Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 28, 2007

Dear Friends,

Chris Saudek was with me for a week. We reminisced about old and good times here and in India, about our families and the friends we have made in the Iyengar community for all these years. We went for walks in Central Park and around the upper West Side and thoroughly enjoyed Spring Awakening on Broadway. Chris cooked and we appreciated and stockpiled nutritious food and ideas.

Chris entered a time of organizing and throwing with exuberance! We went into piles of papers that had grown up in the past years. What a relief to get to the bottom of some of these piles and deal with them and allow them to be gone!

The most recent chemo yielded more fatigue, to which I have responded by sleeping a few whole days. Since I often cheat the night of its rest, it seems quite a good thing to cover a few days.

Eating well and keeping my strength up are priorities. Restorative asanas take only initiative and return energy. So the many versions of Supta Baddha Konasana, Viparita Karani, Setu Bandha and, of course, pranayama, meditation and Savasana are on my menu every day.

I laugh or become quieter as I assimilate the poetry and beautifully wrought thoughts from gardening to sparkling shoes you offer. Your ideas and memories blend with mine and spark my imagination. A horse chestnut tree takes me to childhood trips to North Carolina and my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Notes from India, from an old friend in San Diego whose daughter is a cancer survivor, and from Italy bring wonderful memories of Pune, San Diego, and Rapalano with Gabriella and world flung friends. Layered memories and present prayers from our beloved Feathered Pipe Ranch make my heart sing.

So know that whether I am catching up on some extra rest and restorative yoga, spending time at the Institute, visiting my daughter and friends, seeing a movie, or taking a walk, I am taking life as it comes and embracing it.

Much love to all of you near in the close present or emerging from a rich past. Hearing pieces of your lives is a blessing of light and peace and wholeness.



Dale Simmerman said...

Hey Mary! Add to that list of late August memories a few from the Ann Arbor Y yoga camp-- sunrise over the lake, the smell of breakfast during an early morning yoga class, roller skating on skates with 4 sets of rollers, and (who could ever forget) a visit with the Yogi from Muskogee!!

Jay said...

Good to hear your voice.
The paths and courses that life takes us are unexpected and can never be planned.
I am now teaching and substituting on a regular basis. "What, me teach?"
I have a joyful time on Thursday nights mentoring with Leslie Peters as she teaches a level I.
Ten years ago, I would have said as a joke, yeah and I'll be teaching yoga classes in LA.

"What a piece of work is Man.
How noble in reason.
How infinite in faculties.
In form and moving how expressed and admirable.

In action, how like an angel.

In apprehension, how like a god.
The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals."

We are like angels in our asana practice...(even when I fall out of my parvrttas!)

From the LA paragon,
big hugs,

jan and nub turner said...

Hi Mary,
Sorry we missed you while you were in Ann Arbor. Sounds like your time wasn't all work! Please let us know when you're coming again We'd love to see you. Our daughter Laura just had a little boy, Luke. You're right, grandkids are the greatest. We're thinking of you. Fondly, Jan and Nub

Leslie said...

Dear Mary,
As I read your blog(s), over and over, I am inspired to resume my own walks here in Redding. Thank you for reminding us how simple it can be to embrace all the things our precious life brings our way!!! And I sure do look forward to seeing you next Wednesday, if that is what life brings to us out here in Connecticut!!
I just returned from a wedding of a young cousin, in Carmel Valley, CA. And communed with California hummingbirds!!All with a touch of magic.
Premnaa, Leslie

Barbara Nicol said...

Dear Mary,

I was simply delighted to find out that you will be teaching again in Conn. I thought of the words of a Christian saint, St. Julian of Norwich, "All is well, all is well, all is well...." and the deeper import behind those words.

The greenhouse was like a wonderland this morning. The morning glories on the right side are light blue, which then changes to deep purple after they have been in the sun. They have climbed up this large net, so the flowers are very visible. (Often they seem to like to hide under the leaves.)The morning glories in the middle aisle are light purple so it's a colorful mixture with the pink, orange and red of the giant zinnias thrown in, and fills me with awe at the beauty
around us, if only we take the time to let it in.

See you soon,
Much love,

Lisa said...

Hi Mary,
I forgot to alert you to the most amusing horticultural vignette. On West 22nd Street betw 7th & 8th Avenue, someone is growing cucumbers in the tree pits on the north side of the street. The vines are growing up the tree trunks & accross to the supports.
Have a restful weekend.
Much Love from Lisa M

Jeff H said...

Hi Mary,

So many urdva dhanurasanas were done in your name at FPR that I'm afraid their intent was garbled -- we drew down your strength instead of increasing it. In retrospect, maybe we should have done more sivasanas "for Mary." I do hope you find strength returning with the passage of time.

Last week Joy Harjo, a wonderful Native American poet from the Muscogee Creek Nation, who teaches in New Mexico, was featured on the Lehrer News Hour. She read the following poem that looks outward to go inward and is really about, well, antaratma sadhana. I hope you enjoy it (and any copyright infringements are forgiven).

With love,


"Eagle Poem"

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can't see, can't hear

Can't know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren't always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We were born, and die soon, within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

eleoth said...

Mary, my dear,
your writing is so inspiring !
you're always teaching,
thank you !
with love,

Kathy Zucker said...

Mary Dear Heart, Jan recently gave me news of your challenge of late. I am sorry you must face this but I know how valiant a fighter you are! So I send my love to you and hope to hear only good news. We celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary in June. Then after two left hip dislocation in the past two years, I faced up to my third left hip replacement which I hope will last me well....My biggest challenge in recovery was having an adverse reaction to my antibiotic which left me covered with rather large red splotches.... They are fading. It was mostly an annoyance. You, however, are facing something much more serious. Good wishes to you, Mary.
Fondly, Kathy Zucker

Elizabeth said...


In moments of fatigue
when it was hard simply to breathe
when all around pulsed at its usual pace
and life’s clockwork seems a race
I shut my eyes went deep inside
to find a will a joy so bright
that all became clear became so right.

maggie said...

Dear Mary, Greetings from Provincetown where we are spending 2 glorious weeks. Joan taught a master painting class here last week and this week we both get to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Cape Cod light, sun and air.

We have been thinking of you all summer. How wonderful that you're so strong in body and spirit, not to mention nourishing your cultural life (Spring Awakening, movies, museums!). Most inspiring might be your willingness to plunge into your piles of paper, something we both assiduously avoid!

A big hug from both of us.

Maggie & Joan

Marina Rosa said...

Dear Mary,
I do not know if you remember me and perhaps it is not important... I am Rina Ortiz from the Philippines and I took a few classes with you at the Institute in New York and at the workshops in East Hampton.
I am giving a workshop this Wednesday and would like you to know that I am dedicating it to you. Your spirit has inspired and illuminated me. You are a shinning light.
We wish you all the very best Mary. May you always be blessed as you have blessed so many...
Rina Ortiz, Manila

Betsy said...

Regards from Betsy Smith in Ann Arbor. Love 'ya Mary. Keep the faith.

Radha said...

Dear Mary: I've never met you but thanks to a friend in Dubai (Naseem)who brought your teaching to me from the 2006 Rappolano workshop I think of you every time I am in Adho Mukha Svanasana. So you are in my thoughts everyday. Your blog is a gift. Thank you.

Radha, Dubai

sheila said...

I particpated in a Yoga conference type workshop with you many years ago in Lake George NY. Your classes were my first experience with Iyengar Yoga. I was fascinated and inspired by the percision.
I came across your blog today in what seemed to be a random search for "yoga" information.

I send my thoughts for healing and light your way, today and always.
Sheila Belzer

dan drillich said...

Dear Mary,

Not sure if you saw the following -


Dan - formerly from the 92nd St Y ;-)

mary pace said...

Hi Mary,
What a lovely, inspiring gift you gave us this morning in Ct. Your beautiful presence and your (still) precise teaching touched us all- inside and out. Thank you and we will see you whenever you think it is possible.In the meantime,we will attend the classes with the excellent teachers you have mentored so well.
Much love,
Mary P

Barbara Nicol said...

Dear Mary,

I want to echo Mary and also thank you for teaching today. It was a great gift. Through your invocation, I felt very connected to the subtle energy of Patanjali, and feeling rooted and grounded in this loving presence made the balancing poses, normally a strain at some level, flow with ease. They were an outward expression of an inward state of balance. It gave me a taste of what yoga is aiming for: an inward state. All the work on alignment is really for this, is that right, Mary?

So thank you. I felt richly rewarded for attending the class.

Much love,

Mary Bakalian said...

Dear Mary,
My friend, Hope, who met you only once and I have to been to New Face Monastery once again to get closer to God and renew our prayers for your recovery. You sound like you are doing just fine.
Although I am not a Catholic, I find the atmosphere of this tiny monatery and the beautiful grounds high up on a green hill inspiring. All this and the beautiful skyline of New York in the background.
Hope spoke to a monk who had just returned from Portugal where he had visited Fatima. We spoke of you and he gave me a card and medal that had been blessed there. He added his blessings too.
I am so grateful for your teaching and James's. It has made an enormous difference in my life and always will.
I've been giving my mbt's a workout and am getting to like them better. I wish I were steadier on them when going up and down stairs. Much love to you.

jerry999 said...

Hello Mary,

I wish you all the best. Much love and light.


EKaplan said...

Dear Mary,

I think of you often, hoping for a speedy and easy recovery. The voice with which you bring me into your current life, its setbacks, progress and satifications is always Mary's which makes your writing precious and real. Thank you for keeping me near you. All the best. With much love,

Jenny Otto said...

Dear Mary,
I am touched by your courage, commitment and contagious passion for life.
You have always been an inspiration to me. You are with me every time I chant the invocation to Patanjali. I hear your voice as I lead workshops and trainings.
My classes are dedicated to you as the summer season turns to fall. May the blessing be.


Sandi said...

Dear Mary,

You are a wonderful poet. I especially liked "layered memories and present prayers". As I get ready to leave for San Francisco and my knee replacement surgery on 9/21, I too have been looking back and looking forward. Remember Mary, "it's all life". How lucky you and I are to still have life...

Love always,


Anonymous said...

I send love and good meditative thoughts. Was with your mother on Friday for the hair appointment and as usual she loved the ride and is in such a good place--you don't need to worry about her. Do let me know if I can do anything here. Love from Susan

Robin Janis said...

Hi Mary, finally back in NYC after a lovely breathing break in Sante Fe. I came across an article on the artist, Marisol, who creates magnificent works, often from lumber and materials found on the streets. She will be having a solo show on 57th street this month, at the Neuhoff Edleman Gallery. Anyway, I met her often through the Janis Gallery, and she was always intensely quiet and of few words,yet vividly compelling,even to a child. The article ends by saying something which is Yoga, pure and true: " As Marisol would tell you--or more likely, as she wouldn't, vision is not how your you look, but how you see...

I thought of you.


Maureen said...

Hi Mary, Thank you so much for continuing to keep us with you at this time in your life's journey. You are in my thoughts daily and I hope some time soon I will be in your class...maybe SF! Stay well and happy. Lots of love, Maureen

Jen said...

So lovely to see you at the Institute today. I'm only sorry I didn't get to give you my greetings. Suffice it to say, that is was a treat to turn and catch you sitting with brillance. I hope to give you greetings in person when the time comes. much love to you.

Eva L said...

Hi Mary! I've been thinking of you and during meditations dedicated my efforts to you, prayed for you and still that is not enough! You are now in my dreams and I take it as a sign to contact you more directly. This blog seems almost magical to me in the way it reconnects me to you through so many people who know you and through your own words. It has brought your shining presence into my life again and even into my subconscious. It's amazing to feel the relationship that develops between a teacher and a student over years of study because the practice brings us to our essential selves. You are always there guiding us towards the perfect asana keeping it fresh and new each time so that we can really experience ourselves in the pose, distracting us from the discomfort with stories of baking or snippets from the science section of the Times, disarming the difficulties with your generous smile or that special wink, and always reminding us with your radiant presence of what is most important when facing obstacles --lightness and joy!
Thank you for the abundance of your teaching. I hope to experience it again soon!!! Wishing you love and healing light.