If you are looking for a book on yoga for scoliosis that is easy to understand and follow, check out the new book by Rita Lewis-Manos titled : Yoga, Scoliosis, Practice. This gem of a book takes you from observation and discovery of your scoliotic topography and shows you how to work with asymmetries to find evenness. The instructions are clear and concise and the pictures are so incredibly helpful. What I really appreciate about this book is the set-ups for the poses are doable for anybody. It doesn’t require a boatload of expensive props and schematics for each posture, like some of the other books gathering dust on my bookshelf.
I have several shelves of Iyengar yoga books and I always reach for two: Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar and Gem for Women by Geeta Iyengar. They are my yoga bibles. I have no doubt that Rita’s book will also become one of these bible-like resources for teachers and students with scoliosis. Rita has amassed an incredible amount of knowledge about how to take care of scoliosis over her 40+ years of study with Geeta and BKS Iyengar.
Yoga, Scoliosis, Practice is a selfless labor of love in service to those who are afflicted with scoliosis. This comes through on every page. You may find out more about the book on Rita’s website Yogascoliosispractice.com.
So IYNAUS responded to its membership about the letter circulating from the former Director of Operations regarding the current IYNAUS president:
In the meantime a former board member sent an email to IYNAUS members asking them to sign a petition to request a community meeting.
Allegations surfaced months ago, and more details are continuing to surface that are disturbing. The IYNAUS board sent out a brief memo on June 14, 2022 however this email omits important details which have a considerable impact on the accuracy of the communication. Members have asked the IYNAUS board for a general meeting. No meeting has been scheduled. According to the IYNAUS governance rules, we members can formally request a meeting through a petition signed by members. That is why I am writing.
Email from former IYNAUS Board Member
The change.org petition outlines more details:
According to IYNAUS bylaws, a Membership Meeting can be scheduled at the request of at least 20 current members, among whom at least 10 are CIYTs. We propose an online General Membership Meeting on Sunday, July 24, 2022, at 2pm PT/5pm ET.
The purpose of the meeting will be to:
Acknowledge that harm has occurred within current IYNAUS leadership, and recommend ways that this harm should be addressed.
Request hiring a facilitator outside IYNAUS to hold community discussions about this harm and how things can be different in our organization.
Recommend more effective oversight and governance policies that ensure separation of powers.
Establish governance and oversight processes for issues not related to teaching, and prevent IYNAUS leadership from investigating itself.
Recommend expanded professional staff to oversee our organization, and design a budget and income streams that can manage the financial load.
Recommend using the community conversations in step #2 as a base for strategic planning. This strategic planning should be from the ground up, including members, regional boards, the national board and of course staff.
Discuss the viability of our current governance structures, and the opportunities for volunteerism and community stewardship in the next 10 years.
Request updates to the ethics training to include verbal conduct standards.
Host an annual membership meeting once a year to discuss any issues of interest to the members. The first such meeting would be July 24th, 2022.
“There’s been a quantum leap technologically in our age, but unless there’s another quantum leap in human relations, unless we learn to live in a new way towards one another, there will be a catastrophe.”
The former Director of Operation at IYNAUS (Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States) is circulating a letter detailing what she calls abuses of power of the current President of IYNAUS. Excerpts from the letter below:
To provide brief background information: I experienced consistent aggressive behavior from the current IYNAUS President for over two years. In late 2021 and early 2022, the IYNAUS Executive Council (EC) conducted an investigation into the actions and conduct of the IYNAUS President after two former board members submitted documentation of unethical behavior. In addition to these two board members, I know the EC member leading the investigation had conversations with multiple other former board members about the IYNAUS President.
The letter outlined many detailed alleged transgressions. The words hostile and aggressive were used multiple times. The letter ended with a call to action for IYNAUS members.
At its heart, IYNAUS should not be about a select few in power. In 2022, we should not use or condone aggressive, hostile, or abusive communication. I know that there are board members who want things to go differently and care deeply about creating a more positive, caring environment. However, I think that fighting the established power hierarchy proved to be too difficult.
I encourage everyone in the IYNAUS community to demand change and volunteer to be part of that change. Demand that IYNAUS leadership and policies exemplify the values of yoga. Members have the power to remove unethical leaders (see excerpt from bylaws below). Demand transparency from IYNAUS leadership. I posted public board meeting minutes under Member Benefits when I had access to them. There are multiple board and EC meeting minutes I have never seen. Members should demand to see them. Demand an annual member meeting, even during non-convention years. Tell IYNAUS what you think it needs to do to be the future of Iyengar Yoga, and get involved in that future. With the right people leading the way, IYNAUS could be as amazing as Iyengar Yoga. If you know how IYNAUS could be better, volunteer—IYNAUS needs people like you to bust the “seed” open and grow anew.
Sigh. The seed is dead. There is no hate like Iyengar yoga hate.
Thank you for all the comments on my last post. I only published a few. My last post was my attempt at being proactive because of of previous experiences in the Iyengar yoga community and the recent interest in me and my blog by certain teachers in the Iyengar community.
It’s ironic how sales soar when books are banned, and I think that is what happened with Manouso’s classes. He continues to attract yoga students who might not otherwise have found him.
Some comments from my last post:
Love your writing. Have studied with dozens of teachers. I consider Manouso a national treasure. His teaching is extraordinary. My email is in the comments sign-in form. Please keep me on your email list if you are censored by the scolding class.
Manouso is the most capable Iyengar yoga teacher alive. We owe a debt to Him. We owe a debt to you for writing this blog. Continue. Those who try to censor the truth tell lies. “Do the needful”
I’ve been asked what my end game is with this blog. I was up front about it since my first post back in 2019. I want people to know that there is another side to the story besides the the one pushed by IYNAUS and the internet mob.
There were many who stood to gain a lot from removing Manouso from the Iyengar tradition. Before she died, Geeta Iyengar said it herself in a letter to the IYNAUS board of directors,
Regarding the first matter, we are taken aback that you have chosen to hire an external investigator recommended by yoga Alliance to reinvestigate this matter. We see your point that the Board of directors have taken this decision to protect the name of Iyengar yoga in America. The investigation by the Ethics Committee followed the standard procedure, due process and provided a clear conclusion. When all of those who were in the committee that were in charge of this investigation cleared the matter without any conflict, we don’t see why you have reopened this case and that too with an external examiner. Without any additional evidence or witnesses, it doesn’t make sense to have undertaken this decision. That too, to have an investigator recommended by Yoga Alliance is like admitting that the first investigation was not fair. It seems like IYNAUS is admitting to be lacking in its judgment and in that case, there is a bigger problem, not a problem involving just an individual. Secondly, to call for anonymous complaints from 1992 to now is unreasonable and troubling. Guruji said that those who express views without revealing their names, are in political terms fence-sitters so that they can move to the side which is convenient to them. He did not accept those views and we honor his wisdom- that is yogic way. As a lawyer you may argue either side of it but we question the legality of this and strongly believe that it is not ethical or yogic. Maybe you have taken this decision out of nervousness because of the havoc being created in the social media. Even though we don’t want to be judgmental it also seems like there is an animosity that is driving all this. You cannot assume that an individual is guilty and go all out to prove that. Yoga teachers and Iyengar yoga Associations should act with more responsibility.
It is my intention to keep this narrative alive because I believe what went down with Manouso was one-sided and designed to find guilt. In a democracy, a person being accused learns the identity of their accuser(s); has the opportunity to question their claims; to explain their ‘side’ of the story, to tell their truth and to have their day in court. Manouso was not given this opportunity.
Manouso has helped so many people over the years and asked for nothing in return other than they take responsibility for themselves. He is my teacher and has helped me be a better human being. In service to him and humanity, I write this blog and “do the needful”.
Thank you Manouso and to those who read this blog.
One of the hardest parts about being alive today is the pervasive culture of intolerance for the basic humanity of being human. This is perfectly illustrated in the dynamics of the Iyengar system of yoga. BKS Iyengar’s teaching methods are harshly judged by the standards of the present not only by people outside of Iyengar yoga but by the very people (senior teachers and IYNAUS) who have profited from his teaching and his name. Certified Iyengar yoga teachers (CIYTS) are held to impossible (and hypocritical) standards of perfection in both their private and professional lives, to the extent that they are not free to study with teachers of their choosing without the fear of losing their Iyengar certification. Check out the IYNAUS website. It is filled with the rules and regulations for an Iyengar yoga teacher. The continuing education requirements alone make sure nobody has any fun! It seems to me that BKS and Geeta have been edited out of Iyengar yoga and all that is left is a punitive system of rules and regulations rather than the exploration of self in relationship to the universe through asana. I left the system because of this and because many of my fellow CIYTS were mistaking self righteousness for morality. Their punitive intolerance for mistakes in others while maintaining a wide sweeping forgiveness for their own did me in. The system evolved into something I could no longer relate to and had nothing to do with the teachings of BKS Iyengar as I understood them. Manouso talked about this on BKS Iyengar’s birthday. The class is on vimeo if you want to check it out. December 14, 2021.
I recently ran into a Iyengar yoga student who was in training to be an Iyengar yoga teacher. I asked her how it was going and after a pause she said, “I just want to teach yoga, I don’t want to be a yoga nun!” She went on to explain that the high-minded teacher was completely oblivious to the needs of the students in the class. The atmosphere was so off putting that she dropped out.
January 9, 2022 is Manouso’s 70th birthday. Happy Birthday, Manouso! So many of us have benefited from your yoga teaching and your generosity.
I already miss the Abode of Iyengar Yoga. Whenever I crossed the threshold and entered the studio, all else receded. Manouso and Rita created a supportive and warm community at the Abode. Their reverence for yoga and humanity permeated the space. Manouso’s teachings inspired me to be better, and I formed deep connections with other seekers at the Abode. Manouso’s selflessness touched us all and made us better humans.
The Abode of Iyengar Yoga was a very special place–a once-in-a-lifetime experience where many lives were transformed. I feel fortunate to have had the experience and to continue to study with the master. Happy Birthday, Manouso!