Contributor: Christine Thompson
Students who’ve had the privilege of participating in one of Neeta Datta’s previous workshops at IYNC will tell you her teaching helps you move beyond your preconceived notions of your yoga practice.
She herself says her hope is that students come with an open, receptive mind and with a true interest in receiving her teaching and learning about yoga as a subject.
Since moving to California in 1988, Neeta annually has traveled to India to study with Mr. Iyengar and with his daughter, Geeta, and son, Prashant. Her studies began with the Iyengars in 1975 while she was still a teenager. By 1981, she’d been asked to assist in classes Mr. Iyengar was teaching in Mumbai. Today, she is among the 13 most senior Iyengar teachers in the United States.
How blessed and fortunate we are to have her teach us at IYNC!
Neeta’s most recent study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in Pune, India was this past April, where she again observed and learned from Mr. Iyengar, or Guruji, as he is affectionately referred to by his students.
“What I notice is that he focuses more and more on the inner being. In the way in which he goes within each part of his body, each sheath, each layer to become one with himself, with the whole body.
“I think that is the essence of what I wish people will receive (from the workshop). The idea is that as long as you are ready to receive, you will definitely learn.
“Guruji brings his teaching to a level that everyone can understand, and that is the art he has.”
Neeta explained that in preparing for a workshop she always comes with a seed of an idea of what she hopes to share with the students. But it is through observation that begins from the moment she and the students sit for the invocation that the seed germinates.
“I’m observing at that time and it will give me some guidance. But also as (the students) begin to do the poses. I see how they proceed in the pose. What they do. What they need.”
And then, with each pose, the process unfolds. “I see how you evolve, and evolve, and evolve, and how you will feel the whole periphery of the body. So now the pose is not just the physical level, but it is deeper into your body.
“How are you going inward? I ask you to reflect on the pose so by the time of the 10th attempt, you will have been able to move into yourself, and to go within your body, within yourself, in whatever is your personal capacity. And that capacity will change from student to student, and it will change within the same person from today to tomorrow, but it is still something that is yours.”
Although Neeta’s workshop will not be appropriate for rank beginners, she said those who have three to six months or up to a year of practice will be able to fully participate.
“The most important thing is the student should be in a frame of mind where they are receiving whatever I’m giving as a teacher, because then it becomes very easy.You come with the idea of learning. You come with the idea of receiving. Then it becomes easy. There is something then between the teacher and the taught.”
In yoga, we call that transformation. And it’s truly a gift.
To sign up for Neeta’s Oct. 15-16 workshop, click here …
Update March 2012: Neeta returns to Iyengar Yoga North County for a weekend workshop May 19th – 20th.