I was invited to draw at a yoga workshop. I was excited but very, very nervous! I haven’t been to life drawing for ages, and it shows in the poor anatomy in some of the sketches. But… all experience is learning, as they say.
The fine line of my Uniball and Lamy pens did not work for me in poses that move and change fast, so I swapped to using a brush pen in the hope that I could capture a more gestural mark.
Some of the drawings are composites, capturing different stages of Asana. It was frustrating to try and capture a pose, and then have everyone move and change direction! There were a LOT of half made and incomplete drawings that I am not going to show you.
I love the Iyengar method of teaching and practising yoga. The thoughtful and considered use of props (straps, blocks, blankets, chairs etc.) allows all students to achieve correct feeling (and profound benefit) in a pose regardless of their strength, flexibility or ability. If used intelligently and with awareness, the student can feel where they should be going without straining or deforming (and injuring) the body in the attempt to achieve the outward appearance of the pose.
At this point I was wishing wholeheartedly that I was taking part in the workshop, not just observing! Dr Rajlaxmi’s instructions were so precise and subtle. Here the students are being directed to “descend the inner arch skin” Not the arch muscle or bone…
Iyengar constantly refined his teaching methods and use of props. This is passed on to his students. This is no health club ‘yoga’ class. If you have an Iyengar trained teacher, you can rest safe in the knowledge that they have trained long and hard to get their qualification,( for years!) and that they constantly have to be reassessed and study.
Interestingly, I concentrated as hard as all the students in the class, but because I had not been working my body on all levels, only my organs of perception, I was not energised relaxed and blissful at the end of the three hours. Instead I was enervated, shaky and exhausted.
I did come home and do a long Savasana though!
Thanks to Annie Beatty of Malvern Iyengar Yoga for inviting me to sketch, and to Dr Rajlaxmi from the Pune Intitute for allowing me to draw her teaching and absorb some of her wisdom along the way.
P.s. If you want to see Yoga Asana drawn beautifully and accurately, I have to point you in the direction of Illustrator and yoga teacher Bobby Clennell. http://www.bobbyclennell.com/
Her book ” The Woman’s Yoga Book” is a beautiful, useful and life changing work.