Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mary Dunn -- Demonstration of Standing Poses at the 1990 Convention

Those of you who have taken my classes have heard me talk about Mary Dunn, one of my favorite visiting yoga teachers.

Mary grew up in Ann Arbor and was the daughter of Mary Palmer, who was instrumental in bringing B.K.S. Iyengar to Ann Arbor in the early 1970s. This was the beginning of the popularization of Iyengar Yoga in the United States.

 Mary Dunn was the founding director of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS), and a founder of the Iyengar Yoga institutes in San Francisco, San Diego, and then New York City.

She was one of the teachers who came back to Ann Arbor every year to teach a weekend series of workshops (such as Manouso Manos still does). Mary was very clear in her teachings, calm and compassionate with her dealings with students, and had a great sense of humor. She was also an excellent teacher of teachers -- I took a number of teacher training classes from her.

This video shows Mary demonstrating a series of standing poses. You can see the vibrancy, control, and extension in her poses as she moves from one pose to another to another. The stance is a little different in some of the poses than what we might teach now, i.e. the distance between the feet might be wider in Parivrtta trikonasana (revolved triangle pose). I noticed that her heel is up in Parivrtta parsvakonasana (revolved lateral angle pose). That was good to see, because I can't keep my heel down either in that pose!! (Keep it down if you can.)

I hadn't started yoga at that point -- I started three years later, in 1993.  

She died from complications of cancer in 2008, at age 66.   You can read this very nice obituary about Mary in the New York Times.

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