Yoga is infinite

Workshop #3 of TT ’08. Anne Saliou, phenomenal master teacher in the Iyengar tradition, said at the beginning of today’s workshop — and again at the end, Yoga is Infinite. By this I think she meant there is always more to learn and more areas (yoga philosophy, psychology, detailed anatomy…) to explore. This is the aspect of studying yoga that keeps me continually engaged. Actually, through my yoga practice, I have learned how long things take, for example how much time is needed for mastery of any practice. Decades, a lifetime. And now having the chance to study in more depth with teachers who have been studying and teaching for two and three decades, is a great reminder for me.

Anne also said that yoga is transformational. And yoga is experiential. The experiential nature of yoga, that it’s not something we can learn just by thinking about it — we have to actually be it, practice it, live it, and also study it, is in some ways at the heart of my own transformation through yoga. Most of my life, I’ve thought that I learn things by thinking about them… and there’s a whole other dimension that opens up when I can draw my mind, body, and emotions all together and be changed by what I am learning. Not simply have it pass through my thoughts and memory but be something I live with now.

Okay, and then besides all this seriousness, another thing that happened in class today is that Anne pulled on one of my pigtails! I’ve been wearing my hair, which is getting longer these days, in what Carol calls “yoga puffs” and in Uttanasana (“intense stretch” or standing forward bend), Anne was adjusting my head and started pulling on my right puff! I was a little bit startled then sort of silently cracked up, but then I started wondering… Why? Is there a yogic lesson she was trying to teach me by pulling on my puff? Or are they just so irresistibly cute that she had to pull on it? Or is it so unseemly for an almost 40-something to wear puffs that she had to pull on it? Or did it make the head adjustment easier?

Om. Om. Om.

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