Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Natural Woman: The Feminine Side of Yoga

I've banned myself from the yoga studio for the duration of this cold. I'm not feeling much like practising asanas at the moment, but that doesn't mean I can't engage in yoga studies. I have a stack of unread texts on yoga - it's time to tackle some of them.

Last winter, when I mentioned my annoyance at the apparent lack of female yoginis in the yoga record, Colin told me about Geeta Iyengar, B.K.S Iyengar's daughter.  Like her father, Geeta Iyengar was beset with health problems from an early age.  After a hospital stay when she was ten years old, as she faced a long list of medications and a steady decline, her father gave her an ultimatum - "embrace Yoga," or accept her life as it was until death came calling.  Geeta accepted the challenge.  At first, her practice was irregular (sound familiar?), but eventually, she devoted herself to yoga.  In 1990, she published a yoga text, "Yoga: A Gem for Women," outlining a course of study designed for aspiring yoginis.

Ms. Iyengar is convinced that yoga is ideal for women and that it is particularly suited to people over 40, a time when the body's natural healing powers tend to decline.  Ms. Iyengar combines her knowledge of Ayurveda with yoga, adapting poses for significant stages in life, including menstruation, pregnancy/childbirth and menopause.  She includes chapters on theory, anatomy and asanas, including a large section of photographs in which her sister demonstrates poses throughout her own pregnancy. 

"Yoga: A Gem for Women,"  is an excellent guide for women who are interested in pursuing a deeper practice.  The explanations are clear, concise and easy to follow.  I recommend this "gem" to any yoga practitioner.


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