Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sharath in conference: Bandhas, and not sweating the details

Claudia has conference notes from DC-based teacher Megan Riley from Mysore. Here, Sharath field questions on the bandhas, what makes a good student, and how to handle all the little bits of Ashtanga like jump-backs and moving into standing poses. Here's what I picked up as key:
Bandhas take time—there is no quick one month certificate for Mula Bandha. Bandhas will help the asanas to develop energy inside us and bring stability to the body and mind. Some asanas are also good for developing the bandhas. Navasana, Utpluthih, and lifting up in our jumpbacks help us to strengthen the bandhas. This is why he makes us do them longer in led practices. Also, he added, it is fun for him.
The first question he took from students was what jumping back in Suryanamasakara A and B should look like. Sharath said to just do it—straight legs, bent legs, doesn’t matter. Another asana question asked was whether we should hop or simply step into our standing postures from Samasthitih. Again, Sharath said this doesn’t matter much. The vinyasa is important but using straight legs versus crossed legs, stepping or hopping, is not so important as long as the student has the correct vinyasa.
What makes a good student? Sharath said this question was difficult. A good student wants to learn yoga for self transformation. He or she doesn’t have any desire, only to get enlightened. Pattabhi Jois didn’t learn this to become famous. We do not need to be Brahmin or go through a ceremony. It doesn’t automatically make us enlightened. We can reach enlightenment without it. This is his karma. He was born in India and this is what he does. At the end of the day, it’s our own karma. To be human, that is our duty. Don’t be like an animal. Protect Dharma (truth) and Dharma will protect you. Just doing asanas is not enough. We have to be more responsible and think of more than just ourselves. This is a 24 hour practice.

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