I awoke the morning after his death with my vision for my first hours of the day. Most immediate to go for a goal paddle of 7 miles. Fortunately, I choose to pick up my phone and scroll my FaceBook news feed as I munched on my pre-paddle snack. A post of Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar’s passing the night before, which was a very restless one for me, showed a beautiful picture of him with a lovely quote.
“Yoga is like music:
the rhythm of the body,
the melody of the mind, and
the harmony of the soul
create the symphony of life.”
A repost, after checking to make sure that this was not a hoax, before setting down my phone for the morning. Walking to the deck ahead of me, displaying an amazing panoramic view of Lake Tahoe my body compelled to do a bit of yoga in honor of his teachings before getting on my board. It was perfect to be able to do yoga that morning at the one spot on earth most sacred to me.
Drawing my hands to my heart as I reach my head toward the blue mountain skies I blow deeply to honor a man, a teacher, a yogi, a guru. BKS Iyengar is someone I never met personally, however I have heard of him and his ways from teachers of mine who have directly studied with him. I have come to understand him as someone who grasped a yogic lifestyle and never let go. His death makes me ponder so much about how to live a yogic lifestyle in our modern era? To what depth can one truly go (or can we go deeper) due to the added distractions of our fast paced world?
With his passing I ponder so many things:
– how come now?
As someone who has come close to death on at least three known occasions I often wonder about when my moment will finally come… how will it come? Will I know it as strongly as I knew in the past it was not yet my time.
– was there fear?
I don’t sense there would be if one has lived with such awareness, or maybe this was the Achille’s heel of his practice? I hope I have no fear. I pray I will sense the time and feel confident, as I do now, that I have lived a full life.
My mini-practice closes with a nudge in the butt from my friend’s dog, Cruiser, as do one last down-dog. Almost as if Spirit is reminding of the sweetness of life here and now in this lovely place in my being that is still very alive.
Post-practice I decide the other way I can honor someone who some folks have labeled as their guru is by putting a deep commitment (as he did to his time on this planet) to my efforts of the day.
So when that sweet butt poking pooch, Mr. Cruiser, snuck out past me as I brought my board out to paddle; I took off with full effort. I followed at top speed, barefoot, across the dewy morning lawn, up a rock waterfall (thankfully, dried up at this time of year) across the manicured area of the upscale Incline Village condos… and when I thought I could run no more I did. Eventually we got him but must admit I am still awed at my capacity to run that hard that long at such an elevation.
My paddle (after a bit of recovery from the Cruiser chase) I pre-determined to make to a point an undetermined amount of miles to the East (later calculated to be 7). As I put my newest board, a gift, upon the water, a morning mountain haze still laid out on the lake. The first hour only broken for a few moments to take in a the beauty of the amazing boulders lying on the sandy floor of the lake under the snow melt waters. Each movement of the board, which is many since it is quite “squirrelly” (as my friends called it) causes ripples. So I must go into complete stillness.
Each stroke over those miles and hours provide me a chance for a deep awareness of body, breath and mind. Sometimes needing to turn 90 degrees to take on waves created by boats, while other moments of complete quiet as the only audible sound is the splash of water against my board or the gentle slicing of the paddle into the blue, blue Tahoe waters again and again.
What still surprises me is how I doubled any previous efforts on a board without feeling completely exhausted at the end.
Was it the deep intention set to honor Mr. Iyengar with fortitude in my paddle that day?
Regardless I am deeply grateful for my capacity to complete (on a skinner, shorter board than I have previously used) such a beautiful journey across my most favorite body of water.
And thank you B.K.S. Iyengar for all you brought through your life and the ways in which you inspired so many others.