I have just returned from attending the Iyengar Yoga Conference and Convention. The conference was open to all comers, while the convention was for Iyengar Yoga teachers.
Over six days, we attended about 35 hours of classes! The classes covered many topics, and included pranayama, asana and lectures on yoga philosophy and yoga therapeutics.
The event headliner was Birjoo Mehta from Mumbai. He is one of Nuvana’s main teachers in India. Birjoo taught the “mega” classes which had 300-400 students.
If I had to sum up the week with one word, it would be “Consciousness”. We were asked to connect with our consciousness in our asana and pranayama practice.
Birjoo explained that the consciousness should be evenly spread throughout the body as one practices. He used as an example the black and white photo of Manuso Manos in triangle pose that was imprinted on a student’s t-shirt. He told us to look at the photo and to see how some areas of the body were white and some were black. We were to think of our bodies this way in the poses –the white areas represented places where there was an over-abundance of consciousness, while the black areas represented places where the consciousness had not touched. The idea was to bring light to dark areas and to calm areas of too much brightness.
Birjoo then taught us Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II pose), with our attention to the legs, arms, trunk and shoulders as we proceeded in each step of the pose. We were asked to observe the change in the touch of our consciousness, especially on the left side as we went into the pose on the right side (right leg bent). The left side of the body had gone dark, while the right side was capturing all my attention. By moving from the muscles on the left side (shoulder and arm) and moving from the bones on the right side (shoulder blade) the consciousness became balanced within the body and there was a connection to all parts. The pose became joyful.
This is one short example of Birjoos’ masterful teaching at the conference and convention.