Monday, February 8, 2016

between dark and light

Post practice chai means seeing the sky change from dark to light. 

It's Saturday, after Led Primary, the first batch. We come out of the shala and it is pretty much as dark as when we came in around 4 in the morning. Not an extraordinary occurrence here for those with early start times. But over the course of post-practice chai, the sky changes, color slowly returns to the street, structures become more and more defined by the minute. 

I know not everyone can relate as many are starting later in the morning, coming to the door when it's pretty much daylight out. For me, however, this time of the morning, the hours that straddle the dark and the light really remind me of what it's like to practice here. It's a medium for the dualities, good and bad, dark and light, love and fear, they all have a place here. 

This yoga bubble is also a magnifying glass for the real, which we get to see extremely up close, whether it's that sweet opening, so soft and light that it feels blessed by a divine shower of flower petals falling from Devaloka or that moment of grappling with your demons in the dark, that struggle of epic-like proportions. Both extremes exists here, sometimes simultaneously or, at the very least, in remarkably close succession of each other. 

It has been bright returning to India, to once again be a student, to be in the presence of my teacher, to check in with myself, and to meet old friends, fellow journeymen and women, who I have seen throughout the years. The interactions with the later have been particularly special already. To see people change and grow over the year or years is a testament of time and practice. All around I see evidence of transformation, the evolution of human life, which plays out though the year, in our work, our relationships and our general state of being, all skillfully fueled by sadhana, or spiritual practice. All this is also a reflection of the many changes in my own life over the years. 

Even those who I do not know personally but have assisted in the shala since last year or in 2013--it is also really special to see these fellow-students again on their mats in the shala. I am inspired and honored that I get to see the changes in their practice albeit without any life context. It's a pretty amazing thing to experience as an assistant.  

Of course, the more light it is, the more visible the shadows. This first week here has also been about seeing the shadow sides of being in Mysore, the bits of dark that hide in this or that corner of my own ego. 

Sitting in observation of heavier feelings and energies is not my favorite, it makes me feel raw and uncomfortable, though I also have a growing appreciation for it, a better understanding that there is no running away, that there is no real way of covering that which needs to be seen and recognized. 

This first week has been about adjusting to the shifting light and nodding respectfully to the shadows. What comes next, I cannot say! But I look forward to seeing the light change, and the dark too. 


  1. It is great to learn about Yoga, ours is one of the best Dance classes in Mysore !

  2. From fully into it to I can't have it - this is soo typical! Did you ever took the time to practice actual yoga, to use it as a tool to understand who you are and were you are at? Your words show you never actually got a glance of it. It feels like you were expecting a miracle just by following the recipe, like a solution to pollution. You did it all, 6 days a week, the days you are supposed to, like as if it made a difference, the vegan raw lettuce organic diet, etc. What about yourself, did you ever consider who you are, where you came from and what does this all "tradition" + random concepts stated by a load of people in their writings, workshops, etc + a load of gossip around ashtanga yoga that have become mainstream knowledge, actually mean to you, wherever you are from? You are not Mr Jois who came from a small village, I am pretty sure you are not Indian, you weren't born immersed in the culture so is silly to expect this tradition to be fully applicable to you, to actually understand a little of it, to try to embrace you need to use a couple more than two brain cells. Be who you are and if there is something about yoga you like, take it by the hand and walk with it, don't assume is a limousine that will take you to heaven and this method was dropped in this world tailor made to you. You are obviously dealing with Ashtangarexia and looking for the Authorisation, yoga practice is about self development, doesn't have anything to do with a career or a final solution to all problems. If you came to Mysore you obviously didn't hear anything Sharath ever said. I bet you didn't get the Authorisation either otherwise you would have been a happy bunny by now :) Maybe Sharath saw this confusion in you in the mist of 200 other people, maybe he is not that stupid at all. You clearly did not get what tradition means, and you are talking about a yoga practice as religion sometimes and then you quickly turn it into a career. Didn't you get is neither of the two. Next time you get into something, use more than two brain cells, it might save you 6 years and the hassle of making a blog post complaining about it. This is typical human behaviour, ones gets into something blindly and then comes out of it angry and throwing the responsibility elsewhere. Next time, take responsibility for your own actions, try, slowly. See if it works for you. If it doesn't, just step out and understand that whatever there is in this world might not fit everyone, or perhaps use more than two brain cells while doing it and balance it to your own self.