Iyengar yoga nyc

Surya Namaskar in … New York, with James Murphy, Iyengar Association Greater NY

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hi my name is James Murphy I’m the

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director of the Iyengar yoga Institute

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in New York and we opened up the

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Institute in 1992 an association started

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in 1987 teach in the Iyengar yoga

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tradition and that’s been carried forth

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by bks iyengar who is his lineage came

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from Chris McCarthy Chris Makara was his

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teacher and then he kind of developed a

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whole system where he really went into

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depth into the postures and worked on

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the timings of the postures and worked

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out sequences of postures and then went

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deeper into the therapeutic aspect

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because of his knowledge of the asanas

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in depth so therapeutic aspects came out

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from his use of the props and in

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understanding how people couldn’t do the

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poses as well as he could easily do at

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that time so he started working with

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props and things like this too to come

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out with ways that other people who

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couldn’t do the postures as easily they

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could still do the postures and get the

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benefits out of them one of the geniuses

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of bks iyengar

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is he was able to teach all the aspects

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of yoga in the asanas which was quite

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unique because he was able to take which

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some systems say Austin was just

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physical he used this physical means to

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get in touch with the other aspects of

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yoga so he could teach the Amazon Yama’s

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in asana he could teach meditation in

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asana and he would talk about how the

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asanas are his meditation because once

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he would get in them he stayed in such a

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way and he went in depth in such a way

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that they became his meditation they

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became his means to finding out so the

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techniques that he used in the asana

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were just a means to an end but he used

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that as a way to get in and was able to

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teach the other aspects

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if that including as well the philosophy

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oh yeah he brought the philosophy in

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very much so and that’s what was what so

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was so I mean that was made was part of

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his genius was they believe he was able

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to thread the philosophy into the asana

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and it wasn’t a separate thing it was

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all incorporated and it wasn’t just

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philosophy in the way I mean he used the

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sutras and he used the philosophy but it

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was daily philosophy his life what we

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have here at the end our yoga Institute

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of New York is also a kind of a place

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where you can go in and there’s a little

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bit of an oasis people often talk about

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coming in and then they feel so

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comfortable coming into the space

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because it’s quiet and they feel

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comfortable being here and it’s away

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from all the chaos that there may be

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dealing with in life out on the streets

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and then we have all different ways that

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we practice so there’s a it’s not just

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one way we have often we break up the

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month into different weeks where we work

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on sometimes strenuous poses and

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standing poses and back bends and it’ll

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be weeks where we work on inversions and

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twists then there’ll be weeks where we

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work on four dens or work on pranayama

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and more the going inwards aspect so we

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corporate all these different ways to do

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the Iyengar practice over a month period

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and then we recycle again the next month

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so so that they’re getting different

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ways that they can handle situations

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that are going to come up in life in

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life you might be too busy and too

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excited so there’s postures that can

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calm you down then there’s times when

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you’re feeling a little down and

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lethargic and kind of hard to get going

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and then there’s postures that can get

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you going up get you motivated if you’re

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feeling a little bit sluggish or down so

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the practice has all different ways that

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the outcome can be and we go through all

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those different ways so that the

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students learn what’s going to be

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beneficial for them at a certain time

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well mr. Iyengar

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was quite intense person himself and so

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his teaching was intense and he he

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demanded you to be present and demanded

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a certain kind of focus and intention

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that was required so when he walked the

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room you could feel his presence and you

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became more alert and you became more

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aware of what everything that was going

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to go on so that you weren’t being kind

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of it wasn’t casual

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there was nothing casual about the the

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study of the subject then outside the

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subject outside the room he was casual

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he was watching you know cricket and and

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eating sweets and having fun and joking

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around but once he walked in that room

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then then there was it was a discipline

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and it’s a store it was a strong

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discipline and he felt very I think very

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strong about that that there are certain

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things that have to be adhere to that

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kind of focus because he was in so

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intense I think it demanded it demanded

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this that you do the best you can under

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that circumstance and so that’s what I

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think he was also often teaching was to

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be completely alive and alert at every

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moment and so that was a wonderful thing

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because there were so many other things

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in my life when I would go to study even

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that the man had that kind of attention

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that you had to be completely alert and

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alive every second every millimetre of

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whatever you were doing and that was

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quite inspiring because it made you have

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to rise to the occasion of I’m gonna be

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the best I can in any moment and and

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that’s what that’s what he brought out

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in people the best and so that was it’s

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wonderful to be around that kind of

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inspiration because he was quite fiery

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sometimes you would get burned if being

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around that kind of fire but then you

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you realized why it was because he

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really wanted he demanded that kind of

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intensity because he wanted he wanted

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you to do your best it wasn’t that he

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was just being intense it was that he

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wanted the best and he he used that that

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intensity differently when he would be

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working with a child who had who had

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some physical problems that they were

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struggling with he would be joking with

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him and he would be but he’d still

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demand them to do their best come on I

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can do this can’t you do this and so he

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said looking I’m an old man and I can

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still do this why can’t you do this and

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so he would use that kind of playfulness

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of

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but in a way that was was for the child

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which is different than for someone else

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that or so someone who was older or sick

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he’d say come on you can do it I can

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where I’m we’re both old we can both do

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this and so he would use it in a playful

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way as well it wasn’t always just

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intense to the point where you know you

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thought you were gonna die bas Iyengar

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used to say that you’ve called it anger

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yoga I didn’t call it Iyengar yoga what

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he said he was teaching four times in

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yoga so he went into depth into

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Patanjali yoga and and unfolded it from

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his understanding of it through his

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teaching friends from Christmas Chara so

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I think that lineage is quite direct

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and he didn’t alter it as much as

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opening it up more he didn’t say okay

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now I’m gonna change it and start doing

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all these other things in his view he

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took it from the practice and he

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practices up until his last breath he

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was practicing up until he died those

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last couple of months even in the last

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weeks that he was not feeling so well he

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was practicing so he didn’t give that up

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he felt that that was what he what took

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him to where he was in life and he was

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going to continue with it and so he

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didn’t alter it he just kept unfolding

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it with things that would make it more

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accessible to people and and help them

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understand it so I think that lineage is

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quite clear and quite quite in line and

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didn’t didn’t falter I think some of the

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other things out there I think that

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they’ve taken little pieces of this and

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pieces of that and I think that you

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can’t always just put all those pieces

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together and make it something and I

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think that’s one of the benefits of

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being in the Iyengar tradition is that

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it’s as true to it true as it can be and

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then of course everyone takes what they

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have learned and opened up so even Gita

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mister Iyengar’s daughter and personĂ­s

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rang our son they have taken this

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subject and have a slightly different

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view of a point on how they teach it but

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it’s very clear that the subject is the

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same so you might end up with one class

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thing oh Keats is very

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this is it very different there or have

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their very different opinions but when

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you look back it’s they’re actually

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going for the same ink they’re going for

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the same direction and I think that that

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sometimes that direction isn’t always so

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clear with some of these newer things

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what is it that they’re doing what is it

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where is the aim what is the what is the

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the end result that they’re looking for

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I’m not sure if it’s so clear it’s quite

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clear with the angers that that it what

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it is and that discipline where they’re

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going there’s different ways to get

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there but but they’re clear that where

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they’re you’re taking you and you never

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feel that you’re going off track you

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always feel that they’ve taken you more

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closer to where you’re going

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understanding yourself the source of

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stress well I have to say dealing with

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people is difficult you know

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and so when you’re just in your own and

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doing things that’s it’s it’s not so bad

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but then you have to deal with people

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and people are are there are themselves

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and so you’re dealing with aspects of

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personalities that are difficult

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sometimes and so then you have to take

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it you have to sit back and take a

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breath and say okay how am I gonna deal

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with this person who’s coming at you in

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a certain way and another person might

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be coming out in another way and you

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have to kind of take a breath and sit

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back and figure out how you’re going to

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handle those different people that are

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coming at you that might be different

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than what the different response and you

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were expecting or a different reaction

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than you were expecting and so I think

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those those day-to-day interactions with

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people are the things that you know that

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are that can be that can bring things up

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from the past or from wherever that that

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and kind of get you going

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luckily the the asana practice gives you

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a chance to kind of get in there and say

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okay how am I going to react to this

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when I can’t do something when I can do

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something when something is easy when

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something isn’t so easy when I’m up

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against this kind of challenge how am I

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going to respond how am I going to react

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and yeah the asana practice gives you a

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chance to go in there and work on those

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things separately from the day to day

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stuff and but then the day to day stuff

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comes up and sometimes you

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to deal with that so I think that that’s

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probably the biggest stress is just

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dealing with people and how to manage

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that aspect well I can remember my first

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class with Mary done and and I remember

277
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it was up at the the up on up to up

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never Westside a Jewish Community Center

279
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and I remember thinking that at that

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time I was a dancer and I was young and

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I thought I looked around the room and

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it seemed to be a lot of older women and

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I thought oh you know this isn’t really

284
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my scene and the teacher was Mary done

285
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and she was kind of shouting

286
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instructions and I had an idea that yoga

287
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was going to be all quiet and there was

288
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gonna be like the sounds of the ocean

289
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and quiet and just meditative in a sense

290
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of not a lot of shouting and she seemed

291
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a little bit like a cheerleaders yelling

292
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some instructions and pressing this down

293
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and doing this and doing this and I

294
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thought oh is this really what yoga is

295
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and then I was asked to do certain

296
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postures and and as a dancer I thought

297
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well I can do this and I saw some older

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women in front of me that were able to

299
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do it and I wasn’t able to do it I was

300
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struggling and I was shaking and I

301
00:13:23,829 –> 00:13:25,360
thought oh maybe there is something here

302
00:13:25,360 –> 00:13:27,040
because these people that are a lot

303
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older than me are doing it and they

304
00:13:29,410 –> 00:13:30,490
didn’t seem like they should be able to

305
00:13:30,490 –> 00:13:31,870
do it and I should be able to do it and

306
00:13:31,870 –> 00:13:33,009
I couldn’t do it so that was very

307
00:13:33,009 –> 00:13:35,110
humbling and I thought okay well I’ll

308
00:13:35,110 –> 00:13:36,220
give it another chance and so I came

309
00:13:36,220 –> 00:13:38,589
back the next time and then I saw that

310
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she was also working with people that

311
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had problems that someone said they had

312
00:13:42,040 –> 00:13:43,809
a problem and in the past I just thought

313
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well if you had a problem you just how

314
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to not do it and now suddenly I was

315
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seeing that you could get help with

316
00:13:49,120 –> 00:13:51,339
something and that there was ways to get

317
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through that so if you had a neck

318
00:13:52,839 –> 00:13:54,339
problem you could do something else or

319
00:13:54,339 –> 00:13:55,959
you had a back problem you did something

320
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else that could then help them they were

321
00:13:57,610 –> 00:13:59,920
getting relief so that was interesting

322
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so then I kept coming back and then I

323
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started understanding her her enthusiasm

324
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in her humor and it was also positive

325
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and

326
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and uplifting that then I just continued

327
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and and then I found out that they just

328
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came back from India and I wanted a hoe

329
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I wanted to go to India so I was

330
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thinking that I would find out how that

331
00:14:19,139 –> 00:14:22,980
goes and then I wrote to bks iyengar in

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00:14:22,980 –> 00:14:26,189
Pune and it was a three year waiting

333
00:14:26,189 –> 00:14:27,540
list at that time and so I had to wait

334
00:14:27,540 –> 00:14:29,579
three years to be able to go and then

335
00:14:29,579 –> 00:14:31,649
once I went there it just kind of all

336
00:14:31,649 –> 00:14:33,839
started happening and I went there and I

337
00:14:33,839 –> 00:14:35,220
was supposed to stay for a month and I

338
00:14:35,220 –> 00:14:38,480
ended up staying for four months and and

339
00:14:38,480 –> 00:14:42,180
then it just I just kept going back and

340
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getting deeper into it and studying

341
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everyday with all different kind of

342
00:14:44,910 –> 00:14:46,439
teachers and and kind of really

343
00:14:46,439 –> 00:14:49,170
understand to unravel what this was the

344
00:14:49,170 –> 00:14:51,180
subject was because at first I was just

345
00:14:51,180 –> 00:14:52,949
kind of interested in looking at the

346
00:14:52,949 –> 00:14:54,360
pictures and thinking oh that’s kind of

347
00:14:54,360 –> 00:14:55,860
cool how do you do that well that’s kind

348
00:14:55,860 –> 00:14:56,970
of cool how do you do that because I was

349
00:14:56,970 –> 00:14:58,470
a dancer and I thought oh I don’t I’ve

350
00:14:58,470 –> 00:15:00,300
never tried that I’ve never tried that

351
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so it just started on a physical level

352
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kind of wondering how to be able to do

353
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that and then all these other levels

354
00:15:06,899 –> 00:15:08,519
started opening up and these deeper

355
00:15:08,519 –> 00:15:11,970
levels of the subject opened up to me in

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ways that I wasn’t quite expecting

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[Music]

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[Music]

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you

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[Music]

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you

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