Perspective

I attended a workshop with Father Joe Perriera, a Sr. Iyengar Teacher from India. He is also a Catholic priest. I never imagined a priest quoting Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. His perspective on yoga and his teachings are very different than my North American teachers. I found the stories of his many years of travel with Mother Teresa and his longtime friendship and teaching with BKS Iyengar inspirational.

One of the stories he told us was when he broke his back working with Mother Teresa. The doctors informed him he would need surgery and permanent metal supports would be inserted to steady his spine. He thanked the doctors and took the scan to BKS Iyengar. Mr. Iyengar looked at the scan and said, “26 asanas” and wrote the asanas right on the scan. Father Joe practiced these 26 asanas everyday for an hour and a half. He hung ropes and placed props outside the rectory. Mother Teresa got many comments from the villagers asking, “What kind of priest hangs from ropes like a bat?”

One of the students in the workshop asked how long it took to heal his back with these asanas. It took 2.5 years. The students gasped. He replied by saying that we North Americans don’t have fidelity in our practice. We want things fixed right away – resulting in a high percentage of shoulder surgeries, knee replacements and back surgeries in our country. The discussion went on, but it was his comment about our need to fix things quickly and our lack of ‘fidelity’ or commitment that struck me. We move so quickly through our lives, we have a need to do everything now, the need to be first in line, the need to rush through the light before it turns red, the need to place the hand on the floor in Triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana) before our bodies are ready…….We need to learn to be present.

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About EssentialYoga Studio

Roberta has been practicing yoga since 1988 and has been teaching yoga since 1994. She has trained under master yoga teachers Swami Padmananda, Patricia Walden, Manouso Manos, Father Joe Pereira, Zoë Stewart, Karin Stephan, Liz Owen and others. She continues to study with her Iyengar teachers, Patricia Walden and Peentz Dubble. Roberta has studied yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Memorial Institute in Pune, India during June 2011, February 2014 and attended Abhijata's intensive in Pune, India December 2016. Roberta is currently enrolled in Peentz Dubble's two year Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training Program. Additionally, Roberta completed training and certification with Elise Browning Miller as 'Yoga for Scoliosis' instructor. She completed a 500 hour Hatha Yoga Certification program with AURA Wellness Center and is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500. She has been a Certified Meditation Teacher since June 2007 and has been an Usui Reiki Practitioner since 1989. Roberta's Personal Practice Philosophy: Health issues have changed and deepened my practice. You will see many photos of me using a variety of props. On days I don't feel well, instead of saying, "I can't practice today", Iyengar Yoga has taught me to say, "How can I practice today".
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