Ashtanga Camp

Into the city last night ready for this mornings early start, Sharath has landed in London and I along with about 80 other yogis pitched up at 7am for the first of the daily practices with Sharath. I lost count of the people there who I know well from my own Shala, know from AYL and others I am on nodding “hello” terms with as well as others I was in Sri Lanka with at Christmas. It feels like all the London Ashtangi’s as well as many from further afield, Brighton, Bristol and Europe are all here in London.

Someone said it was almost like waking up on Christmas morning, there was certainly a level of excitement at the centre when I arrived. I woke up to a dream that someone had taken our mats and hidden them in a cupboard and we had to all go looking for our mat before we could begin.

I had heard scare stories about how slow he counts, but for most of the 90 minutes his pace was very even. Practice is practice after all, whether it’s with Cary, Kino or Sharath it’s the same asanas on the same mat, though slightly less space between the mats than I’m used to. Standing went quite quickly, though the cramped conditions made the Prasaritas interesting.

Although it certainly wasn’t cold, it wasn’t sweaty hot either, I noticed my hamstrings felt tight in the Triang Mukha forward bends and had to come back a bit, same in the Janusirsasnas, but the thing I enjoyed was that he seemed to wait until most people were in the pose before beginning his count, so I got properly bound in Mari D and Supta K which doesn’t often happen in a led class. I am sure we did 6 Navasanas, I can’t be sure, but I could feel the rooms relief when we all thought we had done the 5, then he said “last one” and then he seemed to get stuck on “4”!

The hardest part was not having my nice backbend warm up routine which happens at home and the Shala, going straight into Urdva Dhanurasana was HARD! But I found walking in on the first one made it easier and I actually remembered to only come down on to my head before doing the next 2. At least I had the strength to stay up, even if they were not as deep as they can be. Sirsasana was a bit of a mind game, H had told me to forget his count and just concentrate on my breath, but not knowing how many he was actually going to count to made it hard, he went to a very slow 15, which I managed, but Ardha flopped, oh well always tomorrow.
His final little ruse was taking an eternity to count 2 on Uth Plutihi, 10 of Sharath equates to about 30 of anyone else!

But I have to say I enjoyed the practice, the asanas may not have been what they can be, but the energy in the room was something else.

After a leisurely breakfast we returned for “Conference”, Sharath spoke for maybe 15 minutes about the Asanas being the foundation for a spiritual practice, how our mind becomes deluded when it is not fully focussed on the practice (was he talking about me as I thought about Croissants during Uth Plutihi). He said if we don’t experience the practice we can’t know it and will be deluded, illustrating with a story Guruji had told him of I think an animal Trying to jump up to reach some fruit on a tree, when the animal couldn’t reach it, it turned around and said the fruit was sour anyway. How did the anaimal know if it hadn’t tasted it? After he spoke there was a Q & A session, a few questions from people with Baby’s about how soon to practice after giving birth and what poses to leave out in the months leading up. A question about if you can’t do the full 6 days is it worth doing perhaps just 3 or 4 practices or perhaps not doing a full practice. Sharath said just do it and don’t worry about it. Another question about doing practice when injured, Sharath said asana can heal injuries. I don’t really know what I expected from the conference and if I’m honest I don’t think I learnt anything new.

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17 Responses to “Ashtanga Camp”

  1. V Says:

    We did 6 Navasanas.

  2. Karen Says:

    Thanks, Kevin! Sounds like a great time.

  3. daydreamingmel Says:

    I didn’t mind whether or not I learned anything new in conference, it was definitely more about just hearing him speak…i loved it! and it *was* like christmas this morning!

  4. Wayne Says:

    “Sharath said just do it and donโ€™t worry about it.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. susiegb Says:

    Ooohh … one day !!! Glad you’re having a wonderful time – please keep blogging about it for this Aussie’s vicarious pleasure ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. StEvE Says:

    “I donโ€™t really know what I expected from the conference and if Iโ€™m honest I donโ€™t think I learnt anything new”.

    … Very surprised to read that Kev. Perhaps you’ve been doing too many technique classes. There are heaps of teachers who ‘talk the talk’, but I don’t think that’s really Sharath’s style. (Personally, I prefer to hear a small number of meaningful words than get a lecture, ’cause then I never forget it).

    Seriously though, when you decide what your expectations are just ask your questions. That’s what the conference sessions are for.

    • Globie Says:

      Hi Steve

      I hadn’t really thought about asking a question, I will have plenty of opportunity in Mysore. Vanessa has expertly put it into words below, but as she says we have heard what was said in one form or another over the years.

      Well at least now 2 days in it hasn’t put me off going to Mysore

  7. V Says:

    Well, maybe I live life in the slow lane, because I got quite a few golden nuggets from Sharath:

    – That we should stop worrying about this and about that, just do our practice and let God take care of the rest (someone on Facebook interpreted this as “let God do things for you”, I don’t think that is what Sharath was going for but rather the idea of embracing your dharma and doing your duty without getting attached to the results – Bhagavad Gita and all that)

    – That we chase asanas like crazy, and what for?

    – That asana is the foundation of a yoga practice because without a healthy body you can’t have a healthy mind.

    – That learning the vinyasa is most important because once we have it internalized, our practice will fall into a rythm with correct breathing pattern. Incorrect breath and holding your breath in difficult asanas leads to injury.

    – That if you are injured, a good teacher can help you use yoga to heal. Even if you get injured through practice (most likely by not being present), yoga will heal you.

    – That it is natural that having a family and kids will make it more challenging to focus on your yoga practice, but your family is part of you and you just have to adjust (Ashtanga is a practice for householders).

    Maybe none of this was new to you, Kev, and I have to admit I have heard it all at some point or other, but I think it is really important to be reminded. I would much rather have this sessions than asana technique ones. For perfecting asana, we can just do our practice.

    • Globie Says:

      Thanks V, I tried to write notes but found quickly I was missing what came next & also I found it hard to hear and understand him being further back with the Baby’s too.

      It’s good to be reminded as you say, especially when it is usually 99% practice most of the time, it’s rare to get the 1% theory

  8. Maria Says:

    Slightly jealous… but as I’m going to Thailand in two days…. I’ll get over it!
    Sound like your having a blast, and if I wasn’t going to YT, I would be in London, for sure.
    Next time ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Guy Says:

    Hey Kev,

    Thanks for writing these posts.

    I’ve added your blog to the list of blogs that have posted about Sharath’s London tour. http://www.ashtangabrighton.com/ashtanga_blog/

    Namaste,

    Guy

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