Interview With Sharath Jois on Ashtanga

by admin on June 22, 2013

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Interview With Sharath Jois on Ashtanga (2011)


1. What can you say about russian students? (of course smth good -_-)

They’re dedicated students. Ashtanga yoga is new, but they’re dedicated, you can see that, very focused in their practice and they listen exactly what to do.
– You said that “Very good. All beginners.”

It’s first for me to come to Russia, so these many new faces. In that basis I just that said. But most of them know the practice, they’re very focused in their practice. They know what they’re doing

sharath jois interview

2. May be they differ from other foreign students? Finnish, american students…

Students are all same. As I told you in the conference that yoga has been practicing for many years in the other parts of the world. So people there are little more advanced, that is because they’ve been practiced it for many years. Even in Russia after time passes people will also be very advanced, they’ll go higher levels in their practice.


3. Which qualities of character do people need to develop and which things to pay more attention to?

Yoga should be practiced as a spiritual practice. It’s not just like an exercise. If you do like that it has certain limitations. If you do it like spiritual practice, there’s no limit for that. You can go higher dimensions and higher levels in this practice. So it’s always good to practice thinking it’s a spiritual practice and we should bring spirituality in our practice. That is very important. Instead of just doing it like exercise, aerobics, gymnastics. If you bring more spirituality in your practice, then I think it’s more effective. This whole practice will be more effective. So students have to bring that.


4. I remembered one Guruji’s expression: “Primary series – very important, second series – for teachers, advanced – for demonstration”. May be you can comment smth?

I don’t know where he said that, what meaning he said this. Usually we say that Primary series is like Chikitsa Vibhaga, like I told, to cure deseases. So these asanas are made just to cure deseases. Many deseases can be cured with these asanas like broncheatis, astma, any physical body with suffering. And second series is like Nadi Shodhana, it purifies all the nervous system. Even in Primary series nadi shodhana will happen and in second series little more intense, little more advanced, that’s all. And advanced posture are Sthira Bhaga, to bring more flexibility and strenght in your body. That is why we practice Advanced series. He must have told that many people before doing advanced always try to show up, to show their self, so I thing in that context he said this “For demonstration, for show off, but not really. You should always enjoy your practice, that is very important. You do Primary series, Intermediate or Advanced, unless you are not enjoing your practice it doesn’t make any sense in practicing. It’s boring and no sense in that. As I told you first we should think why we are practicing. We’re practicing to get mind control, to bring control to our mind and body. That is why if you do Advance or any series this doesn’t matter. Unless you’re enjoing the asanas it should be fine.


5. People have their weaknesses. What are the ways to work with them?

Whole practice is done to get rid of all these like I told you kama (lust), krodha (anger), moha (attraction), lobha (greed), madhya (pride), matsarya (jealosy) – these 6 enemies should be removed by practicing yoga. Once you get read of them which each and everyone has the light inside you, the liberation will happen. You get liberated from all these and nothing will affect you. Whole practice is based on that. That’s the main reason why we do the yoga practice.

– Many people may think that these all is theory. But you mean it literally?

Literally you have to practice. This is not just from book, just for saying, it shouldn’t be only in the books, it should be done practically. Then only it’ll be more effective. Any series you do if you don’t try to get rid of these 6 emenies you wouldn’t achieve the goal, the spiritual goal that you have to achieve, that you can’t achieve.

– Is it possible to eliminate them totally?

Completely remove these is always difficult, always minimazing, minimazing day by day, day by day. And you’ll get to that situation where it becomes like a habit. Whenever you are doing, whenever this kind of things bothers you, totally your mind starts rejecting “I shouldn’t do this, because it’s against”. This kind of feeling should come. It come slowly, it doesn’t come at once. By true practice it’ll come.

sharath jois interview

6. Can ashtanga completely cure chronic deceases?

It’s possible to cure, but you need to take some precautions and you need proper guidance from your teacher. There’re specific asanas which you should do, specific kriyas you should do, so by doing these you can get rid of all these deseases. Many things except only Primary – diet, suitable kriyas for particular desease. So the teacher will treat you as a patient, will try all these different things, which can help to cure.


7. What’s your opinion on practice and ability to conceive?

It’s mostly individual, not everyone’s body is the same – some are more sensetive, some are more stronger. So while conceiving you have to be very careful, that you should do just gentle practice, because it brings lots of heat in the body while doing asanas. So by doing too many asanas, you’ll bring more heat and it’ll be more difficult to conceive. When you planned like this you should be very careful and try to do a gentle practice.


8. What do you think about women’s dharma?

Women’s dharma is to have a family, to have children, to look after them. Husband’s dharma is to look after the wife and children and do his work.

– And how to combine dharma with practice and spirituality? Because sometimes women do practice very hard and this is bad for their family.

It’s not like that unless you can bring spirituality within you. It’s not that will come from your not being in a family, it doesn’t matter you inside or not inside your family, spirituality should happen within you. When it happens within you, if you married or not it doesn’t matter.


9. You making some innovations and changes in Shala, which you planned with Guruji. Can you tell us about it?

We are making not changes but we want to engage students in few other things. Not only doing asanas, now we have sanskrit class, we make chanting compulsory, so we keep students ocuppied. Instead of just doing practice, going out and just gossiping and wasting time. We tell them to come at 11 o’clock for chanting, so that it will help in their development of spiritual practice.


10. We heard that you are writing a book. Can you tell something.

It’s just 2-days baby in the stomach -_- (Only 2 years past… 0_o)

sharath jois interview

11. Desikachar writes in his book that Kundalini is not an energe but something that blocks our energy.

And we have to remove that block instead of rising Kundalini.

It’s not right. Kundalini means it’s energy which based below your muladhara chakra. Shankaracharya says: “sanskrit from Yoga Taravali”. When we do kumbhaka pranayama we awake Kundalini and it opens all the granthis – Rudra-g, Vishnu-g, Brahma-g – and travels in Sushumna nadi. So that is why then there will be no outside breathing, everything will be internal breathing. This is what the Shastra says. So it has nothing with blocking or anything. It is energy which needs to travel. It’s sleeping and coiled like a serpent. And by doing pranayama you awake that. Many people don’t have too much knowledge about this. You need to refer many books. Just saying one book it’s not possible, you should have practical experience. Once you had practical experience, you can feel and realize that within you. And it will be easier to understand what is says. So that is very important. And if you don’t have practical experience, you always speculate “It can be like this, it can be like that”. You are always guessing.


12. Which book do you recommend to read about yoga?

There’re many books about yoga, Upanishads about yoga – Katha, Kena, so many Upanishads talk about yoga. And Bhagavad Gita all 18 chapters are about yoga, Patanjali Yoga Sutra is there, and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, so many books. Most of the people are always saying: “Oh, Yoga Sutra says like this. Oh, HYP says like this.” But there’re many other books, which are ancient, before PYS, before HYP. Once you refer those books also, you’ll have better understanding in yoga. Cause many people always translating Yoga Sutra in a different way, and it’s a very confusing way. Yoga Sutra itself is very confusing many times. Unless you don’t refer other books, other ancient books, other Upanishads, it’s very difficult to understand PYS. There’s many translations, many interpretations, it develops more confusion, that’s all.


13. What’s the best way to practice in the big city? It’s almost impossible to go to bed at 9pm as you do, and to get up at 2 am for practice.

When you are going to bed at 1 o’clock and getting up late, you stop your breakfast, you stop eating. You don’t have time to do yoga, but you have time to eat, you have time to take bath, you have time to do many other things. Yoga also should come like that. It should come like part of your life. So then if it’s a part of your life, part of your routine, you will find time to do it. You can do it any time, not necessery particular time. It’s good if you do it in the morning, it’s more effective if you do in the morning. If you can’t do it, you can do it in the evening also. But you have to do it. If within you it becomes like habit like how you eat food, like you have breakfast. Can you survive without eating breakfast? You’re always running “I’m hungry! I’m hungry!” Like that it should come “Oh, I should do my practice, I didn’t do my practice today. I have to do it”. It should come like that.

Farewell words

Ashtanga yoga means (from one verse): “yoganga anushthana… from YS” This making a very big meaning, that by practicing all the limbs of ashtanga yoga all the impurities in our body and mind will be removed, you’ll become more pured and you’ll become more wiser. So it’s always you should keep in your mind that you should do your practice. Once you practice, your practice will heal your difficulty in life. That is the whole meaning of doing practice. It’s a life support for us. That’s why you shouldn’t stop practicing. Whatever time you have, whatever your body and mind allows you do, how much ever it’s possible you should do it. You shouldn’t stop practice it. If you keep practicing, you can build up your spiritual building very strong, your spiritual foundation within you.


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