Dealing with greed, love, doubt, attachment, money - Sharath Conference Sunday 23rd 2011

To me, every question asked of Sharath yesterday had one answer: "Do Yoga".

People wanted exact answers: how do you know when you are closer to God? What is greed? Specific solutions to issues like: not being attached to your lover.  And there was always one answer from Sharath: "Do Yoga".

So, if you make a lot of money: "do yoga". Lose your house: "do yoga". Fall in love: "do yoga". you have an injury: "do yoga". If you are taken ill to the hospital, as soon as you can: "do yoga".

What does "do yoga" mean? Yesterday I realized it means: Do your asana and connect with spirit, and the answers to your own questions will become apparent.  Deep down I feel this is the only answer Sharath gave.

Sharath, how do we deal with?

Doubt
We get "grounded".  That is the verb he used, to "ground".  We get grounded in the practice, we do it for the love of it, not for the next pose, not for the authorization, but because it works.  We do it for a long period of time, and when we have doubts that is usually when we get the best practice should we choose to stick with it. "Everyone has doubts at some point," Sharath said. "I had doubts."

Greed
Instead of focusing on the next pose, focus on perfecting what you have.  Perfection of the primary series is very important.

There is a rythm to the practice, it feels like chanting (he chanted in Saskrit to give us an idea), we get into the rythm of it, and we focus, we breathe, we work at the asanas we have, we work with change, with our bodies as they are.  And that is in asana, we also attend to our responsibilities, and we pray, we do our japa, our dedication, we offer our lives to the divine.

The quickest way to get the next pose is connecting with spirit, it is in getting honest about our own wants, about what we are really after.

Detachment, how do we detach from say, the one we love?
His answer was vague but this is my take.  It is allowed to have love, he is married and most of us are householders. It is by connecting with spirit, by doing the practice that we clear the areas where we create intrigue or play games in relationships.  Where we notice that we are not being honest about our feelings, or where we decide we are ready to focus our energy on one real solid loving partnership so that then we can have enough energy for creativity, for yoga, for reaching God.

Through the practice we get clear, we know what we want.  It is not "renunciate the world" - we just chose one partner and be loyal to it.

"Do Yoga". The right answers come.

Injury, and does asana ever stop?
On Injury: "you have to be intelligent"  don't force things, you know what to do, how far you can go.  And asana slows with age, but we always do asana, pranayama becomes more prominent, but most importantly we always do our practice.

When Pattabhi Jois got very sick in the 90s as soon as he was out of the hospital he would walk to the hallway of his home holding on to the walls (could not be touched for assistance when doing his puja) and go do his prayers, his Gayatri mantra, his other chants. Always doing his practice.

Rest
Asana should go on for no more than 2 hours. "You can go crazy". The only 3 yoga sutras dealing with asana are set on calming the mind, not over-exciting it.

Sharath talked about how he has students who stop going to him and try to teach it differently,  "Surya Namaskar and coming up to head stand" he said to the laughing crowd. "If you do a lot of crazy things you become crazy", more laughter.

Then you do your japa, dhyana, other practices.  You do your yoga, all day long, every day, for a long time.

What is the purpose of yoga?
  1. Dedication
  2. Determination
  3. Devotion
He joked about it being the 3 Ds... 

Ego
"People who get certified get even more ego" he says, and he was not just referring to Ashtanga.

We do not need a father figure to tell us we are ready, we need to connect with spirit, the rest will take care of itself. We do our practice, then all is coming.

And then the funny ones:

Why do we have shala time? (the shala clock is 15 minutes ahead)

We do not want students to be lazy! - laughter

This comes from the time of  Pattabhi Jois, whom in his own house always had the clocks 10 minutes ahead. He was a very punctual man. Whenever they were preparing for an international trip he would start getting ready hours in advance and go to each room and ask the family if they were ready already.  He would nag them.

What is the best way to prepare for practice?
Nobel, this one is for you...

Drink half a cup of coffee! No coffe no prana!  there is a very famous vedic (?) saying for Brahmans about how they are fond of food, he jokes he is fond of coffee.  Those were his words, I am just paraphrasing a little.

Sharath said that his grandfather would wake him up at 4 in the morning every morning and give him a cup of coffee.  Students would be arriving and he would be making coffee for the whole family.  One time his son Manju came to visit and on the second day he did not want the coffee.  Jois said OK, and left him alone.  About a week later Manju was asking for coffee again...

So yes, coffee...

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13 comments:

  1. Claudia

    Thanks for updating the Sharath Conference . I feel that for all questions the simple way to find an answer is :
    Go to the motive behind why u are asking this question ? Do u really do not know the answer or are u unable to find the answer due to conflicting desires / conflicting priorities ? This is the Weapon J.Krishnamurti gave for people to introspect . His message was simple : as long as self interest /self seeking is there behind any activity , you are likely to end up in some form of conflict .But the mind will play all its tricks in avoiding these sort of self investigation and that is why I feel Sharath /Pattabhi Joise kept it simple : Do Yoga and find out urself .

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  2. Yes Krishna, I feel the same way, the message is so simple is easy to overlook. Just do your practice of asana and introspection, get honest, the answers will come... yes

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  3. Hi Claudia,
    You and I are on the same page here with our Sharath conference posts!
    David G

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  4. David, yes we are on the same page, enjoyed your video... I feel that it is so true that when we do our yoga, and our introspection, we get honest with ourselves then the answers become so clear...

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  5. Okay, here's my latest coffee-prana conspiracy theory: It seems to me like the Jois's have their own special brand of organic fair-trade coffee! :-) Maybe there is a special siddhi that enables Guruji and his family to brew a special kind of organic coffee that gets the prana going, whereas ordinary coffee just scatters your prana all over the place and leaves your nervous system totally out of whack.

    This is probably what happened: Manju grew up drinking the coffee that Guruji made, which enabled him to have all his yogic prowess. After he moved to the States, Manju discovered that no other kind of coffee had the prana-focusing power of the Jois brand. So he gave up coffee. When he went back to Mysore to visit, he forgot about the special power of Jois coffee. Which is why he at first declined the coffee. But after being there for a week, and feeling the yogic powers emanating from the rest of the family, he finally realized what he had been missing all these years, and came back to drinking the special Jois' brand coffee. Which might explain why Manju's teachings seem to be very much in demand in recent years (he got a new boost in yogic prowess from drinking Jois coffee again).

    Claudia, I challenge you to present this theory to Sharath :-)

    Hmm... no (Jois) coffee, no prana. No wonder I still haven't completed second series after all this time...

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  6. Claudia

    This is an excellent quote I saw on another blog ( thehiddenashtangi ) and I feel it very much resonates with what Sharath /Joise keep hitting time and again i.e do ur practice and everything comes along . Here is the quote :

    "You see, that is your work. That is the yoga: to get on the mat and be the boss of your mind, be present and mindful all the way throughout practice and then stay present and mindful during the rest of your day."

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  7. p.s. This is bordering on being very irreverent/disrespectful, but maybe the JoisYoga brand should also include a line of organic fair-trade coffee. I can totally see it selling like hot cakes :-)

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  8. Ah! I KNEW 2.5 hours was getting to be too much.

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  9. Thanks Claudia. I want to ask him how one does all of 2nd + up to viranchyasana in two hours. Really!!!

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  10. I really like this post! The answers and simple and kind of intuitive, but it's still very very helpful to be reminded by the Guru. Thanks Claudia!

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  11. @Nobel, you had me cracking up... I believe you are right, that would explain why the big house on top of the shala, must be a coffee plantation! The way things are here I am sure i wont need to ask, he will just start talking about it, I will just do yoga and the answer will come ;-)

    Krishna, yes, that, what the hidden ashtangi said, is exactly how I feel! :-) thanks for bringing that up

    Boodiba... guess so...

    Susananda, thanks for your comment, you know? someone asked that exact same question... not sure it was the pose you mention or not I cannot remember the exact answer he gave but it was something along the lines of no asana for more than 2 hours.... I thought the intermediate gets the "split" treatment when the practice gets too long... maybe I am wrong?

    YYogini, you are right, they are simple, and I think that is what made it so powerful, he keeps of "deflecting" like David says in his video and coming back to what is important... :-) or to the "top" most basic message

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  12. i like the 3 d story and the coffee part
    enjoy your trip

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  13. hi lila, I love that story too... it had caused some controversies before... so it was funny that he talked about it AGAIN

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