K. Pattabhi Jois
I don't have one for Sharath.
I should also make one up for Saraswati (in progress)
That said family....Parampara are not really my thing,
this is more of a service for those for who it is.
1. Gallery - Posters, flyers and promotion
2. Video Selection
4. Conference notes from JoisYoga
5. Selected blog posts
|Sharath as a boy with David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff|
2. VIDEO SELECTION
from the primary Series DVD
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
UPDATED (New corrected Video) Sharath's Uttkatasana and Virabhadrasana video also Sharath's Pranayama tutorial.
There are a number of Led classes/tutorial's on this Live Sonima playlist
Interview with Peg Mulquween for Ashtanga Dispatch. Interview conducted in Mysore February 13 and February 20th
A translation I think from the Russian, perhaps conducted at Ashtanga Moscow.
And an English translation of the site
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Book(let) Review : Ashtanga yoga Anusthana - R. Sharath Jois
|new/old rug in the home shala|
A Book Method in Review: Astanga Yoga Anusthana by R. Sharath Jois. by Peg Mulqueenon
I'm calling my post a book review but actually this is more of a booklet than a book and there really isn't much to review.
Nothing wrong with a booklet of course
|Yoga Mala: The Original Teachings of Ashtanga Yoga Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois [Paperback]|
Friday, 28 March 2014
Sharath's revised Ashtanga Primary Series Book 5 second inhalation/ 5 second exhalation
“Aṣṭāṅga Yoga Anuṣṭhāna”: 1st vs. 2nd Edition
The one thing that jumped out for me of course was this
1st edition: Breathing if you inhale for two seconds,
the exhale should be for two
2nd edition: if you inhale for ﬁve seconds,
the exhale should be for ﬁve
Five seconds inhale, five seconds exhale, that's much more like it, can live with that, Mysore here I come.... or at least I would if it wasn't for the crowds.
NB: The 'should' above is of course stressing that the inhalation and exhalation should be of equal duration, the 5 seconds is an example only, although it's interesting he changed it from the 2 second example in the first book.
Five second inhalation plus five second exhalation makes for a ten second breath, five of those gives us fifty seconds in the state of an asana. Actually there's that slight pause between the inhalation and exhaltion and the exhalation and inhalation. The slower the breath the longer the natural pause or mini kumbhaka as I like to think of it. At five seconds each I make it a one second pause between each so that's an extra two seconds a breath making it a full minute in the state of an asana.
I compared the breathing on teachers DVD's in a previous post. Their DVD presentations should be their ideal practice right.
Here are some comparisons to put it in perspective, all for when in Janu Sirsasana at astau/eight, the state of the asana ( this is hardly fair though as the time varies slightly in the different postures, especially in the led classes of Manju and his father ( it's guess work in Led), for example Manju left them in the preceding posture for 30 seconds), the demo's are a different case. gives an idea though of the general pace of the practice.
Update: I've added hyperlinks to reviews, click on the names
David Robson - 40 seconds!
David Garrigues - 30 seconds
Richard Freeman - 29 seconds
Manju Jois - 25 seconds
Lino - 24 seconds
Derek Ireland - 20 seconds
John Scott - 20 seconds
Mark Darby - 20 seconds
Kino - 20 seconds
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - 20 seconds
David Swenson - 19 seconds
Sharath - 13 seconds
( I've heard a recent recording of Sharaths' Led where it comes in at 25 seconds)
David Robson comes closest to a minute but that's perhaps because he has the 1 second beat of the drum to guide him on his Primary with Drums Video/CD/MP3 - Highly recommended. However, if I remember correctly the drumbeat is set at 4 second inhalation, 4 second exhalation. If you want to explore a slower pace download his mp3 or follow the link (click on his name above) and practice along to my Sury A video on that post with the drum beat in the background. There should be a link to a post where I explore the drum beat with second series.
Bit of a game changer?
Notice how many of the above are around 20 seconds, that actually works out at 2 second inhalation, 2 second exhalation, which is of course what Sharath included in the first edition of his book. That perhaps reflects the pace the practice is generally taken, how it's come down to us, how we tend to practice. What I find most interesting is that Sharath consciously, pointedly, changed it to 5 seconds. We might practice at 2 seconds but perhaps we should be aiming to take it a little slower, even perhaps twice as slowly. We can explore it at least.
I have a great deal of respect for Sharath, for all of the above and in fact for anyone who has maintained this practice for the number of years they have but for me the final authority is the practice, my practice, not Sharath', not his Grandfather or even Krishnamacharya. I'll happily explore how they present it, really spend time with their approach, their instruction but ultimately I'll go with what feels right for me. At one point I tried to slow my Ashtanga right down, ten seconds for inhalation, ten for exhalation, I really worked at that. I thought at the time it reflected 'original practice' or the original intention perhaps, didn't work, eight seconds may work fine in Vinyasa Krama but in Ashtanga six seconds is about as slow as I can comfortably take it and maintain the integrity of the practice as a whole, although I currently I tend to add in kumbhakas. Once you do find an approach, a pace that works for you however, it seems good practice to stick with it for a significant period before exploring any slightly different approach. Ashtanga seems to be all about routine, it seems to work best when you know exactly where you are and what you are doing. Personal opinion of course. A shorter pre pranayama evening practice is good for exploring.
Sharath is using the conditional of course, IF we inhale for five seconds THEN we exhale for five seconds, he's stressing that the breath should be equal but using a five second example rather than one of two second sends a message perhaps, slower, fuller breathing encouraged.
Of course breathing rates are always merely a guide, we can breathe at whatever pace we are most comfortable with and that will of course change as our practice develops and as we focus on and explore different aspects of the practice but we should surely be aiming for a full, steady, stable breath at least at whatever pace we take it and Krishnamacharya does recommend, "slow like the pouring of oil". In interviews Pattabhi Jois talked of 10, 15 even 20 seconds each for inhalation and exhalations. My own preference is around eight in Vinyasa Krama, probably averaging six in my Ashtanga practice (1.5 in navasana). My workaround when practicing with DVDs or in Led is to take three longer breaths or sometimes just two if I'm including kumbhaka.
Take a look at my page at the top of the blog, 'Mysore rooms around the world' to get an idea of the pace others actually practice in their Mysore rooms.
Here'a link to my review of the original.
Book(let) Review : Ashtanga yoga Anusthana - R. Sharath Joi
Friday, 15 November 2013
Sharath discussion on Ishvara, Japa Mantra Religion, God at Sunday Conference in Mysore
|image from http://joisyoga.com|
I'm particularly interested in this as japa mantra is something Ramaswami encourages at the the end of practice after pratyahara, pranayama and of course your asana ( perhaps a shorter asana practice in the evening with more time for pranayama and japa. I've also been including manta in my actual asana practice recently, it started with a kind of loving kindness mantra 'May I (she,he,they, Ramaswami, all living beings etc,) be safe, may I be well, may I be peaceful, may I be happy (different line of the mantra on each inhalation and exhalation throughout the practice) now I'm constructing mantra's based on Lamrim meditation, a different, meditation for each day, the asana practice as a kind of carrier for the mantra, it's an interesting approach.
The transcript is from Suzy's Mysore blog
With surrendering to Ishvara, who is Ishvara?
Sharath – Ishvara is the existence, the nature, the energy who is making this world work.
Student – but how do we surrender to that energy?
Sharath – in your practice, by following yama and niyama. If you follow that, that means you are surrendering. Humans gave the name god to god. Humans see god as human. Tigers see god as tiger. Birds see god as a big bird, bigger than him. God means some energy, which is running this, the whole show.
How do you feel that? through your yoga practice. You have to apply yama and niyama to get to proper meaning, to understand what yoga is. If you follow that your mind gets very calm. If you follow ahimsa your mind gets very calm, there is no conflict with anyone.
Why everyone talks about spirituality? They need something to stop themselves to do bad things. So they go to a teacher, a master, he will guide you. If teacher says go and do anything, smoke cigarettes, go to party… he is spoiling you. It’s all fake the joy you are getting from outside. You have to get inner joy. When you get there’s nothing like that. Everything looks different. Everything looks joyful for you.
Now you want to see the internet, Facebook, Twitter, what this guy is doing… But instead if you sit for 15 minutes and try to understand how to bring inner joy. Do japa (mantra repetition) for 15 minutes, take one mantra – any mantra you want, chant it at home. Then you will see how this thing will change. Don’t think anything, just do japa.
If a person doesn’t have a religion, how do they go about seeking a mantra?
Sharath – you have to have something. What is your taste? You can’t say I don’t believe in that supreme energy, you have to believe in one.
Student – it’s not so much not believing in one, it’s just not having a preference.
Sharath – you should have one. How old are you?
Student – 24.
Sharath – [laughs] see this is the problem. Later, when you get wiser the things change. When I was practising 23 years back I was just bending my body. But when I got wiser then I realised that yoga is beyond asanas. Many things I had to discover. Maybe in ten years you will know.
Part of svadhyaya (self-study) is getting connected to one god. We have to believe in someone otherwise we won’t exist. Your mother, your father can be your god. Your teacher, your guru can be your god. You can feel that energy through your mother or your guru. Do you believe in this practice, what you’re doing?
Student – yes.
Sharath – so that belief can be god.
Someone asked me long back, in the old shala… my grandmother gave me a ring. I was wearing that ring. I was wearing here [indicates ring finger] so many people thought I was married. So one lady asked me, “are you married?”. I said, “yes”. “So where is your wife?”, I replied, “yoga is my wife” [laughs]. I was so involved in yoga. Your first wife is your practice.
Student – is your wife jealous?
Sharath – no, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.
But sometimes we can see something different in our teacher. Many people believed Guruji as their god. They felt some energy through him. Once I had back pain lifting too many students. My challenge from day one was practice and helping. When you lift students your body becomes stiff. I got this pain in my lower back. And everyday Guruji used to make me catch in back-bending here [indicates mid-thigh]. So I told my grandfather, “I can’t do today”. My grandfather he said, “just do it, just breathe”. He made me catch and after that all the pain was gone. That day it was a totally meditative practice.
That was the energy that he had within him.
That energy only comes from a proper sadhana (spiritual practice). Yogasadhana is not easy, it takes a lot of sacrifice. To master something you have to leave many things. If you are forced to do something it won’t be the same. When you like to do some work it is totally different. When you do something willingly the energy is totally different. And sometimes you need that push from your teacher.
We see many attitudes here also. When a student comes and thinks he knows everything, he wants to prove that. I say I have to learn so many things still. It doesn’t end. The person who knows everything he doesn’t say he knows everything.
You can only experience yoga through your practice. If I eat masala dosa that doesn’t mean you have relished masala dosa. You have to go and eat. Yoga is also like that. You have to do it.
Sharath's conferences are also being transcribed on Linda Mansion's Me and My Yoga Blog
Tuesday, 14 June 2016
Sharath, Paramaguru? What is the meaning, significance of the Paramaguru title.
Sharath's relationship with his grandfather clearly had a powerful and influential effect on him, leading him to stress the concept of parampara in his teaching. Personally the concept doesn't interest me in the slightest, not in reference to Sharath (who I do happen to respect as a practitioner and teacher, as I do anyone who has practiced as long or significantly longer) or teachers I've spent a little time with like Manju (who jokingly calls out "Never fear guru's here" when he enters the shala at the beginning of a workshop) or Ramaswami or even Patabbhi Jois and Krishnamacharya for that matter. I find the concept of the guru and parampara, as presented, along with that of 'a lineage' or 'tradition' unnecessary, even a hinderance, and along with the growing adoration that seemingly goes with it perhaps the most off-putting aspect of recent Ashtanga. In this Krishnamacharya 'tradition' ( I actually prefer 'approach' or 'method' to tradition) it's enough perhaps to practice daily and for a long time some appropriate asana, a little pranayama but to focus more on working with Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (or another appropriate meditative practice along with ones own cultural yama and niyama ) and not worry too much about what you call it, who taught it or where it came from (I'm, very much aware of the irony here given the nature of this mostly retired blog).
I'm too cynical of origin narratives perhaps, and coming from the UK, of honorary titles. Such titles appear to elevate the holder and of course all those who claim association, in this case Sharath's students and those Authorised and/or Certified by the 'Paramaguru'. Surely, playing the game and not calling yourself a guru yet (even tacitly) accepting an honorary title like Paramaguru (The Guru of a parampara or specific tradition ) and allowing it to be used extensively in promotion suggests a worrying contradiction. Apart from anything, although he would probably throw something at me if I addressed him as guru, it's surely insulting to Pattabhi's Jois' still living and actively teaching son Manju Jois who has been passing along this approach to practice (as has his sister and Sharath's mother Saraswati) for over fifty years along with several other senior teachers and early students of Pattabhi Jois).
Perhaps it's best we just agree to disagree on this.
However, if parampara IS your thing, check out Lu's Ashtanga Parampara platform
"The Guru tradition is one of the oldest foundations of the Hindu tradition. The Upanishads and Epics are filled with instructions, dialogues, and teachings of the great Gurus, Sages and Rishis. These teachings have been passed down to us over thousands of years. Holy places such as Banaras, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Uttarkashi, and beyond, have been the dwelling places of these revered teachers where in yoga's long past they performed tapas. To be able to perform sadhana in the same places where they did is considered to be a blessing. It is widely known that a Guru never calls himself a Guru—it is a title bestowed by his or her disciples. The Guru has no desire for fame, or for being revered; a Guru only has the desire to perform service to humanity, to teach the knowledge that is related to liberation, to be devoted to the removal of suffering, and nothing else. But sometimes the disciples of such a teacher wish to call him or her by a special name, and not simply by their given name. It is for this reason that we sought out the counsel of the elder Sannyasis and Sadhus of Uttarkashi, who also agreed that it was time for Sharathji and Saraswathiji to be formally bestowed with titles, and who, after conferring among themselves, decided upon an honorific title for each of them...
"After learning for a very long period of time—because it takes good time to learn from the teacher properly —then we are supposed to practice on our own, mananam. For mananam, the disciple who really wants to practice on his own now comes from Kasi to Haridwar and Rishikesh and stays there. He does a lot of contemplation on whatever he's been learning. He starts studying by himself and he becomes master over the teaching. Once he becomes master, he travels to Himalayas, to Uttarkashi. He stays here; he rests in his knowledge, nidhidhyasana. This is the place of nidhidhyasana. Whatever he has learnt in Banaras (Kashi), and contemplated in Rishikesh and Haridwar, when he comes here, he lives it, he becomes a yogi. Until then, he's a student. If you come here and stay amongst the sadhus, then you take upadhi of a real yogi...
"[To Sharath] Now we consider you as one of us. That you now can become a leader, and lead us. Because you have properly understood whatever has been taught by parampara. We are very happy to have Sharath here, who has taken part in the parampara itself. From today onwards, we call this upadhi, Amma, as Guru Ma. And Sharathji as Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois...
Now, from today onwards, there’s a bigger responsibility of leading the world onwards on the path of yoga...
RSJ: Thank you.
Saraswathi Jois: With all credit going to Pattabhi Jois.
RSJ: [to students]: You have wealth, you have book knowledge. You have everything. If you don't put your mind towards adhyatama, your heart towards spirituality, towards jnana, it's no use having this life, having everything. Guru is very important. Guru is the one who teaches, who will take us towards that jnana which is the true knowledge. He removes all the obstacles in us and he removes all the pollution in us. He gives us the true knowledge, jnana. It has touched my heart deeply, all the love and affection everyone has given. Thank you so much. See you again.
"This practice that we are doing is an age-old practice; it has come from parampara, from the guru -shishya parampara—from Guru to his shishyas, Guru to his students. When a student becomes a master, then he becomes a Guru and passes his knowledge on to his students. Like this, the yoga knowledge has been passed on for generations. As we know it in this form of Ashtanga Yoga, it has come from maybe 300 years ago—I don’t know for how many generations this knowledge has been passed on".
And below Sharath talking about the idea of Guru with Sonia Jones of Sonima, the organisers of Sharath's current US tour.
The question of parampara came up at his years Ashtanga yoga Confluence, here's a recap from Tim Miller's blog.
Tuesday March 8th—The Ashtanga Yoga Confluence and the Parampara
This past Sunday during the final panel discussion of the 2016 Ashtanga Yoga Confluence, a question was asked about the concept of Parampara and how it is interpreted in the Ashtanga tradition. David Swenson reminded all of us that Guruji’s own eldest son, Manju, was present in the room, and if anyone could be considered the true lineage holder it would be him. Everyone in the room stood up and gave Manju an ovation. It was a very moving moment. I looked over at Dena and saw her eyes welling up with tears just like mine. Manju was very gracious and said that as far as he was concerned, all of us sharing the stage with him and countless other teachers throughout the world are all part of the Parampara.
New video uploaded today on Sharath's Youtube channel, sharath jois rangaswamy, titledParamaguru, Sharath Jois Yoga Class in New York.
UPADATE: This comment came in on a share of my post in FB, I hope the person who posted it wont mind me quoting it in full here
"All I can say is I just spent the last 6 days in one of his two daily guided primary series - he did 2 per day in Palo Alto, LA, NYC and Miami and he was super helpful, walking around adjusting over 200+ sweaty practitioner, making jokes and just generally being a super nice guy. So say what you will, but in my mind he knows the practice as well or better than any other living being, is an extremely hard working and dedicated guy, and a genuine nice guy. Not sure what else one can ask for. As he said to us after our practice today - "Keep Practicing!".
This is pretty much the impression I also have of Sharath, the same generous, good humoured work ethic I had of his grandfather and that I have of Manju and Saraswati too for that matter, it says a great deal, I would argue it says plenty and without needing to resort to names, terms and concepts like tradition, lineage, parampara, guru, guruji or paramparaguru
This post isn't intended as a critique of Sharath but rather of our pedestal building
Note: Namarupa is a beautifully produced magazine and worth getting, this edition follows the 2015 Ynamarupa Yatra (tour/pilgrimage). The Sharath section mostly consists of an intro, two or three conferences which are basically the same as those that have come out of Mysore over the last few years (although here the three conferences follow on from eachother) and a couple of extra paragraphs to the above section on Parampara plus a few glossy photos of Sharath as well as a couple from inside KPJAYI.