First thing I noticed: I thought I’d have real troubles going back to basics. All the poses this week are really simple ones. No ’strong‘ standing poses at all! Strength-wise, the most challenging pose is a simple Downward Facing Dog; and flexibility-wise, it’s a sitting forward bend.
All of them are done with props (walls, blankets, bolsters, straps…) – which makes everything look even less acrobatic and challenging – but props are what Iyengar is all about.
I assumed that all of this would increase my stress of not ‚doing‘ anything actively. But finally the prop-intensity and relaxation proved to be much less of a problem than I thought. I got into the subtleties of the poses quickly. The rather long time I spend in them feels full and the inner movement fluid.
There is no warm-up in the beginning. To prepare my mind I decided it’s better to sit down and focus before I start my practice, although Iyengar doesn’t suggest it explicitly. After this self-imposed beginning meditation, I start with the suggested practice which I notice is very different from what I’m used to do. My typical Yoga sequences used to be a series of fluid movements like Sun Salutes to warm up, followed by poses I hold for a longer time, but always linked together fluidly. In this style however, all the poses are held for ca. 1 minute, and some longer, like Seated Forward Bend (5 min.), Supported Bridge Pose (3-5 min.) and of course Corpse Pose (5-10).
So for me, the slow pace of Iyengar style proves to be the biggest challenge – not because I get bored, but because I relax so much (despite the muscular action and mindfulness), that my practice is on the verge of sleepiness. I also fell asleep many times in Corpse Pose, but I think that this stressful week plays a role in this. Anyway, the good side of it is that I feel very refreshed afterwards. This kind of deep active relaxation is something new for me and my body, but as I begin to realize, it’s very needed.
It’s a good thing I learn to let go and don’t be stressed by the fear that I’m not ‚doing enough‘. ;)