Another week has come and gone. This time I did NOT spend my Sunday at the hospital! Yay! Come to think of it, I actually can't remember what I did... But hey! Whatever it was it didn't involve blood tests or scans! My practice week dealing with my knee was actually really good. Injuries are great teachers if you are willing to listen. This one seemed to be telling me to slow down...so I did and my knee has been great!
Sharath has been in great form. Still teaching led class while reading the newspaper - I swear to God! I wish we were able to take pics in the shala! During the Sun Salutaltion's he is sitting on the stage reading the newspaper while calling out the poses. He's actually always reading it. Taking little breaks during Mysore practice to have some chai or a bite to eat and read the paper. Can you blame him tho? The man gets out of bed at 1am to practice. Then teaches us from 430am until almost noon these days. He needs these little breaks to keep himself sane - lol!
Sunday's conference was early, at 10am vs the usual 4pm. I actually prefer it like this as it frees up the rest of the day. I've noticed that the conference topics seem to be themed. I'm not sure if he comes up with the theme before he arrives or if it just happens as he speaks. WHatever the case, the themes have been fantastic! Last week seemed to be about energy and how to produce and keep energy positive. This week it was about being yourself! He spoke a lot about Guruji and Krishnamacharya aka KM and their contributions to modern yoga. Again, here are some notes that I took while he spoke...
Sharath: "If you study yoga but don't do yoga, books are worth nothing. 99% practice 1% theory.
- experience yoga within you
- develop yourself with your yoga practice
- when we recognize yoga within us the changes will start to happen
- Guruji and KM were great guru's bc they practiced and studied - they did it all
- asana is the foundation of spiritual practice
- yoga is not 'doing' it's 'happening'
- eventually yoga becomes part of your daily routine, it becomes necessary
- back in the day there were so many rules...ie yoga was only for Sadhus, women were not allowed to practice, etc. Guruji and KM worked hard to change that. They worked hard and studied hard to develop yoga so that we could all practice it today.
*Guruji's first student was his wife, Amma*
- the relationship between Guruji and KM was very strong, like father and son.
Story.... "One day KM was giving a lecture while some of his students were demonstrating asana. He told Guruji to take kapotasana
- Yoga becomes spiritual thru devotion
- all "yoga' is practiced in Ashtanga yoga "In the west people always say, Oh, I do Hatha yoga. I do Bakhti (devotion) yoga." Hatha yoga is just the physical aspect of yoga. Hatha yoga is Surya (Sun) Nadi and Chandra (Moon) Nadi
- when it is only physical - competing or comparing - no spiritual practice is there
- BE YOURSELF. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Don't imitate anyone. Find your own way. When you discover your path then you will become what it is that you strive for.
- NEVER COMPARE YOURSELF. Find balance and develop your practice.
- if your teacher is too easy on you, you will never develop a respect for the practice
Story... "There was a devoted student, who everyday did 'seva'. He was very eager to become enlightened. But after some time he began to develop doubt. He was doing everything his Guru was doing but he still wasn't enlightened. One day he asked his Guru why he wasn't yet enlightened. The Guru told him he would give him the answer after his bath. He brought him to a pond where he got in, sat down and invited the student to join him. When the student sat down the Guru grabbed him by the head and held him under water. When he released the student from near drowning he asked him if he understood the lesson. That struggle for breath, that desperation, is how we must struggle daily! The practice is challenging but the rewards are great! Many hurdles are there, it will be difficult. You just keep going...."
- energy comes to you from your teacher
- people come here (Mysore) with so much ego! Only when you are humble can you learn. Acknowledge that you know nothing and you will learn so much!
At the end of his talk he gave time for us to ask questions. Here are a few that were asked...
Q: Is it ok to use a wall to learn inversions? You always tell us not to use props. Is a wall a prop?
A: Learning using a wall, nothing wrong in that. Better than using props. Whole life you will use a block and never reach the floor! Using a wall, no problem. You don't want student to fall and when you have many students you don't have time to help everyone."
Q: How do you manage to maintain your spiritual practice when you have so many students, as well as family, two children?
A: Marriage and children teach you much more about spiritual practice than anything else. I started to assist Guruji when I was 19yrs old. I did many hrs of asana, purely physical aerobics. After some time, Guruji taught me philosophy. That's when the practice became spiritual. When I got married and had kids, it got more spiritual! Family is important. This is a family too. The Ashtanga family. We must support one another. Everyone is spiritual! Maybe you just don't know it yet. Work at it. Study, practice, and develop it. Allow the process to happen. It's like a flower. Plant a seed, nourish it. The plant will grow and the flower will blossom. Spiritual practice is the same. Sometimes we don't know who or what we are. Only thru our practice can we learn. If you don't try, you will never know your limitations. "
"Life many times will teach you what to do."