News

Centenary Celebrations

This past December, Ruth and Penny attended a two week celebration of the Centenary of Mr. Iyengar’s (Guruji’s) birth on 14 December, 1918.  Over 1200 Iyengar Yoga students and teachers from over 50 countries worldwide attended the celebrations, held outside Pune India, the home of the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute.  For 10 days, classes which included asana and pranayama were held daily from approximately 8:30AM to 1PM.  These classes were taught by Geetaji and Prashantji, Guruji’s eldest daughter and son.  Afternoon sessions included talks and panel discussions on a range of subjects including teacher training and assessment, a “chat” with Geetaji, and a cultural program.  During the last two days of celebration, there were films about Guruji, a wonderful children’s demonstration, and various talks and interviews. which covered topics such as the influence of and future of Iyengar Yoga, and more.  A highlight during the celebrations was a play about Guruji’s life, presented by a local theatre group.  For more photos and information see   https://www.facebook.com/RIMYIPUNE/?ref=py_c

Ruth and Penny in Pune, India

One of the afternoon sessions was devoted to tributes to Guruji, presented by students and teachers who had experienced his teaching directly or who were greatly influenced by him. Ruth had the privilege of expressing her own recollections dating back to 1983.

I first encountered Guruji in 1983 at two yoga conventions, in Melbourne and then in Sydney, on his initial trip to Australia.  I was immediately in awe of this penetrating genius with seemingly X-ray vison into one’s body and soul.  Unexpectedly, he also had a contagious laugh and an engaging sense of humour. I knew then that I would have to go to India to be taught by this inspirational man.

My original impression of Guruji was confirmed and strengthened over the years during my visits to the Institute in the late 80’s and early 90’s for intensives and general classes.  As well as instantly recognizing a student’s physical problems, Guruji had an almost uncanny ability to ascertain immediately if a student was meek and mild, proud and arrogant, or sincere and devoted.  He would treat people accordingly.  For the Sadhaka, this was part of the journey of yoga.

During those early years of attending classes with Guruji I never dreamed that I would one day have one to one interaction with him.  After initially corresponding with him while President of our Association and when registering the Australian Certification Mark, I eventually had the privilege of meeting with him several times in the Institute library to discuss Association matters.  I was amazed at how he would immediately stop his research or writing to give full attention to the issues in need of discussion.  He listened attentively and then promptly gave his views with wisdom and insight.  His mind so easily switched from intense focus on aspects of yoga to consideration of more mundane matters and he often intermingled the two.  He was quick and astute. Most of all, I will always remember how Guruji’s beautiful consoling letter helped me through a personal tragedy.  He cared deeply about his students’ well-being.  He was compassionate.

After teaching Iyengar Yoga for so many years, I find myself increasingly quoting Guruji and visualising poignant scenarios in his classes or during practice– as if to reinforce my memories so I never forget this incredible yogi and exceptional human being who has had such a profound effect upon my life.

Geetaji’s Passing

Sadly, Geetaji passed away on 16th December, after many years of serious ill health.  Ruth had been taught by Geetaji numerous times both in Pune and in Australia, since the early 90’s.  When  President of the Australian Iyengar Yoga Association,  she had frequent interaction with her in person and through letters and had cherished her contact with this extremely knowledgeable, determined  and humane woman.  Ruth and Penny  attended her 60th birthday celebrations in 2004.  Geetaji’s passing has touched us profoundly and we are grateful to have been present at her last brilliant teaching sessions.

Yoga Retreat in Portugal

Penny and Catherine, a student at the school, will be going to what looks like a wonderful yoga retreat in Portugal in Sept. For information, please see https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sadhaka-the-yoga-of-b-k-s-iyengar#/