My first face to face encounter with Sharath Jois a few years ago made him laugh. A huge, joyous laugh that echoed around the Camden Centre, where many students were being guided through the led Primary Series. Why did he laugh? Because walking past me to adjust someone in Utthita Parsvakonasana, I’d dug him in the ribs accidentally with my own hand while attempting to get into the posture. One way to get attention: Almost knock a guru over! What a relief then to find out he was only human after all, and almost delighted by the fun of it.
So here we all were again in 2015, nervous, queuing to put our mats down, sharing tickets between the Saturday and Sunday slots. Between us, many years of yoga practice and continually reminding ourselves that it’s not about how many asanas you can do…it’s the process….but still the nerves are there. Undoubtedly it’s in awe of the commitment of this man, who has dedicated his life to the Astanga practice in honour of his grandfather – but also we feel respect for all the teachers (like our own teacher Sarah Miles) who get up six days a week, rain or shine, to help others.
So we went, we lined up our mats, we joined the prayer and we followed the counted practice. If you are reading this blog and didn’t attend, it might be natural to feel excluded, or curious, or even nodding in recognition if you are a regular visitor to Mysore, or something else. Actually it’s not about who’s in the room at this event, is it It’s about recognising all of the teachers and students around the world who get on their mat and devote their time to this practice. It’s a shared experience anyway. This 2013 film clip of Sharath Jois from Astanga Yoga Copenhagen is a great example of how others have captured the experience.
We thought you also might enjoy these photos and quotes from others, before and after the class.
” I think I stopped holding my breath by the third Surya namaskar! Then settled into Sharath’s calm, steady and sometimes LONG count! Especially Navasana and Uplutithi. We’d have been disappointed if those weren’t long counts though, wouldn’t we?! The whole morning has been an exhilarating experience. Us Brighton girls were right at the front, and I can’t wait for me. Will make sure my legs are more evenly placed in back bending so I don’t get another friendly kick from the ‘Boss’ tomorrow! – Nicky.
“My quote for the day would be..”when you truly surrender, the true meaning of joy is experienced.” I loved every moment I shared during practice. With strangers, the adored ‘Brighton Crew’ and the unassuming yet humble Sharath!!”. – Clara
“I’m nervous and excited to be here. I’ve travelled from Dubai for this experience and I hope I can do enough”. – Caroline
“He told me to “breathe more”. Simplest instruction in the world but I’m asthmatic and tend to hold my breath a lot, so I always appreciate the reminder!” – Anna
” There certainly is ‘strength in numbers’. Surrounded by the wider yoga community I felt really honoured to be practicing with over 100 other practitioners under the count and watchful eye of Sharath. He has the most open, warm face and led us with humour and strictness. Just my ‘cup of tea’! I loved it. Bring on tomorrow”. – Kathryn