"Ashtanga Yoga has changed
many people's lives"

During Sharaths workshop in Stockholm in August 2013 got Yogashala Stockholm a unique opportunity to interview him about his thoughts on Ashtanga Yoga and how it's spreading all over the world.

You travel around in several European cities and holds workshops, apart from Stockholm also Copenhagen, Helsinki and London.

Why did you choose to go to Stockholm?
- I have long thought of coming to Sweden, since many of the students who come to me in Mysore for many years has been the Swedes. In Stockholm there are good teachers who want to keep in the tradition of Mysore. Therefore, I will teach here.

Why has Ashtanga Yoga become so popular in the West, do you think?
- Ashtanga Yoga means authentic yoga - it contains yoga's eight limbs or steps. By practicing the eight steps, we can get rid of impurities both in body and in soul. You can feel it happening in you, when you do your asanas, and it makes many people are attracted to Ashtangayogan. It has changed many people's lives.

What happens when we practice Ashtanga Yoga?
- We become happier, we will have peace of mind, we get rid of many problems, both in mind and health. Everywhere people are suffering from stress. Yoga gives us the strength to handle it.

Why did your grandfather Sri K Pattabhi Jois spread Ashtangayogan over the world?
- Yoga does not belong to any particular community - it is like the sun, we can benefit from it but not own it. Yoga should be practiced by all, to have good health and a good heart, you need to practice. My grandpa said that yoga belongs to everyone and he began to spread the message of yoga, and then came many Westerners.

Can yoga make us less fearful? For example, for death?
- People need to see the truth - and the truth is that if you live, you must die. Nobody knows the answer to the mystery of what happens when we die. Most important is what we do before we die: How we live our lives.

We can inspire others by living a good, stress- free life, a happy life. My karma in life is to spread the knowledge of yoga I have, it will be my job until I die.

You 've talked a lot about being involved in their training - but also in life?
- I think we need to be honest in what we do in our work. Everyone has a responsibility in the community, and everyone should try to give people a genuine commitment to do its duty honestly and truly. If everyone does that, they will fill their minds on the planet.

You also talk about having patience in training. - Should you build a strong foundation, it must take time. It can take years, and requires several components - perseverance and commitment as well as respect and gratitude. It's the same as when you build a house. Should you build a platform you can not use just sand. You need several elements, such as rocks, for it to become a strong enough design.

Some feel the fear of advanced moves in Ashtangayogan . What can we do about it?
- We are afraid of certain asanas because we are not accustomed to them. Asking someone me to skydive, I will also be afraid to do it. But if I get to learn how the system works, that nothing bad will happen to me, then I 'll get used to it and fear of falling. If you train long and builds a strong foundation and become accustomed to the movements so fear evaporates.

What do you say when people are critical of yoga?
- If you do not know what yoga is and not himself practice , it is easy to criticize. It is like the ocean - you can say "it 's just water," but if you dive into the ocean, you see the beauty, you see that the water there is a different world. So it is with yoga.

What do you think about all the new forms of yoga that pop up, such as bikram or power yoga?
- They are not authentic, they do not come from parampara. Yoga has to come from a line, a tradition. You may not find on your own yoga and say: This is my yoga.

In the Bhagavad - Gita and the Yoga Sutra, you can read about yoga, it is nothing new, nothing we have created today. Yoga has spread from guru to guru, from the highest of teachers to students. To teach yoga, you need to study for many years with a good teacher.

Today yoga has become a fashion thing, people find on your own yoga and puts his name on it. It is really bad. To heat a room to sweat even before you start exercising makes no sense - then you might as well sit in a sauna and just sit there.

Learning only asanas does not mean that you get the true understanding of yoga. No one teaches breathing techniques in the same way as Sri K Pattabhi Jois made ​​with ashtanga yoga. No one will even out vinyasa (synchronized breathing and movement), you will have no effect without vinyasa. It is not scientific, it becomes just a physical exercise, nothing more.

What is the function of respiration?
- It calms the nervous system, and is a vital part of yoga is to purify the body and soul. You may obtain purification by merely standing still in a yoga pose for twenty minutes.

Is it necessary to believe in God to do yoga?
- God is just energy, God has no form, no name. In India we say that God has no form, it consists of all human imagination and the existence of the imagination creates a good energy. But you can be an atheist and practice. To believe in yoga enough, to have control over your body, to still the mind.

Can those who eat meat and drink alcohol to be serious yoga practitioners?
- Eating meat is to kill another creature, and it is the opposite of ahimsa, non-violence. That it occurs in nature is another matter - a tiger that eats flesh does so without destroying the ecological system. Alcohol is against yoga, because it will affect your inner peace.

Is there any limit to how long we can do Ashtanga Yoga in life?
- A child should be eleven years start practicing ashtanga yoga, but there is no upper limit. Yoga will continue to happen within you until you die, if you keep practicing.

When we reached a certain level of training, it becomes yoga a part of ourselves, a part of life, as your arm. It is not possible to remove. You can not say tomorrow , I do not do yoga. It would be like cutting off my arm.

Many who practice Ashtanga Yoga diseases or disabilities, it can be anything from heart disease, mental disorders to cerebral palsy and back problems.

What is the secret of yoga's healing page?
- You can get a better health and even recover from illnesses, if you are doing yoga right and if you have a good teacher who knows how he or she should treat their students. It's just like the good doctor - the doctor knows how to treat the patient, comes the miracle.

You practice Ashtanga Yoga regardless of limitations. If you have just a yogic mind, an understanding, so it does not matter what the limitations are. Not everyone can do the asanas as I can, it is not possible for everyone.

There is also the one that can do all asanas without being large yogis. In contrast to dedicate your heart, you can do whatever limitations.

Some hurt themselves when practicing Ashtanga Yoga. What is your advice to them
- There are many reasons why one gets hurt. First, one must look at how they were injured. Do you have a bad teacher, you can hurt yourself. It 's your job to be sure to find a good, reputable, teacher.

One way is to see that the teacher is careful with his own training, it is important. Then there are students who want to have more and more asanas, they try too much, exercising twice a day, and then you can hurt the body. It's important not to rush forward, do not be in a hurry.

Make exercise intelligently, not in a ignorant way. Some pain may occur because your body needs to get used to the movements, they can be healed by continued training. Only if the damage is permanent, you need to worry.

Damage may tell us something?
- Yes, injuries are good teachers sometimes. They make us more humble.

Can focus on our inner peace to conflict with non-violence in the external world, prevent us from caring about others, from helping people in war or crisis?
- We must first ourselves achieve inner peace. If all people have inner peace, the external earth too. If you work on yourself, you can get others to work with themselves. We need to talk about yoga, spreading the message of inner peace, get more people to do yoga. The more who understand, the less fights. But you must first make your own ignorance, your own delusions, and work with them. When you got rid of them, you will be successful in the spiritual training.

Will anyone practicing yoga to attain samadhi - yoga's ultimate goal? - If they develop themselves, so they can make it happen. But first, you must allow it to grow within you. It's like planting a tree, you must nourish it, take care of the plant for it to grow.

Nutrients are the physical training, when you do asanas. You do not know when that happens, it can happen at any time, just giving you the right kind näring. Sri K Pattabhi Jois said, "Ashtanga Yoga is not for lazy people". 

But some may be too ambitious in their yoga
- Many are too ambitious with their asana practice. But yoga process does not happen all at once, it is slow. Today, everyone wants everything right away, but it will not happen that way.

Yoga takes practice to go to understand. It is like the ocean - you have to dive in order to really get an understanding. Otherwise you will only see water.

Footnote . In 2013 came also R. Sharath Jois book "Ashtanga Yoga Anusthana".

There, he shows movements in the first series and also tells more about the eight branches of yoga. Asta means eight, anga means arm.

The eight branches are:
- Yama
- Niyama
- Asana
- Pranayama
- Pratyahara
- Dharana
- Dhyana
- Samadhi

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