Good Thoughts to Guruji

My thoughts are with the Iyengar family lately. I feel so fortunate to have been able to spend a little time at their institute in Pune, India and be amongst such skilled teachers. It is humbling and inspiring to be part of the Iyengar tradition and I am grateful for the experience.

Below is an old post from my first trip to the institute. Here is my most recent trip.I hope to make it back.


In October, 2007 I traveled to Pune, India, where I studied yoga with Geeta Iyengar (B.K.S. Iyengar’s daughter) and Prashant Iyengar (B.K.S. Iyengar’s son). There is a two-year waiting list to get into the program; after two years of planning, I was finally able to attend. Unfortunately, after being there for only one week of the five-week program, I missed a step in my hotel, broke my foot, and sprained my ankle. It was a HUGE bummer for this to happen, of course, but what could I do? Go home? Many people actually did think that I should go home, but that never entered my mind. I was determined to make the best out of my situation and not let it get me down.

Of course in these situations, when we injure ourselves, or our body isn’t feeling well, it is very easy to focus on what we CAN’T do as opposed to focusing on what we CAN do.

Unfortunately I WASN’T able to take classes, but I WAS able to observe, which is a huge learning tool with teaching. It was hard not to be able to do what all my friends were doing, relate to what they were feeling after class, and not feel frustrated that I wasn’t able to have the experience they were having — an experience I had anticipated for such a long time. However, I do feel that by observing I was able to watch, listen, and see many things not experienced by those doing the poses. It was a “different” experience for me but was very fulfilling in numerous ways.

I read this quote somewhere recently,

“Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”

This quote resonated with me because I think that we often focus more on what we can’t do and don’t appreciate what we can do. I will be honest: I did focus at times on what I couldn’t do because of my foot, but I had to get past that or else I wouldn’t have made it for the five weeks I was there. I went to India not quite knowing what I wanted to achieve. Was it to become a better teacher? To learn some new poses? To be in the presence of the Iyengars themselves and learn directly from them?

I frequently tell my students to APPRECIATE, APPRECIATE, APPRECIATE and live in the present moment, because you never know what may happen next (like breaking a foot going down some stairs while you’re in India).

It is difficult to describe my experience in India. The words that do come to my mind are again to always appreciate what you DO have and to enjoy every minute of your life. “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”