December 2, 2013

Authorization Matters to Me. ~ Mariela Cruz

There is a love in Ashtanga Yoga.

It is a love that is hard to explain and goes beyond any paper, authorization or certification. Only some of those of us who have been to Mysore several times and studied with Guruji and Sharath know what I am talking about.

Now, the world is flocking to Mysore: our school has become the “Harvard” of yoga, according to some. To me, it remains the little Shala guarded by this strong and reliable teacher, my Guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. It has grown in physical space and numbers, but the essence of what I found in Mysore is a deep secret chamber inside my heart.

My story is very unusual and I share it because it is a calling from my heart. Some say going to Mysore, or traveling for your yoga practice, is expensive and family responsibilities impair them to do so. When I met my Guru, I was a single mother with four small children on my back and a deep depression in my being. I could never repay my Gurus for turning the lights on again.

When I went to India for the first time, it was such a sacrifice in all senses that I swore it would be my one and only trip. Then more have followed and I can only say Grace came into my life and made things happen.

Things started to worked out and life was shining again. In my hometown in Costa Rica, I had no teacher and yet, every encounter, once or twice a year, with Guruji and Sharath was enough to fill my soul with bliss and enthusiasm. I remarried and had three more baby boys and they have never felt like a nuisance or obstacle to pursue my spiritual path. On the contrary, they are my inspiration to keep my focus and intention to go back.

Always go back.

Mysore marks you. The Shala stays with you all year long. Beyond the social scene, my time in Mysore is my sacred time. Time to reflect, go inside and feel where am I in my life. My daughter has been once with me, so has my husband four times and my third son is coming next January to practice for the first time there. My intention is to bring the whole troop: seven souls who chose me as their mom because somehow they knew I was committed, dedicated, serious enough.

Things always work out and the Ashtanga Yoga love keeps spreading.

The practice gives me the mental clarity and the energy to make things happen, tie up loose ends and pack my bags and go.

And everything is fine when I come back to San Jose. God is always taking care of all of us. My husband back home, my babies, the students and the shala.

Deeper trust keeps expanding. I am not in charge, I am just following the love. I will keep going to Mysore, beyond any authorization or certification. It is not about the paper for many of us, it is about the love for our teachers and a deep gratitude for the transformation they have ignited in us. Of course, we need to do our part and do our practice. Wake up early, sweat, get injured, have patience. Keep going. And we feel part of something greater than ourselves. Something very sacred and beloved, beyond any words.

As more technicalities get in the way since more people are coming, I wonder how many of them will truly get in tune with this love. I wonder it they will practice and teach from that space. If they will honor and defend our teachers with their lives if necessary. Like close family, even closer than that. The Guru is inside of each one of us and lives in our hearts beyond these bodies. Their presence reconfirms our practice everyday.

Without them, we would be nothing.

So authorization matters to me…yes. Having my Guru’s blessing means that I am protected and safe. Many energies along the path that will try to knock us off. But beyond the fear,  I remember Guruji’s words:

“Why fear? Pray God.”

~ Vande Gurunam Caranaravinde

Sweet words that resonate in my being every day. And they always bring back the presence and the love.

That is what really matters to me.


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Assistant Editor: Karen Cygnarowicz/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Leo Prieto




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