The Art Of Iyengar Yoga
Skill in performance is art. The goal of art is satisfying our inner need for expression and to experience delight.
IYENGAR Yoga combines the precision of architecture with the creative interpretation of classical postures. Yoga postures have been popular subjects for drawings and sculpture for thousands of years.
Art students at Shirley Heath’s Adult Education drawing classes at the Assembly Halls, West Wickham were challenged to sketch yoga poses. Postures were held for a few minutes whilst the artists sketched the outline and sometimes movement. Shirley encouraged the students to look for the negative shapes – see the triangle between my feet in Trikonasana – the triangle pose.
(Photograph courtesy of John Ruler – Iyengar yoga student and artist)
When practising yoga we learn to visualise and become aware of our inner alignment and extension. I was intrigued at the students results, they captured the strength of the warrior poses, and the calm quiet movement of the shoulderstand cycle.
Artists have not only recorded yoga poses but popularised it in the west. It was the celebrated violinist Yehudi Menuhin who in 1952 met IYENGAR and encouraged him to promote yoga in Europe. His artistic performances have led to him being described as the Michaelangelo of Yoga.
According to BKS IYENGAR who has refined the presentation of yoga poses to celebrate the possibilities of mind and body ‘Yoga is the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, the harmony of the soul, creating the symphony of life’.
Through the Art of Iyengar Yoga we not only learn to strengthen and relax our body but we gain control of our mind, ultimately performing the poses with ‘effortless effort’.
The right state of mind enables careful attention to everyday actions, so that daily life becomes a state of art. You do not need to become a hermit to benefit from yoga, so come out of your cave and realise your potential.
As published in Vista magazine 2007