Monday, August 25, 2008


We all come to India and we expect that we are allowed to practice in the shala, then we expect that we get adjustments and some want to get an authorizations as an Ashtanga teacher and there are many teachers in Mysore.
The only thing which was not sure when I arrived here in Mysore, India was, if I was allowed to practice in the shala as I had sent my application too late (not 2 months in advance, what was not possible for me).
All expectations imply that they can be fulfilled or not. If they are not fulfilled usually human beings are dissatisfied.
In Asia there is another learning and teaching tradition. The teacher often makes it difficult for the student to study with him in order to be sure that the student is really interested in learning. Many Zen stories tell this. Sharath also told a similar story during yesterday's conference. It is not like in the Western world that you have to pay a fee, study 2 years, pass an exam and that was it. Here there are almost no rules or they change often or they are considered as arbitrarily. The teacher selects the pupils and not the other way round. This creates insecurities. It is not comparable with our systems.

For me the conference was about expectations and to let them go. Those who want to do yoga shall do yoga, practice yoga, study the text and go on practicing yoga. Authorizations come at the last thing. Without expectations the stay in India is much more relaxed and learning can happen. Then it is possible to experience something new and to come home as someone else, someone more experienced. Otherwise we remain the same.
Isn't it also boring to look always for the same rules the same behaviour, familiar things?
Expectations are like weed. I have less and less expectations and this makes my life easier. Nevertheless I discover some here and then. Quickly I try to let them go.

"Every home is a school" said one of the volunteers of the charity organisation Pratham Mysore. "Come and see." He meant it how he said it. Many families in the slum have so many children that they can form a school. That is why the mothers, who are often illiterates are teached, so that they can teach the children. But the mothers have to be teached first and that is what foreigners can offer. Gokulam is probably not India. Will I go to the slums? Probably not.

(Today was again one of the days where I wished I could express myself better. )


Kevin said...

I like the new picture at the top.

In Bali,We were talking about teachers wanting to be sure a new student really is sincere in wanting to practice. D said when someone phones her she always says her class is full, as she said people who call hardly ever follow through, only about 1 in 10 end up on the mat. If the person eventually just turns up at the class in the hope there is a space, then she knows they are sincere in wanting to practice.

Ursula said...

Hi Kev,

thank you for your comment.

joy suzanne said...

Really insightful: the teacher picks the student, and not the other way around. So outside a western mindset...