“All is Coming”

“Halahala; toxic sludge — is coming en route to the nector. AWAKENING.” -Richard Freeman

Awakening? Well, maybe that is still yet to come. It was definitely toxic.

I’m talking about the news that hit the internet around December of last year. You know the stuff about the inappropriate adjustments by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. My heart sank when I read the numerous posts and viewed the photos. I was confused and disappointed. For although I have never met the man, I am grateful for his bringing the ashtanga yoga method to us, for his smile, and much more.

But this was NOT right. I put the framed photo of him into a drawer until I could sort things out in my mind. I figured that I would decide later what to do with it (throw it out or put it back up). The alter of sorts was modified further by adding a few non-yogic items including an old palm leaf folded into a cross, the ceramic dish which was given to my parents as a wedding gift (engraved with their wedding date), and my dear mother-in-law’s rosary. These things, although not related to yoga, speak to the heart (MY heart) so they now live on the outskirts of my home practice space and inspire me to be a better person.

It’s now a few months later and I return from the ashtanga yoga confluence (ayc) feeling healed from the hurt that I was feeling. During the ayc, a handful of the master teachers, certified by Pattabhi Jois, spoke openly on the topic. They did deny or not make excuses for his behavior; they acknowledged the reports and that they were wrong.

“If someone felt abused, they were.”-Mary Taylor

They shared their love for him as well. Sharing their favorite stories (because the audience asked to hear them), passing on the lessons he taught them. And all the while sent messages reinforcing the importance of not putting any teacher on a pedestal.

“The teacher is a servant to adhere to the students’ needs and inspire. Students should be allowed and encouraged to say ‘No!'” -David Swenson

Of course, the confluence was much more than that but this was an experience that I needed to have. This is what I am choosing to write about here.

The morning following my return home, I paused as I stepped onto my mat to begin a home practice. I went over to the drawer where I put the framed photo, pulled it out, and placed it back on the table with the newly added items. It being there was a little different than before. I don’t think I ever had him on a pedestal but I did have his photo placed somewhat alter-like. My primary teachers, who I adore, aren’t in frames beside him — although that may change soon. Anyway, it isn’t like that anymore and, to be perfectly honest, this feels a lot more real.

When I returned to my mat, I took one last look at the photo, as if to double check that it still felt right. Like before, Pattabhi Jois’ joyful smile brought a smile to my face. A much needed smile! So I left the photo there. At least for now.

Now back to my practice for “all is coming”.

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