Yoga Journal: Four Days with a Great Guru

The latest Yoga Journal conference was held at the All-Russia Exhibition Center on April 23 to 26. This time the conference was totally dedicated to a single person - the great yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar.

Approximately 2,000 people attended master classes conducted by the world famous guru. Over the four days of the conference, Guruji (as he is known to his students) shared with Russian students and teachers who practice Iyengar and other forms of yoga the knowledge he had accumulated during his 80 years of practice.

On April 22, the Indian Embassy held a formal welcoming ceremony in honor of the Teacher's arrival, and he began conducting master classes the next day. Despite the fact that Guruji has been saying for several years that he no longer personally conducts lessons, he constantly offered detailed instruction for performing asana, only rarely relying on his assistants to explain. An entire team of Iyendar's closest students flew to Moscow with him from India, along with senior Iyendar yoga instructors from France, Holland, the United States and Spain. After lunch, Iyendar went off to rest, and his assistants conducted classes on pranayama.

After a four-hour morning session practicing asana, conference participants could eat at the vegetarian Jagannath caf_. Afterward, they were free to stroll through the exhibition area where every possible type of yoga gear was on sale, including clothing for yoga practice, Ayurvedic cosmetics, herbal tea and even ecologically pure cleaning products.

A concert was held on Friday in honor of Guruji's arrival. Young yoga practitioners from the YogaKids school opened the event. This was followed by a yoga show prepared by leading instructors from Moscow's Iyengar yoga center. The concert closed with Indian dances. On Saturday, a film was shown about Guruji's vibrant life path, titled "Leap of Faith."

The conference ended with a question and answer session. Guruji answered questions that conference participants had left for him over the previous three days. Of course, there were many questions, and Iyendar could not even come close to answering all of them. But at the end, he asked that all the remaining questions be sent to him, promising to answer each.

This was Guruji's second visit to Russia - his first visit took place 20 years ago. As he left, 90-year-old B.K.S. Iyengar said he would not be opposing to visiting Russia again, and that the only thing that could prevent him would be time - inexorable time. However, if to judge by the unbelievable energy emanating from the teacher, it is entirely possible to hope that he will visit Russia again.