Conference notes March 23, 2014

Last conference of the season…

Sharath opened by stating this was it! He wondered if any one had any doubts or questions, because as he put it, without them there are no answers. 🙂

Someone opened by asking about count, is it a mantra?

Sharath basically stated it’s a count no more no less. His son was sitting next to him and started the count, “One!” It was very funny and cute.

Ahimsa came up next from a more philosophical perspective of the point that there are infinite consequences..how do you decide what is ever right?

At first Sharath humorously stated if we dwell on every possible outcome we’d never leave our beds! However, though fate may exist with everyone having a time go be born or a time to die, ensuring your actions are purposeful is all you can do. Think first. God has given us all the power to think and gauge our choices. Yoga helps make you wiser, utilizing the tools of all the limbs helps you to think more clearly. By enacting the eight limbs, the impurities of the body and mind can be destroyed, so spirituality and wisdom can grow inside.

Sharath said his wife was helping him with his hair and back in his oil bath yesterday, and they were talking about spirituality. He said he told her that children are born pure, up until about five years old there is really nothing but a good heart and stable mind. As we age and are exposed to more trauma, people, places, knowledge, it gets more confusing and disturbing, to latch on to that earlier place but the process of yoga can bring your mind there again. Bringing the senses inside to see your true nature, versus all the outside perceptions and distractions.

Asana starts the process, and then curiosity takes hold first to ahimsa, than satya and the transformation starts. It goes deeper and deeper, into your actions and changes how you act as well as how you treat others.

As an aside someone asked later about the importance of ahimsa over satya in possibly hurting others through what you say…his answer was that there is an art to learning how to make others understand without humiliation or judgement.

How hard should you push yourself?

With a smile, unto you feel pain, everyone laughed. But then more seriously, until your body shows resistance. Your body is clever, it knows when to stop. Primary series should take about an hour and fifteen minutes. If you do too many asana, it’s like eating too much food, it can really make you sick. One practice a day is enough.

Why is there “Shala Time”?

Sharath said it was too keep us from being lazy with a laugh. But then said it was a tradition of parampara dating to Guruji always being five minutes early, he felt it was very important to be on time.

Questions about bundhas and stamina, shaking during or after practice?

Bundhas, were briefly addressed with basics stating it was too much information to cover here but there was plenty of information available and that they develop over time and consistency. As for the shaking, this is a high energy practice and the body slowly needs to get used to it over years, again stressing to never do too many at a time.

Certified teacher trainings versus authorization?

Sharath answered saying what can he do? Police it? Yoga can’t be trademarked, it’s like the sun, or air, it just exists. It is his duty to educate, teachers trainings don’t possibly cover enough, in good ones, you end up realizing how much more you need to learn. Everyone needs training and a proper foundation, like the banyan tree, it starts out small and grows slowly, this is yoga. The commitment and sacrifice is great.

When is Shat Kriya appropriate?

When you are Ill. Asana cures in of itself if done properly. For example, primary series is designed to cure internal diseases. The digestive organs are cleansed by pressing on the lower abdomin. Backs are strengthened in forward folds and pain goes away. Belly fat goes away from forward bending. First it makes you fit and healthy, then strong organs and bundhas.

When should you start drop backs?

Not until primary is completed. It is important to have a sound forward bend before drop backs, otherwise you compromise kormasana. Balancing is important, too much of anything can effect the rest of your practice. For example, handstands compromise kapotasana, too many, unneeded, will effect ability to backbend properly. It is unnecessary to do more than your practice.

Coconut oil rubbed on the joints after practice then washed off with hot water will help make the joints more flexible.

What about catching?

Sharath stated without it you can’t see the stars, with a laugh. But more seriously noted it will strengthen your back more after all the foreword folding of primary. He as well pointed out how strong and straight the backs of old yogis were such as Krishanamachara and Guruji.

In closing he spoke of obstacles to practice from yoga sutra 1.30..
Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground and slipping from the ground gained — these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles. We can make our minds stronger through practice. While he was on Safari, in a tent practicing as he was getting into kapotasana there was a lion roaring right outside the tent. He smiled and said it was his best kapotasana ever. God bless you all with happiness and prosperity. Namaste!

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