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Get To Know Our Faculty – August 23 to 29, 2021

What has the pandemic brought to light for you personally?

  • James Murphy: The Pandemic with all its ups and downs, trials and tribulations, tragedy and loss, gave me and my 92 year old mom the wonderful gift of being together in the house I grew up in for the last seven months of her life. It reinforced the importance of that human connection of touch and love and the overwhelming loss when that isn’t available.
  • Hector Martinez: That there is such interconnectedness in our world, sometimes it takes a catastrophe to bring us to that sight. From there, it’s remarkable how we are then able to come together to face such great challenges.
  • Dan Truini: The importance of identifying what is important to you and going for it now instead of putting things off to some future date, sounds cliche and we all have heard it before but sometimes it takes a crisis to bring things into perspective and is a challenge to maintain that mentality as things return back to ’normal’.
  • Lara Warren: The pandemic gave me the time and space to shed old ways of being, doing, and speaking.  To change unhelpful thought patterns and envision a post-pandemic future of my choosing.  This time we are in now represents a sort of gateway. As I pass through it, I see myself moving more slowly, listening more deeply, and spending more time with the people I love and those that love me.

What pose/poses are you currently exploring?

  • James Murphy: To truly be able to practice savasana. Not to be lead through it in a class, or not to just lie down and relax, or not to fall asleep. But to learn to fully and completely let go and be present without the aid of an outside voice. To practice completely letting go.
  • Hector Martinez: In my practice, Asana becomes the place where the abstract manifests itself as more tangible. I have been exploring more the philosophy that underpins the practice of yoga, leaning towards the more devotional/meditative aspect of this practice. There is a deep mystery called existence that Yoga has led me to witness and engage more whole heartedly with.
  • Dan Truini: While recovering from a chronic strain injury in my foot I have been exploring all sorts of different ways to do ‘standing poses’ while laying on the ground and my current favorite is prone vrksasana using lots of blankets for support.
  • Lara Warren: I am not exploring any poses as such—but exploring different ways of being in poses. I am looking very closely at speech and how language often takes us away from the actual experience. As a result, I am shifting the way I am practicing and instructing classes, moving away from purely corrective instructions so that the practice of asana becomes experiential rather than analytical.

What is your favorite quote from the Iyengars?

  • James Murphy: “Words cannot convey the value of yoga— it has to be experienced.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
  • Hector Martinez: “The body is my temple, the asanas are my prayers.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
  • Dan Truini: “Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future, in yoga, they come together in the present.” B.K.S Iyengar
  • Lara Warren:
    • “Do not think of yourself as a small, compressed, suffering thing. Think of yourself as graceful and expanding, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time.” B.K.S. Iyengar
    • “Efforts first, then effortlessness.” Geetaji Iyengar
    • “When you are connected and collected, nothing can be neglected.” Prashantaji Iyengar

What words of encouragement do you have for new students?

  • James Murphy: Go slow. Be patient. There is no rush… but be a seeker.
  • Hector Martinez: There is a precious existence that only you embody and only you can get to know it.  Approach your practice like a great friendship between all parts of your being. Each shape is an opportunity to come into the awareness of how you exist and in that light get to know and witness yourself. The aim is connection and harmony, as time goes it expands beyond the sticky mat.
  • Dan Truini: It may seem counterintuitive but flip through Light on Yoga and find a super challenging pose that someday you would like to do, even if you never get there, all the poses we learn build upon each other in a progressive manner and that inspiration can help you to reach farther than you might have thought possible.  
  • Lara Warren: If you are young (or feel young), don’t let anyone tell you need to slow down or that you are not ready to try a more advanced pose.  And if you are old (or feel old), don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you that you can’t practice certain poses anymore. If you arrive in your practice with curiosity and care, you will become sensitive to what is needed at that given time. Iyengar Yoga gives us a pragmatic set of skills for our body and mind, allows us to meet ourselves where we are, and leads us to more freedom and understanding.

What is your favorite ice cream, work of art, place in the world, book, or movie?

  • James Murphy: I don’t think I have ever met an ice cream I didn’t like! Bali, because I love sharing its magic with others. The Balinese culture is rich, complex and intriguing and the Balinese people are sweet, generous and have smiles that you’ll never forget.
  • Hector Martinez: My favorite work of art is the collection of poetry known as the Masnavi of Rumi. Coleman Barks is one of the most well known however he reinterprets a lot of the poems. I prefer the original translation from the early 20th century by Reynold A. Nicholson as  well as the more contemporary one by Alan Williams. Both try to stay loyal to the author’s original use of Farsi, when one reads the poems there is a story thread to them full of powerful insight.
  • Dan Truini: Everyone needs a guilty pleasure and mine is Peanut Butter Bon Bon in a cone.
  • Lara Warren: Asking what my favorite song is, is like asking what my favorite asana is. Impossible. My musical proclivities are as varied as are my choice of asana. Depending on my mood, I might choose Thelonious Monk, Johnny Cash, The Clash or Dylan. Nick Lowe, Billie Holiday, Bach or Lizzo. Mitchell, Fitzgerald, Camaron, or Satchmo. The Talking Heads, Miles Davis, Bob Marley, or Billie Eilish.  But a song that seems to always lift me and that I go to again and again is Aguas de Marco (most versions, but my favorite is the one by Jobim and Elis Regina Carter). My “asanic” equivalent to this song might be Prvtta Janu Sirsasana. Lyrics describe the movement of water and “The promise of life, the joy in your heart.”

Iyengar Yoga
Institutes of New York
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