The KPJAYI web site recently updated its list of authorized and certified teachers, adding many new names. As the list lengthens, I see names of more people whom I have not yet had the opportunity to meet, and look forward to practicing with these folks in Mysore.
It gives me a good feeling to be among a growing body of dedicated students. Each one of us, of course, comes up with our own personal meaning and value for this ‘blessing’ given by our teacher in the name of the school. We are free to do with it what we want. Like much else of what we learn at KPJAYI, we are left to work out the technique, the parameters, and the specifics ourselves.
The point of departure for the yoga of being recognized as a teacher, just like in the yoga of asana practice, for me is intention. Maybe in our own way each of us is practicing the ‘authorized/certified pose’ and learning to embody the internal and external state of this mudra.
There is also, of course, a lot of raga and dvesha (attachment and aversion) projected onto this process, just as there is in the process of ‘advancing’ through the series of asanas. For me it was very useful to see the mind’s potential to distract my attention on the 4th, 5th, 6th trips to Mysore wondering if I might be authorized. (Generally people are authorized after 4 trips.) It was also useful to see how, as with several of the asanas in the series, I wasn’t so zealous about ‘doing the authorized pose’ after I took it on.
This list can be a bit confusing, especially for students around the world who may be trying to connect with a teacher. This symbolic nod of the school to the student may mean yes or no, or a definite maybe… There are as many styles of teaching Ashtanga represented on the list as there are names. And some of these approaches are quite… well… different.
Personally, the longer I am dedicated to Ashtanga the more it feels that rather than a teacher I am much more just starting to figure out what is yoga, what is the connection between our asana practice and the teaching of Patanjali, how does the diverse yoga tradition (the vedic tradition, hinduism, tantra, mantra, etc.) manifest in this asana and life practice. There is too much to learn.
And we would be at a great loss if we were to fail to recognize the great Ashtanga and other yoga teachers whose names are not on this list.
My sense is that as a KPJAYI community we are learning to refine and direct our enthusiasm toward yoga individually and collectively. It feels like we are developing in ways that support inclusiveness and openness. Each time I go to Mysore I am inspired by the dedication and enthusiasm, as well as the increasingly open-minded, educated perspectives.
I bow in admiration and respect. Namaste.