Lou & Rajhas

Lou Rajhas Iyengar (born Lou Alexandra Asselin Marante) was born in Venezuela to a French father and Venezuelan mother. She grew up around Yoga, occasionally seeing both her father and step father practice it. When she was 16 Theresa Rowland (family friend, Iyengar Yoga teacher and the owner of Studio Yoga in New Jersey) invited her to her first Yoga class at Studio Yoga in Madison-New Jersey. But it wasn’t until she was 19 that she started practicing consistently. She completed her Iyengar Yoga teacher training with Theresa Rowland in 2005. Theresa was her first and primary teacher for a long time, whom she assisted in class and workshops for many years. Lou is very grateful for Theresa’s generosity of spirit, her guidance and support. In 2007 she moved to New York City and met Deborah Wolk and Alison West with whom she studied extensively Yoga for Backcare and Yoga for Scoliosis.

She took her first trip to India to study with Guruji’s family in 2013.  This trip was a major turning point for her and her relationship to Yoga and life. In this first trip to Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) she was exposed for the very first time to Prashantji’s teachings, which gave her a much greater scope of what Yoga is and what it encompasses. It is then that she began to see “YOG” everywhere and in everything. Prashantji’s teachings of the philosophy and the esoteric opened the window that would help her go “beyond posture” and would lead her “closer to Asana”. She has also been studying regularly with Arunji for more than 15 years.

On 2014, Arunji invited Lou to Bangalore for his 60th birthday celebration and the launch of his Experiment and Experience on the chair book. It was then that she met Rajhas, and her life would never be the same.

After 20 years of living in the US, she relocated to Paris with her husband Rajhas where they spent 5 years teaching and later making a family. With their little Abhimanyu they have recently moved to Arles where they continue to teach and also conduct residential workshops. Lou’s teaching style is firm yet compassionate.

A few words from Lou about her experience of yoga: “To me, this practice is about getting to know yourself better.  Thru the Asanas and Pranayamas, we become more sensitive beings and get to discover the different layers of who we are, which in turn tunes us to the bigger picture that is Yoga.  What started as a physical discipline, has become the path thru which I am continually finding emotional stability, self acceptance, and a greater connection to my surroundings.”

Lou has been teaching since February 2002 and is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher (CYIT). Lois Steinberg is her mentor.

Born in Hubli, in the state of Karnataka, situated in the south of India, Rajhas Sridharan Iyengar was born in an Iyengar family himself. But the term never referred to yoga for him. To him it meant his roots, tradition, customs, lineage of a Brahmin family that was famous for their coffee and Puliogare (a delicate rice dish, made with tamarind and spices), in all of south India. It was only after he arrived at Pune for a family event that he met Guruji BKS Iyengar and looked at yoga for the first time with different eyes: “I remember looking at all these people, so disciplined, their chest so lifted and their smiles so different. It marked me, inspired me to look somewhere else for what we all search for in the end, but don’t know that we do, a stable spacious mind and a light heart to face life”.

But at the time he didn’t know that this is what called out to him. It was a pain in the back that was much related to the emotional turmoil in him during this period, that motivated him to try a yoga class. “I was looking for some meaning.” Guruji BKS Iyengar himself prompted Rajhas to do yoga giving him his blessing while he was going through this period of emotional instability giving rise to severe bodily pains. Guruji sent Rajhas to study with Sri HS Arun. It was a fortuitous meeting that would change the course of his life. Rajhas was moved by the simplicity of his teacher Sri Arun, in spite of his immense understanding, experience and knowledge of the subject he barely yet understood. “He was among us, making us laugh, teaching us big lessons of life with his silence and his presence, with his grace and lightness.”

Practicing yoga became Rajhas’s priority, and everything else became something that had to fall in place with the practice. “Yoga began to reveal within me all of humanity. Its faults, its fears and its strengths and the source of gracefulness. I continue to practice revealing the inner, reminding myself to look for what is and not what I wish to find in me. It brings me to a state of non-expectation and aids me in being a better human being. To be free from expectations was taught to me by the asanas through my teacher, and I keep bringing them out of the mat as much as I possibly can. The rest is the way it is. Non-expectation begins from oneself. How I relate with others is yoga to me. How I treat others is yoga. And my responsibility to my family is also yoga. As well as all actions, activities, and every movement, as long as it is coming from the depth of my being. I am a student of yoga.”