People wanted exact answers: how do you know when you are closer to God? What is greed? Specific solutions to issues like: not being attached to your lover. And there was always one answer from Sharath: “Do Yoga”.
So, if you make a lot of money: “do yoga”. Lose your house: “do yoga”. Fall in love: “do yoga”. you have an injury: “do yoga”. If you are taken ill to the hospital, as soon as you can: “do yoga”.
What does “do yoga” mean? Yesterday I realized it means: Do your asana and connect with spirit, and the answers to your own questions will become apparent. Deep down I feel this is the only answer Sharath gave.
Sharath, how do we deal with?
We get “grounded”. That is the verb he used, to “ground”. We get grounded in the practice, we do it for the love of it, not for the next pose, not for the authorization, but because it works. We do it for a long period of time, and when we have doubts that is usually when we get the best practice should we choose to stick with it. “Everyone has doubts at some point,” Sharath said. “I had doubts.”
Instead of focusing on the next pose, focus on perfecting what you have. Perfection of the primary series is very important.
There is a rythm to the practice, it feels like chanting (he chanted in Saskrit to give us an idea), we get into the rythm of it, and we focus, we breathe, we work at the asanas we have, we work with change, with our bodies as they are. And that is in asana, we also attend to our responsibilities, and we pray, we do our japa, our dedication, we offer our lives to the divine.
The quickest way to get the next pose is connecting with spirit, it is in getting honest about our own wants, about what we are really after.
Detachment, how do we detach from say, the one we love?
His answer was vague but this is my take. It is allowed to have love, he is married and most of us are householders. It is by connecting with spirit, by doing the practice that we clear the areas where we create intrigue or play games in relationships. Where we notice that we are not being honest about our feelings, or where we decide we are ready to focus our energy on one real solid loving partnership so that then we can have enough energy for creativity, for yoga, for reaching God.
Through the practice we get clear, we know what we want. It is not “renunciate the world” – we just chose one partner and be loyal to it.
“Do Yoga”. The right answers come.
Injury, and does asana ever stop?
On Injury: “you have to be intelligent” don’t force things, you know what to do, how far you can go. And asana slows with age, but we always do asana, pranayama becomes more prominent, but most importantly we always do our practice.
When Pattabhi Jois got very sick in the 90s as soon as he was out of the hospital he would walk to the hallway of his home holding on to the walls (could not be touched for assistance when doing his puja) and go do his prayers, his Gayatri mantra, his other chants. Always doing his practice.
Asana should go on for no more than 2 hours. “You can go crazy”. The only 3 yoga sutras dealing with asana are set on calming the mind, not over-exciting it.
Sharath talked about how he has students who stop going to him and try to teach it differently, “Surya Namaskar and coming up to head stand” he said to the laughing crowd. “If you do a lot of crazy things you become crazy”, more laughter.
Then you do your japa, dhyana, other practices. You do your yoga, all day long, every day, for a long time.
What is the purpose of yoga?
“People who get certified get even more ego” he says, and he was not just referring to Ashtanga.
We do not need a father figure to tell us we are ready, we need to connect with spirit, the rest will take care of itself. We do our practice, then all is coming.
And then the funny ones:
Why do we have shala time? (the shala clock is 15 minutes ahead)
We do not want students to be lazy! – laughter
This comes from the time of Pattabhi Jois, whom in his own house always had the clocks 10 minutes ahead. He was a very punctual man. Whenever they were preparing for an international trip he would start getting ready hours in advance and go to each room and ask the family if they were ready already. He would nag them.
What is the best way to prepare for practice?
Nobel, this one is for you…
Drink half a cup of coffee! No coffe no prana! there is a very famous vedic (?) saying for Brahmans about how they are fond of food, he jokes he is fond of coffee. Those were his words, I am just paraphrasing a little.
Sharath said that his grandfather would wake him up at 4 in the morning every morning and give him a cup of coffee. Students would be arriving and he would be making coffee for the whole family. One time his son Manju came to visit and on the second day he did not want the coffee. Jois said OK, and left him alone. About a week later Manju was asking for coffee again…
So yes, coffee…