Saturday, August 27, 2011

Apprenticeship & Guruji: A Portrait

In just a week, I'll start my apprenticeship with G.  I'm very excited about this opportunity to deepen my own practice and refine my teaching.  It's been a while since I've assisted in a Mysore room (since I left Boston), but I'm eager to get back to it.  G definitely has a different style than K.  For one, he never, to my knowledge, adjusts downward facing dog.  I've never gotten that adjustment from him and haven't seen him give it to anyone else.  He also doesn't make newcomers observe.  They start suns on their first visit.  So, even though I've been invited to assist right away, I will likely hang back a bit in the beginning to get a sense of what G would like of me in the room. 

At our introductory meeting several weeks ago, he gave us our reading list.  We are to start with Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K Pattabhi Jois through the Eyes of His Students.  It's a book that I've been wanting to read for a while but had put off because of the cost.  Fortunately, Penn had a copy in its library.  I think I'm the first person to check it out.  I've been reading it since Wednesday.  So far, I've read the interviews with David Williams, Manju Jois, Nancy Gilgoff, Brad Ramsey, and Tim Miller.  These are some of the themes that are repeating that resonate with me:

  • The practice just makes sense.  
  • The practice gives you a sense of quiet and serenity.
  • The practice is about moving energy, not bodies.
  • Sometimes the practice will make you cry.
  • Big egos don't do well in this practice.
  • All kinds of bodies can do this practice.
I have taken workshops with Tim Miller and Nancy Gilgoff in Boston.  Both are wonderful teachers and have their own style and their own gems to offer to students.  When I have the opportunity to practice with senior teachers, I notice how at peace they are with the practice whereas some younger people want to make the practice about striving and fighting.  I wonder if the senior teachers always had that ease about them and that's why they have been able to practice for so long, of if it is something that comes over time.

I'll have a lot of time to read over this weekend.  Hurricane Irene is barreling up the coast towards Philly!  

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