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April 25, 2011

8 Things I Learned from Sharath Jois in his Visit to NYC

Sharath Jois is the current head of the Ashtanga Lineage. He is the son of Saraswati Jois and grand-son of Pattabhi Jois.  He has quite a bit of responsibility on his shoulders, yet he is bringing the teachings to the 21st century.  During his two weeks in NYC a video stream of each Friday led class was shared online allowing everyone to practice along, just be curious, and even chat.

I find that Sharath is transitioning into Guru status in his own right through dedication, his commitment to practice and teaching, his utter determination to pass along what he learned and his invitation to all of us to put the practice into action where it counts, for example:

“…Take ahimsha (non-violence), he said two Fridays ago…if you do asana but then go and punch someone in the face, then what is the point of practice?

His main message, no matter when or where is always an invitation to find the guru within, “do your practice, the right answer will come to you”, “do your practice, all is coming”, “do yoga”.  He has what we in the west call a “media message”, and this is it.  He repeats it every time and every where.

This is the brightest indication of how important it is for us to hear it, again and again, process it, understand it and connect with our spiritual source daily, trusting that the rest does take care of itself, because it does.

Once you are true you do not need to fear

And so it is, once we know what our source spirit directive is then, as Gurji would say: “why fear?”. Of course!  do your practice, that is what allows us to be true, to establish the connection, to delete the b/s to come clean to ourselves, to eliminate the drama, to trust that we are on the right path, to believe that we are on it for a reason, to surrender, to thrive.

Why do we practice asana? because “when the body and mind are stable then we do not have delusions, then we can follow the yamas and niyamas

Only after we are real, only after we stop the projection, eradicate the delusions (and boy I know I have them!) can we actually be peaceful, non violent, clean, contented, devoted, and so on.  Then we can sign and study the Yoga Sutras, then they have meaning, real meaning. As in right now, as I write and you read.

Even though Patthabi Jois is not here, his energy is.  We live in the tradition and pass it along, then we leave“.

James –who has been utterly humiliated by yoga, again– said something very beautiful after hearing that, he said that our task in life is to focus on the things we love and are passionate about -forget the naysayers- and so, when is time to go, we do not die, but rather we “leave”.  He took to the “leave: word after Sharath’s quote.

Instead if we are fueled by anger or hatred when is time to die we “die” which is more like a battle instead of a letting go.  because dying implies action rather than leaving which is more of a going. Encapsulated in that cryptic sentence Sharath tells us of his life message to pass it along and leave.

Just as schools of yoga have therapy as part of their curriculum, so does the Ashtanga Yoga system.  It is called the primary series.  Not everyone has to do the whole thing, even half of it is enough.  Anyone can attain the state of yoga by practicing it, to wherever it is that one can practice it.  The rest comes.

How does he know? because has practiced for over 20 years, how does John Campbell, or Kino or Eddie, Philippa, Gregor or Lino, or Hamish know? because they have done it.

99% practice.  1% theory.  But that is just in class.  The curiosity does not end there though, we do yoga throughout the day, we explore our reactions, we find our truth, we act in the most efficient way, we strive for peace, not just in the mat.

Anyone can practice. Old, young, sick, tired. Anyone, except the lazy!

And if laziness is not there then we are lucky, we can be protected by true lineage, by those who came before us and tell us that it works.  We begin to see the fruits pretty quickly and sometimes we have some doubts that is why

Practice should be with respect faith and over a long period of time.

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He is now in Encinitas, starting his portion of the tour on the West Coast. I am hoping the messages will transpire, and that perhaps they will have a video strem each Friday.  I asked, they said they are looking into it.  We do our practice and all is coming.

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