Sunday, April 25, 2010
Sri K Pattabhi Jois says, "All can take practice."
"Ashtanga Yoga is a practice for young Indian boys." Unknown
"Old man, stiff man, weak man, sick man, they can all take practice but only a lazy man can't take practice." Sri K Pattabhi Jois
This week's video post is part of conversation I had about the potential for Ashtanga to reach a wider audience and the necessity to cultivate an adaptable, inclusive model for the sharing of Ashtanga. Many people have been misinformed about who can do this practice. Nearly anyone, regardless of their circumstances, can learn Ashtanga safely with care and intelligence. And if you are already practicing you can develop a practice that will nourish and support you for life.
Sri K Pattabhi Jois believed the Ashtanga practice could serve anyone and everyone. He exuded a love and passion for the method. Through his teachings he ignited the spiritual growth of all kinds of people from all different stages of life. These people did not fit into a single category. If you came to him the only circumstance that mattered was your willingness to learn. He would individualize and adapt his teaching to suit your particular circumstances. Ashtanga Yoga is a treasure, a potent path that leads to Self knowledge. As interest in Yoga increases and more people take up practice, it is essential to interpret and adapt the method to include a wider audience so that more people can join in and be part of this beautiful practice.
In the Ramayana when Ravana abducts Sita, he speeds her away in the aerial chariot known as Pushpaka 'flowery'. Ravana had stolen this sweet ride from his cousin Kubera the God of wealth. The pushpaka is made of flowers, contains a palace and can carry unlimited passengers. After Ram, Laksman, Hanuman and the entire host of monkeys and bears destroy Ravana, Ram reclaims Puspaka and they all ride home together in style.
Metaphorically Ram defeating Ravana represents victory of Self over ego driven worldly life. The pushpaka symbolizes the truth that there is a seat for everyone on the chariot that leads home to the Self. Ashtanga Yoga, like Pushpaka, can carry as many as want to ride (not like a motorcycle where maximum capacity is a family of five!)