YOGANUSASANAM – 10 day course taught by Geetaji

I just returned from ‘Yoganusasanam’, Geeta Iyengar’s 70th birthday celebration intensive course.
Held in an enormous badminton arena on the outskirts of Pune, this event had over 1200 participants from 57 countries. The course lasted 10 days and in this time Geetaji gave us a firm foundation in basic Asanas in order to prepare for Pranayama which we spent more time on as the event progressed. The title of the event is the first of Patanjali’s yoga sutras and translates as ‘Here begins a detailed exposition of the sacred art of yoga’. There was a rich involvement of yoga philosophy throughout the thoroughly practical course. Coming as this event did so soon after the passing of Guruji BKS Iyengar, there were many moving references to the great man and his work as well as special tributes to him from his Granddaughter Abhijata and Geeta.

Several things stood out, I had been wondering how this many people would be able to all participate meaningfully together in one event but actually, due to the remarkably intelligent and responsive nature of the organising team, it felt like we were all joined together in exploring some of the important aspects of yoga. But the real force behind the success of the event was Geetaji herself – she was in inspired form and with her inimitable combination of deep knowledge of the subject, razor sharp perception of the students in front of her, and her compassion and humour, she inspired all of us to work hard and to learn.

Rarely have I been somewhere where people were so friendly and smiley, old friendships being rekindled and new ones forged in the breaks between classes and over the delicious Indian lunches served to us. I was asked as a representative of Turkey to speak about Iyengar yoga in Turkey and this formed, along with nine other countries, the basis of an afternoon’s presentation that highlighted the variety of people’s experiences in different parts of the world (yoga being banned by Islamic clerics in Malaysia for example). A heartfelt thanks to all who made this wonderful event possible.

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