A Journey

Rafael-Duran_small 2Rafael, Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, has developed an acute understanding of muscle function and disfunction and was awarded an Introductory certificate in Zentherapy in 2011.  This journey began with a search for relief from debilitating chronic back pain in the 80’s. In the 90’s he organized the first Teacher Training program in the KC Metro, under Senior Iyengar Yoga instructors.

Rafael sought out yoga as a means to relieve chronic back pain in his 30s, resulting from a gymnastics injury when 16.  In 1983 he embarked on a ten year study under Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher Laurie Blakeney, culminating in a twelve month-long apprenticeship.

Rafael continues his training with well over 1,000 hours under the tutelage of several Senior Iyengar Yoga instructors.  This includes travel to India in 2000, to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune under Dr. Geeta Iyengar and Prashant Iyengar.  On returning from India, Rafael abandoned his college art teaching career to focus almost exclusively on the learning  of Iyengar Yoga.

Trice weekly chiropractic visits beginning in 1981 enabled Rafael to begin studying Aikido, a non-competitive martial art.  By that time he had relinquished competitive Judo and the teaching of it altogether, due to the ever present pain and just before his test for third degree.  When the pain returned, he petitioned Laurie Blakeney for help.  These chiropractic visits are now rare.  Rafael continues to practice Aikido and was given permission to teach this art in ’93.  This would not have been possible without the practice of Iyengar yoga.

Rafael is especially indebted to these Iyengar teachers:
Laurie Blakeney, currently an Advanced Level Certified Teacher granted to her by B.K.S. Iyengar.  Only 13 such have been granted in the U.S.  She began her Iyengar yoga studies in 1971, and has studied annually in Pune, India at the Iyengar Institute since 1983.
Mary Obendorfer, Senior level certified, has travelled to India more than 14 times and began practicing yoga in 1981.  She worked with Dr. Mary Schatz in Pune, India documenting the therapeutic yoga that Mr Iyengar is so famous for.  Along with Eddy Marks, spouse and fellow Iyengar yoga teacher, they produced this short film.
Randy Just, is Senior Intermediate I Certified and Director of the Iyengar Yoga Studio of Dallas.  Randy, who has inspired me to delve deeper into my practice, travels to Pune often.
Alaric Newcomb, Senior Intermediate III, holds the highest certification level in the UK.  Alaric began his yoga studies in 1983, holds a BA in Philosophy, and maintains a small psychotherapist practice.

Karen Allgire, Junior Intermediate III, has made three trips to study at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, India and was chosen to teach at the 2011 Midwest Regional Conference.

Iyengar Yoga

Based on the teachings of living yoga master B. K. S. Iyengar, who was listed by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people of the 20th Century, Iyengar yoga is a widely practiced form worldwide.  This practice begins with learning the art and science of asana (yoga postures).
This method of study is orderly and progressive, and the postures are adjusted to meet the physical conditions and needs of each student.  Strength, coordination, flexibility and an increased sense of well-being are some of the benefits.
Through the consistent practice of asana and pranayama (yogic breathing), students of Iyengar yoga are guided towards increased awareness of their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives.
Iyengar Yoga emphasizes precision and form so that the mind, focused and absorbed, flows evenly throughout the system enabling the practitioner to experience meditation in action.

All Iyengar Yoga teachers undergo years of training to address the individual needs of the student regardless of age, ability, or state of health.