These photographs were given to me by a friend, Francis McCann, who came to Ojai many years ago to attend the annual talks by the renowned philosopher and spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti was also one of Iyengar’s early students. Shortly after my friend passed away, I received a message saying that she wanted me to have these photographs.
Over the years I’ve discovered many interesting connections between Iyengar, Krishnamurti, and Ojai, where I’ve lived since 1957. Vanda Scaravelli’s daughter attended Happy Valley School, the Ojai school that Krishnamurti founded with Aldous Huxley and others. The Krishnamurti Talks were held in the Oak Grove adjacent to the school. Many of Iyengar’s early students–Ramanand Patel, Larry Hattlet, and others–attended the K Talks in Ojai, and they would sometimes spontaneously come to my Ojai Yoga Center and teach my classes. (Hundreds of people sat on the ground during these outdoor K talks, and I could often guess who the yoga teachers were by how straight they sat!)
I have an original edition of Light on Yoga, signed by B.K.S. Iyengar in Gstaad, Switzerland, dated “20 August 1966,” that I “borrowed” while attending the Krishnamurti Talks in Saanen, Switzerland in the summer of 1968. Iyengar was teaching in Saanen and Gstaad during the month-long series of Krishnamurti talks, attended by more than a thousand people from all over the world.
During that summer in Saanen, I heard Iyengar’s students talking about yoga, but I was a 19-year-old single mom with a nursing baby, and going to yoga classes was out of my reach. I studied the photographs in the back of that stolen copy of Light on Yoga for many years. Only later did it dawn on me that I, too, was destined to become a yoga teacher . . .