What has the pandemic brought to light for you personally?
- Matt Dreyfus: We experience life through the body. Being present in one’s body generates a natural sense of connection with others, which leads to warmth and caring between people. The pandemic took our already separated selves and pulled us further apart. This time has highlighted for me the basic human need to be together and the importance of physical closeness.
- Sarah Perron: A huge appreciation for how adaptable we all are. How our lives changed direction on a dime and we all carried on! That we (and the institute and the world) so quickly shifted from live to virtual classes and interactions. That we were forced into isolation and still were able to maintain a community.
- Dmitri Shapira: The value of togetherness.
What pose/poses are you currently exploring?
- Matt Dreyfus: I’ve been spending a lot of time with Padmasana variations and how they open up different aspects of other postures. For example, Simhasana 2 and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, or Pindasana and Karna Pidasana.
- Rachel Feinberg: Twists like Bharadvajasana and supported chest openers like Supta Baddha Konasana over a horizontal bolster.
- Sarah Perron: At the start of the pandemic, with the shift from live to virtual teaching, my body paid a price for kneeling and peering into the computer… so I have been focusing on hip health and hip freeing poses.
- Dmitri Shapira: Mayurasana
What is your favorite quote from the Iyengars?
- Matt Dreyfus: “It takes its own time.” – Geeta Iyengar
- Rachel Feinberg: “One’s spiritual realization lies in none other than how one walks among and interacts with one’s fellow human beings.” – BKS Iyengar
- Sarah Perron: “ We are creatures that are designed for continual challenge. We must grow, or we begin to die. … So the need to persevere derives from the fact that if we don’t go further, new problems arise in which we become bogged down. That is why we are compelled to continue our practice.” – B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life
- Dmitri Shapira: “God is in the midline.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
What words of encouragement do you have for new students?
- Matt Dreyfus: You need to find a way in. Once you do that, practice starts to open up. Just get on your mat, and do a simple asana that feels good to you. Start like that, and see what happens!
- Rachel Feinberg: Be accepting of your limitations as you work optimistically toward surpassing them.
- Sarah Perron: Practice! Pick just a few poses to start and you will be surprised how your practice will blossom!
- Dmitri Shapira: One foot in front of the other.
What is your favorite ice cream, work of art, place in the world, book, or movie?
- Matt Dreyfus: During the pandemic, I listened to a lot of Bach’s keyboard music, especially the Well Tempered Clavier, performed by Sviataslov Richter. These are short pieces you can listen to anytime. Bach is the pinnacle of art married to science, and Richter is a transcendent artist.
- Rachel Feinberg: One of my favorite pieces of music is Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat, op. 9, no. 2.
- Sarah Perron: A moss garden (specifically on an island in Maine but any moss garden would do).
- Dmitri Shapira: Olivier Messiaen’s Les Corps Glorieux