"The practice of asanas and pranayama is learning to control the body and the senses so the Inner light may come forth. That light is the same for the whole world and it is possible for man to experience this light, his own Self through correct Yoga practice. This is the natural outcome of a good practice and one will gradually learn to control the mind because one eventually will come to experience the very support of it. But the mind is indeed very difficult to control, but everything is made possible with right practice. We must therefore first and foremost practice, practice, practice for any real understanding of Yoga to take place. Then eventually we will be able to break the fixed patterns of the mind and taste the greater underlying support of it all.”
- Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
First week, practicing in the shala, I'm always on a high. With feelings of comfort, exhilaration, mixed in with the energy of everyone in the room, let's just say, after a year of practicing alone, there is no other place I'd rather be. And, let's not forget the heat of tapas being burned. Settling into this breath paced practice, I hop onto the wave, and simply enjoy the ride. Second week, which I'm in the mist of now, reality sets in. The kinks in the body arise. When the high of the first week wears off, the real work begins. It will be a steady climb before I start to coast again. It always works out this way.
It also takes a while to decompress from the pace of living compared to home. In India, one quickly learns that everything works left of center. Never quite right. Never fully efficient, but somehow things come together anyway. A good lesson in giving up control or else live the alternative of beating your head up against a brick wall. It's never fun and you'll tire of it eventually.
Six trips, I feel blessed and thankful to have had the opportunity to come and as often as I have. I know it isn't always easy for those out there who are balancing many things to put together the trip. I know this, and it reminds me to never take it for granted. I think for me my first trip to India really put what I deemed important into perspective. Growing up in the U.S., quite frankly, I was forced fed a bunch of bullshit. Force fed good stuff too, but when young it was confusing distinguishing between my own growing intuition and knowing, and the cultural mores that surrounded me. I know this might be controversial for some, and no matter, it has brought me to this point of discovery. Freedom isn't always what we think it to be. Think on that. What does it really mean to be free?
In the same light, I honor the balance of deepening yoga practice and creating a life out in the world of material. Some can use trips to Mysore as an escape, and quite frankly, I find dipping my toes into both worlds deems useful in honoring what it means to bring yoga into life. How can we know that the practice has done it's work?
Through the years, with more practice, something more wants to be born. I find this exciting. I feel through yoga practice we uncover gifts, and it's our responsibility to bring it forward or else grow stagnant. In many ways, it's an offering. Our service to the world. Opening up to this there's a sense of release, and at the same time, a comfort in not knowing it all. When I'm here I like to keep my eyes and ears open as I tune into my awareness. Can I learn something new through my encounters? Can I be open and release all notions of knowing something. Because yoga doesn't work through association alone and idle gossip. It never has.