Still Life: Centre de Yoga Iyengar de Montmartre

Last night, a brand new studio devoted to Iyengar Yoga was inaugurated in the 18ème arrondissement. The creator of this beautiful space, Sophie Boller, invested a lot of time and heart into building a friendly community of practitioners in this corner of Montmartre, and we all celebrated with a Puja.

Led by Faeq Biria, a close disciple of B.K.S. Iyengar’s as well as founder of the Centre de Yoga Iyengar de Paris, the puja evolved from a round of resonant rolling Om’s as candles were lit through musical invocations to Patanjali, Hanuman, Ganesh and Vishnu. We were invited to place a dot of kumkum on our foreheads and say a prayer of blessing and gratitude. There was the burning of camphor (a ritual known as Aarti) whose cleansing smoke we each pulled over our heads, a coconut smashed at the threshold of the studio, sweet cakes melting on our tongues (like Ganesh’s laddu!), and heady jasmine garlands that we braided into our hair… the ceremony embraced all of the senses, reminding us that yoga is not simply the rituals of asana, pranayama and meditation, but that it is alive in absolutely everything we see, hear, taste, touch and smell.