AYL was packed, I started in the Finishing Room and was on Surya B when my “one more” came. Steady practice, I’m always amazed at how much quicker I am at the Shala. Help in the right places, mega squish from Louise in the first Paschimottanasana, Mari D depending , Pasasana Louise got me in to a better bind before letting go as I balanced. My legs were tired, UD was hard, I couldn’t walk in as far and dropbacks were not as easy as they were a few days ago, weird how they come and go. Emma did my assisted ones, she said 2 out of 3 I got up on my own, I’m glad she intervened on number 3, that was only going to end in a car crash. It was so busy that I then had to wait to even finish next door.
Well only more Sunday to go now before Mysore.
Hamish has recently returned from Mysore and is going to do a “Conference” in the style of those Sharath does in Mysore every few weeks, a short talk and then Q&A, this weeks was the first and was part of the reason the Shala was so busy.
Hamish started by talking for just a few minutes about Guruji’s favourite sutra 1.14 When that practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.
(sah tu dirgha kala nairantaira satkara asevitah dridha bhumih)
1:23 ishvara Pranidhana the concept of surrendering to a higher source be that a god, any god, life force, the universe or a teacher. Moving away from “I”. Having a belief in something higher, believing in the practice as a catalyst for change.
He then invited questions.
Question: There has been quite a lot of media of late about teachers who have abused students. As H said these are very isolated incidents and teachers need to be careful.
Question about pushing the boundaries of our practice in relation to taking it easy, being lazy, H said every body is different, he will push a younger, more flexible person to go that bit further, where as older students who are stiffer and probably more injury prone it’s still about finding their edge within their capabilities. It’s respecting the students limitations. Having a regular practice be that to Navasana or third series.
Question about not imposing yoga on family or friends in relation to early to bed, diet, early mornings etc. H said family most likely not as hung up about the seeming imposition as the yogi. He also spoke about how his non yogi friends interact with him and how it’s changed, true friends accept the perceived sacrifices we make in order to practice, they no longer seem to make the “you’re up late” comment if they see him out after 9pm
Question about the Shalas adherence to the drop back and stand up before starting intermediate. H said it’s more about the emotional effects of the early part of 2nd and not so much the physical postures. The drop/stand is a sign that the student is ready and won’t (hopefully) be affected emotionally, he said some students end up crying during practice or experiences changes in behaviours or relationships.
Question about taking moon days and (Saturday) rest days. H said he usually does some kind of a practice, even if it’s just sitting or some simple stretches, but rest becomes more important the older we get as it takes us longer to recover from injuries, we do this practice every day, even Olympic athletes take a break.
Question about the yoga diet, H said everyone is different, the body makes changes as we practice more and it “feels” what is right, we learn which foods have a detrimental effect on our practice and how much before practice we should eat. It’s not necessarily a vegetarian or vegan diet, though the practice does lead us to a healthier lifestyle.
He talked a little about the question of “Authorisation” and it’s value, when he first went to Mysore there was some kind of certificate, but it was so far “out there” and unattainable that he never thought about it, eventually a few people became authorised to teach the lineage, but it still had little value in the west as so few people had it and even fewer knew what it meant. Then many more became authorised and a very few certified and it’s significance and value became more widely known. Today it’s perhaps tipping the other way as there are so many authorised teachers now and it’s value has begun to lessen in many people’s eyes.
Question about whether it’s necessary to go to Mysore, bearing in mind it’s not possible for many people financially, for family or work reasons. H said it’s not a requirement, but he still recommends it, he said he likes to practice on a Sunday as he can take his time and has no commitments after, he said going to Mysore is like a month(s) of Sundays. He ended by saying if you do manage to make the pilgrimage to Mysore you will want to return.