November 5, 2006
Mae and I arrived in Mysore on the 21st of October, a Saturday. We have just had a wonderful few months in Japan. We taught an incredible workshop in Fukuoka and a shorter one in Nagasaki, mixing led and lecture classes with a few weeks of Mysore style practice. What made our time in Fukuoka sand Nagasaki such an amazing experience for us was the extra special level of devotion and dedication displayed by the students there. There is an unusually high level of community there and the students came with their hearts open and with a willingness to trust and to work in a way that is not common.
The results that come from this level of participation are magical and miraculous. Lives are changed and hearts are touched in profound ways. The practice of Yoga is powerful. And, when we are ready to receive it’s gifts fully and openly, we can expect to be moved and changed in some very deep ways, emotionally and mentally, as well as, physically. Naturally, we formed a deep bond with some students there and expect to return to work with them time and time again.
After Kyushu, we both taught at the Tokyo Yoga Fest, which is in its 3rd or 4th year of existence. It is a very big event and grows bigger each year. Some of the classes number in excess of 250 students. It is inspiring and heartwarming to see so many Japanese students either exploring the practice anew or finding ways to take their existing practices deeper. When I see so many eager and devoted students, I have a great feeling for the future of Yoga in Japan. Again, as I experienced in other workshops in Japan, there is a level of heartfelt devotion and innocence that I have never experienced anywhere else in the world. Makes me realize how much powerful positive change is possible, not only for individual practitioners, but for the country as a whole. Very exciting.
Now, we are back in our beloved Mysore. This is my 10th visit in 11 years. For Mae, this is her 6th visit in the past few years. We love it here. We have had the same house since 2004. We gave up our apartment in Tokyo after our wedding in May, so our home in Mysore is really our only permanent residence.
What makes our time in Mysore so special?
First, the level of practice here is deeper and more powerful than anywhere else I have ever practiced. The power of the place, the lineage and the Guru here all combine to create an atmosphere and an energy that is highly charged with the essence of Yoga. Not only do Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and R. Sharath teach here, but also Guruji’s teacher, Krishnamacharya taught here before him for many years.
There is also a quality of time here that does not exist elsewhere. One can practice here without the normal distractions of one’s normal life, which makes a significant difference that is hard to describe. Your level of focus increases dramatically. The whole purpose of Yoga is to shift your awareness from flowing in an outward flowing direction to an inward flowing one. Here in Mysore, one can do that much more easily and fluently than one can do in one’s normal environment.
Also, the fact that there is an entire community of practitioners here from all over the world that come devoted solely to this end makes a very strong difference. All these elements combine synergistically to create an environment that promotes a maximum level of power in one’s practice. For this reason, all students of Ashtanga Yoga should consider extended visits to Mysore to practice. Naturally, those who are planning to teach Ashtanga Yoga should make it their highest priority to visit Mysore on a regular basis.
So, please come and join us as soon as possible!