this in every part of my body. Yoga is not yoga to me unless it is integrated. Integrated on the mat. Integrated off the mat. Integrated into relationships and how we treat one another. Integrated into what we put into the body. Integrated in how we think and how we love. Integrated in how we spiritually evolve. If yoga is "oneness", and integration is "wholeness"; these concepts are one in the same. The question lies in what are we integrating? What parts are we bringing together to make one?

"The yogic journey guides us from our periphery, the body, to the center of our being, the soul. The aim is to integrate the various layers so that the inner divinity shines out as through clear glass" B.K.S. Iyengar

On the mat, we integrate legs, arms, back, pelvis, neck, head and every part of the Self to move synchronistically into a pose. The practice is to make this happen all at once, to the point at which it is effortless. Physical alignment serves spiritual alignment.

Off the mat, it is not so much the body that we are moving together, as much as our awareness. Awareness of body in space, of the surroundings and environment, each other, thoughts, reactions and responses, drinking, eating, and driving. As awareness grows and expands it encompasses all things simultaneously. Ultimately, when we are able to do this; we live in presence, in the heart. In this place, no harm can be done to anyone or anything. We are in service of our unique dharma and the universal dharma.