In this episode Vince and Joe examine the deep and ancient tradition of Yoga through a fascinating interview with their highly-qualified guest, Chris Briney of the Center For Iyengar Yoga. Listen in as they tackle questions like:
- What is yoga?
- What is its history and importance in today's culture?
- What are some of the common misconceptions of yoga?
- How is yoga more than just striking poses?
- Is there anyone who wouldn't benefit from yoga?
We welcome, value and appreciate all feedback. Please feel free to share your comments or suggestions for future topics at: email@example.com and visit friendsinwonder.com to rate, review, subscribe or share this episode or show.
Vince Kern 0:02
Welcome to another episode of Friends in wonder, Joe. I'm really excited about this week's episode because I learned a lot from our guest. He really broke down a deep and complex topic.
Joe Luther 0:15
Yeah, me too, Vince, you know what it takes such an ancient tradition like yoga and break it down the way we did with our sense of wonder and awe was a lot of fun. So let's get right into it. But remember, if you liked this episode, please share it with a friend, or leave some feedback at friends in wonder.com.
Vince Kern 0:46
Joe, hey, Joe.
What are you doing over there?
Joe Luther 0:51
I'm just getting myself ready. Because we're talking about yoga today. We're talking about yoga today. I've walked in on you a few times. I've don't think I've ever walked in on you. What was what would you what was that you're doing? You were so so that is an own events. And it's, it's the way we whenever we go to whenever I go to my yoga studio, and we do a class, we start with ohms. And then we actually dokind of a prayer. Salutation to potentially and it gets it's a it's a way to kind of bring your mind into the space of what you're about to do. And ohms and potentialities. Yeah. All right. So it's interesting.
Vince Kern 1:40
This is going to be a great show. I'm really excited about it. Because we've got a, a very talented and learned yoga instructor with us who will introduce later on. But we both had some experiences in yogas yoga in our life. And I know you're actively practicing what to two times a week now or?
Joe Luther 2:02
Well, yeah, I mean, there's I go to private session, a lot of times with my wife, Sonya, try to do it twice a week, then there's the private practice to of doing it at home. And but yeah, I've more actively involved in yoga, but it's only been Vince in the last four years. You know, here I am 62 years old, and I started at age 58. And I think part of the reason we wanted to do this episode is because I was a classic example of somebody who thought Yoga is not for me. And I know you had a similar kind of experience later in your life.
Vince Kern 2:41
Yeah, I did I well, I remember, we were talking about this beforehand, that in my 20s, and I would see it when I'd go to some health clubs and gyms and places where yoga classes were offered the vernacular, the words, the names of the positions, I really was a little bit intimidated, because I thought I needed a lot of knowledge. Pre learned before I could even go in there. And yeah, and I, you know, I was a little intimidated. I was like, oh, boy, you know, and but over time I, I did get involved with yoga. The place I got involved with it was at work at the newspaper in Detroit, and they had a yoga instructor come in, and they they had a class of people that gathered all ages, sizes, abilities, there is a person with a walker. And the instructor was so adept at outlining it that I actually started taking some yoga classes. And for many, many years, I did a practice with classes. And now although I don't do classes, I still do my own little, I think it's a practice, but and maybe our guests can enlighten us about what that actual practice is. But throughout the week, we'll have various sessions. Sheila used to do it with me until she was buying me one day and I did a downward dog pose. And she said that she couldn't ever get that picture out of her head. So she's done some classes herself. And but but she practices in our basement now. So that's been my experience. I'm really glad I didn't ignore it all my life, because I found it to be very valuable. And I know you have as well.
Joe Luther 4:30
Yeah. And well, I think part of what we want to break down today and, you know, maybe not be too hard before we get to our guests, but is the idea of the misconceptions that people have. And certainly it sounds like you had misconceptions. I did too. I was intimidated, because a couple of times I went to yoga classes in my 30s and 40s and probably only two or three times and typically, you know the class that I would end up in there were You know, very thin women and very flexible and you know that along with the pictures you would see whenever you you know, whenever you see a yoga picture, it's it's somebody who's in top physical shape striking the perfect pose and, and I look at it i Whoa, I can't do that. And so in my mind, I thought you're just like you needed to be nimble, you needed to be physically fit and I, I was really none of those things out, I was reasonably fit and I could go to a gym and do things but you know, very tight hamstrings my whole life and all sorts of things, right, I could barely touch my knees, let alone my toes. And, and so when I went to these classes, I kind of felt like, I was the oddball there and everybody else was doing, you know, was lightyears ahead of me and, and so I never really felt quite welcome with it until really until we met our until I met our guest. And, and then, you know, even though he's extremely advanced, he's very advanced with teaching beginners like me. So, yeah, so I think it's a good time to, you know, to bring our guest in.
Vince Kern 6:13
Yeah. Well, I've looked on his website. I know you know him personally, but It'd be my pleasure and honor to read a little bit of his bio. We are going to be talking with Chris briny, and I hope I pronounced that correctly. He's is the owner and director of the Chris Briney center for iyengar yoga, and I hope I pronounced that as well, correctly. He's the director of the Center for Ionawr yoga in Royal Oak, Michigan. He's one of only a small handful of teachers in Metro Detroit to attain certification as an iyengar yoga teacher by the Iyengar National Association of the United States. He is also one of only seven yoga teachers in the state of Michigan to attain an intermediate level three certification, and the only male yoga teacher in the state to do so. certification as I anger yoga instructor is widely regarded as the highest standard of certification for teachers of Hatha Yoga worldwide. So I'd like to welcome you Chris. I hope I didn't dance on the pronunciations too badly. No, it was just fine. Thank you. It was a one point of clarification. The his his yoga center is Studio is the Center for iyengar yoga and Royal Oak. I don't think Chris's name is attached to the Center for iyengar yoga. That's my reputation.
Joe Luther 7:40
Well, yeah, anybody goes to that studio? They know, Chris, that's for sure. Because Chris is always there, it seems. Isn't it? True, Chris?
Chris Briney 7:49
Quite often. Yes.
Joe Luther 7:50
Yes. Well, welcome to friends in wonder, Chris. I wanted to I wanted to Yeah, I wanted to start off, Chris. So first of all, I think maybe I don't know if you heard all of our introduction. But we're gonna we want to talk a little bit about some of the misconceptions of yoga. But before we do that, we wanted to really, maybe go over with you. Because I know from having been in your classes, the last, you know, several years, I know you have a pretty good knowledge of some of the history of yoga. And I thought the best place to start is, is in a few words. I know. There's lots of books written on it. But what would you say yoga is Chris?
Chris Briney 8:31
Yeah, I thought I thought you might throw one of those.
Joe Luther 8:36
little curveball, it's like, yeah, it's like asking what is love?
Chris Briney 8:46
I'll just give you, you know, really what comes to me now and then maybe circle back to definitions that resonate, but at least to understand the word yoga, it comes from the root word huge. Why uj which means to join, to attach to yoke together. So it's really a process of bringing the various aspects of a human being together in a meaningful way, I would say and where they're actually functioning for a similar purpose. So like the body, the mind, the intellect, are linked, yoked up for the purpose of movement in some direction. A definition that I really resonate with and I would say I am consistently challenged by actually comes from my teacher, BKs Iyengar. So good job, Vince with the pronunciation. Thank you. He says it's basically also that the word yoga you Huge means to direct or concentrate one's attention on. And it means a union or communion. And he goes on to say it means it's the true union of our will, with the will of God with the divine will, you know, that's, like, I know my will, but the will of God, you know, I don't know. So that the process of seeking to yoke myself, you know, the yoke, like two oxen were when they're pulling a plow, can I hook myself to that? I guess, in my view, you know, my understanding of divinity, which would, which I don't know anyone that can really claim that, but would be to that to love goodwill, goodness, health on a lot of different levels. So I think it's good to start there. That's excellent.
Joe Luther 10:56
I think that's excellent. Because I think really, that's part of what makes yoga so different from, you know, a lot of people because, again, I we don't want to dwell on misconceptions of yoga to mean that there's that yoga is in some way misconceived, because it's not it's, it's really well understood now, but there's still a lot of people out there that think of yoga as a form of exercise, or a form of stretching, or that kind of thing. And it's so much more, and I think that's you did a great job of, of explaining that. In fact, that kind of segues into the, to the next part that I wanted to talk to you about. And in, we may, we may jump on this stuff kind of quickly, because obviously, we could talk about this kind of stuff for hours. But what our goal is, is to kind of give a brief overview of the history and, and give people a better understanding of, of how yoga transcends really written history and goes back a long way. And, and, you know, the Patanjali, doing the Yoga Sutras. Give us a little bit of background of that, because from what from what I understand, there was it's a little bit like, the stories of Homer that there were all these various people that had written ideas of, of Homer and, and then somebody brought it all together, and in turn it into a coat cohesive book, and from what I understand, the Yoga Sutras is very similar in that Patanjali was really the sage that brought the historical use of, of, of yoga into a more unified idea. Yeah, I
Chris Briney 12:43
think that's a good, not too far back. How
Joe Luther 12:46
far back does does? What he did go if you if you know,
Chris Briney 12:51
well, okay, so I, I can't claim any, you know, exhaustive authority as a historian, but at least in my own studies, I've heard estimates that there are teachings on yoga that go back like 30,000 years,
Joe Luther 13:07
isn't that something? Wow. And
Chris Briney 13:11
at least this much I understand Patanjali was a well, it's some even say, and again, I don't know the accuracy. But Patanjali was sort of like Shakespeare in where it was like, was it one person? Was it several people, but there are a few treatises that are attributed to Patanjali. And the chant you mentioned, or the invocation that you mentioned, we do in class, acknowledges Patanjali, as having done, really three things he gave, he wrote a treatise, or compiled the treatise on yoga, which the chant we do says was given for serenity of the mind, which is an interesting, just going back to that question, also wrote a treatise on grammar, for clarity of expression, clarity and purity of expression, and a treatise on AI or VEDA, which is one of the oldest forms of natural medicine, perhaps the oldest, we don't know, but for health of the body. So those are three fundamental human interests that potentially impacted. So who Patanjali was, you know, there's some iconography where he was half human and half snake and
Joe Luther 14:31
history, statues or whatever. Yeah.
Chris Briney 14:35
He lives somewhere in the cosmos with Vishnu, who's one of the main deities in Hinduism,
Joe Luther 14:42
oh God, like a godlike kind of figure but somebody who lived and walked among us
Chris Briney 14:46
so we incarnated, yeah, to learn yoga to impart yoga. So it is said, I've heard it said that in Patanjali is time there were I don't know remember the exact number but hundreds or 1000s of different schools or disciplines of yoga, which is kind of interesting, because we're at we're finding a lot of branches and disciplines of yoga today. Some of them are quite profound. Some are chemicals in some ways, but like I just heard about, they call it bend and burn. involves like marijuana and oh,
Joe Luther 15:30
okay, that makes sense.
Chris Briney 15:31
And so they're at Patanjali is time I don't know if such a thing was happening. But there were lots of there was lots of specialization. It's been compared to like modern medicine, where you don't just have a hip person, you might have a labrum person now, or not a certain type of eye, eye doctor Throat doctor, there's the specialization. So what Patanjali was known for was taking that whole big, vast, somewhat branching out discipline of yoga and really coalescing it into its essence.
Joe Luther 16:10
And again, it was it was 1000s of years ago, at least. Yeah,
Chris Briney 16:14
it's estimated around 2500 years ago, some sometime 250 to 500. BC. Yeah, it was published. Well, yeah,
Joe Luther 16:22
that's good. So, um, and then, you know, kind of fast forwarding, we don't need to get into the full history, but then fast forwarding, the real, like, kind of, kind of similar to rock and roll where we had the British invasion. Yoga kind of invaded America as well. In roughly around the same time, right, it was it the 60s or the 50s.
Chris Briney 16:45
It seems from what I can tell why wasn't there in the 60s, unfortunately, but
Joe Luther 16:52
I was I was there. We were there. But we were. We were riding our bikes back there. Not thinking about yoga.
Chris Briney 16:59
You weren't tuning in, or tuning out and dropping out or what however, No,
Joe Luther 17:04
exactly not yet. Until our teams for that, okay.
Chris Briney 17:10
There was something about like the World's Fair in 1900, where a swami Swami Vivekananda came, and that seemed to spark a little push. Paramahansa Yogananda came, I believe it was a little before the 60s but in terms of at least the Yoga I study, I anger started to gain some exposure to the Western world, around the mid 60s to early 70s. And actually in the metro Detroit area, and Arbor was one of the first sort of iyengar yoga Mecca was in it was the place. His first American students, I believe, are students from the US came from Ann Arbor. And that was early 70s. Yeah. So yeah. Yeah. I think one other thing I would say, in my own experience, it really took off yoga really took off in the early 2000s. Here in the US there was when I started in 1997, there was pretty much one Yoga Studio in the metro Detroit area. There may have been to, you know, other things where it taught at a wire or a church gymnasium, but a yoga studio. No, but now, in our area, or any metro area. I mean, you've got dozens and dozens of yoga studios. So that started, I would say, early 2000s That really flew flew up in that way. But yeah, Chris,
Joe Luther 18:43
let's, let's talk, we wanted to talk a little bit about misconceptions. And I think this is a good opportunity to talk a little bit about our personal relationship I came to you about four or five years ago. Well, how long ago when did you open your studio? Because I know I was there when you when you started?
Chris Briney 19:02
That's right. Yeah, we you. I delayed you for a little bit because I was in the midst of the construction. Yeah, exactly. So we we opened in June of 2018.
Joe Luther 19:14
Okay, so it's been for about four years. And when I came to you, I you know, I was I'm a classic, you know, kind of 62 year old who did male who did exercise his own way. And I had a number of injuries over the years. And I was very, very apprehensive to say the least, I don't know if you remember that. But I was quite certain that I was an unteachable candidate of yoga, and in you kind of just smiled in and began. I don't know that I was a piece of clay. I might have been more a piece of brick at the time. But is there anybody who you can't teach?
Chris Briney 19:59
Yeah, I mean, I I think there are I do? I think there are there may be, it's sort of on two ends of the spectrum there are there are people that I mean, I believe I have students and just honestly Joe, there are things I know about you that as far as yoga is concerned, what I consider Yoga, you you are in some ways more advanced than I am as a as an evolved conscious being. Just honestly, even though I may have a physical ability that would exceed yours, you know, I can I can put my hands on the floor, I can get my leg behind my head on most days, and I can go up into handstand. But that's you mentioned about misconception? Well, first, let me answer the question about who I can't teach. I would say, you know, there are there are people who are pretty tapped in to their divine essence. And, and I feel for me, as a teacher and practitioner, that's an area I'm growing, I had plenty of physical ability, coming to yoga, and I've really come to see it as something more. But in terms of physical condition, I feel I could teach just about any.
Joe Luther 21:20
Yeah. Well, that's I guess that's kind of the what there was a backdoor way of getting to the, to the point I was hoping in that is that, you know, if, if you're injured, if you're a beginner, if you're very old, if you're recovering from a surgery, if you're pregnant, if you have a prosthetic like it doesn't matter, right? I mean, especially because it isn't just physical.
Chris Briney 21:44
Yeah. If if there's a willingness, you know, to be patient, because some things need need to be figured out, just like I mean, I actually haven't taught someone with a prosthetic. But I do have I have had a couple of students who may have a birth defect or, you know, where that severely affects a limb or the two limbs aren't the same?
Joe Luther 22:07
Terms of Yeah, I didn't mean to cut you off. But that's interesting, because one of the things I don't think we've explained yet is is what makes iyengar yoga different from other yoga practices. And that is their well, at least in the physical part of it is their use of you know, the tools in the, in the different aids within yoga. So it isn't just person and mat, it could be person and strap or person with the bolster or with a chair or with ropes hanging from a wall on that kind of thing. Get into that a little bit about what what sets iyengar yoga, apart maybe from other forms.
Chris Briney 22:50
Yeah, well, I mean, having I can't speak to authoritatively on many forms. I've mostly done i Ngari yoga, but I know what we've seen as characteristics of the method. One is the technicalities where you're certainly you if you're putting forces through the body, so the word Hatha itself one translation is force. And when you bend or when you twist or I mean right now 24/7 Gravity is a force acting upon us and any movement you make with your body or position you take, there will be forces on the tissues, skin, muscles, bones, joints. So the technicalities, on the one hand, assure that those forces are being applied safely, but also effectively. And so the technicalities, I think are a place where the philosophy enters. Yeah, like the balance between effort and surrender, the balance between strong determination and a sense of yielding and openness. So that's one aspect technicalities, another is how things are put together. So sequencing. I know the anger method has a lot of distinct principles about sequencing. And as teachers were challenged to give a lot of thought to how did things go together for cumulative effects, just like any piece of music or a meal or even medications, how do they interact to produce the optimal result? So technicalities, sequencing, timings, how long we hold the pastures because that allows a certain process to unfold. I think those are often noted as features and you mentioned about equipment. The equipment really lends to all of the aspects but certainly helps with technicalities. Like some people can't I reach the floor in a certain pose. So we bring a block, we bring the floor to them. Yeah, they might help with timings and even sequence. So, yeah, those are some features. Yeah.
Joe Luther 25:12
Yeah. For me, that was really what, what brought it into my grasp because because I can't touch my toes, and a block was even somewhat out of reach, you brought a chair to me or whatever. And then from there, I could kind of relax into the idea of the pose, maybe not the way it was drawn up. Or maybe not the way you have pictures on the wall of B ksi. And guard doing, but
Chris Briney 25:41
really, not many mortals do but
Joe Luther 25:44
but you know, in the, in the various aides and equipment in to just take a lot of the intimidation out of it and makes it makes it more accessible, I think. But go ahead, Vince.
Vince Kern 25:58
Well, I, I was just gonna say we talked a little bit about, you know, age and physicality and on sort of the older, older age range. Is it ever too young? To get someone involved in yoga? I? So I'm thinking of children, how do we how do we how can one best bring them into the fold, so to speak, or, you know, and when barriers Yeah, and when
Chris Briney 26:23
very good. I'm glad you're mentioning that. And just I want to circle back really quickly. Nobody is too old, too stiff, or too fat too thin. It's really a matter of teachability. And sensitivity, I think you don't have to touch your touch the you don't have to be super bendy to be sensitive. And to. And sometimes the stiffer folks, they develop more equanimity, because of the intensity of their experience than the flexible ones. They're, they're actually interacting with the life process more profoundly, which is, in many ways the essence of yoga. So for children, at least, mostly when I'm in doubt I that I feel the anger our family has, just knowing that their story and history. They've lived breathed, eaten slept yoga, it's it's been passionate more, I don't even know how to describe it. But they have a lot of experience and have taught a lot. And I think it's pretty wise that they say below the age of eight for children, if they want to play let them play. But there's really no, you don't enforce any kind of regimen or discipline. There's no technicalities, no sequence, no timings they play. And one thing they're emphatic about is nothing is ever forced. Because a child's body is developing. Certain neurology isn't formed, even their bones and joints aren't fully formed. So you don't, there's no insistence upon you let their wisdom guide it. And it's very interesting. I've worked with children a bit. And if anything is unsafe or injurious, they just come right out. They don't go there, their their body intelligence is that way. So they're they're often very limited risk. But then after eight, you can start to introduce a little more guidance. And by it seems to me by maybe it depends on the child, but teens, you can start to work more formalized. Practice with a little more rigor, but for the most part, it's move a lot, do a lot. Don't fuss about the details, that comes later when our bodies are slower, and our heads are full of a lot more
Vince Kern 28:52
enough. Yeah. And it's not just the physicality of the two, it's the spiritual development that probably takes time in the same way. For instance, an eight year old may not have a wealth of life experiences to cut to look back on and, and join up in in that, in that, that definition of yoga. Right. I mean, it might take some time for that.
Chris Briney 29:15
Well, yeah, I think that's a good point. They and they have a lot less baggage to work through. Right? It's I mean, there's a much purer connection to being it seems and and for us, that's that's often covered over and layered over, which is part of what we're breaking up. As we break up stiffness and patterns in the body. Same thing in the consciousness, ideally, and
Joe Luther 29:38
segwaying. On that question from Vince, it's, it's a it's a long lines of this idea of misconceptions. I know I've spoken to people over the years who say Oh, yeah, I went to a to a yoga class and you know, they they were praying before before we started and and that made me very uncomfortable. And I didn't I never came back. And, you know, I, to be honest, when I first came to your class, and we did the invocation, obviously, we have our hands clasped. And it's very prayer like, but I guess I had already evolved a little bit in terms of my idea of what prayer is if it isn't only in a church or are under the guidance of a religious practitioner. But speak to that, Chris, because I think that that is one of the misconceptions that we wanted to, to help break down, if you will, this idea that yoga is is does not interfere with your religious beliefs.
Chris Briney 30:46
Yeah, well, I think there I, again, I want to honor where people come from, in terms of there are there are people for whom it does honestly, conflict with their religious beliefs, they have very powerful religious beliefs in a certain way. And to pay respect to a sage like Patanjali, although, in my view, I don't, you know, I'm not at that Echelon where I could say, like, Okay, well, Patanjali is better than Jesus or Buddha, or, you know, like,
Joe Luther 31:22
I think if they were, there are no betters,
Chris Briney 31:25
they would they would really enjoy each other's company be like, Wow, finally, someone who really understands what I'm talking about. Yeah. So I think if you if only thing, the way I've resolved it, is if you get to like the essence, the principles underneath the formalities in some way, or if you get at the intent, then I think you wouldn't necessarily find a conflict. And some aspects of yoga. There, there are said to be eight limbs of yoga. The it's called Ashtanga Yoga that Patanjali laid out. These are the eight facets of yoga. And the first two facets are pretty much universal truths in it, not just in religions, but in cultures. Like, be honest, don't harm each other. Don't take what isn't yours, don't take more than you need. Don't take advantage. cultivate a sense of contentment, and gratitude. Try to hold a pure and pure perspective. Be disciplined. I mean, these are things that, yeah, kind of a
Joe Luther 32:42
codification of our moral compasses type thing, but But bringing attention to it. So, you know, again, we could talk for hours. One of the one of the things, though, that we wanted to cover, before we bring this to a close is, is, again, we don't mean to put you on the spot, because here we are saying, oh, you know, how is yoga? Not a Religion? It's a tough one. How about how about, let's throw another one at us. That's a tough one. And that is, you know, there's comparing the kinds of exercise that's out there with the exercise portion of yoga. For me, I guess I want to speak to it because I had my whole life, thought of exercises, raising my heartbeat, you know, burning calories, building muscle, building endurance, and that kind of thing. And there's a lot of different ways to do that, right. There's, there's boot camp, there's orange theory, there's, you know, there's Pilates and all these various kinds of things. And, and I did those things, and I, and I built my muscles. But when I came to you, and and really, I think the breakthrough for you and I was doing the private classes, although in your in your full classes, I there were breakthroughs as well, because I broke I broke down my own misconception that I can't perform in a class. But for me, what I found fascinating is our journey began and continues is that here I am getting older in life. But I'm, I'm actually finding things in my, in my physicality that I maybe haven't had since I was eight years old. So typically, when we age we say, well, I can't do that anymore. I you know, I just got to forget about being able to do that or do this and now I'm doing things in my later years that I haven't been able to do in my younger years. So I'm setting you up with the answer here. But I guess what, what primarily do you think is the difference between going to the gym and as a form of exercise, and yoga as a as a practice in I could I could help give that answer myself, but I'd like to hear your take on it.
Chris Briney 35:11
All right. Again, this is coming from someone well, I did a lot of those things in my youth I, you know, I played sports, I lifted weights, I was a track runner, I think anything we do to, to enhance our aliveness is valuable. And so there was a period where I, I would sort of confidently say, yoga is the best technology for well being period. And, and in some ways, I do feel that because of its potential, like, what's coming to me is, okay, if I'm, if I'm a weightlifter, though, the weight is always going to be the weight, the bar is always going to be the bar, if I'm running the surface I'm running on will be the surface, and my body's going to interact with those things in a certain way. With weights, you can change your weights and repetitions and things like that. But each and every pose can be modified or tailored, every single day, there aren't really a fixed set of variables, you know, the, the equipment you're working on, or the surface you're running on. I mean, I guess your your floor surface will be different. But you can modify the same the pose of the same name for a variety of conditions. And I think that's a unique feature of yoga in that. If I'm, if I'm saying my workout is I run three miles a day or something, generally, I'm going to run on the same surface. My shoes are my shoes, my joints are my joints. But what's happening in the body is fairly consistent. Based on the interaction of those elements. I think in yoga, we have a lot more control of the inputs, based on well, do I stretch further today? Do I stretch less far? Do I? You know, do I use this prop? Do I use that Prop? Do I work with this surface? Do I work with this sequence,
Joe Luther 37:12
it's like, it's like, every time you you, you practice yoga, there, there's a different revelation is kind of what you're, or maybe a potential for a different inner revelation,
Chris Briney 37:25
sort of, or nuances in the recipe. And I suppose with anything, that would be true. But I think it's, it's quite available. And again, I don't have yoga has been my thing for years. But although I have done some running, but you can't really, if I'm running around a track or around my neighborhood or in the woods, there's a certain just fact that every step I have to take a certain way with a certain amount of force, I have a lot more control of you know, how I've been forwarded into practice or how I've been backward into practice. And just one other piece that I don't think you find in the other exercises are the inversions, which would be a whole other, you know, topic in and of itself, but we do upside down work. And the effects on the body physiology, chemistry, neurology are as well as your own, you know, like perspective or spirit when, how do you orient when your things are turned upside down? How do you find your bearings, when your feet are taken out from under you? Things like that. That's another feature that is quite unique to yoga. The inverted work? Yeah.
Joe Luther 38:41
Well, that was one of those things that when I saw it, I'm like, well, I'll never be doing that. And I certainly am. And I agree. And, you know, I've thought about that over the years, because I'm, I'm very interested in, you know, this whole idea of how we've evolved in what genetically we were evolved to do. And certainly human beings were evolved to be climbing up in trees and probably hanging upside down, not unlike monkeys, you know, still do today. So, yeah, the whole idea of inverting and, and getting the blood to flow in a different way and clear your lymph lymphatic system, and that kind of thing, from what I understand is extremely beneficial. Physiologically, and I know I feel that, you know, feel the benefits of that. Look.
Vince Kern 39:32
So Chris, so just for the for the listener here who may have listened to all this and said, Okay, you guys did a deep dive into this, and I feel ready to, to start out but I'm just not quite sure beginning or somebody who, who says, Oh, this all sounds intriguing. What would your recommendation be? And can you talk a little bit about doing it at home instead of in a studio?
Chris Briney 39:59
Yeah, great question. as well, as somebody who is beginning, I do, I would emphasize that it is important to find a good teacher, a capable teacher, and how you determine that the standards in yoga are fairly varied. So somebody can be what's called a registered yoga teacher or have or have completed a teacher training. But not necessary, there really isn't a kind of agreed upon. And I'm not saying there should be standard for certification. So you with certain programs, you could start, I could tap yoga, my first day, I go into a teacher training program. And 200 hours later or six months later, whatever it is, I'm a certified teacher. And they may be a great person, they may have a lot of knowledge, they may be a natural, that's something you could that. So I think it's knowing what your objectives are, knowing what your condition is, if there if you have any health conditions like Joe, you mentioned, someone pregnant, you definitely should take care about what they do not all post some poses you ought not do during pregnancy, you can compromise your self, some people are fine with it. But there are risks that you can avoid. So knowing what your condition is, knowing what your objectives are, and then do some research of your teacher find out what their knowledge is. And do you feel confident? Learning from them? Do you feel you'll be served? Well, that would be first and this links to your question about a personal practice, I would say it's important to learn some things from a teacher initially. And it could it could be after your first class or first, second third class, you might have oh, okay, we did these things. And just go and do them for 510 minutes, on your own a couple of days before your next class. And then like that, it will slowly build it will generally accrue over time, the more you learn, the more you'll start to build your practice, which does become an important piece that as much as we have all this technique, and I Ngara yoga, they're emphatic that you have to learn, it's a self taught practice as well. So you get information, but you really digest it, break it down, in your own personal practice.
Joe Luther 42:37
And I can speak to that because, you know, again, I was as I don't want to say reluctant, I came to you willingly, but I was as skeptical. A student as there was. And part of what's interesting is, you know, you feel a sense of security, having the certified teacher in front of you, showing you what to do. But there's also going on a little bit of self consciousness, or a little bit of maybe pressure to do it the right way in front of the teacher. And what I find when I'm at home, trying to do the same thing that you tried to show or that you did show me, you know, the day before. I'm like, oh, you know, because I'm able to explore without, you know, any self conscious thinking of what you're thinking or what other people in the class might be thinking or whatever. And when I'm by myself in exploring on my own, like you said, it's, it's more meaningful. And as you begin to do more of that, that's where I think this whole idea, you know, kind of segwaying back to the beginning, that's your definition of yoga, the yoking or the, or the bringing together of the physicality with the spirituality and, and, you know, in the mind, and, and that's when I think it really becomes meaningful. And I, I can tell you, you know, that I never would have dreamed four years later, that I would be having profound experiences in my own private practice. I just, I thought that was, you know, at my stage in life, that was impossible.
Chris Briney 44:17
And just, I want to circle back to the you said, at some point, just a little bit off hand like that. You see all these people in these perfect postures, or there was some mention of posture. Yeah,
Joe Luther 44:29
I mean, very rarely do you see yoga poses, you know, being demonstrated, where it's, it's being done wrong by somebody who can't really, you know, get his, you know,
Chris Briney 44:41
well, depends on how trained the is. But really, I think this is an important point, though. I think the perfect yoga poses the one that you're describing Joe, where you really are having some sense of profundity of your experience and appreciation for the life that's in you where Are you? There's a great quote from anger. It's like a real yoga poses where the thought of Brahman, which is that, you know, divinity, universal divinity flows, I think he says effortlessly and incessantly through the awareness of the practitioner. And that doesn't require any physical math. I mean, you don't have to. It's not like, oh, that happens when you touch your toes. It's, that's, that's a state that's always available. And you said, you know, here you are, you never expected you, you're four years older than when you started. But the profundity of your experience is increasing. I think that's really how the yoga ought to be measured.
Vince Kern 45:42
Yeah. Beautiful. Well, Chris, it's obvious that you have brought that type of connection to our my co host, Joe, and many other people. And we are grateful that you shared such a depth of experience with us today. Now, for people looking to find out more about iyengar yoga, you have a website, what's the where can they find you at online?
Chris Briney 46:10
So for my studio, it's this well, it's www dot center. For f o r. I anger. I YENGA are yoga.com. And then
Joe Luther 46:27
Chris, what would you say your favorite book on yoga is? Would it be light on yoga soon?
Chris Briney 46:34
Um, Boy, that's a good question.
Joe Luther 46:37
I shouldn't have thrown that. I would I
Chris Briney 46:39
mean, a beginner's How about for beginners light on yoga is great. There's also, it's a great manual for practice. It's also a great manual for an excellent distillation of the yoga philosophy. But another really beautiful book on the I think some of the ideas we've explored here is it's called light on life by BKs anger. And it's just it's not a lot of technical information, but just a lot of wisdom, inspiration for how this practice can have us evolve. That's beautiful.
Joe Luther 47:14
That's a great way to end it, I
Chris Briney 47:15
think. Yeah. Well, thanks
Joe Luther 47:17
this time. Thanks for your time, Chris. We really appreciate it.
Chris Briney 47:21
Well, thanks. It's been an honor. And I really appreciate what you're doing. Just with the focus on wonder. Yeah, well, that's
Joe Luther 47:28
what we're, we're you know, we have a wide range of topics. But it all comes down to the the common theme of, of living love loving life and in how can you do better? And in yoga certainly is a big part of that.
Chris Briney 47:44
Thanks. Thanks for including me in that I'm honored to be with you both.
Vince Kern 47:48
Wow, Joe, what a great interview. I am so ready to get back into the studio now after listening to Chris break that complex topic down so well.
Joe Luther 47:57
Yeah. Isn't he great. I'm very fortunate to have him as an instructor. And I think all people in southeastern Michigan are lucky to have access to him, too. So if you haven't been to his studio yet, I think you should come in and give it a try or if you're outside of this area, he also does online classes at Center for Iyengar yoga.com
Vince Kern 48:19
or find a local studio and instructor near you. There's plenty of them around and it's good for the soul. Thanks again for listening to friends in wander. We'll see you next time.