Tuesday, February 21, 2012

asian invasion, go team philppines!

Philippine Feet at Sri Ragna Patna.


Asian explosion: Chinese and honorary Chinese
gathered to celebrate Year of the Dragon
with fireworks in Gokulam.





I've been meaning to write about what I call the "Asian Invasion." This season, among the newest wave of practitioners joining the ranks at the KPJAYI shala are from all parts of Asia--most notably from Korea, from Taiwan, from Thailand, from China, etc...During my time there between October '11 and end of January '12, there were definitely more Asians compared to my trip the year past. And according to some older students, from the years previous.

There are some exceptions, of course, Japanese students have been coming for many years, what with an amazing crew of teachers leading Mysore programs in the country. Students from Hong Kong, likewise, have represented. But for some of the region, ashtanga is still in its infancy, though it is growing quickly with lots of visiting teachers and local ashtanga programs cultivating a new generation of bendy ashtangis.

The Philippine Islands are also staking their claim in the Asian Invasion in Mysore. By my count--which is limited to my circle and may not fully account for all--there are 6 students from Manila there now, 2 from Cebu/Boracay, 2 more hailing from the Philippines in March. Eleven--and still wishing I could make a full dozen. While I was there, we possibly peaked at 8. May seem small in comparison to the forces of Brazilians and South Americans, Canadians, Fins, Norwegians, and various European countries represented in Gokulam at any given time. But it's still unprecedented. Perhaps one day, we too will be called into the shala rather unceremoniously like "You, Russian," or "You, Japanese." "You, Philippines!"

Ashtanga is growing. All over. And Asia is the new frontier. And while I can't quite help but feel nervous about the growing gaggle of students gathered in front of the gate before lead class, it's also exciting to be a part of the swelling numbers, to see the practice develop in this part of the world, in the part of the world I currently call home. To see it seed and sprout, grow and strengthen is a testament to the power of the practice to draw and cultivate mindful and dedicated practitioners, who come to Mysore to learn and then in turn share the spirit of Mysore back home. As Sharath has said more than once in conference: ashtanga doesn't belong to any one person. It belongs to everyone, anyone who is open to embracing it.


Wishing the friends from the PI who are still there, much love and great practice! Keep representing!

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