Ashtanga Yoga is a Parampara lineage. Parampara is "knowledge that is passed in succession from teacher to student. It is a Sanskrit word that denotes the principle of transmitting knowledge in its most valuable form; knowledge based on direct and practical experience. It is the basis of any lineage: the teacher and student form the links in the chain of instruction that has been passed down for thousands of years. In order for yoga instruction to be effective, true and complete, it should come from within parampara. Knowledge can be transferred only after the student has spent many years with an experienced guru, a teacher to whom he has completely surrendered in body, mind, speech and inner being. Only then is he fit to receive knowledge. This transfer from teacher to student is parampara."
As Eddie Stern explained during the conference the word Guru means " a teacher who is a master of a subject. Someone who has deeply mastered, experienced and understood the subject that they are teaching. The word Parama comes from parampara, hence Parama Guru is lineage holder and master of this particular tradition"
Sharath Jois, is Parama Guru, he was just here in NYC for the week. It's always an emotional time when he comes, and this year particularly, as for the first time in 5 years I did not make my yearly pilgrimage to see him in India. It's been challenging to power through the year without time off to be a student and devote full days, weeks and months to studying. Teaching Ashtanga Yoga is not easy, it taxes your physical, emotional and energetic body. It's been a blessing to spend this time with him and regain insight.
In one of the conferences Sharath reminded us all that Yoga is a path. It is The path which leads us towards the light. It needs lots of Sadhana or practice, devotion and patience. When you walk this path with devotion you become a sadhaka - a student. As a student you should have proper knowledge of what you are doing. Yoga is a way of living. It's a path where you choose to live in a certain way. Your perception of life will be transformed from this way of living and eventually the path that will lead to self realization.
Yoga teaches you how to keep yourself steady and stable. That is ultimate goal of yoga. "How to change yourself that is the transformation that will happen within you. For that to happen you need a method. Like a 4 wheel drive - it can go on any terrain. Yoga in whatever terrain you are in your life, whatever situation- anger, depression. Yoga puts you in place , makes you very stable so you can handle those situations. Stable body, stable mind. If the mind is weak, then you suffer. Asana stabilizes you."