Translation of the german article »Frischer Wind aus Pune«.
Katrin Voigt could not have chosen her study visit in January 2019 at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune at a more interesting time, as barely 14 days had passed since the sudden death of Geeta Iyengar and the anniversary convention for the 100th birthday of B.K.S. Iyengar. Katrin spoke to claudiyengar about her impression of the Institute, the classes she attended and assisted in.
claudiyengar: What was your impression of the institute?
Katrin Voigt: I was positively surprised by the relaxed and pleasant atmosphere at RIMYI. One could say that there was something like a "mood of departure". Abhijata Iyengar, granddaughter of B.K.S. Iyengar and the long-time student Raya Uma Datta try to bring a breath of fresh air into the institute. This has been expressed in the very dynamic way of teaching in general and in the humorous and sensitive way of Abhi's teaching. Abhi even distributed a questionnaire to find out how many years of Iyengar yoga experience we have, if and how long we teach and what changes we want.
cl: Which classes did you attend?
KV: I took classes with Abhi, Prashant, Raya, Raja Laxmi and Nawraz and looked at many classes from the other Indian teachers. Sometimes you were asked to assist and support the teachers. I saw that they really tried to teach us something. For example, a student in a beginner class had a particularly hard and tense diaphragm and they showed us what to do in such a case. I also assisted in the remedial class.
cl: Was there something that particularly impressed you?
KV: I really liked the sequences of Abhi and Raya and the comprehensive knowledge reflected in them. Abhi tried to restructure the Remedial Class and split the work and care of the patients. In this class often 20 or more patients appear with their relatives and it is sometimes very noisy and chaotic. They all get individual sequences. For example, she has all patients with shoulder and neck problems on the left side of the room, all heart patients and those who should be in supporting asanas, so-called supine poses, sorted on the right side of the room, the pregnant women in another corner of the room, etc. Then the teachers were assigned. In the past I did not perceive this in this way.
cl: Was the topic of mentoring vs. teacher training addressed?
KV: Abhi always emphasized that the Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training had to stop and be replaced by Mentorship. She regretted that "obviously many senior teachers do not understand this."
cl: What are you taking with you from this Pune-stay?
KV: I was impressed by the new energy and the different quality in the institute. Abhi and Raya have often described very personal experiences with Guruji and were very open overall. They try to carry on the legacy of Guruji and Geetaji, but are not afraid to change things. I have the feeling that more young people were introduced to Iyengar Yoga and therefore some of the classes were taught more dynamically with many jumpings. In all the classes were very demanding.
claudiyegar: Thank you very much for the interview!