November 2013: Integrity in Yoga
As I was about to write this introduction I found my mind drift to many of the great wonders and benefits my life has received in these many years in yoga. I happened to just go to Daphne Tse’s pledge site and play her new song, which she sang with us back in July and will again this Christmas. It always stirs my heart. Similar for me is the great music of Jack Harrison, a good Irishman who I have been happy to be part of his music journey out there. Yoga brought us all together. I think back to my early days of practice and to where it has all grown now. It’s almost 20 years of practice yet at the same time so short. The invaluable gift of the guidance of my teacher, Tiwariji, has made all the difference. Special years with Pattabhi Jois in India are memorable. So many good people, students, other teachers I have been able to be friends with. Now I find myself at yet another journey in yoga, this time in terms of research and science. Most of all I am grateful for how I have grown from the possibility to learn and practice, be cared for and be able to return at least some of that care and kindness.
In such a vein, Tiwariji and myself went to visit BKS Iyengar back in August. He will be 95 on his birthday this December. He was still full of energy and vigor as well as mental clarity. Tiwariji and Iyengar used to travel on the Bombay express train back in the early 1960s, in the 1990s they were both in Russia together, and lately have been involved in the India Yoga association as president and vice president. It was nice to be part of this company. Iyengar was keen to tell me that yoga still needs to be respected, learned, earned, and taught properly, otherwise it is a mere waste. These are words I believe in myself. In his final years of a full life devoted to yoga practice he is urging a call to integrity. In my opinion, life is not of much value without that. And therein lies the yogi, regardless of what field we may be in. For the heart and the intention matter. How we treat others. Avoid the politics and embrace the people.
So, enjoy the music of Daphne and Jack, benefit from the practice as is suitable for you, be nourished by the friends, students and teachers we meet, and cultivate an inner ethic and a complete integrity.