What about me??

Two weeks have come and gone, so it’s probably time for another blog post. If I had stuck to my original plans I would have been leaving today…I am so thankful that I was in a position to stay longer. I definitely know now that it would have been way too soon to come back home.

I have been reading the book called “Guruji” by Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern. It’s a book about Pattabhi Jois portrayed through interview with his senior students and his family members. It’s really extraordinary and inspiring, but has brought up so many questions. It makes me think so much to the point that I can’t read it before bed or else I won’t sleep. Each interview starts with the question “how did you get into yoga?”, and it’s really cool to hear that they all started from scratch. That these incredible teachers and practitioners weren’t born with these super strong and flexible bodies, they started just like we did. But with all different reasons and intentions. Especially his first students, David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff, David Swenson, Tim Miller, ect…, had this extraordinarily intimate connection and relationship with Guruji. Like super hands on, one on one kind of relationship. They talked about how they each had this special connection with him, each one was different. Reading all these stories I found myself getting straight up envious of them, to the point that I was convinced I was born in the wrong decade. Like why couldn’t I have been 21 in the 70’s, living in Encinitas California, and bff’s with the Swenson brothers?? The more I read the more distant I was feeling from Sharath, and having that teacher-student relationship.

When I got to Sharath’s interview, he talked a lot about the importance of the “teacher-student” relationship, they call it “parampara”. The tradition of a teacher passing down there knowledge to their student, and so on. He spoke of the importance of having a guru to give you the tools to grow as a student and into a teacher. But he explains that the teacher doesn’t hold your hand the whole way, he just gives you the road map and let’s you go, and experience it yourself. But will be there when questions come up. So while I’m reading this I start thinking about Sharath as my teacher. I’m still very new to this practice. It’s only been a year and a half that I was formally introduced and only 4 months since I have had a daily practice. Coming here I didn’t have a true teacher, I don’t really have access to one. But now after being here for a month, I have taken Sharath to be my teacher…along with the other 150+ students here. Until I started reading this book, it never occurred to me that Sharath probably doesn’t know my name. And that just isn’t okay with me. Where do I fit in this parampara tradition? Is it possible? How can I have a connection deeper than him helping me grab my ankles in backbends everyday?? I want a teacher not really just to help me progress in my asana practice, but also to give me the tools for my spiritual practice…the bigger side of yoga. Because I’ve learned that that is what I have been lacking this entire time, even before getting to Mysore. I needed to re-establish my connection with God, or the Source, as they call it in the book. I have the opportunity to sit down one on one with Sharath coming up, so I’m just going to be completely honest with him and tell him how I have been feeling.

With this realization, I have to decided to just let go of my attachment to my asana practice. When I am on my mat for those two hours I will work hard, breath, and turn inward. But the second I roll up my mat I will let go of the fact that I still cannot get into supta kurmasana by myself or that I’m still struggling with my balance in Pasasana. And have faith in the practice, my teacher, God, and most importantly myself that it will all come when it is time. And When I walk through the shala doors to leave that I start the REAL practice. Being a better person, compassionate to myself and others, no judging myself and others. The yamas and niyamas. I see people 30+ years older than me here who are beginners and some who are in 3rd series, and it reminds me how blessed I am to have found this practice at 20/21 years old. That I have this incredible tool, Ashtanga yoga, to help me through my daily life, stresses, relationships, school, work, Ect. I am grateful.

So have been doing a lot of soul searching, cleaning up, and moving on in the last two weeks. It’s been tough, and extremely emotional. But I know that this is all just a part of my story, my experience that i hope one day I can share. I am ready for whatever this last month here in India will bring, but I will still wake up everyday to be here and excited to get on my mat. I’m also so lucky for the friendships I have made here and that I have been able to express my emotions and frustrations to them along the way. I will forever cherish them.

So I have exactly 4 more weeks here, and though I do miss my family,friends, bed, and washer machine dearly, I would never wish this time away. Love to all my readers. Xoxox

Ally

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3 thoughts on “What about me??

  1. Ally you are a very, very self aware 21 year old. If you don’t mind I will suggest to you something to think about. Yoga is a spiritual practice. Asana is there to clear the Nadis and strengthen the body for good health and meditation. Pranayama and meditation are the goals of a sadhana practice since the ultimate goal being spiritual enlightenment. Reading spiritual texts, practicing Yama and Niyama and relying on Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras for guidance are parts of the science of the practice. Asana is just one limb of Ashtanga Yoga. You have probably already felt the profound physical effects of the practice. Remember Sharath is a wonderful and gifted teacher who may or may not be your Guru. Your true Guru is within. Everything you need you already have. The goal of Yoga is realizing this in this lifetime. May we all achieve this goal of union in this lifetime. Om Shanthi, Shanthi Shanthi.

  2. Ally, as we’ve told you before, this is quite an education for us and we can’t wait to hear a lot more of the details of your experience there. Keep up the good work!
    Love you,
    Bubby and Poppy

  3. Everyone in Mysore wants Sharath to *see* them. I was actually surprised by how much I wanted him to recognize me. That drive to be seen and acknowledged is fascinating — and I think it’s bigger than just an individual’s relationship with his/her teacher. It’s very interesting to explore.

    I think of Sharath as my teacher. He leads me by example. Moments that I can interact with him at the shala are precious, but there’s something even bigger, and that’s the parampara. And faith, I suppose.

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