Sunday conferences begin with Sharath taking a seat on the stage area and chanting quietly. During a recent conference a student asked what the chant was for and today we found out. As Sharath explained, this specific chant thanks all of his gurus in this lineage—Brahmachari, Krishnamacharya, and Pattabhi Jois. It is important to thank these people because many students, once they learn, they forget their guru. He reminded us that were present our guru in this lineage. Without them it would be impossible to practice and relish this system of yoga. Sharath said that few people knew the system of yoga from the Yoga Korunta, and Pattabhi Jois kept it aliveby teaching it to others and spreading its message. Yoga is a science anda spiritual development. The purpose of the sādhaka (aspirant /practitioner) is to totally submerse himself in the yoga and learn it.
To explain how to be a good student to our guru, Sharath quoted the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali 2.01 which means discipline, self-study, and devotion or surrender to the divine constitutes kriyā yogaḥ. He said it is important to become disciplined so that we donot get distracted and unstable. This discipline does not come all at once — it is a process that happens year by year. He reiterated that he wasn’t speaking only of āsana, but of the whole yoga practice. Everyone wants to rush now, get authorization quickly, but our aim should be to learn first, and this is why self-study is important. Now we may see someone do handstands on a DVD and think they know what they are doing. He pointed out that even his young son can do handstands. We should get connected to whichever god or belief we like. It can be a belief in something without shape. We have created all of these shapes, but there is no one shape for any god. Once we get connected and surrender to our self and to the divine, we can be very calm. A sādhaka should always surrender to his teacher. If that thirst does not exist, what you learn will only be physical. These three things — devotion, development, and dedication —are important to our practice because it gives meaning to what we aredoing. Otherwise, why spend time doing it?
Conference Notes with Sharath Jois: KPJAYI, 2September 2012