Monday, December 22, 2008

Is Mr. Iyengar Physically Fit?

A couple weeks ago in teacher training, we pulled out Light on Yoga and scrutinized Mr. Iyengar’s photos.

“What do you think?” asked our teacher.

A couple students pointed out his impressive capacity for chest expansion. Then after a bit of discussion about the energy of his asanas, my true thoughts seeped into the discussion: The man has soft abs and not a whole lot of muscle tone.

But then our teacher had us look at plate 406—Bakasana. Hello, Mr. Iyengar’s arm muscles! Instead of walking around in a state of constant contraction, like most people’s idea of what physical fitness should look like, Iyengar uses each muscle precisely when he needs it.

This little lesson has started me questioning my idea of physical fitness. How beneficial are the standards I’m striving for? How sensitive and responsive am I? Can I let go of my exterior armor long enough to discover the internal workings of my body and mind?


Pink Heels said...

There is a part of me that dismisses the idea that someone needs to be physically fit in order to be a lover of yoga or even a founder of a type of yoga. However, I can also appreciate the point that was being made about our image of what is and is not fit. Could you image one of those beefy body builders doing yoga? I bet that it would be challenging for them. LOL

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