Alex wanted to cover some interesting things Sharath talked about in conference last week. 🙂 So here we go….
I asked, how much should we encourage friends and family in their yoga practice? Practical answer: let them observe your practice, answer their questions, and then let their curiosity and inclinations lead them. Sharath talked about how Guruji never advertised, and that was critical to his success. Like the honey in a flower, the bees just came to find him. He laughed a bit about Guruji being honey. It’s interesting that there are Sharath and Saraswathi posters in California and I’m sure New York as well. But Sharath doesn’t claim to be the guru.
Asked “is it okay while here to practice extra postures in the changing room” he replied with a nicely stated “absolutely not.” If you already know the postures, why come study with a teacher? There was then a sizeable lecture about the relationship with the teacher. This brought another Guruji reference: how he had an aura of light coming from him due to his accumulated amrita bindu [http://suzanneelsafty.com/2011/12/23/conference-the-true-purpose-of-asana-4th-december-2011/]. You can’t get an aura along with your certificate at yoga teacher training, he added.
He also talked about Guruji when asked, how do you continue to learn after the master has left? He answers that though the teacher is gone, the teachings remain, and that he has observed the large June full moon and thought that as the moon follows you wherever you go, but you cannot reach it, so it is now for him with Guruji.
Very interesting answer to an obsure question about beginning vs. advanced series. First, he clarifies that they’re essentially the same, it’s just that for a sadhaka who is more flexible or strong or has better balance, they take more challenging asanas. Even those doing half-primary are doing real Yoga. But also a more personal illumination: when Sharath practices Kapotasana, it’s not the same as when one of the students practices it. It’s not that he’s egoistic about it, rather, he has a different experience while in the pose than others have. He becomes fully absorbed in the posture, and doesn’t know where he is. I suppose as a result of incredible focus. He told the story of his first demo in the US, where he was to perform some asanas for a crowd of 500. A friend asked if he was nervous, but he laughed that no, he wouldn’t have any idea the audience was there.
Last question: should one practice at a shala [presumably with an authorized teacher] or at home? Sharath gives no guidance, it’s totally at your discretion.