Alignment and Injuries,  Ashtanga Adaptability,  Conference Notes,  Teaching Ashtanga,  Uncategorized,  Yoga Philosophy

What I learned at Sharath Miami 2016

Sharath Miami was a blast. I might even go as far as to say this was one of the best trips I have taken. Combine Ashtanga, great food, friends, the beach, and sunshine and and it is damn near close to heaven. All that was missing was my family and it pretty much would have been heaven.



What I learned at Sharath Miami

Matthews 8:20- For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.


The Power of the Group-The energy generated when people come together with a common goal and common mind creates a powerful breeding ground for internal transformation.  Spending 7 days in an environment with no dissonance brings a sense of well being that is indescribable. It is a taste of freedom.

Sharath is Hella Cool-He was funny, nice, relatable, compassionate, down to earth and easy to talk to.  He walked around helping beginners, binding hands, and supporting headstands. Though he pushed us to be strong, there was no pressure to perform. People with injuries modified their practice. People who couldn’t do the full poses approximated. Fluffers fluffed. If you half assed a Chataruanga or three, or 4 or 30, it was no big deal. Even when he pushed us to hold Utplutih for 2 decades, there was still a smile in his eyes. If you are scared of practicing with Sharath, don’t be. He is super cool.

Being silly with my friend Johnna

Cool Things Sharath Said

It was brilliant how he hit on many hot topics in the Yoga world without even really directly trying to. Everything is paraphrased unless indicated.

Age of Yoga:

Yoga is not new. People are simply putting dates on asana. The philosophy of Yoga has no ending and no beginning.

Defining Yoga:

 “Yoga is what you experience within you.  Ashatanga has a system. 8 limbs. If you don’t practice the limbs, you are not practicing Yoga”.-Sharath Jois


“You have to allow the transformation to happen within you”. Sharath Jois


Inner self. Purist form of you. The life that you have inside is the God in you. Everyone has the opportunity to reach that.

Yama, Niyama, Pranayama and Asana are the foundation. The other limbs arise when you have these.

24 hour practice. Asana 3 hours. Yoga for 24 hours. It is not enough to only do Yama and Niyama during asana.

Once you transform the whole world looks like it is transformed.

Me and Sharath Jois
Me and Sharath Jois

Transformation does not have a goal. When you keep transforming, you keep changing. It just happens. Yoga keeps happening within you.

Conduct of a Yogi:

Brightness is inside true spiritual people.

Whatever role you are in, do it with integrity. Is it your dharma.

Pattabhi Jois was not carried away by fame. Some famous teachers have no humbleness.

Let every being be healthy and happy. Not just you.  Heaven and hell is here.  It is what you make it.


Potatoes make your body stiff.

Meat puts more meat on the body.

 Vegetarian is easier to digest.

Limit food. Do not eat too much.

Meals should be at the same time every day.

Dinner should be done by 5PM/5:30PM. You want your food to be digested by the time you practice in the morning.

Pain in Practice

“Pain lets you know you have a physical body. No body. No pain”.-Sharath Jois

“New pose,  new pain.”-Sharath Jois

When he is referring to pain, he is talking about soreness or the uncomfortable feeling you get when the muscles are changing or you get a new pose.  Injury not good.

 “Each asana is a lesson”-Sharath Jois

It took Sharath 18-19 years to learn all of the series.

Guru to Student Relationship

“Follow where your teacher is going.”-Sharath Jois

It is not about what your teacher is doing, it is about where they are going.

The student and the teacher must both have good intentions for the knowledge to be transferred.

Yoga For Profit

Sharath does not do yoga for a living. Yoga is his life. He just managed to make a living from it but first and foremost, it is his life.

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


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