Archive for December, 2009

Martyn Jackson on BKS Iyengar, Himself, and Yoga.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

There are eight installments from my interview.  I have portioned them in segments.  I sincerely hope that students, teachers and those who are simply curious and inspired will appreciate the sincerity and candid vision from what Martyn says, sees and reveals about himself and his experience with his teacher, his students, and his life.

Shelley Piser

Shelley Piser: How do you feel about the way the The Iyengar associations are moving?

Martyn Jackson: I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. They are putting themselves up as superiors. You can boost Mr. Iyengar because if you felt that you got something from him and you want to return your love and your affection, but I believe that the majority of Iyengar teachers have ruined his reputation. I don’t think, well I know Iyengar is not like what you read about him. I mean I spent hours and hours a day and I’ve spent months at a time with him. I know he’s changed as a person. God, everybody changes, but the changes are more from the pupils.

It was like Rajneesh. Rajneesh was a wonderful guy, but it was his pupils that went pseudo and that’s one thing that you’ve got to watch. That’s why Mr. Iyengar basically is a loner. He’s an individual but it was his pupils who tried to twist him into different paths and then they misrepresent what he says.

SP: More about the controversy that you have in relationship to the other associations. Would it be because of your teaching method?

MJ: I think so. Yes. Because I am fairly brash and very outspoken. Where I refuse to become a pseudo teacher, I refuse to buy my pupils. If I don’t have a pupil I thank God then I’ve got time to work on my own. If I’ve got a pupil, I’ll teach that person like I’ve got a class. I will treat that person and give him or her everything; where other teachers will, if they get one or two pupils, they’ll say, “I don’t think it’s enough, you know it’s not worth having a class.” I don’t do that and I get very angry, I am very strong. If somebody is devoted enough to come to class, you should be, again, ready there to take them. And there are so many teachers that talk about yoga but they don’t practice.

I know, I have been with a lot of yogis; I’ve been with a tremendous amount of Yogis over 30 years. And I don’t like their philosophies at all because they don’t practice what they preach. They are not really honest with their pupils at all. They will sometimes mislead them. I think when Mr. Iyengar left his small abode in Saba shier and built the huge complex that he’s got now, I think that was the beginning of the deterioration of Mr. Iyengar. Because I felt that he was the personality that should have dealt with one or two people at a time but he would have spread Yoga as I see yoga, as I experience what Yoga is about. Like he says, there are three types of yoga. There is Yoga Yoga, which is he feels, or, I feel is the right yoga where you have to work hard; you have to penetrate to understand the truth. But the others will work superficially. They are frightened to work their pupils hard; because they are frightened they are going to lose them.

SP: In the Iyengar circles, you have a reputation of being very controversial. Why is that, do you feel?

MJ: Because I want to be different. I refuse to be a pea in the pod like the others. I want to set out to be something different, I want to be ME. I don’t want to be Mr. Iyengar. I don’t want to be Rajneesh, I don’t want to be anyone. I want to be Martyn Jackson. I’m not going to write any books saying this is the Martyn Jackson method like there are so many people writing books on yoga saying, ‘It’s this method, it’s my method because I think it’s the best.’

All we are doing is participating in something that is already there and we’ve reached that level of understanding that we feel we can participate. But it’s not MINE.  It’s only because I’ve reached a level of understanding that, “Wow, this is good!” for me but not necessarily for other people.

©shelley piser 2009