Sharath London Conference Notes

On the Sunday morning, the first day of the week, Sharath gave a Q&A session after practice. These are our notes from some of the more memorable bits:

Yoga is for relieving the suffering caused by the 6 poisons which surround each of our hearts. The 6 poisons are: Kama (lust); Krodha (anger); Moha (delusion); Lobha (greed); Matsarya (envy); Mada (sloth).

It’s recommended to practice 6 days a week but practising 4 days is better than 2 days which is better than not at all. But 6 days is recommended. If you make it part of your life then it won’t be something you feel you have to do, it’s simply something you do every day, like brushing your teeth. He said the asana practice is the foundation of your spiritual practice and the purpose is to make your body healthy. It’s very difficult to be spiritual if you’re not healthy in your body first.

Teaching yoga has become very difficult in the West as it’s become like $15 per posture, i.e. if you give your students more postures they’ll come back, but if you don’t they won’t. So some teachers just want to give students more and more postures. But he said it’s not about looking for more advanced postures, in fact it’s not about the asana at all. Whatever you’re doing is your practice. If you’re bringing up children they’re part of you so your children become your yoga.

“Yoga is within me. Wherever I am yoga happens.” (This was a defining moment for both of us and even though he said it as an almost throwaway comment, it really struck a chord.)

He said our practice will support many other things in our lives. We have to make many adjustments in our lives, e.g. when we have children. But we shouldn’t stop practising yoga.

He said Yoga is getting very fancy. People want to be very expressive and put their arms up like this (raised his arms in a very elaborate manner). He said it doesn’t matter how you put your arms up, just put them up!

When asked how long to leave it before practising again after having a baby and whether you should only do primary he said you should do whatever feels right, whenever you feel ready, even if this is 1 or 2 years. If you’re pregnant you can practice up to 8 months into your pregnancy, but no twists. After childbirth you should take at least a 3 month break. If you’ve had a ceasarian you should wait at least 6 months and be very careful.

He told a story of when he injured his shoulder when he was younger and he could feel something tearing inside. That afternoon he went to Guruji to tell him he couldn’t practice the next day but Guruji told him he’d volunteered him to give a demonstration. Sharath protested and said he couldn’t even breathe properly but Guruji told him to just do it. So the next day Sharath gave the demonstration which was very painful but once it had fully healed he actually had more flexibility and felt stronger so he could see the benefits of just getting on with the practice.

At the end of the last session he reminded us to keep practising and that places like London need Yoga. He said if we continue to practice with dedication and faith then knowledge will come easily to us.

Om shanti!

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