Today marks the first day of my yoga expedition into the big city in persuit of the Paramaguru’s practice. I reflect on this morning’s experience as I sip on a chai latte at a Williamsburg cyber cafe. Without previous exposure to the modern Jois method, I walked into St. Joseph’s sports gymnasium with open-eyed anticipation.
The practice I began to recite by memory to Sharath’s count was dynamic and smooth. I reached a fracture in my form at Kapotasana A, when my yearning for my hands to fit around my keels was simply insuffienct. To the Paramaguru’s credit, he physically assisted me, taking me further into the posture than I have ever experienced. The sensation of tenderness I felt with palms and soles touching was cut short by the resolute words “You are not ready for this practice yet.”
Surprisingly, Sharath’s was interested seeing my practice progress through eka pada sirasana nonetheless. In this way, the sting of failing at something I care deeply about was tempered by the Paramaguru’s belief that my second series practice was indeed worthy of a second look.
To comment briefly on his teaching style, Sharath personifies the attributes of dharma–megha (YS: IV-29). One the surface level, there exists a dispassionate discriminativeness about his critiques. Yet, it is not out of mallace, no, not at all. His style takes the student very close to their limits, then he shows the next step. I feel that the modern Jois method embodies purpose and intent, allowing students to discern the mechanics of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system with profound contrast. Therein lays the benefits.