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I never had the opportunity to work directly with Mr. Iyengar, but did spend many years studying with his student Dona Holleman, pictured here executing Vrschikasana. There is a kind of body knowledge that can only be transfered by being in the presence of the Guru, an absorption of experience fueled by unbroken attention. In the early days, when Mr. Iyengar had only a few sheep in the flock, circumstance allowed for daily hands on learning at the source. Much like Sri T. Krishnamacharya instructed the young BKS Iyengar, so did Mr. Iyengar teach Dona Holleman.

It is truly extraordinary to have this photograph to show the continuity in the teaching. This photo was taken in the mid 1960’s. Dona remains as supple and focused as pictured. She unlocked the key for many a pose and instilled in me a home practice that I still faithfully adhere to. — Nancy Cantwell


Photograph Courtesy of Molly Rhodes

Initiation creates a special link between the guru and the devotee—a spiritual connection that represents a unique responsibility on the teacher’s part and a significant challenge for the practitioner. Through initiation, the aspirant becomes an integral part of his or her teacher’s lineage (parampara) which is understood as a chain of empowerment that exceeds the world of space and time insofar as it continues after the death of both the teacher and the disciple. Admission to this chain must be earned through wholehearted dedication to the spiritual path, which is a form of self-surrender. — George Feuerstein, The Yoga Tradition

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