Thirty years ago this month, Martyn Jackson and I went to India together. As a long-time student of B.K.S. Iyengar, Martyn was on a mission which unfortunately turned out to be unsuccessful. He asked the great Guru if western yoga teachers could be allowed to teach at the Ramayani Iyengar Yoga Institute.
Martyn’s idea was that if western teachers could be trained to teach at the Institute, their standard of teaching would improve and be more aligned with the Iyengar method. Also, barriers between east and west would dissolve and continuity would be insured if for some reason the Iyengar lineage not be carried on.
Martyn was saddened that Mr. Iyengar refused his request and it created a rift between them. Not long after this Indian visit, there was a push to have the Australian senior teachers be certified by Mr. Iyengar. Those teachers then created a whole assessment program for certifying future generations of Iyengar teachers.
I was thinking about this today when I heard how poorly Geeta Iyengar’s health has been in recent times. Mr Iyengar is now 93 years old and hasn’t been teaching for years. And, I’m not sure how interested Prashant Iyengar might be in directing one of the largest yoga movements in the world.
I’ve been the beneficiary remarkable yoga legacy through the training I received from Martyn, stepped down as it was from Mr. Iyengar. When I wonder what will happen next, I think about the words of the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht: Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.