Practicing with Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois
As soon as I heard the rumor that Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois was coming to the Bay Area, I was on the KPJYI website daily waiting for details on the registration. Since I don’t know when I will be afforded the opportunity to travel to practice in Mysore, India where this tradition originated, Sharath’s US tour was truly a god-send.
Beginning on Sunday, 23rd of May until Friday, 27th – me and a hundred or so of my friends met in the gym at Stanford University for morning practice. It was an amazing experience that I will always remember. Although the practice was the same set of sequences that we ashtangis know, the subtleties of the vinyasa flow (e.g. where the inhale starts and ends, where you should be lifting the head ONLY, etc.)
Sharath’s count was consistent for the most part, guiding us towards the steadiness and ease it is designed to cultivate but also pointing out the areas where more work is needed. You could often hear him say “why shaking?” to someone during navasana, the reminder to go up and “don’t come down” in sirsasana, or his insistence on “more UP” on breath nine or ten of uplutihi. Of course, in contrast to marichyasana D, these are the poses where Sharath’s slower breath count is not as welcome. He knew this, of course — which is why there was sometimes a “nine and a half” inserted before the much-anticipated “ten” was called out.
We all loved it, of course. For the six straight days, we all managed to get up 30+ minutes earlier than our usual early so that we could get to the event with enough time to park, walk to the venue, empty our bladder one last time, and be on our mats ready to go on time. Surprisingly, everyone seemed to be a good spirits in spite of the lost sleep. Our bodies acclimated. Even when I forgot to set my alarm on the eve of the last practice, I still managed to wake up on time.
I know that we all are so thankful to Sharath for carrying on the linage and traveling to the US to share this practice with us. We are also very thankful to everyone whose efforts made it possible for the event to be held at Stanford. — Namaste
Photos from the SONIMA FB page taken by the amazing photographers: Danielle Tsi & Jesse Gordon. If you look closely, you might be able to spot me in them. Also, check out this cool video they produced of the event.