Words by Lara Speroni, Iyengar Yoga Teacher
For the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune, India, the 14th December 2017 marked the beginning of a year-long celebration throughout India and the rest of the world, in honour of Yogacharia B.K.S Iyengar, its founder. Guruji Iyengar would have been 100 years old on the 14th December 2019.
I was at the Institute for the full month of December and was privileged to attend the first two events of the year-long celebration.
I have been at the Pune ashram three times so far. The waiting list for UK residents is of 2-3 years. Once your application is granted you will be attending regular classes for one month of your choice. This means one class per day, plus personal practice time in the mornings. In the afternoons and evenings one can assist in, or watch any other of the busy classes, for locals and foreign visitors. The two main studios are extremely busy and over 1000 people attend classes every week!
The stay never disappoints. The teaching is excellent, demanding, warm and compassionate. The range of yoga asanas and pranayamas practiced very thoughtful and thorough. At the end of one month there is more than enough for you to take home and ponder on, re-practice and perhaps even re-learn and rediscover. Guruji Iyengar was known for its unstoppable evolving nature. Since the onset he developed his practice readjusting it to himself and his students, constantly reacting to his and other bodies' and minds’ responses. No two lessons are ever the same and you can bet that you will be doing something new in each class you go to in Pune and indeed anywhere else around the world!
On December 14th 2017 an afternoon of talks and presentations was held in front of hundreds of attendees from India and abroad. Most of them are longstanding students and some just arrive from afar on Guruji’s birthday every year to pay their respects. The tradition continues even though he has passed away. Iyengar’s students and children alike shared their memories of their relationship with their guru and/or father. The interventions were moving, funny and inspiring. A memorable full Indian banquet was offered to all at the end of the evening.
The second special event was a week-long workshop given by Prashant, B.K.S Iyengar’s son. A regular and well-respected teacher of the morning classes at the Pune Institute for decades, he set out to transmit many more of his dad’s and guru’s teachings during a very intensive week. He wanted us all to read between the lines of Iyengar’s messages. In Prashant's words: “There are paragraphs and even books to be read in between Iyengar’s words....”
Over a 75 year-long teaching career, Guruji Iyengar has influenced not only is children and grandchildren, but also thousands of people from all over the world, directly and indirectly. Many of his students have gone to become teachers themselves inspiring thus more people. Two of his regular students have taught me and their gratitude and respect for their teacher shines brightly through during each and every class I have attended.
All us students of Iyengar yoga are truly blessed in having such a strong tradition behind us. When I teach I do my upmost to respect my teachers and stay true to the source.
Lara teaches weekly Iyengar classes at Studio Kooks
Mondays 7.45-8.45pm - Open to all