February 2013

Wednesday evening class

I did it again.


While the Wednesday evening class was practicing Sarvangasana, I distracted them.  I’m always doing this.


There’s always something fresh on my mind that I think would interest them. An article. A podcast. A new book.


Last night, I mentioned to them that Mr. Iyengar has written a new book at the age of 94.  It’s called Core of the Yoga Sutras.  It’s in-depth, intense, and will keep us all studying for years to come.


Amazing that he is as sharp as ever – and at his age.  The depth and  breadth and scope of his knowledge is truly incomparable.


While we discussed Iyengar’s brilliance, they were still up in Sarvangasana. They looked strong. They didn’t seem to mind. Afterward, I thought better of it.  I could hear an advanced senior teacher telling me to let them have their experience in the pose without distraction.  But, then again, I hear that in India Prashant often philosophizes during asana classes.


But, then again, my name is not Prashant Iyengar!


Not sure exactly how but our conversation drifted to Mrs. Iyengar.  I mentioned that she was a big supporter of her husband and his work.  She has been dead for many years.  But he has said many times that she believed in his brilliance and potential from the beginning, when he was unable to see it for himself.


One students said she wonders how many women make that contribution to the world. How many women encourage their husband’s brilliance?  Her intonation seemed to imply that perhaps these women encourage their husband’s futures at great expense to their own.


Not too far fetched, really.


I asked her if she thinks that’s due to how our culture defines women’s roles. Or is it due to the biological differences between men and women?


We happen to have 2 psychology professors in our class.  One of them set us straight.


“Leah,” she said.


“I tell my students there are very few stupid questions in this world.  And that is one of them.”


Well, okay. I stand corrected.


She explained that the argument cannot be nature vs. nurture — opposed to one another.


Nature and nurture together contribute to everything. There is no separation.


And I agree.