Interview

Sharath Jois 21. of June 2019

Interview with the master of Astangayoga paramaguru R. Sharath Jois from Mysore – by his students affectionately called Sharathji

Sharathji is coming to Scandinavia again to visit his students and make the yoga available to everyone here. This is an interview with Sharathji about his teaching and the yoga he is sharing that Jens Bache had the honour of conducting by video phone on Friday 21st June at 18.30 pm Mysore time.

Jens: Dear Sharathji, can you please in a few words tell us about Aṣṭāṅgayoga?

Sharathji: Aṣṭāṅgayoga is based on Patañjali’s Yogasūtra described as the 8 limbs of yoga; yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma , pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi. In aṣṭāṅgayoga we give more attention to āsana, the 3rd limb.

We do yoga to keep ourselves calm and healthy both physically and mentally to reach a state of mind which is equanimity, that is the the purpose of yoga. Yoga is to manage ourselves in a balanced way.

Jens: We are happy that you are visiting Scandinavia again and it will be your 7th visit to Copenhagen and 4th to Stockholm. Many students are saying that you must really like to come here. Are there some special things that you like about Scandinavia and the students here?

Sharathji: Scandinavian people are really nice, they are calm, sweet and have a good nature – and of course other people in other countries are nice as well.

Students here are focused, they want to go deeper, deeper in the sādhana (spiritual practice) and they want me to come to Scandinavia. When there is interest, enthusiasm in learning more, then the teacher wants to go and teach. If there is no seeking then the teacher looses interest. When the students want to learn more, I go!

Read more about Sharath Jois here.

Jens: You travel and go to many parts of the world – Europe, Asia and
America. Is it different for you to teach workshops around the world compared to teaching in Mysore?

Sharathji: The teaching is the same, it is one method. Travelling is not about me but to teach students, to make people understand the method and during the one month trip I dedicate myself to teaching students, to do this service of spreading yoga.

And I know that not all can come to Mysore, some can not get off from work, they have families, and I am aware that not all students applying to come to Mysore can get in. The travelling is a way for me to connect with more people, to teach more people yoga, to spread the message of yoga.

The fundamentals of teaching yoga are the same compared to teaching in Mysore. Only in mysore the style is one-to-one, but it is the same yoga, nothing is different, the place is different, that is all.

Jens: How is your teaching related to your own practice?

Sharathji: It is important first to experience what yoga is, teaching is impossible if I dont experience yoga first. I have to experience how it works in my body and mind before teaching to others.

First I have to experience what yoga is, because without our own experience we cannot become teachers. To teach yoga with no experience, it becomes a disaster. First you have to take sādhana for yourself, after that you can teach.

It is like if you are an engineer and have to make a good construction. An engineer has to know what he is doing – in the same way yoga is like engineering.

Jens: Can you maybe share some examples of how your yoga practice reflects in your own life?

Sharathji: Practicing yoga makes me a better person. Yoga is for life, for well-being, it is making me more calm. Life has many ups and downs with many colours that makes the mind distracted. Yoga and sādhana stabilizes the mind. With a stable mind what ever the situation is, the inner mind won’t be disturbed. You will handle every situation in a good manner and make proper decisions.

Jens: You recently published a new book titled Ageless which is a little different from Anusthāna, your previous book. Can you tell us how it came about?

Sharathji: Ageless is made to spread yoga to everyone and to give a broader perspective, so that yoga can reach more people, more people than the astanga community. Many people are suffering from diseases physically and mentally. The book is a little bit of everything – change of lifestyle, physical fittness, food restrictions, sleep habits, healthy advices how to be fit and active with a few āsana. Āsana is one part of yoga but the book is how to have a good life, it is about the life-style you lead.

The book is about how to be healthy and how with a few changes you can become healthier. It is not just about one limb of yoga but to make those few changes which you can do to be healthy.

Jens: How regular or often is it necessary to practice to get health benefits?

Sharathji: The more you do is better, practice as many days as possible. You will get better health if you do 4-5 times per week, 6 times is good. Yoga should be practiced every day in the early morning, so you have freshness all day. When you practice in the morning, you have energy for your work. You will have peace of mind and can give your best in the work.

Jens: Is there something you can say to people who have not practiced Aṣṭāṅgayoga yet or might not have met you yet?

Sharathji: Come and try.
Students can come to the workshop to experience the yoga even if they are beginners. There is nothing wrong in coming to try, some people will like it and some won’t. There are different personalities, but there is nothing wrong to come and try.

Come and try for health, health is wealth! Good health is everything to enjoy life and we need yoga. Come and try and I will help you.

Jens: Thank you very much dear Sharathji, thank you for sharing your insights in such a caring way. We are so much looking forward to having you very soon here in Scandinavia.

 This interview was conducted by Jens Bache with the support of Susanna Finocchi running Astanga Yoga Copenhagen and the questions prepared with the help of Lisa Lalér from Yogashala Stockholm. 

It was originally posted by Phillip Monberg in Danish on yogalove.dk on the 26. of June 2019. You can read the Danish version here.

Sharathji gives workshops 3.-8. July in Stockholm, 10.-15. in London and 17.-22. in Copenhagen

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