Thursday, May 23, 2019

Mysore changes which you might not be aware of

Like most who practice ashtanga yoga, naturally, you're considering whether a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Ashtanga yoga, in Mysore, India, would be right for you.

In 2018, we have witnessed many happenings in the world of Ashtanga Yoga. Some teachers, the old school, underground ashtangis, slipped out of the Sharat's list of teachers and then miraculously, some of them, re-appeared again.

It appears that making money by doing Ashtanga Workshops is not recommended by Sharath. Looking at things you can say the Big Boss is in position of power, he uses his power... but who gave him that power? 

Ashtanga yoga was brought to light by my grandfather, Pattabhi Jois. He established ashtanga at his Lakshmipuram shala. Before, people didn’t know ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga is all of the eight limbs. What is its purpose? What are its benefits? Can you go straight to samadhi as soon as you enter the shala? Can you get a certificate for samadhi?! Not possible. The certificate is just for your own satisfaction. It won’t take you anywhere.

- Sharath's Conference Notes - March 15th, 2015

K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI) is still the source of modern ashtanga yoga. And it must stay that way.

Thousands of experienced ashtanga yoga students go to the main shala in Mysore and practice there with a Paramaguru of Ashtanga Yoga.

If you're planning to go to Mysore, or you have already been there and you want to re-visit the experience, please note there are a lot of changes which you might not be aware of:

The global "Me Too" Neo-liberal movement for sexual misconduct awareness is felt in Mysore floor at KPJAYI as well. Women are not allowed to practice wearing shorts any longer. And no sport bras as a top. That is not allowed.

The prices are higher now due to increasing inflation in India and global economic uncertainty.

No more practice without the student cards. Every student must have a towel during the practice and clearly display the student card.

The chanting is a thing to do if you want to practice on the main floor. It requires an extra payment though.

The students who come without a cotton mat won’t be allowed to practice there and will be sent back home. So cotton mat is a must, but be careful that is free of Om, Shiva or any other sacred symbols, aka tridents, or any three lines logos.

At the end of the practice, no more long shavasana in the changing rooms. One minute and than you're out, take your rest at home.

What they do at the gym, there is so much aggression if you see. These people have so much aggression. You see in the Olympics, they do so much and then you see their Ego. "I did this." But Yoga is different. The Asana is different. You are not doing the Asana to please anyone, you’re doing the Asana to calm your mind, to bring flexibility to your body, to bring stability to your body, to bring steadiness to your mind and body. This is the reason why we are doing Asanas. It is not to compete with anyone. So this you have to understand. Many people, oh I can do Kapotasana. After class you see in the coconut stand, many people giving lecture "oh you should do back bending like this". Lecture is easy. Unless you understand, you experience, you do your hard work, it won’t come.

- Sharath's Conference Notes - January 10th, 2015

If you decide to go to Mysore, I give you a word of warning. You may be a little bit off of your expectations. It is always good to ask yourself, are you miserable because of your practice, or is your practice miserable because of you?

The truth is... in Ashtanga yoga you have nothing to learn, nothing to do. Really, there should be no ambition, nowhere to go, no one to be or become. You don't need to distract yourself comparing your practice to others or convincing yourself you're not good enough, the Big Boss will tell you...

"You stop there"!!!

I admire the Big Boss. His message is simple, just do your asana, read Bhagavad Gita, be nice and say you are sorry when you done wrong. Do not eat meat and don’t kill spiders, give couple cents to beggars, hope for transcendental bliss, cosmic consciousness, supreme love... be quiet, make babies, smile, breathe deeply, keep moola bandha, be good, don’t ask questions, don’t use your mind, don’t make a disturbance ...

"No one owns yoga" but ability to carry on and convey the teaching of ashtanga yoga is assessed by Sharath and Sharath alone. Chain of command is very important, try to trust his judgement in these matters, and keep going to Mysore.

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