Sadhana – Why RHY teachers Clive & Mark travel to Mysore for two months each year
If you’re a regular at the studio you’ll probably have noticed that two of our popular Ashtanga teachers take two months off each year. But is it really two months ‘off’? In this blog Clive and Mark explain the importance of Sadhana:
Sadhana means ‘daily devotional practice’ or ‘individual effort to achieve your purpose in life’.
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was born in 1888 and saved yoga from obscurity by seeking its source and, having studied for many years, teaching it to the world through his students. His teacher was Ramamohana Brahmachari and he knew and communicated yoga to him from his forest home in the Himalayas.
Modern yoga flowed into and out of India via this ancient lineage or parampara. Krishnsmacharya’s main students were Jois, Iyengar, Devi and Desikachar – each having a different focus.
Ashtanga Yoga was held by Shri K Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) in the city of Mysore and his grandson, Sharath, is our teacher who holds shala space for a global community of ashtangis. Sharathji studied with & assisted his grandfather for many years learning all he knew. After Guruj passed away Sharath took on the responsibility to guide the global community who followed the tradition of Ashtanga yoga.
This is our other home and the reason we come to Mysore to practice and to continue to learn. The more we learn the deeper the practice. It is a never ending journey of discovery, always about the path and never the destination as this recedes into the horizon after every step onwards. The beauty of the practice is the internal unattached focus this brings; a life long devotion to study.
In writing the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Svatmarama informs us that he wrote it for those who didn’t know raja yoga, which is Ashtanga Yoga by a different name. Ashtanga is an holistic method containing 8 limbs, most alternatives to raja yoga focus on fewer aspects of this whole, all different and relevant in their own paths.
What we teach is what we have learned in India from Sharathji and at home when we study with Hamish. In ashtanga the learning is bespoke to the individual, a visceral and mind based approach from inside a tried and tested method. It is effective when practised as closely as possible to the method at the source and we adhere to that covenant of parampara, taught teacher to students 1-2-1 in the Mysore room or Shala. Parampara is the primary means by which the teaching of yoga has survived the ages. It has allowed generation after generation to receive powerful, undiluted teachings in yoga and other spiritual matters.
KPJAYI Mysore is where all ashtanga teachers who hold a traditionally kept shala space globally come to recharge annually at the fountain head with their paramaguru, or highest teacher, Sharathji. Most of Sharathji‘s teachers internationally know each other and have worked side by side in Mysore. This is part of the beauty of Mysore.
We come here to work, grow and play, there are many things to do after you have spent effort and focus on your asana practice. Immediate coconut after practice followed with a chai, a chat with fellow students and a second sleep. Heading out for breakfast, usually an idli (like a perfect fluffy dumpling – steamed) and vada its counterpart (like a perfect aromatic stuffing ball) & coconut raita to dip as more discussions are had. As your practice goes deep inside you, some days are spent just quietly reading, meditating, going to the river for a swim and watching nature. Observing how respectful the Indian way of life is, the young respecting the elders, the children respecting nature & animals, the students respecting the teacher, the people respecting their spirituality. This is very humbling.
Others follow different teachers or ways but this is our way. We learn from Guruji and our peers who learn from us. We soak up India and learn from our Sanskrit, philosophy and chanting teachers. In the last 6 years we have spent 10 months here studying as sadhaka (seekers), so we can return recharged and expanded as teachers to share what we learn. This is Mysore. This is ashtanga, which we humbly teach in reverence to the tradition of the Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI).
Ever grateful to our teachers and to Red Hot Yoga for enabling ashtanga to exist in the form it does in Guildford.
You can read more from Clive and Mark on their own blog pages and delve deeper into the comings and goings of their trips to Mysore over the past few years here:
Clive and Mark are bringing a number of exciting workshops and courses to Red Hot Yoga this spring, click the link for more details and to book your place: