Thoughts from Sharath's NYC 2016 U.S. tour
When I met Sharath Jois on his 2016 U.S. tour in New York City, I wanted to learn from him even more. He was kind and joyful. He laughed and smiled often. My favorite part was listening to him speak in short conferences after practice. If I only attended his talks alone, I would have left full.
The first day his talk was short. He shared yoga is a way to bring more peace. Feel peace, share peace. One of the reasons we practice is to be more peaceful and we should spread it everywhere we go, to everyone we meet. Part of this practice is spreading peace.
Yoga is science for well-being.
The second day he talked about why we practice... to purify body and mind. Body has toxins, mind has toxins. We take practice to get rid of them. Asana is the foundation, the first step. He gave an example if you build a house on a foundation that is not ready, it will fall down. Same thing with the yoga. Step by step. First asana, pranayama, yama, and niyama. He also shared yoga is science for well-being. He said it twice, highlighting its importance.
Overtime you will aquire steadiness within you.
My favorite conference was when he spoke of taking practice to build steadiness in body and mind. Some days practice is good, others not so good... that is life. Overtime you will aquire steadiness within you. You will remain steady in all life situations.
One will not be ready for deeper levels of yoga (last four limbs) if there is no steadiness within. Once steadiness happens, then the spiritual can take place. He used a metaphor of a rose opening. It evolves naturally. It has its own timing. Things progress as they should. Trust the timing. Just as you wouldn't force a rose to open, do not force the yoga.
To summerize in three words: acceptance. moderation. steadiness.
In my opinion, Sharath's talks can be summerized in three words... acceptance, moderation, and steadiness. I love his description of taking practice to create steadiness in body and mind. It emphasizes the process. Asana practice will, and should, look different each day. Growth evolves naturally when it is nourished and cared for lovingly. It's a valuable reminder to practice with great care, compassion and love. Then, let it go and begin again.