Archive for August, 2014

BKS Iyengar Traditional End of Mourning Ritual

Dear Fellow Yoga Practioners,

I am not sure how many of you practiced the sequence of asanas for collective remembrance of BKS Iyengar last Tuesday; I was travelling in Canada, and on my way with Jillian to a remote camping place. The 5:30 pm practice time drew near;  just in the nick of time a small pull out appeared, and we whipped out our mats, and I my timer, in true Iyengar fashion— we  had a meaningful and blessed few moments making the offering of asanas, remembering the famous words of the great guru, about the body as temple, and the asanas as prayers. Our place in a field, with a bowl like feeling, surrounded by grasses, trees, great vistas, the open sky, and  the evening sunlight inspired our dedicated practice, as we tuned into a great soul, and the collective body, practicing these same poses in sync with one another. I am copying here a letter from IYNAUS with suggestions for a traditional marking of the 13th day after a Hindu person has passed away. I will  certainly be observing this end of the formal mourning period with a ritual, and thought some of you might wish to as well.

Here is the letter:
Dear IYNAUS Members,

Thank you for joining us on Tuesday, August 26th for the Communal Dedication practice honoring Guruji. I know that I felt a deep connection as so many of us stood in Tadasana at the same time, holding Guruji in our hearts.

You might like to know of two observations that will be taking place at RIMYI in the coming days: a Shradhanjali meeting on Saturday, August 30, and Vaikunta Samaradhana on Monday, September 1, which marks the end of the traditional thirteen day period of mourning.

In conversation with IYNAUS member Popsi Narashiman and his wife Tulasi Srinivas, who teaches religion and anthropology at Emerson College, we would like for you to also consider honoring the customary Hindu/Iyengar tradition of performing a commemorative ritual for Guruji at any time on the 13th day after his passing, Monday, September 1st. Popsi notes that the 13th day is thought to be “celebratory in nature and marks the termination of mourning and returning to normal life. This also signifies when the soul is said to be liberated.”

Possible ritual observances you might consider for September 1st include decorating a photo of Guruji with flowers and lighting a lamp or candle and incense in your practice area. A short practice or meditation along with sutra chanting would be additional ways to honor his memory. An act of charity to others would also be seen as a positive way to commemorate his innumerable contributions to the world.

Finally, we feel fortunate that Board member Gloria Goldberg has traveled to Pune for a short stay, and Michael Lucey will be there during the month of September. With their help we will forward members updates on recent days at the Institute and information about planning for future commemorations.

In loving memory of Guruji,

Janet Lilly, President of the IYNAUS Board of Directors
Michael Lucey, Vice President and President Elect


August 26 BKS Commemoration: Please Join In!


I am in the Canadian Rockies overjoyed with nature’s profound beauty, as I celebrate the life of BKS Iyengar. Please join in as people across the USA (and I in Canada) do a practice in his honor on Tuesday the 26th of August at 5:30 pm:

With BKS in heart and mind, practice this sequence:

Mountain Pose: 3 minutes

Standing Forward Bend

Dog Pose

Triangle Pose

Standing Forward Bend

Sitting for 5 Minutes





A Great Soul Passes: BKS Iyengar the Legendary Guru

I am passing along the news that BKS Iyengar a brilliant and beautiful guru has passed, leaving a tremendous legacy for  practitioners of yoga, of all traditions. I had the great fortune to be at a convention in Colorado, when Light on Life was published, where BKS Iyengar taught a few years back, and it was my joy to have a direct encounter with him, and to feel the love in his presence. My surprise was in the welling up of emotion I had not really expected to feel. I had respected, honored and  admired this man, but had not understood or really experienced his majestic and loving presence myself, until that fortunate time. My own expression of this at the time, was in saying, “now I understand why this man is called “Guruji” by so many, and I feel my own kinship with this naming.” I mourn the loss of his earthly presence for a large following of practitioners, and feel a deep gratitude for his teachings which have been so well transmitted by the Senior teachers of the tradition. Here is the letter from the National Association, and I have also included a photograph from the feature length film of this legendary teacher.



Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States

Dear Members of IYNAUS,

You may have already heard the news that Guruji passed at 3:15am in Pune, India August 20, 2014.

In this time of immense sadness it is perhaps comforting for us to contemplate the joy of his great existence. We do ask that respect for his family be observed and that you not try to contact the family. We know that it would be Guruji’s wish for us to continue in our practice of the art of yoga.

Over the next day the IYNAUS Board will connect with Senior Teachers to ensure that news of his passing is appropriately acknowledged in newspapers and other forms of media. We will also continue to provide our membership with updates such as the link to the most recent article from the Times of India, as well as communication from the family with regards to our expressions of condolences and gratitude.

Janet Lilly, President of the IYNAUS Board of Directors
Michael Lucey, Vice President and President Elect


Late Summer and Fall Classes

As summer exhales her last warm breath, the faint cool breeze of autumn arrives on the inhale. It appears on the edges of the day during the portals of dawn and dusk, the coolness like bookends on an otherwise hot day, a gentle intimation that one season is ending and another is beginning. The exuberance of summer begins to bow out as the introspection of autumn takes center stage.

Seen through the lens of transitions, each season carries archetypal principles that, when approached consciously, can guide us into deeper layers of ourselves. Where winter signals a slow silence, spring awakens an inner rebirth, and summer celebrates the fullness of our joy, autumn invites us to turn inward and shed what no longer serves us.

~Sheryl Paul

Dear Friends,

With the outbreath of summer, comes the renewal of travelling the more interior journey of Autumn, and I look forward to exploring the practices of yoga with many of you in the coming days. The Autumn classes will be held from September 8th through Novemer 20th, with 10 sessions for each class, with the return of last Spring’s schedule: Mondays at 8Petals, 5:15 pm, Tuesdays at Turtle Haven at 9:45 am, Wednesdays 5:15pm and 7 pm at Turtle Haven, and Thursdays at noon, at 8Petals!

Those of us meeting for meditation classes on Wednesday nights this summer at 8Petals had some poetic and nourishing moments of sharing and silence, and there will be other multifacted yoga offerings named when I return from a vacation. These different classes approach yoga in its fuller journey, which includes more direct exploration of ourselves as individuals in the context of community, and the more subtle aspects of our existence. Please stay tuned! 428px-Patanjali

BKS Iyengar

I am passing along this email I received throught the National Assocation, so each of you will know that the much revered Guru of our form of yoga is very ill and in hospital. May we each find a way on our own path, to honor his brilliance and the gifts that have sifted through to each of us.
Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States
Dear IYNAUS Members,

We don’t have any news directly from the Iyengar family, but we wanted to keep you informed about
Mr. Iyengar’s hospitalization. We are including this link from today’s Times of India article. Please continue to respect the family’s privacy at this time and keep Mr. Iyengar and his family in your thoughts and prayers. We will do our very best to keep you informed with updates.

Janet Lilly
IYNAUS PresidentIMG_0980