International Yoga Day is a concept BKS Iyengar suggested in a talk in Bangalore, India sometime between 2011-2012. The United Nations proclaimed it a special day in 2014 on December 14th, BKS Iyengar’s birthday. On that day, Geeta Iyengar acknowledged the day of recognition during her first Birthday Intensive in Pune, adding that for practitioners, every day is International Yoga Day. IYNAUS and IYASE members have received a sequence in their email to practice in celebration of this day.
Yoga means union. BKS Iyengar has unified students all over the world. As we draw closer to his centenary year, consider how many lives he has touched. We have all experienced some kind of transformation as individuals and as a group. He has taught us the power of grace and compassion. We have experienced that the Yamas and Niyamas are not meant to keep us bound, but to serve as a framework for freedom. We have learned that every moment on the mat and off requires some level of tapas svadhyaya Isvarapranidhanani kriya yogah, discipline, self-study, and faith.
We are not afraid of opposition. We have a visceral understanding that opposition is required to find equanimity and balance. We are learning again and again how abhyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah, Practice and detachment are the means to stilling the fluctuations of the consciousness, which Patañjali summarized as the meaning of yoga through his Sutra 1.2 Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah: Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the consciousness.
As we practice the sequence together today, may we be mindful of our journey so far and our part in the journey of others. Let us honor our choice to follow this path from innumerable life paths that are just as valid, because we have witnessed the possibilities Yoga has to change the world through the efforts of one man: BKS Iyengar.
To reinvigorate your practice read or re-read Taking the Next Step by Patricia Walden and Jarvis Chen