Home' Australian Yoga Life : sample issue Contents australian yoga life • december-february 2010 65
blessing and guidance. Without these, he
explains, it is difficult to take the legacy
or teachings further.
Devotion, dedication, and practice
feature strongly in conversation with
Sharath. There is little doubt he was
devoted to Guruji; evident in the 19 years
he sat by Jois's side, assisting him with the
operation of the Ashtanga Yoga Research
Institute, and in his willingness to carry
on the Ashtanga lineage. Dedication is
obvious too; in his leadership, and in the
responsibility this carries in regard to the
lineage. "First of all, not everyone can do
it. You need lots of dedication towards
the practice ... you need lots of
dedication to learn the system, and
devotion toward your guru. Then, I
think, you will come to understand the
system and get perfect in your practice.
Without you being perfect, you can't
teach your students."
LIKE HIS PREDECESSOR WHO PREACHED,
'practice, practice, practice and all will
come', Sharath is an advocate for yoga's
practicalities. "You should work hard -- to
get certain postures doesn't come easily."
Sharath also sticks by his
grandfather's words about the importance
of practice. "Those words are like a yoga
sutra. It is just one sutra but it gives lots of
meaning." He says humans are very
academic. "They are always saying,
'I should do that' and groups are always
saying, 'you should do this' but you
cannot be purely academic about yoga.
Just reading books and studying will not
do it. When we apply practice in our daily
life -- that is how you become a yogi."
Transformation, he assures, happens only
With its focus on a primary series
of asana followed by series 2, 3, 4 5, and
6 -- all of which feature progressively
more advanced asana -- the Ashtanga
system maintains a strong focus on the
physical. Sharath refers to asana as the
'foundation of the limbs', but is also
quick to point out it is only one part of
yoga. "He who follows all these limbs
becomes a yogi. It's not just asana. These
other things should be followed as well."
The key, it seems, is discipline.
Something we Westerners generally
experience as a struggle. "Without
discipline it is impossible to be a yogi,"
Sharath says. He also offers practical
On 21 November, in Sydney, the first of a
series of KPJ Yoga studios will be
opened. When the doors open, the
studio will carry the name and legacy of
Krishna Pattabhi Jois. With the full
blessing of Pattabhi Jois's surviving
family, KPJ Yoga will continue the
teachings of the Ashtanga tradition.
Sonia Jones, born in Sydney but now
residing in the USA, is the founder of
KPJ Yoga. She practised with Pattabhi
Jois for many years before his passing
away this year. Sonia explained, "After
Pattabhi died, I wanted his legacy and
teachings to continue to be spread
across the world and to carry on. He
was a very special being and was
beloved by all who were in his
presence." She plans to open Ashtanga
yoga studios worldwide. Well-known
Australian teacher Eileen Hall will
manage the studio. The opening will be
celebrated by a 10-day workshop,
which will be given by Saraswathi
and Shammi, the daughter and
granddaughter respectively of
K Pattabhi Jois.
[introducing KPJ Yoga studios]
Shirath in Dwipada.
Image by Tom Rosenthall
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