I’m very discriminating about the quality of teaching of movement practises, as I’ve trained in many different physical disciplines since forever. I practised in the Iyengar tradition in the mountains for some years, with Diane Curry. People would always say, “It’s so hard!“ All this time I was struggling with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
I was delighted when an Iyengar studio opened up in Springwood, closer to home. I continued my practise with the teachers there. I coud see that these teachers - Ben, Linda, Helen, Vicki and the others had undergone a rigorous training. Sometimes it did feel very hard. For my body / mind, it was a matter of finding the right pace, or level, and time of day. It was, as ever, a matter of listening to my body. Very gradually my illness lifted, with input from other modalities.
When I broke my patella (kneecap) just before Australia Day this year, I found myself in a very awkward situation. I was in a splint and on crutches for six weeks, needing to get in and out of a bath-style shower by myself, and all the rest: making meals, stairs, crutching it to the bus-stop. I suddenly needed every bit of strength in the arms, and every bit of flexibility, every bit of balance, every bit of body awareness that my yoga practise had given me. I didn’t want to tumble into the bath and do more damage, or fall face-first down the stairs.
The teachers were extremely supportive once I got rid of my splint and could attend class again. They had many ways of enabling me to be part of the class, by modifying the asana to suit my capability. I see this over and over again in class with other students - tailoring a pose for a problem back, or knee, or ankle. Once again I found myself being stretched. Gradually over the year, the body has healed ( for it is the whole body that is affected by an injury). Yoga is like gardening - you must have patience, you must water yourself regularly with practise. Hard? Yes, but what results come without effort?