Conference Notes with Sharath Jois: KPJAYI, 8 July 2012

“99% practice, 1% theory.” ~ Guruji

In today’s conference Sharath began by telling us that this system is less about talk and more about practical experience in the form of āsana, the third limb of yoga. Āsana, through its stabilizing effects, Sharath explained, is our greatest tool in progressing in our spiritual practice and growth, eventually leading us to mokṣa (liberation). Posture, accompanied by proper breathing and vinyāsa krama, is not just exercise, but changes the focus of body and mind. It promotes both physical and mental health, creating a body that is free of disease, a clean and pure nervous system, and a more calm, quiet mind. Through direct physical experience we begin to cultivate these qualities and, in turn, become aware of the spiritual and moral changes taking place inside. The process, warned Sharath, is long and slow, and these subtle changes take place over months and years, encouraging the practitioner to develop a sense of patience and contentment as they move through the various stages of yoga. While, ultimately, we desire to bring stillness to the mind, and achieve self-realization, the goals are far off and cannot be attained without proper focus on the physical practice as the first step in understanding what happens within ourselves.

By Anna Muzzin