Thursday, December 15, 2011

A big huge thank you to each and every one of you

Hello class. I have so much enjoyed reading your memoirs about your BIC experience. It is  been the absolute highlight of my teaching career thus far. Thank you so much for all the time, effort, and thoughtfulness you put into them.  I learned a great deal from reading each one of them. Thank you also for putting so much of yourselves into the papers and into the class generally.  My heart is truly overflowing with gratitude to each of you for your engagement with the process of this class.

This particular class is over, but  we'll be practicing Wednesdays at  5:30 starting Jan 11.  It is a by donation practice. Pay what you can.  I will do the poses together with whomever shows up. We'll meet for an hour.  Same room  Morrison 100.

Also,  there's yoga just about everywhere in America. Find a class to go to.  Find time to practice on your own and enjoy your journey as life long learners.  Those of you in the Austin Area,  check out  I'd love to see you  in class sometime.  Dallas and Houston people there are  great Iyengar studios there. 

I'll keep this blog up.  tune in Next fall for the Yoga and Philosophy  Capstone II.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The last class sequence

Here's what we will do on the last day.

Urdhva Hastasana
Urdhva Namascarasana
Vrksasana  (for Kelsey)
Trikonasana (for Ashley)
Vira I (for Kyneshawau and Ashley)
AMS (for me though I did say sarvangasana was my favorite
Sirsasana (for Antonia and Anita)
Parsva Dhanurasana ( for Melissa)
Sarvangasana  (for Dan)
Supta Konasana  (for Beth)

Savasana  (for everyone)

Sorry Brittany, I can't remember your favorite pose right now and Tiffany and syndee, we'll add your favorites in on the fly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Hi  All,  Sorry about missing class on Tuesday.  Hope you enjoyed finishing the movie. I'm organizing a conference in Austin on Thursday so  no class Thursday.  Please use this  addition time to work on your memoirs, blogs, and final papers.  The end of the semester is upon us.

We'll have a fun filled practice aimed at poses that help with digestion  which should come in handy over the upcoming holiday.

I miss all of you!!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Info about the yoga workshop this weekend

AN IYENGAR WORKSHOP WITH GEORGE PURVIS Friday, November 18 through Sunday, November
20, 2011
Clear Spring Studio and Austin Yoga Institute heartily welcome George Purvis, Texas’s own Free Range Yogi, to Austin. George's teaching draws from an exceptional personal practice as well as his study with B.K.S. Iyengar in India. In demand for workshops all over the country, his gentle manner and strong sense of humor encourage students of all ages and abilities to achieve excellence and insight. George holds the highest Iyengar certification level in Texas. Give yourself a treat and come study with George!
Note: All classes are for all levels of student with experience of the Iyengar method. If you have physical limitations or medical conditions, please ask Peggy or Devon if attendance will be appropriate for you. Another Note: you are strongly encouraged to attend all sessions; there is a well-thought-out method and progression to the work, and your body and mind will benefit from the immersion. SCHEDULE:
Friday evening, November 18, 2011 6-8 pm Saturday morning, November 19: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm Saturday afternoon 3 to 5 pm
Sunday morning 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
All classes will be at Austin Yoga Institute, 1122C South Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704. COST : Entire Workshop: $200, $180 if paid by November 1, 2011.
Two hour classes: $40 Three hour classes: $60

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We will talk about the asana and pranayama sutras in class tomorrow

sthira sukham asanam

Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit.
prayatna saithilya ananta samapattibhyam

Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.
tatah dvandvah anabhighatah

From then on, the sadhaka is undisturbed by dualities.
tasmin sati svasa prasvasayoh gativicchedah pranayamah

Pranayama is regulation of the incoming and outgoing flow of breath with retention. It is to be practised only after perfection in asana is attained.
bahya abhyantara stambha vrttih desa kala samkhyabhih paridrstah dirgha suksmah

Pranayama has three movements: prolonged and fine inhalation, exhalation and retention; all regulated with precision according to duration and place.
bahya abhyantara visaya aksepi caturthah

The fourth type of pranayama transcends the external and internal pranayamas, and appears effortless and non-deliberate.
tatah ksiyate prakasa avaranam

Pranayama removes the veil covering the light of knowledge and heralds the dawn of wisdom.
dharanasu ca yogyata manasah

The mind also becomes fit for concentration.

Monday, October 10, 2011

tatah pratyakcetana adhigamah api antaraya abhavah ca

Meditation on God with repetition of aum removes obstacles to the mastery of the inner self.
vyadhi styana samsaya pramada alasya avirati bhrantidarsana alabdhabhumikatva       anavasthitatvani cittaviksepah te antarayah

These obstacles are disease, inertia, doubt, heedlessness, laziness, indiscipline of the senses, erroneous views, lack of perseverance, and backsliding.
duhkha daurmanasya angamejayatva svasaprasvasah viksepa sahabhuvah

Sorrow, despair, unsteadiness of the body and irregular breathing further distract the citta.

maitri karuna mudita upeksanam sukha duhkha punya apunya visayanam bhavanatah cittaprasadanam

Through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy, and indifference to pleasure and pain, virtue and vice respectively, the consciousness becomes favorably disposed, serene and benevolent.

heyam duhkham anagatam

The pains which are yet to come can be and are to be avoided.

Principles which run contrary to yama and niyama are to be countered with the knowledge of discrimination.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Getting Upside Down

Well, I personally,  have had a great time teaching ya'll inversions this week. It is really exciting to watch your enthusiasm for these powerful poses.  Keep up the good work.

Here's the handout from  class. 

8 limbs of  yoga

•Yama :  Universal moral guidelines
• Niyama :  Personal observances
•Asanas :  Body postures
• Pranayama :  Breathing exercises, and control of prana
• Pratyahara :  Control of the senses
•Dharana :  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
• Dhyana :  Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
 Samadhi :  Union with the Divine

The Five yamas

•Ahimsa: non-violence, inflicting no injury or harm to others or even to one's ownself, it goes as far as nonviolence in thought, word and deed.
•Satya: truth in word & thought.
•Asteya: non-covetousness, to the extent that one should not even desire something that is not his own.
•Brahmacharya: control of sexual desire
•Aparigraha: non-possessiveness

The  results of  becoming  “Firmly established”   in these behaviors.

When one is firmly established in non-violence, others abandon hostility in your presence. Enmity vanishes.

When one is firmly established in truth,  actions and words are fructified.

When one is firmly established in non-stealing,  all jewels come to you.

When one is firmly established in continence,  power is attained.

When one is firmly established in not coneting, knowledge of past and future lives unfolds.

The Niyamas

•Saucha: cleanliness of body & mind.
•Santosha: satisfaction; satisfied with what one has.
•Tapas: austerity and associated observances for body discipline & thereby mental control.
•Svadhyaya: study of the Vedic scriptures to know about God and the soul, which leads to introspection on a greater awakening to the soul and God within,
•Ishvarapranidhana: surrender to (or worship of) God.

The  results of  becoming  “Firmly established”   in these behaviors according to  Patanjali.

Cleanliness leads to not using others for personal gratification.
Contentment  leads to happiness.
Tapas leads to removal of impurities.
Self-study leads to awareness of  relationship with one’s personal diety.
Surrender to god leads to  perfection of  Samadhi

Monday, September 26, 2011

Class this week

Hi Everyone,

We'll spend Tuesday working on  poses that teach the basics of shoulderstand.

Thursday, I have a meeting that will cause me to be a bit late for class. We will start at  4 and I will teach you the basics of supine pranayama. 

We'll start our discussion of the eight limbs of  yoga  as we go along this week  but will really focus on it next tuesday.

Keep up the good work. Looking forward to tomorrow. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Backbend Week

Fun week in capstone.  We started class Tuesday with a brief discussion of whether Christians should do yoga or not.

We did supported Adho Mukha Virasana, Adho Muka svanasana, Uttanasana,  then a good bit of time in tadasana working with the block between our feet and thighs and we used a belt to teach the engagement of our shins.  Then we did some Urdhva Hastasana, and used the belt behind our back to open the shoulders.  We did Vira I, with the arms in UH and then behind the back.  We took all those actions to the floor and did salabasana with the belt, bhujaghasana, Ustrasana,  AMS, parsva Uttanasana and then Viparita Karani.

We finally got around to talking about the kleshas themselves on Thursday and then we did some more backward bends.  We started with AMS, then UH, then we did some gomukasana arm work and then the full pose (which reminds me, we also did a bit of calf mashing on Tuesday) then AMS again, Salabasana, bhujangasana, makarasana,  and oh yes.  anantasana,  Urdhva Mukasvanasana and  AMS to UMS several times. then setu bandha and viparita karani.  

Fun times.    Next week we'll leave the levitation preparation aside for a while (and work more with pranayama)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summary of Class Thursday

Hi Everyone, 

I really enjoyed listening to you each share your  academic majors and career goals.  

We spent a bit of time talking about  Yoga Sutra 2.1    Tapas, Svadyaya, and isvara pranidhana are the acts of  yoga and a bit of time talking about Christianity and  yoga.  I'll bring a copy of the Waco Today article to class tuesday for ya'll.  I'm also writing a blog post about this topic and other matters so keep an eye out for it. 

Then we did a lovely restorative sequence.   Adho Mukha Virasana with support of  bolster,  AMS  head  supported on bolster,  uttanasana with head support and legs out wide.  Supta Baddha Konasana, Supta Sukasana,  Setu Bandha, Viparita Karani, Savasana. 

We'll talk more about the kleshas on  tuesday. why don't you write about how you see the kleshas manifesting in How Yoga Works. 

Remember to check out the Austin Yoga Festival. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Class today

Hi Everyone, 

I'm really enjoying reading your blogs. You did a fantastic job discussing how the  Yoga Sutras relate to How Yoga Works both in terms of the big picture issues and also with lots of concrete examples.

Melissa raised a question in her blog about how and what to practice.  We'll have a bit of a discussion about that in class during our philosophy talk  time.

Here is a list of all the Sutras we have discussed thus far. The english translation and transliterations are from BKS Iyengar's translation of the Sutras.    The format comes from a generous student of  my teachers Mary Obendorfer and  Eddy Marks via Leeane Keating.

Samadhi Pada

atha yoganusasanam

With prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga.
yogah cittavrtti nirodhah

Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness.
tada drastuh svarupe avasthanam

Then, the seer dwells in his own true splendour.
vrtti sarupyam itaratra

At other times, the seer identifies with the fluctuating consciousness.
vrttayah pancatayyah klista aklistah

The movements of consciousness are fivefold. They may be cognizable or non-cognizable, painful or non-painful.
pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrtayah

They are caused by correct knowledge, illusion, delusion, sleep and memory.
pratyaksa anumana agamah pramanani

Correct knowledge is direct, inferred or proven as factual.
viparyayah mithyajnanam atadrupa pratistham

Illusory or erroneous knowledge is based on non-fact or the non-real.
sabdajnana anupati vastusunyah vikalpah

Verbal knowledge devoid of substance is fancy or imagination.
abhava pratyaya alambana vrttih nidra

Sleep is the non-deliberate absence of thought-waves or knowledge.
anubhuta visaya asampramosah smritih

Memory is the unmodified recollection of words and experiences.
abhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah

Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.
tatra stitau yatnah abhyasah

Practice is the steadfast effort to still these fluctuations.
sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkara asevitah drdhabhumih

Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations.
drsta anusravika visaya vitrsnasya vasikarasamjna vairagyam

Renunciation is the practice of detachment from desires.
tatparam purusakhyateh gunavaitrsnyam

The ultimate renunciation is when one transcends the qualities of nature and perceives the soul.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Moving on in the Sutras

In his last blog entry on Memory,  Dan remarked,

The style of the sutras so far is very much question response. After reading the part on memory my question would be how do we keep the past past and the present present? How does one avoid painful or disruptive fluctuations of memory?

well,  as  it turns out we get an answer in  the next set of  sutras 1.12 through 1.16

abhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah

Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.
tatra stitau yatnah abhyasah

Practice is the steadfast effort to still these fluctuations.
sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkara asevitah drdhabhumih

Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations.
drsta anusravika visaya vitrsnasya vasikarasamjna vairagyam

Renunciation is the practice of detachment from desires.
tatparam purusakhyateh gunavaitrsnyam

The ultimate renunciation is when one transcends the qualities of nature and perceives the soul.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Standing Poses, Sutras, and How Yoga Works

I am very much enjoying reading your blogs. I appreciate the additional compliance with the assignments.   I particularly like reading about how some of you are already teaching others you know about yoga.  

My plan for today.

Reorganize the prop situation.  

Pick a sutra and discuss how you see it at work in the story of  How Yoga Works.


Then, we'll do some standing poses.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sequence from Class

Hi Everyone,

I very much enjoyed class yesterday.  Please try to do at least one yoga pose a day over the weekend, even a legs up the wall or a down dog would be great.

Here's the sequence of  poses we did in  class.

Tadasana, Vrksasana,  Trikonasana,  Vira I,   Parsvottansana,  Urdhva Hastasana, Urhdhva Namascar asana, gomukasana, paschimanamascarasana,  AMS,  Parivrrita trikonsasana (twice)  virasana,  AMS,  Virasana, AMS,  viparita karani,  savasana

Thursday, September 1, 2011

handout for discussion of Sutras 1-1.11

A review from last Tuesday

1.1   Now   yoga  begins.    

1.2    Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.

1.3  When yoga happens,   the seer  resides in its true abode/ sees its true nature.

1.4  At other times, the seer  identifies with the fluctuations of the mind. 

Atha   now
Yoga union
Citta   mind
Nirodha   cessation/stopping
Vritti   fluctuation
Purusha   soul/seer 

Let’s go on

1.     5.   There are five  fluctuations (vrttis). They may be painful/disruptive to samadhi  or not. 

1. 6         They are: correct knowledge, incorrect knowledge, illusion, sleep and memory.

1. 7         Correct knowledge arises from direct perception, inference, and the expert authority

1. 8         Incorrect knowledge is  false understanding  based on inaccurate perception.

1. 9         Illusion or imagination is where an idea is conveyed that has no basis in reality. 

1.10       Sleep is the supported cessation of mental fluctuations

1.11       Memory is where things once experienced are not allowed to completely slip away.   Or Memory is  making the past present

Vritti    fluctuation of mind
Pramana   Correct knowledge
 Viparyaya Incorrect knowledge
Vikalpa Metaphorical thinking
Nidra        sleep 
Smrti         memory 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Post Class Update

Here's what we talked about in Class

 I enjoyed our  opening discussion of  How  Yoga Works.  One thing I forgot to bring up is the importance of the various manifestations of  violence in the story.  Ahimsa (or non-violence) is one of the central ethical teachings of  yoga philosophy. As you continue to read, think about how violence and non-violence manifest in the story. 

We worked on the  following poses in  class.   Tadasana, Urdhva Hastasana,  lots of  Adho Mukha Svanasana.  Savasana with  block under the head and shoulder blades.  Supta Padangusthansana, supported setu Bandha ( off bolster, feet on blocks) and viparita karani.

We worked a bit with breath observation.

Asana homework.  Observe how often your daily tasks take your shoulder forward and shoulder blades off your back.  Then do what you can to  change that habit.  Try to  put your legs up the wall  every day.  Do a  down dog  every  day.  One of my favorite yoga slogans,  "Another Day,  Another Down Dog." 

Here's the handout we used for  discussion.

Hello  All,

There  are   ten  students enrolled.

The good news. Everyone  has created  a blog.
Most of you did a practice reflection.

The super good news.  One of you has already posted a response to one of the memoirs.

The bad news Only  three of  you posted a  reading response. This is the lowest reading prompt response rate I have ever had.

Though  I am not in complete  despair,  it does make it difficult for me to gauge where you are with this.

So,  please  take  a moment  and write  down.

One  thing  you liked about  how  yoga  works.

One thing you didn’t.

If you are auditing or  didn’t  read,   write  a question you  have and an observation  about your yoga practice thus  far.  


Monday, August 29, 2011

A blog link to check out

Hi All,

Antonia asked a great question on her blog about how to keep the shoulderblades on the back when the arms are reaching outward.  It turns out my friend, Stacey Mietus, has been pondering just this in her own practice lately. You can check out her musings at

Tomorrow in class, set up your blankets and mats as usual, but we'll form a circle for the beginning discussion.

looking forward to it.  Am enjoying reading the blogs.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some notes from the second day of class

Hi Everyone,

The second class went well, from my perspective.  We talked some philosophy.  I think in the future I will have us sit in a circle to facilitate discussion.  We discussed the first four sutras. A couple students read all four padas, quite an introduction.  I don't think I've ever read them all myself in one sitting.

Here's the handout I used for our discussion.  
1.1   Now   yoga  begins.    

1.2    Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.

1.3  When yoga happens,   the seer  resides in its true abode/ sees its true nature.

1.4  At other times, the seer  identifies with the fluctuations of the mind. 

Atha   now
Yoga union
Citta   mind
Nirodha   cessation/stopping
Vritti   fluctuation
Purusha   soul/seer 

Kelsey asked some good questions about are all fluctuations bad. No only those that interfere with the aim of  yoga.  She also asked what to do to get more flexible.  Do what you remember from class

here's the asana  sequence   Dandasana, tadasana, Urdhva Hastasana, Urdhva Baddanguliasana, Tadasana, Vrksasana,  Utkatasana,  uttansana, padangustasana, padahastasana,  Utthita Hasta Padasana, Prasarita Paddottanasana,  AMS,  Chatush, SBK, Savasana. 

There are some more musings on teaching yogaandphilosophy.