Traveling Yogi

I spent the first two weeks of December teaching at Pranayama Yoga Studio (www.yogarockford.com), pictured at left. This great Iyengar Yoga studio is owned by my dear friend Jennie Williford. I met Jennie years ago in Ann Arbor at one of Laurie Blakeney’s teacher trainings (www.annarborschoolofyoga.com). We traveled to Pune together to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) back in the fall of 2008. Jennie was again in Pune this fall and asked me to fill in for some of her classes while she was away. This was a super opportunity for me since I had just recently moved to Cincinnati and don’t have much teaching lined up here yet.  In the two weeks I was there I taught 18 classes and 2 workshops (and midway through the trip I traveled to Indianapolis to teach my monthly workshop). With the traveling to and from Rockford, to and from Indianapolis, and all the teaching in between, I was pretty tired after the two weeks were up. When Jennie returned from India she asked me if I was glad I had agreed to come teach at her studio and I said “most definitely”.

All the students at PYS were very welcoming and helpful. I went out to dinners and coffees after class. And many people gave me tips about plays to see and restaurants to try. They were a fun bunch that were clearly dedicated to Jennie, the studio, and Iyengar Yoga. I told many of them how lucky they were to have an Iyengar Yoga studio in such a small town. I live in a city which is probably ten times as big as Rockford and there is hardly any Iyengar Yoga here, let alone and entire studio dedicated to it.

I have never had a regular teaching gig at a studio which exclusively offers Iyengar Yoga. In DC, while working on my certification, I taught at various mixed method studios, community centers, apartment buildings, offices, schools, etc, etc. Then after moving to Bloomington, Indiana I mostly taught through the Parks and Recreation program at a community center.   I have been wanting to open a yoga studio, an Iyengar Yoga studio, for some time now. It didn’t make any sense to do that in DC, because Unity Woods (www.unitywoods.com) is there. And it didn’t make any sense to do it in Bloomington because our move there was temporary.

The minute my feet touched down on Cincinnati soil last July it occurred to me that since our move here is (probably) permanent my studio idea could actually happen.  I was immediately excited by this prospect but then quickly realized this is not possible. It’s not possible yet because I don’t have enough students (YET!) to support a studio. I will teach for however long it takes, 3-5 years maybe, until I have the students. This is the plan.

I have to work the plan the way I am told to work in my yoga practice. To put in the work and then let go of the outcome. I can make a list of poses I’d like to achieve, work on them, but let go of the desire to completely master the pose today. In Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, BKS Iyengar says that practice (abhyasa) and detachment (vairagya) must go hand in hand. A practice without detachment/restraint could lead the practitioner astray. Iyengar says that through vairagya (detachment) the practitioner “learns to be free from desires and passions and to cultivate non-attachment to things which hinder his pursuit of union with the soul”. Wanting to open a yoga studio is not a bad thing. It’s what I am doing while waiting that makes the difference.

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