Yes….R. Sharath and Saraswathi will be in town. Town for me means Encinitas, and today I realized how lucky I am to live here. It is a beautiful coastal town, with perhaps one of the most temperate climates in the world. Here you can find: swaying palm trees, and the azure Pacific Ocean; the Meditation Gardens of Paramahansa Yogananda; numerous yoga studios anywhere from Bikram to Ashtanga within walking distance; surfer xing road signs as surfers frequently cross the historic 101 Highway to their favorite spot. Some of the most perfectly formed waves are here too. So, some nicknames for Encinitas are “yoga capital” and of course, “surf capital”…whether Encinitas is really those things, I am not sure, but I certainly have discovered wonderful yoga and waves here, and I cannot imagine living anywhere else.
Encinitas has a special history with Ashtanga yoga; K. Pattahbi Jois (“Guruji”) and Manju came to Encinitas first on his visit to the U.S., and taught the first Ashtanga class here, to the likes of Tim Miller and others. So…Sharath and Saraswathi are due in tomorrow at our shala (Jois Encinitas) and will stay until April 30, 2012. The first week will be Led Primary Series, and the second week will be Led Intermediate. But even in the days before their arrival, the energy and anticipation are already evident. Some were diligently scrubbing the bathroom floor a couple of days ago, complaining that the cleaning girls did not do a good enough job (which unfortunately was true). Today I went to our shala and saw a bunch of new faces…and felt a new excitement in the air. Aimee, one of our teachers, said excitedly to me, “Can you feel the energy already?” I said “yes!” and it was true. I can’t describe it, but the energy is there even without their presence.
Today, I went to my first puja ceremony. It felt important to go, as if it was a ritual to mark something important that would soon take place in our lives. I could only stay for part of it as I had clients to see in my practice, but it felt so wonderful to partake even in a little part of it. We chanted the opening prayer in Sanskrit, and I felt this joyous feeling arise in my body although I could barely understand what was being said. It reminded me of a saying I heard at one time — that just to chant or hear Sanskrit is enough to transform the mind. After today, I believe the truth in this…there is a profound power in those ancient sounds and syllables.
This year will be my third year of Ashtanga yoga practice, and second workshop with Sharath and Saraswathi. I feel an odd mixture of excitement and anxiety…last year I did only Led Primary, and this year, I will attempt Led Intermediate with the permission of my teacher David. “Get ready!” I was told by a few folks. “Get used to holding those poses for a looong time!” I feel a bit afraid of how long I will have to stay in Kapotasana…and how will I get those feet in padmasana while trying Karandavasana?? Maybe I will just stop at Pincha Mayurasana and call it a day. Last year, I remember staying forever in Sirsasana with burning arms, and noticing how steam came up from the bodies behind me. I focused on the steam to avoid feeling the pain in my arms, and just at that moment, as if on cue, I heard Sharath say behind me, “Ah, steam from student bodies! This is good practice!”
It will be a good practice for the soul, and the body.
Tomorrow will be opening day!
More details to come…