It is my pleasure to introduce Wellington Iyengar yoga teacher and studio owner, Phil Savage. He owns and teaches at Yoga Space.
Of all the yoga lineages, Iyengar is perhaps the most precise, the most aimed at achieving perfect alignment in all postures. Props are used extensively in order to be able to make this possible. Likewise, Iyengar teachers are thoroughly trained and have an in-depth understanding of anatomy. Many yogis start out in Iyengar – including Shiva Rea, who developed Prana Flow Yoga and Trance Dance yoga.
B.K.S. Iyengar’s book, Light on Yoga, published in 1966 is called the Bible of Modern Yoga. It contains hundreds of photos of Iyengar demonstrating an enormous variety of asana, and details not just the anatomical information necessary to bring on into the posture, but also the benefits upon the body. Iyengar followed this up in 2006 with Light on Life, which talks about the heart of yoga, integratig yoga into all aspects of our life.
“The purpose or goal of asana is to align and harmonize the physical body and all the layers, or sheaths, of the subtle emotional, mental, and spiritual body. This is integration. But how does one align these layers and experience integration? How does one find such profound transformation in what from the outside may look simply like stretching or twisting the body into unusual positions? It begins with awareness.”
Heres’ what Phil had to say about his journey into yoga.
1. What style of yoga do you practice and where do you teach?
I have been qualified to teach the ‘Iyengar method’ of Hatha Yoga since 1995. My studio is YogaSpace and is located on level 2 of Access Radio House, 33-35 Ghuznee St.
2. How did you come to yoga?
A bad back, a ruined shoulder, a spinning head…
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
I struggled terribly with every aspect of the practice for the first couple of years, but somehow knew that it was what I needed. Then at a workshop, the teacher admonished me cheerfully “Don’t just do it. FEEL IT!” Pennies dropped and have kept dropping ever since.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
5. What is your home practice like?
I have a daily pranayama and asana practice.
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?” what do you say?
I will generally tell people that it is a tradition, an art, and is a method to bring us into balance.
7. What can people expect from one of your classes?
Part of the information provided for the Introductory Courses asks for ‘presumptions, hopes and desires’ to be left outside. On the other hand, I expect students to listen to me and to develop the art of listening to themselves.
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
Watching students become practitioners is the most rewarding aspect.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
First, find a teacher. After that it is just step by step.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
I think Yoga lives inside the ‘Act local, think global’ paradigm. A Yoga practice is a personal journey. As individuals we grow ourselves through our practice and come to act for the wider good according to our capacity.
11. Anything else you’d like to say?
The ‘style’ doesn’t matter. What matters is that your method is thorough, that the practice is able to penetrate delusion and dogma and so refine our inquiry and our perception.
12. And finally, how do people find you?