The Commencement Act –
Prashant frequently says “well, anyway…” Many people are fascinated by his wisdom, many people are bewildered, some people are bored, and for a few, Prashant’s teachings have transformed the way they practice. When he says “well, anyway…”, it means that he has realized that he went off on a tangent, or what he thought was a tangent. He does this frequently, for he himself is delighted by and completely absorbed in the traditions of Yog. For example, he explains how the modern “yoga” culture is only invested in a “physiocracy” while what we should be studying is “Yog”, the essential yoga.
“Early on, they thought that being in good health and being able to do good poses meant that you would be a good teacher. Now, you must be a good student, this must not escape. You need conviction to be a good teacher, but you must always protect your own studentship… Studentship is forever an infant…”
“Yog” is the subject, the object, the fixation and the beloved for Prashant. Over the last fifty years he has developed his unique style that draws us into deeper dimensions of experiencing one’s Self and “Yog”. Although he would not say that his approach is unique at all. And some say that it is so unique that it is not even Iyengar yoga. Both Abhijata and Prashant reminded us that Guruji never called his yoga “Iyengar” yoga. We study Yoga, capital Y. Fluent in the Vedic texts, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras, Prashant weaves threads from these inspirations throughout his discourse while giving us practical instructions to help explore and reflect on the breath, sensations, thoughts and experience in practice.
“Describe, define, explain the process, consequences, effect, to cultivate literacy in your studentship.”
“Yoga has the possibilities to not only train you, you should be empowered, not just getting training and more training. It is an educational process, you get intelligence, or should decide what you should be doing, there is some logic, some reasoning behind it. Classes are not the place to learn yoga.”
“Arambhana Kriya, the commencement act – each must develop the literacy on how to identify where your focal point is. Inhalation connects the core to peripheral, exhalation connects periphery to core, ex: feel how the inhalation effects the shoulder blades, and what happens on exhalation, commentate, you will develop your vocabulary, literacy. Sensitize, perceive, the consequences of flushing out deeply and what happens to that area on inhalation. You must cultivate a good vocabulary to be a good commentator.” (refer to Yogasana: The 18 Maha Kriyas of Yogasana, Prashant Iyengar)
Each morning of the week began with a class with Prashant. He systematically and experientially took us through ways to introduce his scheme that would enable us to go deeper into “Yog”. Some of us were thrilled and found that the patience and penetration required to work this way yielded a rich dimensionality of being and becoming. Others were restless and to move. By the end of the week, everyone appreciated the rich tapestry of Prashant, the weave of his teachings, and the texture of his love for Guruji and for us.
“So this is not Prashant’s class, this is your head, face, brain class. Emotional, psychological processes. Understand your nature, you have so many teacher within you, understand what is proper for you”