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Abyasa - Practice

abhyāsa-vairāgyābhyāṃ tat-nirodhaḥ

“By both practice and dispassion that contained.”

“In order to discipline the mind, we need to develop a mental practice that clearly reveals the distinction between the nature of spirit and matter.”  T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One Verse 12

I presently practice an Iyengar influenced approach to yoga and learned Tai Chi from Master Zhang Lu Ping. The methodical, orderly and precise Iyengar approach to building strength, coordination, and flexibility grounds my firey nature and has greatly helped my mind stay focused and absorbed, and reigns in my tendancy to overstretch tendons and ligaments. Cultivating care and compassion for the body is caring for our home as it is caring for Mother Earth. B.K.S. Iyengar said, "If you don’t care for your body, where will you live?” 

From Lu Ping I learned how qi/chi moves through softness, the art of becoming supple, and how rotation, spiraling, in opposite directions increases length, mass, and opening for the flow of qi/chi/prana. Movement, he believed, is a “three dimensional S-curve,” where our bodies move in harmony with nature. I completed a 200hr RYS and have a Restorative Yoga certification from Yoga on the Hill in Kittery, Maine. 


It was the best times and it was the worst of times—the spring of 1970 in Columbus, Ohio.  Ohio Governor Hughes had just shut down Ohio State University following the Kent State shootings. Not unlike the Occupy Movements nationally and worldwide, everyday, ordinary individuals rode the wave of Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of education for liberation and instead of academics, classes were held throughout the Ohio State campus in the basements of churches, dorms, homes and outdoor spaces.  The world as we knew it was coming undone and I began a spiritual quest for Truth.  I signed up for a number of classes desiring to explore my inner landscape, including yoga.  Two distinct memories I vividly recall.  First, Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stands).  Lots of Sarvangasanas.  Secondly, a large public event held to culminate the 4 or 6 week session in which a yogi from India spoke to a room full of deoderant free, long-haired, patched jeaned young women and men.  He, and his entourage, sought amongst us tapas, Sanskrit for devotion and commitment. What? I was 19 or 20, still absorbing everything (Swami Parmananda, Krishna Consciousness, Buddha, Astrology and Occult) and not ready to tie down my spiritual practice. But, I did continue my asanas where ever I went, including Sarvangasana.  While this “Mother of Postures” has a bizillion health benefits, it is not necessarily the go to pose on the run. My yoga practice waned due to neck injury that landed me in chiropractors' offices for a number of years.  Subsequently, I became a Tai Chi practitioner for 3 decades or so and eventually returned to yoga in the early 2000s.  I cite these two examples (Sarvangasana and a pretzley guy from India) to support the thesis of this brief introduction: I believe I met BKS Iyengar in the spring of 1970 as an undergraduate student at Ohio State University.


 MELINDA SALAZAR, Ph. D.   ~    MESALA9@GMAIL.COM    ~    603.682.4525