I am a little surprised that my home mysore program is not jazzed about Paramaguru Sharath Jois’ US Tour. While discussing who was going, the idea that being taught in a group as large as the expected turn-out at the Stanford event was perceived as too impersonal to be useful. While I may have once worried about that, I was certainly surprised to have experienced Sharath’s direct eye contact and instruction “head up ONLY”. These little subtle distinctions in the practice may seem trivial and unimportant, however, I did notice that the change contributed to an easier transition from pose to pose.
I described the cool energy of practicing from the source of the lineage in addition to being with the Ashtangis from all the nearby yoga studios. Soon after, someone mentioned that they preferred to practice with the old-school teachers rather than those of the new school of Ashtanga-related thinking. I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would think that Sharath was somehow not as Ashtanga-authentic as Richard Freeman or one of the other “old-school” Ashtanga teachers? As the grandson of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, he certainly was exposed to the same teachings as the older teachers of the practice. And even now, the group of teachers they deem more authentic return to KPJAYI for Sharath’s guidance for their own practice.
Meanwhile, I’ve got my own mat work (unrelated to Sharath or any other teacher) to attend to. I had a chiropractic adjustment not too long ago. Once again, my L5 vertebrae has found its way out of alignment (rotating around and pulling my pelvis around on one side as well). As you may imagine, it’s rather uncomfortable and, more recently, the discomfort has trended up to the mid-thoracic region as well. Sadly, it tends to be a relatively new pattern (approx. 6 months) that I am having to contend with. I need to figure out what I am doing to encourage the misalignment pattern and break from it.
While I must break the tendency from only my L5 vertebrae to get stuck in rotation, I must also relearn Pasasana (Noose Pose) so that I can teach it for my teacher training test out. It’s ironic that I have been asked specifically to teach this pose — which has been known to be an obstacle to moving forward in the practice. Like Lord Ganesha, who shows us the obstacles that we have tried to steer clear of, Pasasana does the same. We must go within to find equanimity and approach the pose with just the right balance of effort and ease, twist and length. I suspect that the physical pattern (or obstacle), that I am seeking to free myself of, requires the same level of balance and exploration. For this, I must become my own teacher and possibly explore both old-school and innovative approaches to the practice to find my way out of discomfort in the noose which I have created for myself.