We will be following Lina as she takes off for Mysore next month! Check out her post below to learn more about Lina’s love for Ashtanga and her upcoming journey. Check out her blog here
Sharath Jois, Encinitas, April 2013
I just realized today is January 05th. A month from today, on February 05th, I will start my yoga practice in Mysore with “The Boss”. And I am scared as shit. We refer to him as the boss, because R. Sharath Jois currently holds the lineage of the Ashtanga tradition. His grandfather, Sri K Pattabhi Jois, also known as Guruji, taught tirelessly at his yoga institute for more than 70 years. And Guruji was the beloved teacher of my teacher Mariela Cruz here in Costa Rica. He was and is her guru and her devotion to him has made her take yearly trips to India for over 10 years now. In the Ashtanga tradition there are no teacher trainings like other types of yoga. You just can’t take a 500 hour teacher training and start teaching. It doesn’t work out like that. A certificate doesn’t make you a yogi. A lot of my friends have asked me if I am going to India to become a yoga teacher and when I tell them no, they just can’t understand why I will travel to the other side of the world just to practice with the Boss. The answer simply is that my devotion to my teacher, her teachers and the practice has caused such a positive transformation in my life that there’s an energy bigger than me that tells me that I need to go to where the heart that keeps all Ashtangis around the world alive is.
My teacher Mariela Cruz and Me, on my first anniversay celebration, October 2013
In terms of yoga years I am just a baby. I started practicing vinayasa flow yoga in 2010 and as I said before, I was a regular practitioner. Going to yoga back then helped me get thru a very difficult period in my life; but then in October 2012 when I met my teacher and started practicing Ashtanga it all turned up side down and I started questioning myself what was really yoga. Big and little changes started happening to my body. I could no longer tolerate eating certain types of foods, I had to give up a lot of the things that I liked, such as lifting weights and going to the gym; I had to kiss good bye to my muscular body, I could no longer go out as much as before and more recently I had to stop running; which is my greatest passion. Then after 3 months of starting my practice my teacher announced that the Boss was going to come to the USA in April 2013 and that he would be teaching in Encinitas, California. I felt a hunch and decided to go. In my own little world I said: if I meet him maybe I will understand better why all these changes are happening to me. Well, my decision required also a lot of work: learn the primary series of ashtanga yoga (it takes approximately 90 minutes to do the entire series and in the ashtanga tradition we do it 6 days a week), change my diet, I had to study, yes, study the Yamas and Niyamas; which are the observances and restraints that we must follow, etc. It was all worth it. The day I arrived to the Shala in Encinitas and heard his voice inside I almost had a heart attack. All together during all this time I have had so much fear, doubting myself if I was really fit to do this. The ashtanga practice is a crazy practice, is like practicing yoga on fire. When you perform all those difficult asanas , your mind really is the one that’s bending and twisting; because ashtanga becomes a meditative and spiritual practice that tames your mind. Fear can take you to a place in which you either hide or put up a fight. Through out my life I have always chosen the second option. I might be small, but I feel like the movie 300 most of the time. Practicing with the Boss was just like entering the Matrix or riding the biggest wave of my life. It was an awesome feeling because when I met him I saw my teacher reflected in him. He is the torch that Lights up all the lamps and they all shine with the same light and that light has been shining for more than 5.000 years and now is starting to shine in me. I rather be scared than be numb. Now days the western world has created so many ways of hiding our fears: medication, drugs, alcohol, addiction, toxic relationships. My practice has confronted me with a lot of hidden fears. Has taken me to places inside of me that I have never ever visited before. So my fear has become my courage; because in that place I have found Faith. What makes me stand in my mat everyday. What will make me get my ass on that plane and travel for 2 days to my destination: Yogis paradise, Mysore.
Beloved Guruji and Sharath Jois
Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail email@example.com.