Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blog 8/18/08

Before I left Memorial behind today, I had a wonderful call from Prashant Iyengar and was able to speak with him and with Guruji. Then, my daughters, a wonderful friend from California, and I made our way Elizabeth’s home in Westchester. The Bronx River Parkway broadens into a woodland ribbon of park meandering from the Bronx into Westchester. Trees, birds and little wild creatures welcomed us into the timelessness and cycles of nature.

Soon I was settled into a bright, cheery, second-story room nestled in the trees. Everything is here and thought through for my comfort and care. I spent the evening enjoying the memories and thoughts that come from rereading your cards and letters. I wish I could thank you and respond individually to what you wrote. Know that I smiled and sometimes laughed out loud learning about what is new with you and your thoughts about life --- each thought a treasure and gift to me. Know also that your unwritten prayers and ideas are reaching me and warm my heart as well.

I cherish the family time, rest, and possibilities each new day brings. I use what I have learned and keep learning from the experience yoga has opened to me about life to keep my spirits up and to be in the moment.

With love,


Lisa said...

Dear Mary,
I'm so glad that you are in the treetops with the birds singing.
Hope you have a large summer bouquet on your bedside table.
Much Love from Lisa

Debbie said...

Dear Mary,
I liked hearing you are having laughs so hopefully these NY stories are amusing to others not me.
Across the street from the laundromat where I do my wash is an improbably placed "store" with a big awning sign and the words "Spiritual Healings" in large script. Fortune teller girls though how they can pay the rent working 20th Avenue in Brooklyn I don't think. Still, the main girl comes in and tries for me every time I do my wash. This last she tried 3 gambits and then adds, look, we both know it's not a spiritual reading you need. Wow, wow, I thought, good one! She may have been worth her fee. However I told her it wasn't going to happen and she gave up.
Also this weekend on the upper platform of W 4th Street at 7:40am waiting for a connection to get to 8am yoga class it was that weekend morning sleepy subway quiet. Four young guys got on, flopped around and after a minute one said, man, it's so quiet you could hear a rat pissing on cotton.
Had I been drinking coffee I would have choked to laugh. I wish I was that creative! I could never freelance such a line.

Before I found your posting I had my afternoon call from my mom who ended by asking how is that lady from your yoga. This would be you. So Betty in Sayreville holds you in her prayers along of course with her daughter, which would be me.
Yours, Debbie

jules said...

I took your class in Greenwich for almost two years, during a difficult time. The class meant a lot to me. I lost touch when I moved to Queens, and began taking classes at the NYC Institute -- though I did see you around there a few times, and said hello. I just want to send you all my love, and to tell you what a wonderful teacher you are, and that you've brought many good things to my life. Thank you. And if you'll accept them from a relative stranger, many many hugs. --Jennie

MICHELE said...

Dear Mary,
Yes, possibilities in life rings
loud today. Just came back from
Kevin's class and I felt a little
closer to the possibility of
chaturanga, one of my favorite poses,ha!,shared sentiments with
fellow students. Chitta vritti,
chitta vritti, you repeated in a class in greenwich. Yes,looking forward to the possibility of
seeing you soon!
hugs and love,
michele w

M Harding said...

I am so glad to hear that you are safely at your daughter's house. Thank you for the wonderful early class that you teach in Greenwich. You are the world's best teacher. I think of you every day as I try to stand up straight. With love, Peggy

Maureen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said...

Hi Mary,
Thanks so much for this continued contact. I wish I were in NY to come see you w/the CT gang. I know you are getting the best of care and the best love possible. Keeping you close in prayers and thoughts. Love, Maureen

Richard Jonas said...

Dear Mary,

I was thinking about you this weekend, and I put your name on the prayer list in the Methodist Church ladies’ auxiliary tent at the Bouckville flea market in far western New York. I think you might have found a taste of their apple pie crumble even more to your taste. As Dmitri referenced my entry, so I'd like to reference his. I too find I think of you more, Mary, refer to you more, try to remember more of your teachings and share the essence of them with my own students -- more Mary, more all the time. I hear myself retelling your jokes (just today we were throwing away that first backbend, like the first pancake). I hear myself trying to share your wisdom and what it has meant to me (again today, that we must strive NOT to practice what we know already, all too well how to do, such as staying in a pose, struggling and hardening, but instead need to find a way to enlarge and open and unfold the asana). I hear your voice teaching me -- to extend my arms up, and root them in, for instance. And from the arms it is a straight line to the heart. There I hear you and feel you and keep you, all the time. Love, Richard

Kristine said...

Dear Mary,

Those of us meandering to NH for the workshop with Patricia and Edwin the next five days will be thinking of you often. I look forward, as you are, to enjoying the trees, birds and little wild creatures welcoming us into the timelessness and cycles of nature as part of our practice. Love, love, love and peace to you. Kristine Bell

Jennie W said...

Hi Mary,

I am glad that you are in such nourishing surroundings. I was so happy to see you briefly in Ann Arbor for that good hug in front of Laurie's studio. I think of you often and have you with me in practice every day.

Another BIG HUG across the energy lines...

Much love and many blessings, Jennie

MIchelle said...

Hi Mary! Just wanted you to know that Michelle and I are thinking about you.

MIchelle said...

Sigh....four years of Electrical Engineering at an Ivy League school and I can't operate Google Comments...

So let's try again: Hi Mary, Michelle and I send our love! We're thinking of you.

Peter D.

Chris Kerr said...

Dear Mary,
I was just thinking of at time that I had taken a class with you over 5 years ago at the old institute. After your class, I decided to stay for a second class with Kevin Gardiner. I had to use the ladies room in between classes and put on my shoes to go down the hall. Upon my return I saw you looking at a pair of shoes. You said " they look like mine, but they are not mine." Then you looked at my feet and said " those are mine."
I was mortified.
When I returned to Long Island, I told my teacher what had transpired. He said "those were very big shoes you filled."
I just wanted to tell you that I don't think that anyone will be able to fill your shoes.
With much love and appreciation,

Mary Beth Early said...

Dear Mary,

As the night sky darkens here in Brooklyn, I’ve been looking up at trees, hoping to see the little brown bats that eat the mosquitoes, and thinking of you nested in your tree-framed space. I am so relieved that you are with your family, that you are being cared for in the way we all wish for you.

All of us have been trying so hard to say how important you have been our lives. As you wisely note, many who have not written on paper or blog are writing with their hearts. I cannot give voice to all the feelings. The greatest teachers, and you are this, transmit themselves so completely that we memorize you: your voice, your lessons, your hilarious analogies, your infectious enthusiasm, your firm guiding hands, your sponteneity and your grace, and (as many have commented, your brilliant eyes and welcoming smile). You are very present in my mind, as you will be for all my days on earth.

A while ago, for a few minutes the now-brown leaves of the horse chestnut gleamed amber in the low afternoon sun, as the monarchs circled and found their heading, and now (two hours later) the rising planets circle in a dark sky above the swift traces of aircraft. The small woodland creatures are tucked in for the night. As I hope you are as well. Pleasant dreams, Mary!

As always, with love and gratitude and healing thoughts, I join the great web of hearts wishing you peace and freedom from pain in your journey, whatever it may be, and never discounting the possibility of miracles,


Mary Beth

Barbara Nicol said...

Dear Mary,

Speaking of amusing incidents, I was driving today (near Central Ave. in Scarsdale actually) and passed by a parking lot full of firetrucks and police cars, all with their flashing lights; they had surrounded a building whose marquee read: "Tranquility Spa".

Glad you are at your daughter's house. Hope you are finding true tranquility!

Much love,

sgalan2697 said...

Dear Mary,
During my first teacher training with you in Montana, I was at first reluctant to teach my pose, and said that I would rather watch others and learn from them. You skillfully got me to relax and come forward. After class you asked if I teach back home, and I responded that I do. You then said, "I'm glad that you do." That was the best reward that I have ever received from any teacher at any time.
I think about you when I do yoga, when I teach yoga, and at times in between.

Lots of love,

Ben Galanter

Lucienne said...

Dearest Mary,
The morning sun is just touching the treetops here at the Delaware river. I just returned from Blacons, Faeq's Intensive. Many of us there were holding you warmly in our hearts and talked about you many times. After having been away in the summer I tend to come home with a sense of having too many 'things', so I was clearing out my cupboard and stumbled upon an old wallet. In one of the tiny pockets where one stores credit cards I found this Rumi poem that I love so much. You probably know it but still I feel we can read this over and over.. I send you all my love and good feelings from this poem:

"Where Everything Is Music"

Don't worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn't matter

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,

and even if the whole world's harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

The singing art is the sea foam.
The graceful moments come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive
from a slow and powerful root
that we can't see.

Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.

Jalaludin Rumi.

claudia said...

dear beautifull mary l'm happy you left the hospital,right yesterday l was in the garden and looking to some pink flowers,l've thought of you,l've see you in my mind like when you was in rapolano and you used put a flower on your ear...
l send you much love ,and thanks for keep us updated about you.
claudia from venezia

Janna Peterson said...

Dearest Mary: So glad to hear that you're surrounded by family in a comfortable "nest" of their care, enjoying birdsong and the quiet sounds of nature.

With the cooler weather the hummingbirds have been passing through my back yard. These tiny creatures are amazing. Although hummingbirds are year-round residents in Southern California, they're only commuters looking for a place to "tank up" here on the east coast. Besides offering a wide variety of flowers, my backyard hummingbird feeder has organic cane sugar water in it!

Last night as I was teaching yoga (at a YMCA, and last night, in a fully lighted gym partitioned off from basketball practice next to us!) I asked the class to focus on the cycles in nature: the cycles of their breath, their inhalations and exhalations; the cycles of the ocean moving into shore, and back out to sea; the cycles of night and day; the cycles of the seasons... and to connect with the rhythm of these cycles... and to find stability, and a great sense of security in these constant, naturally occurring cycles, of which they are part. Mary, dear, you were especially in my thoughts and heart, then.

On Saturday I'll be visiting my mom for ten days (the equivalent of a "busman's holiday"). My hope is that we find a computer so she can see just what a blog is!

Blessings, light, peace, and love,


Norma Colón said...

HI Dear Mary,

I'm very sorry I missed the opportunity to see you this past weekend! I was upstate and didn't get Jame's message till it was too late. I was upset. Of course I would have dropped everything to see you!
Anyway, I hope you feel the best you can and enjoy the most you can in Westchester and return to us soon, or .... As long as you are smiling your beautiful smile, laughing you infectious laugh and being your wonderful self in the beauty of nature, what more can I ask for?
For you, lots more---I hope you are able to enjoy good food and be nourished and satisfied. I hope you can feel the great love felt for you all over the world. I hope you can enjoy walks in the woods and gardens. I hope to see you soon.


All love,

susn said...

Dear Mary,

I had to smile yesterday when you mentioned receiving the love and prayers sent to you by people who don’t write to you.

That would include me. And, I’m smiling now, thinking how very Mary Dunn it is to include everyone.

Thank YOU for the love and support you send to all of us, without writing.

And, thank you for blogging too.

Up here in Nova Scotia I am practicing for an 8 minute solo Butoh performance this fall in New York. Butoh is Japanese dance. This from a middle aged woman who has never even danced at a wedding reception! This confidence to step out on stage comes from the absolute confidence in every single one of us that you always talk about, and that you have. Confidence in myself comes with having confidence in everyone.

I am glad you are with your family and friends.

With love,
Susan Mills

Oya H said...

Dear Mary,

Love survives forever...

Thinking of you with much much love,


Theyoginme said...

Mary, I was touched by your post. Every moment of our life is transforming with yoga. I am reminded of the hundreds of birds chirping in the trees and park near the institute in Pune.

They seem to annoy many, but I loved every bit of the chirping ever morning and evening. They brought me much peace and joy. I would have that over the honking and rattling of traffic as you try to be tranquil in the classes. May these birds around your tree tops be your best companions.... they are priceless. I don't know you, but I feel connected....I am reminded of my mom :).


Marc Z said...

Dear Mary,

Thanks to my love of writing, something you've likely sensed from replies to your blog, I've been writing lots of letters, some other things. In all of my writing these recent days, even brief notes, now and then, you've arrived upon the scene, often been a shining star. The driving force is rarely conscious. Even if I make effort to nicely cradle thoughts with words that'd best as I can deliver the sentiments I wished to share, there're more and more often surprise moments when feelings are, are simply there.

In ways I'm certain that your love of story telling comes across so easily, the letters written (by me and others) have surely helped me feel even more alive. Sift, and collect, to spread around. It's what we do, no? You've always delivered your stories with a curiosity and marvel that makes them as alive as how you've reveled us to be in class, ever further planting heels to floor while standing, stretching fingers in other direction, with equal and gentle force. There is purpose, and connection.

I'm very often a saver, and I've no need to feel either badly or embarrassed by those kept in mind, better, in spirit. Here's a tiny example:

Yesterday, was writing a recently re-found high school girlfriend (from 35 years ago, oh my--she then gave me a plant I to this day water. She and the plant are both saver parts!) of my fascination with cycles, then of having seen, and been so very pleased by my chance to be there then, during Saturday evening practice, as Mars (or its relatively nearby cousin) out a Western studio window seemingly moved with a feeling of silent precision equal to how we smile best. Then a dramatically closer 'planet,' a building, arrived between me and the faint red light, reminding me, before the "traveler" slipped to where I could no longer see it, that there is spirit within me, and in all those with whom I share common times, like tides, another cycle.

That spirit'd brought me a well of feeling. I was gladdened Mary Beth wrote to you also of the rising planets which I dearly hope you'll get to marvel at up where you are, with less intervening human structures and lights! So tiny from our distance. Seeing them float by, affirming (for me) that these moving enormous things around us were not always there, time/object scale with different meanings. For us now, they arrive, and begin another round for tomorrow, smoothly beyond our sight.

We are each of us different, and in that one great and time-wise perhaps shorter way unlike the masses revolving our sun. And while we can never uniquely duplicate in toto, there're also appreciable bits that we each of us carry for a time, then hand off parts of for others to hold and hand off in their cycle. You've painted that way in your yoga, set so many parts for others to carry on, and I am privileged to share in bits of those parts.

I am more joyful these recent years, and the strength gained there has helped me allow sadness to also take seat more fully at my table, to show sometimes to my friends who ask how I am. I used to be leery-er of sadness. So much less, now. It's another rich stair in our cycle, a star there.

I wish you peace Mary, more fun story telling, laughter, and also that you have little or no pain to distract from those. I've savored each of your writings here, been fed also by all the responses, so thank you and all for all of them. Maybe a sliver of it's selfish--I too hold dearly a wish there be a miracle to set cells right, less at regular cross purposes. Moreso, that wish is for you, just you and your twinkle.


Elaine G. McGillicuddy said...

Dearest Mary,
I'm so glad our "unwritten prayers and ideas are reaching and warming
(your) heart!"

Like others in your loving community I also, in tears, often think of you. I too pray for a miracle while remembering what Ken Wilbur said about miracle healing, -- that it doesn't always work. Or rather, like the title of Stephen Levine's book, Healing Into life and Death, miracles happen any way. Wilbur, who wrote about his wife in Grace and Grit calls "half-holes" those who self-assuredly tell others they can expect physical cures.

Thank you, you who sent the Rumi poem.

Here are two relevant Mary Oliver pieces, a fragment and a poem, both
from her latest book, Red Bird, written after the loss of her partner:
Red Bird, p. 47: Sometimes
................................ I don't know what God is.
I don't know what death is.
But I believe they have between them
some fervent and necessary arrangement.
Red Bird p. 47

Not This, Not That

Nor anything,
not the eastern wind whose other name is rain,
nor the burning heats of the dunes
at the crown of summer,
nor the ticks, that new,
ferocious populace,
not the President who loves blood,
nor the governmental agencies that love money,
will alter
my love for you, my friends, and my beloved,
or for you, oh ghosts of Emerson and Whitman,
or for you, oh blue sky of a summer morning,
that makes me roll in a barrel of gratitude
down hills,
or for you, oldest of friends: hope;
or for you, newest of friends: faith;
or for you, silliest and dearest of surprises, my own life.

Much love and gratitude,
Elaine McGillicuddy

Chris Buck said...

Dear Mary,
I'm glad that you are nestled in a room amongst trees and being cared for by your family. Thank you once again for staying in touch. Knowing where you are and reading your beautiful thoughts helps bring peace.

Little creatures... I saw some a few days ago around the edges of the park across the street from where I live now. I've been doing the alternate side of the street parking dance since moving here and find 5:30-6:00 am the best time to find a spot. Someone before I arrive on the scene, spreads gobs of bread crumbs around the edge of this little park. The other morning I saw lots of intense scurrying activity and when I came closer realized it was a lot of little creatures excited about those bread crumbs. I thought it was a cute Disney moment. Then I realized it was pigeons, scrappy squirrels and lots LOTS of rats all enjoying the buffet together. Then I snapped into confusion. Was it a Disney moment or a nightmare? I walk on the other side of the street now. It's too early in the morning for that kind of thing.

My days in the cherry picker are on hold. Someone up river in the money flow hasn't been paid and the leverage is holding back on me doing the magic on the outside of that house. Can't wait to get up in the sky in that thing. Doing Central Park West penthouse in the meantime so still in the sky.

What beautiful days we're having here right now. That cooler air brings everything into a nice mix doesn't it? Yesterday, the nice breezes and warm sun I felt were surely coming into the room where you are resting since you're close by. I hope so.

You are in my thoughts as always and I'm praying for you to be comfortable. Thank you for continuing to teach us how to live.

Chris Buck

TodayisThursday! said...

I've only had the pleasure of taking your class a few times but one thing I know is the impact that you have made on yoga has been very very large, and you have touched and enriched many lives, including my own. All my teachers have been taught by you and they are all amazing. I don't think I've ever heard a yoga teacher more revered then you besides Mr. Iyengar of course ;)! You are so so amazing and people are praying for you all over the world!

Thank you so much-
Stefanie Sarginson

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary,
I think of you often and always when I quiet my bent leg hip and sneak away from it in janu sirsanana. Many of your students, here in NJ, are full of admiration for you as a teacher but more so for your kindness.
You are in my heart.
Much peace and love,
Stacy Chiulli
p.s. of course I am editing this for grammatical errors!!

Alison West said...

It’s been eighteen years since my first class with you, dear Mary. One of the many things that remain vividly with me was your telling us, when chanting OM, to balance the inner with the outer sound. So much to be learned from that one thing.

My deep thanks and prayers fly out to you on the wings of love.


Janna Peterson said...

Dear Mary, In this reflective time of my life, I am struck by the good fortune simply of being present and available when you opened up Ocean Beach. It was a huge turning point in my life. Word went quickly (or so it seems now) and here was this wonderful Mary Dunn, with intriguing information of BKS Iyengar. Your message was firm and clear; also, of course, kind and loving, inspiring, and fun! We all knew how fortunate we were, and we treasured the time you were in San Diego.

Becoming a BKS Iyengar student and teacher has been formative in my life these past 35 some years. You encouraged and enabled me to teach with passion, and thereby, have the most valuable career one can have. I don't even have words to tell you how much it means to me that Janna is part of this picture.

My heart thanks you. I cherish our friendship. I can absolutely hear your voice - I always will.

Love, Joann

Janna Peterson said...

Dear Mary: The above message is from my mother to you!

Blessings, peace, love, and light,


red said...

I think about your situation all the time and I am so impressed how you continue to teach and lead. You were my introduction to Iyengar yoga, it has changed my life, given me a daily lab to tune into my physical emotional and spiritual situation. We age, we lose, but still we can face where we are and do our best.

Thank you.

Michael Davis

Carol Cavanaugh said...

Really glad that you are receiving "unwritten prayers"...since I was sending them for months as I couldn't remember my username/password combo and couldn't get on the blog! Finally while in San Francisco I sat down and just kept trying till I got it right. So I am back.
Anyway, for a long time now I have done a daily practice at the end of my asanas of trying to breathe with you and send you whatever benefit has accrued from my practice. Tune in at 10 minutes till noon any day and soak it up!
It is wonderful to feel through the blog how this large and sometimes fractious community is in fact all united and of one mind and spirit...We agree on this: we all love you! Carol

Theyoginme said...

Mary, A tribute to you at


gypsy sands said...

May you be well
Be light

I read the article in yoga fit.

I look forward to attending your workshop in the future.

Often these "things" come about
to bring everyone together.
I have been through chemotherapy with firends & children-keep your heart tuned to the light, and keep smiling...om shantii

Jack Eppler said...

Dear Mary,

The classes in Pune have become more and more challenging as this month has rolled by, and amazingly, I have found myself more and more able to face the challenges.

Practicing in the same room while Guruji is doing his practice is thrilling—also a bit intimidating. Yesterday when I walked in, Guruji had already begun his practice and was instructing his granddaughter as well. I purposefully took my props to the far end of the room and began to practice. Next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and Geetaji had begun her practice right next to me! “Okay, don’t panic, just focus on what you are doing” I told myself. It was one of the most satisfying practices I’ve ever had, because I had to work so hard to pay attention to myself and to not rush through the asanas.

The day before, in Prashant’s class, I was working on the ropes. “Okay” I thought, “this one is for Mary.” My back arched and my heart opened as never before. I have found myself so often thinking of you, and allowing the love for this practice that you have instilled in me to burn in me and to pull me through the resistance.

I have heard you tell the story that Mr. Iyengar once said to your mother, many years ago, that when you were outside of his class, you were her daughter, but that when you were in his class you were his daughter. In the same way, I could say that in class, you have been my mother—nurturing me, encouraging me, and cheering me. I honor Guruji as the grandfather in whose lineage I practice, but when I close my eyes and fold my hands to begin my practice, it is your presence that I feel inviting me to yoga.


claudia said...

dear Mary l've finished right now my yoga pratic ,restorative asana,l've used a rapolano video lesson where you were teaching,l've spent a very good time to day! you are really special to explane asana by painting pictures with the words,many your explanations are stuck in my mind and body,like "mango pell"do you remember? it was the only thing who really worked to make me hunderstand that sensation and action !! thanks!!!!
anyway you are in my heart every day,and l hope to see you again in the future.

cathyadamo said...

Dearest Mary
I love you!
Cathy Adamo

cathyadamo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dreanna said...

dear Mary,

there are a few defining moments that stay with us and help us through our journey. i appreciate the immeasurable joy you bring to practice at the ny studio and feel blessed being able to share each moment.

on this beautiful sunday morning, i wanted to share a my favorite poems by Mark Strand and hope this finds you with renewed strength in all possibilities.

A Piece of the Storm -Mark Strand-

From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed. That's all
There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting are you are now, might say:
"It's time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening."

with love and peace,

laurie white said...

dear mary,
i just heard a little more news about you when i joined carolyn christie and a couple of her friends for lunch on friday(they were here in ann arbor for their assessment this past weekend).

they told me that you had recently moved to westchester. coincidentally, i'm going to be visiting my college roommate in mamaroneck the weekend of september 5th - 8th, and wondered if i could bring you anything from ann arbor? one thing i'd like to get to you is a DVD of "yoga from the ground up - the iyengar tradition", since it's better quality than the video copy i gave you previously, when it first came out...i think fondly of the day we taped your interview (probably around 1999), and how well you came across, despite that you were suffering with a major toothache, at the time.
whenever it gets shown, people always comment on how much they appreciate what you (and your mother)have to say.
i'd be glad to drop it by when i'm in the area, or if there is a convenient place to send things, please let me know.
with love,

Laurie White
"refusing to be enemies -
the zeitouna story"

Gandharva said...

Dear Mary,
today i was in the nature of my land (Liguria in Italy).
The power of the sea and sun was quite tangible.
I send you a little bit of that energy.
With all my love,

Rebecca said...

Dear Mary,

Your blog has been an incredible gift. I have loved being your student in Greenwich for these last (15!) years. Thank you for teaching me to feel the earth and soar toward the heavens. And....for helping me to fully appreciate the taste of spring's first, lucious strawberries (not the "cardboard kind"!) I'll never forget that description! Your gifts are bountiful, and will always be with me.

With love and gratitude.

Rebecca Ruegger


I return from Italy and while there often thought of you and your relationship with nature. As I meditated on the natural beauty of huge limitless skies, vast broad and deep seas surrounding the earth I stood upon and the landscape spreading around me. I became reminded of your love as a naturalist. The amazing warmth and the spirit of the people left me breathless and speechless often.

Within the manifestations of Prakrti it is the humans attraction towards those manifestions which can disturb or illuminate. Please know that it is your very presence and words that illuminate those who have shared time with you.

Time shared contributes toward growth individually and collectivly. You have been so very generous with you life and I am grateful.

I remember our first classes together on 22nd Street. It took me a while to know what broaden your heels' or calves or back of the thighs meant but your sense of humor would send me into spontaneous bursts of laughter, as I was not so disciplined in the Iyengar method. You would catch my eye and we shared that sparkle of yours so that you knew I was listening.

You are a blessed being who has transformed many, many souls...

With gratitude and much love, Susan Turis


I return from Italy and while there often thought of you and your relationship with nature. As I meditated on the natural beauty of huge limitless skies, vast broad and deep seas surrounding the earth I stood upon and the landscape spreading around me. I became reminded of your love as a naturalist. The amazing warmth and the spirit of the people left me breathless and speechless often.

Within the manifestations of Prakrti it is the humans attraction towards those manifestions which can disturb or illuminate. Please know that it is your very presence and words that illuminate those who have shared time with you.

Time shared contributes toward growth individually and collectivly. You have been so very generous with you life and I am grateful.

I remember our first classes together on 22nd Street. It took me a while to know what broaden your heels' or calves or back of the thighs meant but your sense of humor would send me into spontaneous bursts of laughter, as I was not so disciplined in the Iyengar method. You would catch my eye and we shared that sparkle of yours so that you knew I was listening.

You are a blessed being who has transformed many, many souls...

With gratitude and much love, Susan Turis

donna debs said...

Dear Mary,

I thought of you so much at a yoga workshop this weekend. I think I'm finally understanding how to let my shoulderblades drape down my back like a waterfall, as you taught me,and I realized that water has always been a healer for me -- drinking it, bathing in it, seeing it, just imagining it. I carry that waterfall image with me always, and since it came from you, I hope that you too are bathing in a flowing crystal-clear waterfall of peace. With much appreciation, Donna

jane said...

Elena just emailed me..I have been so out of touch..and yet never out of touch in spirit...I have thought of you every day this summer as I recover walking after a hip replacement...you said to open the eyes at the top of the thigh...hip flexors...I cherrish your instruction and send you love every step I take. Be well.
much love...Jane Byerley

Jyoti Chrystal said...

Dear Mary;
Your light radiates throughout the Universe and fills your students and loved ones with such inspiration for the practice of true yoga. A shining example of living your yoga. So..glad you got to speak with Guruji; I am sure it gave you a huge boost. I also am struggling with cancer and Slippery Elm did the trick for my colon. I am so glad you found it. I was on it for about 6-8 weeks earlier this summer. Rest well in the breath - your own pristine consciousness-the wonderful light that you are and will always be, pure awareness.
Jyoti Chrystal

Jeff H said...

Dear Mary,

When I first showed up at your and Dean’s Mexico retreat a few years ago, hoping to learn more of this wonderful subject (practical philosophy, some say) to which I was newly introduced, you taught spaciousness, generosity, and inclusivity with sparkling intelligence. And this, too, I learned is yoga.

Last year, talking over a delightfully simple post-workshop meal in your Ann Arbor home that, like so many of the best meals, came together from bits and pieces of what was left in the fridge and what was hurriedly packed (you, an avocado; me, molasses spice cookies), we ambled around your mother’s garden in Spring’s waning dusky light and I experienced a moment of such glad grace (thank you, Yeats) to share such a quiet, peaceful moment in such a special, sacred space.

Now, looking back on the last few years, I realize how much my life has changed in slow yet constant measure (with the possible exception of tight hamstrings). Yoga, your teaching of yoga, and your “Maryness”, have been catalysts for new, wonderfully rewarding friendships, allowed me to appreciate the fullness of life in the present moment, and opened doors, windows, portholes, and peepholes to so many possibilities.

So, how can I but humbly thank you for being not only my yoga teacher, but my teacher?

With much love and respect,

Jeff H

Lori kaleel said...

Dear Mary,
I just want you to know that when I think of you it makes me smile. I remember taking your classes it was like being inside a great book. Your classes were filled with great stories and every pose was a new adventure. You were our captain and we were on the ride of a lifetime. I still listen to your beautiful voice on a recording of our teacher training classes in Florida and love every minute. Your teaching has helped me become a better yoga practitioner and I want to thank you for that. I'm sending you love, prayers and dreams of another story.
Love, Lori XXXOOO

Michael said...

Dear Mary,
Michael and I remember the wonderful classes in Greenwich and the Feathered Pipe Ranch. We also enjoyed your visit in Delhi, staying at our home.

You have always been my inspiration and role model. You planted the seed of Iyengar yoga in me and I can hear your voice even today....My yoga students in Germany and here in Florida are in fact benefitting from your enthusiasm and expertise.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Beata & Michael

Serena said...

Hello Mary,
I was just chatting with a friend in the lovely nighttime breeze, and wanted to send good wishes your way. I've been thinking these past few days about how when I've taken your class you always show such in-between places. There's something about the way you speak towards things instead of on top of them that is full of possibility and very touching. So much to consider. Thank you.
Here's a kiss,

Elaine said...

Dear Mary,

I thank you for your inspiration and courage.

I am forever grateful for your teachings and your vision.


IvyWednesday said...

Dear Mary,
During our first contact around the autumn of 1992 I asked if you taught meditation in your yoga class. You explained that Iyengar Yoga is meditation in practice in the asanas. I had no idea what you were talking about. Then I took your class and found I needed to pause afterward to write down the realizations I had that invariably sprung from your teaching.
My life is incredibly blessed from your teaching, Mary, as are the lives of countless others.
A man I met in Florida named Don who used to study with an Iyengar teacher on LI had ONE class with you when you visited that class, and he asked me to please say hello. You were very inspiring to him, too. That is why I say countless.
I can't think of you without feeling the kind of love that is eternally sustaining, which you have always embodied in your teaching style.
I am happy to know that you are surrounded by your loving family and friends and nature singing in through your windows and that you are held in the hearts, thoughts and prayers of countless others.
Much love and prayers,

China Bean said...

Dear Mary,
Your voice comes to me... nudging me to have courage to move deeper into the pose... into life. I can only imagine how many others have been touched by the light that passes through you. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.
In deep gratitude,
Cynthia J. Purvis

China Bean said...

Dear Mary,
I know I'm not alone in this... Hearing your encouraging voice...
Nudging me to move...
Deeper into the pose...
To find the courage to trust the stretch and strength that is within my reach...
I know I'm not the only one who is grateful to have been touched by the light that passes through you.
Beloved woman, I send my prayers and God's peace,
Cynthia J. Purvis

Hummingbird said...


I don't have a lot of words at the moment, only alot of the heart - it breaks, it tears, it feels your life and all that it has blessed me and countless others with. Just know you are in my thoughts and prayers all the time - and no matter the distance, you are with me and I am with you. I send you all my love...


pIp said...

Hello Mary,
The "class" you are providing here with your grace and poise, as you face this most difficult situation with such aplomb, is a profound example of the most sublime teaching one can receive, and for that I am thankful beyond words.

When I was in Pune this past July Prashant pointed out that we all search for or even demand the "best" teacher despite the fact that we are not the best students. How blessed are we then to be graced with your teaching? I know it inspires me to be the best student I can be, and that inspiration is a remarkable gift.

Thank for all that you continue to give us!

Much love from San Francisco,

Paul Pisacane

Norma Colón said...

Dearest Mary,
To my teacher and friend.
I am walking on the road with you in prayer and in faith.
God be with you.
With deepest love & gratitude,

IvyWednesday said...

Dearest Mary,
You have taught me the freedom of acceptance and the joy of possibility, the merit of persistence and the gift of grace, the joy of being and freedom of letting go, and the essence of light and loving-kindness. There is no greater gift; I thank you with love and gratitude.

China Bean said...

Dear Mary,
I am a firm believer in miracles and have had the honor of witnessing many (with knees shaking). Hope prevails.
Cynthia Purvis

SnowLeopard said...

Dear Mary,

I didn't know you had a blog. Hurrah!

SnowLeopard said...

Dear Mary,

I send you a heart full of love. I'm
enjoying reading the blog and will add my two cents worth now and then.

Much love and light sent your way,
Jyoti Hansa
aka SnowLeopard

skidame JJ said...

Dear Mary

My heart is with you and has been these many years, first to get me into yoga and keep me there and continue.

Much love,
Jay in Salt Lake

Cyn said...

Greetings from Denver, Mary!

Over the last fourteen months I have been among those sending you unwritten prayers from my heart. You may have missed Patanjali’s reference to the 6th klesa: fear of writing to an eloquent English teacher. But still, over these months I have sent my love, and wanted to let you know that even from afar you have been a revered teacher for me.

I would not imagine that you remember me, but over my short, eleven Iyengar yoga years you have inspired me as a student and teacher of yoga. My classes with you have only been at conventions; the first was in Pasadena in a class about teaching “seniors.” It was fortuitous because I happened to go on to teach Elderhostel classes for a few years, and over time I recalled several things you shared with us that day.

Last winter when a student asked me about practicing pranayama while having a cold, it reminded me of me asking you that question during a pranayama class you led in Estes Park!

In 2006 you were the chair for our Denver Intro Assessment. And even in that structured environment you taught us through your leadership: balancing professional distance with your passion for the subject, and for us as students, as you led us through that process, with a dash of humor thrown in to keep us breathing!

And still, across the miles, through your beautiful and direct writing you teach me about life and the legs of the journey that present the ultimate challenge. It is a reminder for me of how teaching is a noble art, but also an enormous responsibility because we are likely to make an impression, for better or worse, even from afar; let it be for “better.”

On a gorgeous Colorado day, I send love and gratitude to you, and blessings for your journey,

ronna said...

Dear Mary,

My husband Jimmy and I study at the Institute...I think you know us by sight but not by name.

We wanted you to know how much you are in our hearts and in our prayers.

We mostly know you through our teachers, who have had you as a teacher. Perhaps that's why we were so moved when we heard you speak about Guruji a few weeks ago and the fact that no matter what, the teaching is what remains.

We have experienced yoga, and profound teaching, because of you, and we are more grateful for that than you can know. We also know how many students there are like us out there...who are not directly in touch with you, but whose lives are more....alive...because of you.

It is not possible for us to adequately express our gratitude, especially for the teaching that continues now, but we wanted to try.

With love,

Jimmy and Ronna Lichtenberg

Judith said...

Dear Mary: I was cheered reading your blog comment of August 18th. It is a wonderful warm but crisp day in the Bay Area and I am thinking of all those times we drove down to San Jose to study yoga. What fun and innocence it had.

My prayers are with you.

Judith Hanson Lasater

China Bean said...

Dear Mary and James,
Remember that great trip we all took down the river with Tom McBride after a Feathered Pipe workshop? We each had a turn to tell stories of falling in love. Remember how we never wanted the trip to end and stayed in the boat for over an hour after Tom beached us ashore!? And remember poor Tom trying to show us the animals around us (the intended purpose of the trip!) and we didn't want to be distracted from the story telling to look up to see the mountain goats and eagles! Oh what fun, what joy.
Sleep well tonight,
All my love,
Cynthia Purvis

songdog said...

Dear Mary,

I've so enjoyed reading your blog--your lovely writing and sparkling wisdom. I can't even begin to fathom how much your teaching has integrated into my being over the past 25 years. I feel nothing but gratitude for the great honor of being in your presence early in my practice. Who you are has shaped my practice and my life.


mary pace said...

Dear Mary,
Have been away for three weeks with no internet access until now. I join with so many in sending you my love and appreciation for your wisdom and light. I pray you are resting well in the comfort of your family and dear friends. Always holding you in my thoughts,
Much love,
Mary Pace

Stella said...

mary - you are ONE AMAZING WOMAN....
love stella from pocatello

laura said...

Dear Mary,
You don't know me. However, I have heard so many wonderful things about you since I began my study of Iyengar yoga 8 years ago that I feel as if I know you. George Purvis was my teacher for 5 years in Houston until he recently moved back to Dallas. George has always referenced your marvelous teaching quite frequently, especially when I attended his and Laurie Blakeney's Feathered Pipe Ranch workshop some years ago.

I'm sending healing thoughts your way and I thank you for showing all of us how to handle adversity with such dignity and grace.

Laura from Houston