Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mysore: Magic in movies

Today in led class I rolled backward for chakrasana and half grabbed the foot of Sharath. He was standing behind my mat for a brief moment as he circulated the room counting us through primary series.
It took me a couple years to go up to Guruji, aka K. Pattahbi Jois, and convey my appreciation and deference to him by bowing and touching his feet. I hadn't thought to do this with Sharath yet, but my inadvertent chakrasana grab got me thinking about how I was inching down that road. Clearly, by coming to Mysore to practice with him yet again, I've come to view him as a major teacher, but the true nature of surrender is even deeper than that. I got a hint of it when I sought him out last week to ask a question and instantly had some of my confusion dispelled.
Later today, at the 10am conference, which featured a viewing of the new documentary 'Mysore Magic,' created and directed by Certified Ashtanga teacher Alex Medin and a small crew of filmmakers during the first couple of weeks of the New Year, Sharath talked at length about parampara. It's a major reason why learning Ashtanga at the source is as special as it is: the importance of lineage cannot be overemphasized in an age that has many, many versions of yoga being propagated. Likewise, a guru who calls himself a guru can't really be a guru! 'Only the student can call a teacher his guru,' Sharath emphasized. And it is only by surrendering to the guru that one can truly glean the knowledge he (or she) has to offer. This is a very personal choice. The new documentary, a lovely portrait of the Ashtanga Yoga Community today, features many students talking about what has led them to here to practice as well as interviews with Sharath. Take a look:

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