MYSORE INDIA PART 1
Mysore India, where the hard core Ashtanga yogis and yoginis congregate from all over the world to study and practice yoga with the infamous Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois, affectionately known as Guruji, his daughter, Saraswati, and his grandson, Sharath.
Being an avid yoga practioner I, like many others, made a pilgrimage to India, as this is the birthplace of yoga and home to several of the top yoga teachers in the world. I had been practicing yoga for a few years but had little knowledge of the Ashtanga lineage. I headed to the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (AYRI) with my backpack and inquired on the streets about Guruji and his classes. I was met with a waft of what appeared to be arrogance and indifference. When I asked some how long they had been in Mysore they turned their noses up and stated, â€œyou many how many times?â€ I then learned this was a highly dedicated community of folks wishing to be in the presence of this amazing man responsible for spreading the beautiful Ashtanga practice out of India and to the West. They would return each year for months at a time.
I decided to study Ashtanga for a month with a lesser known Mysore teacher so that I could memorize the entire yoga sequence. At AYRI if someone skips a pose or performs them in an incorrect sequence, they are exiled to another room to finish the practice with the closing poses. This can be embarrassing and a considerable waste of money considering AYRI (5-6 single classes a week) costs almost $650 a month. Even if one can only participate for two weeks, a months payment and two months prior written approval are required before being admitted. Keep in mind in India the average person earns approximately $500 a year.
Believe me I struggled and processed incessantly in regards to the ethics of what yoga was about and how this institute was training over 250 Westerners a day while giving limited personal attention and adjustments due to the sheer masses of students flowing through the center. I wondered how I could support one family becoming so wealthy while so many struggled daily in India simply to survive and maintain. To make a long story short I decided to seize the opportunity and study in this place many found so special despite their complaints about the expense, crowded classes, lack of personal attention, competitive energy and lack of â€œyoga ethicsâ€. Everyone raved about how they had grown and learned so much and would not exchange the experience for anything. For this reason I had to see for myselfâ€¦