We're Going to See Sharath!
In just a couple weeks, the ladies of Finding Isvara are going to see Sharath! For us five Ashtangis, this is a huge deal!
Sharath Jois is the living paramaguru of Ashtanga yoga. He is the grandson and most advanced student of the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (the father of modern-day Ashtanga yoga), and director of the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India. He is currently on tour teaching students and holding conferences throughout the U.S. The five of us will attend his last stop in Miami, FL, where we all met last July at Miami Life Center’s Ashtanga Intensive. Every day for a week, we will take a Full Led Primary class with Sharath, along with 200 other students in the room. The last time I took a class that large was in 2007 when I attended Bikram Yoga Teacher Training with 300 other students. The energy of that many people practicing together is incredible!
When we attended the Ashtanga Intensive, I found the led classes taught by Kino MacGregor to be quite difficult. She seemed to give us very long breath counts, which made the postures way more tiring than I was used to. That palpable energy of working with many other people under the guidance of an esteemed, high-level teacher was a lot to take in as well. So when I think about going to take class with Sharath, I am a little intimidated. What if I am weaker than all of the other students and I can’t hold the postures long enough? Ok, so that might happen. It’s actually a common fear all five of us have discussed. Except Carolyn I think… she’s a badass and probably knows she won’t have a problem ;)
Anyway, the reality is, SO WHAT if I am actually too weak to be a rockstar in class? This is NOT what yoga is about. For me, part of that worry lies in old conditioning from the Bikram yoga world. When we were in BY Teacher Training, the physical demands were incredibly intense, and you were definitely expected to keep up and not show weakness. A weak body indicated a weak mind…at least these were the impressions I got when I was there.
Ashtanga yoga is a different world, though. The postures are not end goals in and of themselves. The end goal is self-discovery. Worrying about looking competent or thinking you are “less-than” is a step in the wrong direction from the goal of personal growth. So if I were actually doing great yoga, I would listen to my body, and turn my focus inward so much that these concerns would not register. Alas, I am human, and it’s more than likely that some of these distractions will slip into my mind while attending class with Sharath.
So my goal is to be compassionate to myself, and embrace the challenge of turning my focus inward amidst new and different stimulus. And to purposely NOT kill myself just so I can appear to be competent… haha.
Mostly, I am REALLY looking forward to experiencing Sharath for myself. I have heard many different yogis—mostly authorized teachers—talk about Sharath, but I have purposely not dug deeper and asked a lot of questions about him. I want to be a clean slate and approach him without pre-conceived notions. It’s important to me to get to know the keeper of our lineage, and whatever I can do to accomplish that with a clear mind, I want to do. I don’t want to be clouded by others’ opinions. I am thinking of traveling to Mysore, India to study with Sharath (if I can get accepted for study at KPJAYI), so getting to take class with him in Miami will help me know for sure if that’s what I want to do!
It’s going to be beyond fun to re-connect with my Finding Isvara girls. It will be the first time we’ve seen each other in person since our Intensive almost a year ago! We plan to spend time together in South Beach, have an official meeting, and do a group yoga photo shoot with our awesome teacher and friend from Miami Life Center, Yanni DeMelo. Stay tuned next month for our adventures during the Sharath Miami event!