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Do what only you can do.
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Let the breath
                  and the intelligence
                                     move simultaneously.
- B.K.S. Iyengar
Glass Float
A Book Review
 
A glass float used to hold Japanese fishing nets in the sea is fragile, but yet, not. Some make their way across the whole Pacific and land on our shores in British Columbia.
 
Glass Float is the appropriate title of the collection of poems recently published by Jane Munro. As we are living now without physical gathering and actual meetings, Jane held her book launch from her own living room to mine and many others a few days ago.
 
The image of a glass float from her poem stays with me. I am conscious of my breath, of making sure I practice pranayama daily. It is a time to be quiet and listen within. Of the glass float, Jane says, “…it’s handmade. Actually mouth made. Someone’s breath formed it and is inside it.”
 
This phrase strikes me and lands in my chest, at my heart. The breath of the glass blower is still held inside the glass ball.
 
In this time of physical distancing, I seek support; the support of breath, of kind words from friends, of my asana practice, of reading inspiring words. I think of this glass float holding breath and holding me up.
 
In the book there are many references to yoga, to the members of the Iyengar family, to practice. In one poem called the “Scandal of Particularity,” Jane is preparing to go to the yoga hall in Pune with her clean handkerchief tucked into her shorts, and she says: “…looking forward to three hours of yoga practice, That’s the luxury here: in a hall with others, alone with your body and its memory. Time to make yourself visible to yourself. Stretch. Discover what you’ve got to work with, and work on. Do what only you can do.”
p.28
 
This message resounds with the messages we have been receiving from the writings in our recent Yog-e News articles, from Shirley Daventry French and Ann Kilbertus. We don’t have the comfort of others with whom to practice, but I can take out my own mat to make time for myself and work on only what I can do.
 
This is a book for all, that will especially appeal to yoga practitioners. We will have one in our library when we reopen, and probably for sale. In the meantime, it is available at Munro’s Bookstore.  
 
Jane Munro is an award-winning poet, and former member of our yoga community here in Victoria. She had been one of our newsletter editors. Currently she lives in Vancouver.

Leslie Hogya
Photo by Jane Munro


NOTE:
If you are practising on your own and questions arise, send them to Gary Wong gwong@sbd.ca.
Family Tree

Lauren and Bruce Cox's grandson Henrik shows how to
repose in the pose in Vrksasana.

 
Early Morning Musings
 
For fifty years I have practised yoga: all over the world, in all kinds of weather. In spaces large and small: quiet and noisy, cluttered and uncluttered, clean and not so clean. For fifty years yoga has been a major resource for my body, mind and health. There is not one part of me that has not benefitted. I have many tales to tell arising from this experience. And so do you: each one of you who opened up a window of a time, chose a space, stood, sat or lay down on a mat and practised a few asanas!
 
Story telling can be a potent resource for any yoga student as long as we develop the understanding that our stories are myths created by our own minds for a variety of reasons. Who has not thought from time to time: did that actually happen or did I make it up? Listening to someone else’s story about an incident where you were also present did you wonder whose memory was faulty: yours or theirs! Our body, mind and senses all develop differently.
 
One of the benefits of learning in classes is that that you follow a prescribed series of asanas not chosen by yourself so there is a different pattern which can break through some of your defences. These defences use up a lot of energy, and energy is one of our most treasured resources.
 
One of the benefits of practising on your own is that you can begin to unravel the reasons for these seeming contradictions. In my early days in yoga a book came out which was not specifically a yoga book but very helpful to me in my yoga. It was called The Body has its Reasons by a Frenchwoman called Thérèse Bertherat. Sometimes you discover that the reasons for one of your limitations comes from an experience of many years ago, was helpful then but serves no useful purpose here and now today.
 
Another influential book of my early days was Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass.  He made a suggestion which I followed for some time to post a couple of questions on your refrigerator as reminders to ask yourself frequently during the day: -

“Where am I? — and the answer is always “Here!”
 “What time is it?” — and the answer is always “Now!”
 
Prompts and reminders are valuable. A good teacher will make use of such tools to bring your attention to something you are missing. And you will not always be grateful, particularly at that moment. Gratitude is another potent tool to be cultivated on the spiritual path along with opening your hips or lengthening your hamstrings.
 
The teaching may vary but truth does not. In all students there is a need for direction along with a need to find a good teacher who has walked further on this path than you and learn what they can teach you about making this journey. You will need to procure tools and develop skill in making use of them. And these tools need to be used or they will rust whilst your newly acquired skill atrophies! You will be clumsy at first but gradually become more adept with practice so you can discover the truth for yourself.
 
And what better way to end than with some encouragement from The Buddha:

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
not going all the way, and not starting.
 
Shirley Daventry French
The Centre is very grateful to the Victoria Foundation for the $14,664 grant
we received to purchase news props in 2020.
Interested in past issues of the Yog-e News? Click on this link!
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http://www.iyengaryogacentre.caCopyright © 2014 Iyengar Yoga Centre of Victoria, All rights reserved.

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