tolerance & equanimity

If you missed it: IYCGR student, Mellany Porraz, was recently interviewed about her experiences managing life with Multiple Sclerosis. An Interview with Mellany Porraz: How a disciplined outlook to life with diet, exercise and Iyengar Yoga helps her manage Multiple Sclerosis.  There was a question left off the blog post (accidentally) last week and it is now up there. Mellany has experienced some measurable improvements in her condition since beginning Iyengar yoga practice and she talks about that.  The interview is an inspiration for practicing yoga with discrimination & finding freedom through living with restraint.  There has been medical research into the benefits of careful Iyengar yoga practice for those living with M.S. Research articles can be found on our national website here along with more studies on Iyengar yoga for numerous health conditions...
Yoga practice teaches us to penetrate with our consciousness to experience deeper levels of being, beyond the outer layers of the body, which helps develop tolerance and equanimity for experiencing different states or conditions. 
It is a goal of yoga:

The highest Self of him (or her) who has conquered himself (herself) And is peaceful, is steadfast in cold, heat, pleasure, and pain; Thus also in honor and dishonor.
— Bhagavad Gita VI. 7

If you haven't read it already, this interview with my teacher, Manouso Manos, B.K.S. Iyengar's Ingenious Use of Props is a deeply insightful discussion of the Iyengar method, the brilliance of B.K.S. Iyengar's innovations in the practice of yoga postures in the practice of classical yoga. There is also a fascinating new book out called Peak: the Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, and it explores the topic of peak performance, whether child prodigies really exist (the premise of the book is that there are no child prodigies, and extremely "talented" top performers and experts across a range of fields have gotten there through "a type ofpurposeful effort aimed at developing expert ability [the authors] call 'deliberate practice.' " Another point of the book is that expert teaching is responsible for helping individuals overcome their limitations and develop to their fullest potential...

Talent is made, not born. Specifically, according to Ericsson & Pool, it’s made through years and years of deliberate practice: the process of learning to recognize and emulate existing models of elite performance, through active trial-and-error, regular expert feedback, and self-motivated resilience. Deliberate practice is necessarily painful, but rewarding for those who keep at it.

Isn't this encouraging for our yoga practice? Our thighs may not naturally turn out as we work to learn the foundation actions in Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle pose), but through deliberate practice we can develop skills and expertise in a subject. The teaching methodology of Iyengar yoga has been innovated and refined over decades to develop the innate "talents" of any and every novice in yoga as a safe and tested approach to exploring the depths & zenith of the subject.

in practice & yoga,