I was so exhausted and emotionally drained by three solid days of practicing Iyengar yoga I completely forgot to write. That alone should tell you something.
The conference hotel, The J.W. Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue, was plush and beautiful. I don’t think I have ever, in my entire middle class life, stayed anywhere this fancy. The crystal chandeliers in the lobby alone probably cost more than my house. Each.
So yeah, the hotel was fabulous, and the location was amazing. We were within walking distance of the National Mall and all the Smithsonian Museums, as well as some notable restaurants, such as Zatinya and Central Michel Richard. I ate well. No surprise there.
What did surprise me was the quality of all the instructors I had the pleasure to study with. I knew, going in, that Patricia Walden and Manouso Manos were forces of nature, and they were more than a little daunting, even with a hundred other students in class. Patricia was soft spoken and sweet without losing command of the class. She adjusted me into a longer, leaner, and taller virabadrasana 1 than I have ever experienced, and when she smiled at me and whispered “Good,” I promptly fell right out of it. Embarrassing. Manouso, on the other hand, was brilliant and terrifying. I did my very best to hide from him, and yet he kept coming to stand beside me as he surveyed my side of the ballroom. I kept forgetting to breathe. He was like a bigger than life silver-backed gorilla. He was grand. You just didn’t mess with Manouso. The room was his and everyone knew it, and he made sure we knew where the door was if we didn’t want to work. That man helped me locate parts of my body I didn’t know existed. I realize now that those two instructors are as close as I will probably ever get to Mr. Iyengar. They were that good.
But really, at the end of the day, it was the intermediate level Iyengar teachers from all over the Southeast that stole my heart. Smaller classes made for a cozier experience and more personal attention, and a real chance to get to know and learn from folks I had never met before. Many thanks to Suzie Muchnick(Florida), Siegfried Bleher(West Virginia), and Kquvien DeWeese(Georgia) for opening my eyes to the rich diversity of teaching and tradition that Iyengar has to offer.
The whole IYASE Maitri Conference was a real blessing, and I humbly thank IYASE and it’s President Susan Marcus for the scholarship that enabled me to attend.
Oh yeah, just one more thank you. Thank you Phyllis Rollins. You know why. Much love.