A Lesson for Living: Do the Needful - Dorinda Nyberg

A Lesson for Living: Do the Needful – Dorinda Nyberg

Years ago, I was on retreat with my teacher Donald Moyer. He was teaching pranayama and using a visualization exercise to help us understand the movement of the diaphragm. His teacher was B.K.S. Iyengar during the formative years of Iyengar yoga. Donald’s pranayama practice was directly influenced by Mr. Iyengar. Donald asked us to pay attention and be with our natural breathing, becoming acutely aware of its rhythm, texture, sound, timing and volume.

Yet, in this visualization exercise he was asking us to expand and contract our diaphragm as if casting a fishing net. The net would expand on the inhale and contract on the exhale. The expression of effort felt incongruous to me. Confused with the idea of this image and the idea of working with the breath’s natural patterns, I asked “Donald, how much effort should I be exerting as I cast my net?”. He looked at me and smiled and said, “Just the right amount.” With immediate recognition of what he said and what it meant, I sat back nodded and smiled. I felt completely content with this answer.

This is a story I have told to my students many times when I am reminded of how skillfully Donald helped his students find what they needed in their practice. We as students often want to know exactly how to do something, we want the black and white, the formula, the “answer”. This particular example displays Donald’s ability to help us remain present by side stepping our ego. Instead of working on what is correct or precise – he asked us to do what was needed. His teaching illuminated giving authority to the student, asks the student to feel and notice and observe and respond based on what we felt. It’s very individual, compassionate and personal.

In the years since, I have come to realize that doing “just the right amount” is applicable off the mat in almost anything I undertake. Isn’t this exactly what the practice of yoga is meant to help us understand? We settle into a pose, notice where it is today, feel its essence, assess its wants and then do the needful.


Join Debbie Gilman and Dorinda Nyberg for an Iyengar-inspired yoga retreat in the heart of the Montana’s northern Rocky Mountains that will allow you to step away from your routines and stressors, feel the lightness that comes with deep, regular practice and grow in your understanding of what yoga means to you and why you practice – Awakening The Inner Body: A Montana Yoga Retreat, June 30 – July 6.


About Dorinda Nyberg:

Dorinda Nyberg - Awakening the Inner Body: A Montana Yoga RetreatDorinda’s teaching style helps students focus on intention and anatomical alignment through compassionate and clear instruction, skillful sequencing, and perceptive hands-on adjustments.  Her purpose is to help students experience this ancient practice in a way that reveals its wisdom, and ease.  Dorinda’s love of yoga comes through in her devotion to her teachers, her reverence for yoga’s complex lineage and is balanced with humor so that students leave class feeling refreshed with clear minds and energized bodies.

Dorinda has been studying Iyengar yoga since 1995 and began teaching in 2010.  She is a long-time student of Donald Moyer, Mary Lou Weprin and Debbie Gilman, a graduate of The Yoga Room’s Advanced Studies Program and a Relax and Renew Trainer.  She is certified at the Experienced 500 hour level (ERYT500) and a Continuing Education Provider (YACEP) with the Yoga Alliance.  For seven years Dorinda coordinated and served as a member of the core faculty for the Advanced Studies Program at The Yoga Room in Berkeley.

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