Articles and Essays

Consider becoming an IYALA Board Member

The Iyengar Yoga Association of Los Angeles is seeking members who would be interested in becoming an elected member of the Board of Trustees. We have at least three positions to fill for the upcoming term, running from January 2018 - December 2020.

If you are interested in being considered for one of these positions, or if you would like to nominate another person please contact Laura Baker, Membership Chair, IYALA Board of Directors, at laurabakerphd@gmail.com. Please write a brief statement outlining your background in Iyengar Yoga, and your area(s) of interest.

​Applications for nomination or self-nomination should be received by September 15, and elections take place in November 2017.

Body thy shrine, Yoga thy light

This text was given as a speech December 6, 2015 in Pune, India.

Guruji has often said- body is my temple, asanas are my prayer. He has said that the body is the bow, asanas the arrow and the target is the soul. His autobiography was named, Body thy shrine, Yoga thy light.

In this piece, I would like to present my understanding of these expressive yet enigmatic statements.

Let us analyze the first statement, the body is my temple and asanas are my prayers. In the temple resides the divinity. For the body to become a temple, the divinity has to be brought into your body. And how do you call divinity? That is through invocation, through prayer.

Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research

In June Lisa Walford represented Iyengar yoga at the Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research "SYTAR" conference in Newport Beach. Lori McIntosh assisted in the presentation which consisted of a beginner's practice for the Sinking Mind (major depression); a powerpoint on research and mechanisms behind the practice, and a demonstration of a sequence for a Stormy Mind (anxiety driven depression). The sessions were well attended, and students/teachers left with practical material they could apply in their sessions.

Diana Clifton, the Godmother of Iyengar Yoga in Southern California, dies at 95

Diana Clifton holds a special place in the history of the Los Angeles Iyengar Yoga community. It was her workshop in 1977 that made the scattered local practitioners realize that they needed to get organized. They then formed the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Association of Southern California.

The Three Seasons of Ayurveda – Pitta

Ayurveda believes that there are seasons each year, which is defined by the three doshas; Vata-fall and early winter, Kapha- winter & early spring and Pitta- late spring and summer.

It is further understood that each dosha goes through three stages each year with the changes of the seasons, temperature and weather. These three stages will first accumulate, then aggravate and finally alleviate the doshas.

Learning from Motherhood: Yoga and Me

This article was first printed in Yoga Vidya, Summer 2010: Being a Householder; Doing Yoga. – Ed.

Two weeks after the birth of my first child, I lay in supported Savasana. This had always been my preparatory pose for Pranayama, and one I did more for formality than for the pose itself. But on this occasion, I paused in amazement as I felt my organs move back to what, presumably, were their former places. It was the first time I felt the effect of the pose so dramatically and profoundly, and I was grateful and humbled by the gift of yoga in my life.

The Genesis of the Newsletter

I began writing the newsletter as a way to talk about what was going on at the Institute. What classes were coming up, who got their certification. I don’t even remember the reason I started the writings.  I started musing on different subjects. … I wanted people to be invested in the place, to treat it as their homes, to treat it as a sacred place.  So when that wasn’t happening, I would get a little preachy in my tone, even though I am a preacher’s daughter. But I would be like, hey everybody, that’s what we are supposed to do together. That was the genesis of the newsletter.

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali | Sādhana Pāda

"…For me, as someone for whom many, if not most, asanas can still be quite strenuous and painful, it shows me that I still have a long way to go. It’s humbling when you’re in class and you need more props to do an asana than everyone else in the class- when you’re doing, say, Prasarita Padottanasa, and you need two blocks under your head, where everyone else can use one or can bring their head all the way to the floor. And you know you can’t cheat, because if you do you’ll either do the pose incorrectly or hurt yourself (or both). Accepting that that’s where you are physically I think is also tapas; as it creates humility in you, it effects psychological purification."

Yogashtha

"One who is firmly and completely established in Yoga"

Stephen King, the author of a book, "On writing" says, "If you want to understand any person, look into yourself. Dig into your life that has gone by. Look for deep-rooted essence of him in your life. Clean up the soil around the roots and you will realise that the character you are trying to look for outside is actually a substance within yourself.

Iyengar Yoga in Ventura and Santa Barbara County

Do you know who the gems of good certified Iyengar teachers in the Ventura & Santa Barbara county are? This article introduces them all. These are all the certified Iyengar teachers along the coast. north of LA to Santa Barbara.

Marla Apt's Intensive

Marla Apt travels a lot! Across the globe, Iyengar yoga students have been touched by her teachings and want more. They have been willing to travel to Los Angeles, book a hotel, rent a car, and follow her around town to her different classes and weekend workshops. "I wanted to be able to offer more for those students who travel to Los Angeles for a limited period of time only to have to drive around the city for drop-in classes rather than attending a cohesive, progressive program," says Marla. Even her LA students, who are unable leave town for retreats or extended workshops because of family and work obligations, wanted an opportunity to study in a more condensed format.

A Ride down Bumble Bee Lane

I remember riding my bike with little Billy Waters on my handlebars down Bumble Bee Lane, my childhood street in Westport, Connecticut.  The next day my family would be moving to Germany for two years. I was eleven years old. I knew instinctively that I was not going to come back to the same place.  And I was right. Billy’s father died and his family moved away. I returned to 7th grade and in a town like Westport, childhood was quickly left behind, expendable at the first hint of puberty.

Voluntary Breath Regulation in Yoga: Its Relevance and Physiological Effect

Regulating the breath is an important part of yoga practice. Descriptions in traditional yoga texts mention breath regulation as a way of getting spiritual realization. In yoga, there are several ways to modify breathing, such as changing the rate and depth, holding the breath, breathing through the mouth, or breathing alternately through one or both nostrils. These voluntarily regulated yoga breathing techniques are called pranayamas in Sanskrit. Brief descriptions of these techniques in traditional yoga texts as well as their physiological effects are given here.

Lisa Walford turns 60!

On Febuary 21, Lisa Walford’s students, colleagues and friends came together at the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles to celebrate her 60th birthday…The idea was that Iyengar Yoga teachers who have been long-time students of Lisa’s, many of whom have been her classroom assistants and also formally mentored by her in their own certification processes, would choose poses or sequences of poses that they think of ‘classic Lisa poses.’ These are asanas that Lisa teaches regularly in her classes and to which she has added her unique perspective, emphasis and techniques, designed to convey deeper understanding and more physical accessibility.

An Interview with Leslie Peters

Bee: How did you get started with yoga?

Leslie: For Christmas in 1990 I was given a gift certificate for an Introductory Course and a month of unlimited classes at the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles.  On January 9, 1991, I found myself in the company of a dozen people of all sizes and ages, sitting in a circle on the floor sharing our names, degree of yoga experience, as well as our list of aches, pains, and injuries.  Gloria Goldberg was our teacher, and after everyone had spoken she made the following statement; “Yoga will change your life.  I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but I promise you it will.”  I remember thinking, “Well, it probably won’t change my life.”

The Three Seasons of Ayurveda – Kapha

In Ayurveda, the body is made up of three basic energies known as the doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha which govern our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual makeups. The Vata dosha consists of ether & air with the qualities of cold, dry, light and mobile. The Pitta dosha is made up of fire & water with the qualities of hot, wet, light and mobile. The Kapha dosha is a combination of water & earth with the qualities of cold, wet, heavy and stable. Each of us has a unique combination of the doshas, which make up our constitution, one being prominent, one secondary and the third less present.

Yoga Darsana, The Mirror of a Community

When you enter Yoga Darsana, you enter through the back red door, place your shoes on the shoe rack, change if necessary, and walk into a lobby. Water and tea are available. You glance at the printout on the table to see if your series has elapsed, sign-in to attend class, pay for classes, if necessary and give payment to the teacher who places it in a basket in the armoire. Voila, class is ready to begin. The teacher, who has unlocked the studio, is ready to teach in the large asana room.

Blast from the Past

This video was made for Mr Iyengar when he came to Los Angeles in his Light on Life Tour in 2005. See yourself, your friends and your teachers when we were all 10 years younger!