Yoga Philosophy > Iyengar Vs Pattabhi
By Cameron Storey
September 1, 2010

Iyengar Vs Pattabhi 
by Cameron Storey

Many years ago a man named B.K.S Iyengar began the study of an art and science called yoga, Ashtanga Yoga with his teacher, T. Krishnamacharya. Yoga changed the man's life and he dedicated his life to deepening his understanding of it. At about the same time another young man, K. Pattabhi Jois also studying under T. Krishnamacharya, made a similar life commitment to pursue a journey of yoga. These two men have followed their inspirations for an amazing number of years with total intensity.

Each student of yoga under goes periodic swings over time of ideas and thoughts. To the degree you see order around you in the universe, is the degree you approach understanding the "whole" universe. Within the "yoga" world many people perceive that the style they practice is the original or the best or the most aware or that what they practice is somehow of more value than another style. For most people who read this article this is how they will continue to think and I respect that. Being totally committed to one style serves a purpose, there are no doubts. For a small percentage of yoga practitioners they will recognise as I have found from my studies, that all roads not only lead to Rome, but each road plays an essential role for someone.

Every style no matter how soft or extreme serves someone on this planet. To see the benefits and drawbacks of the style you are studying is to see the reality of order and universal balance. To see only benefits in studying Pattabhi's Ashtanga Vinyasa or Iyengar's yoga is to be infatuated with a man and/or a style. Infatuation is not a balanced state and as such there will eventually be a swing to its opposite pole, resentment. So infatuation has some repercussions: (1) That you will see other styles as having more drawbacks than benefits and write them off. This puts you into a self-righteous swing. (We've all been there!) (2) You're infatuation will eventually turn into resentment, over time, this usually continues until the two poles balance out.

After swinging back and forth between the two poles, eventually an equilibrium point is reached. This point is a state of love and gratitude where there is not only a total acceptance of the benefits and drawbacks of the teacher or style but an acknowledgement of how the drawbacks as well as the benefits gave nourishment to your individual purpose.

It is possible to see a balance of drawbacks and benefits to a style, in fact to all styles. This understanding relates very closely to universal or unconditional love which acknowledges that all people have equal positive and negative traits as well as that other people mirror our traits back to us perfectly. The traits we don't like in them, we have but don't recognise in ourselves yet, and the traits we do like are the traits we like ourselves for having. This understanding breaks the barrier between ourselves and others and is the yoga or union or oneness of all people. A balance between what you see in others and what you have in yourself.

This is based on the balance that can be observed in every corner of the universe, the intrinsic intelligence that governs all spirit and matter as well as all human beings. At this stage some people ask then why would I do any style if there are as many drawbacks as benefits? An answer would be because you desire to learn to love and feel more gratitude for your Real Self and the universe. That seems to me to be yoga. Seeing the order and True Nature that exists within yourself through your practice and seeing the order and True Nature that exists in the universe around you.

So what of our two men early in the story ?,
All that is left is to feel love and gratitude for them as they are.
Each follows his heart and serves the universe by following his inspirations and by teaching others.

Each of us has our own universe-guided-inspirations that we can listen to and follow, and then the sound of yoga politics takes it's rightful place drowned out by the love, light and peace of the universe.
  • “I'm getting younger not older with yoga!”  John, a young 67

  • "Yoga has me surfing like a grommet again. it's also really good for helping to prevent injuries and recover more quickly"  Chris Garret, surfer



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