I could have gone for a couple of others as well but didn't trust my motives for asking for the John Friend Anusura gathering. Jazz hands and words like kula and, well, gathering, still give me the willies, decided to give it a miss. I think I still have Natasha Rizopoulos 'step by step' yoga series, bought it a couple of years ago to tidy up my basics but didn't really get on with it. Is it difficult for ashtangi's to move to other styles of yoga, Vinyasa Krama seems to have been an exception, for me anyway.
So this will be a rolling review as I work my way through the Iyengar set.
So far I've only watched the first DVD and had a quick glance through the others. I really don't know what to make of it all. The 'intensive' takes place in a huge gym or conference hall that has all the intimacy and atmosphere of a aircraft hanger. There's a large podium where four of the senior Iyengar teachers give instruction, more instructions and then even more, there is very little practice going on. These are given in a bizarre style that reminds me of an old TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign language) course I took in the 90's. Throughout this instruction the senior teachers are heckled, berated and constantly criticised by Iyengar himself, humiliating or humbling, you decide. There is very little practice going on, did I mention that?
Mostly the crowd of practitioners, around 200 or so, at a guess, are called to the podium, sent back to their mats, called to the podium again and sent back again and again. This even happens in the Pranayama section ( no Iyengar here disappointingly just a senior teacher) where there's not really anything to see and the teacher is microphoned up, all very strange and off putting.
Do I really have to sit through the other twenty hours?
Disc two and three have the same format, disc four has a couple of master classes and the final disc includes Annette Benning interviewing Iyengar.
Actually I had a quick look at one of the master classes and caught Iyengar giving all the students a hard time for being so influenced by Indian yoga teachers, something like that, will need to watch it again, he at least is good value.
Despite the dreadful format, location and style of instruction, Iyengar himself is compulsive viewing and I'll probably sit through the next twenty hours just to, watch him slip into character and growl, berate and cajole everyone in sight before smiling and chuckling to himself as well as to hear what he'll come out with next and I guess that's the point of the set.
I'll come back to this post as I work my way through the other discs my impression may well change.