Why did I come here? To eat dosa and make friends! To get out of my comfort zone (and into my comfort zone)! To show off my lulu and killer backbends!...? Oh right… to TAKE PRACTICE. How has his taken me 3 weeks to remember this? Sure, I have been practicing, trudging to the shala each morning and dragging myself through my poses, but I have not been doing Yoga.
Thank Ganesha for Sharath. He is one shining ray of cheerful, mischievous light. Right in time, he reminded me that this is a spiritual practice. This is not acrobatics or an ego booster. This is not about getting authorized or getting the next pose. This is about spiritual practice. About searching. “You have to love your practice,” he says, reminding me of Govinda’s assertion that asking yourself daily why you practice is more important that the practice itself. I don’t think I understood Govinda until now. Just doing the postures, trying to improve physically, does not bring satisfaction. Just doing the series doesn’t even bring that much change to day to day life (compared to what it can bring). It is only when I love my practice, when I step on my mat with zeal and devotion, that I really enjoy it and feel Yoga permeate my life.
So someone asked, “Sharath, what should we do in the morning before practice to prepare ourselves spiritually?” To which he answered, “drink half a cup to coffee. No coffee, no prana!” We all laughed, but he was serious (about drinking coffee, maybe not so much about it being a spiritual preparation). So this morning I skipped my normal routine of pranayama, chanting, and meditation. I made a half a cup of coffee and sat on my mat in baddha konasana thinking about how much I love the practice and how grateful I am to be here with such a wonderful teacher. And then I went to the shala and had the best practice I’ve had in months.