Thursday, 5 January 2012

Mysore? (1000th POST) UPDATED

UPDATE : Only just noticed, this is my 1000th post, as a commentator said in comments, perhaps I have too much time on my hands.

So the Mysore question is in the air, anyone practicing in a shala probably knows somebody who is there now, went in previous years or are perhaps making plans for next year.

In the cybershala we have the Mysore blogs, posts on practice, on backbends, being given poses or holding them back, Sharath smiling, teasing, frowning, on arriving, departing, Conference, delicious food, being ill, experiencing power cuts, making new friends, meeting old ones, bloggers meeting bloggers...

Mysore, it's in the air.

From a brief FB exchange, along the lines of 'see you next year' a 'possibly' has turned into a 'maybe'  and now it's leaning towards probably and even, Sharath willing, likely.

And yet?

There's always an 'and yet?'.

I can't help myself, can't help asking... Why go?*

Every answer that comes up contains a logical fallacy.

The practice isn't the same, the teacher isn't the same, the room isn't the same, Mysore certainly isn't the same, hundreds of Ashtangi's fill up the little town of Gokulum and an industry has built up around them.

Is it still a place for turning inwards, if we answer yes, then for how long, where's the tipping point. Best to go perhaps before that tipping point is reached.

Why Mysore?

In my case, I'm a home ashtangi, I don't even go to a shala. I've never been to a workshop. I'm not that concerned about having a teacher, never seemed important somehow.

I've moved house a couple of times, changed rooms, changed mats, my practice space is a 180cm piece of rubber and I visit it pretty much every day, most often twice a day. Over five years that's around 5,000 hours on that rubber mat, or synthetic mat or, in the beginning, beach towel.

And a whole world opens up once we step on that mat,  ....of the work, of will and intention, of play, of discomfort even pain, joy, frustration, satisfaction, monkey mind, stillness, silence, peace, at times oblivion as perhaps we notice we're in Finishing and can't remember, aren't conscious of having practiced the last half of a series, ...experimentation, triumph, failure, perspective, banality, wonder, delight....curiosity, expansive wonder, ineffable glimpses of what it might be to understand something in a non intellectual way, that there might be something to actually understand.....glimpses ....self deception ( a good one), conceit, joyous fear, wonder, again wonder, expansive wonder, best of all, when it comes, of peace.

We can all come up with our own lists, different lists one week to the next (What did I miss, what would be on yours?).

All this on that 180cm stretch of Rubber,

Why Mysore?

We don't, of course, need to go to Mysore or a shala, we can pretty much work the practice out ourselves in our own back rooms with a book from the library and an internet connection. The magic comes in the practicing of it.

...and yet this line from Kino over at Nobel's blog

'Not everyone needs to go to Mysore but anyone who feels an attraction to the experience and craves a deeper dimension of the Ashtanga Yoga method would do well to place their doubt aside, buy an airline ticket to India and come practice.'

I'd argue that the deeper dimension can be found on your mat on any mat, that you don't need to go anywhere for that but rather within.

Still, 'anyone who feels the attraction... would do well to place their doubt aside'.

Why Mysore?

Perhaps because it's there, still there, for now ....for a little longer and if not the same, perhaps close enough.

And besides, if it just comes down to the mat then it probably doesn't really matter where you unroll it, might as well be there, the food is good I hear.

I was asked, after all this discussion, here and elsewhere, 'So Mysore, Yes or no?

Leaning towards No, or unlikely.

Reason? Too many people, it's just too damned busy. Perhaps November or March when it really quietens down but then it's quiet for a reason, too hot but might look into that now I think about it.

A Manju Workshop is tempting, couple of weeks in Crete perhaps, wonder if that would capture something of what it was like back in the day, Mysore in the 70s, early 80s. Have this idea that Manju represents an even earlier period, Ashtanga (did it even have a name then) before the west became aware of it, of the 60's let alone late 70's and I'm curious about that.

Sharath's next visit to London perhaps, I know it's not the same but good for tightening up the practice.

And what is this fascination I have with THAT room that I always capitalise, something a little silly about that, it's not even the old shala.

Truth be told I'm quite happy practicing alone at home and with the freedom to balance my Ashtanga and Vinyasa Krama practices, ...if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Been interesting playing with the idea though.

UPDATE: If I wasn't put off before

* I know the 'Why go' question bugs people, especially if they're shala Ashtangi's. Perhaps it's something to do with the isolated aspect of practicing at home,  the protective cocoon we build around our practice that enables us to practice without the support and encouragement of teachers and shalamates, one reason we blog perhaps or often read blogs before steeling ourselves for practice.

Me, I just don't like people. Actually it's more a case of thinking I don't like people.


  1. "Every answer that comes up contains a logical fallacy."

    This is probably true, Grimmly. But at the risk of sounding very platitudinous, may I ask: What kind of major life decision doesn't? Every major life decision that is (at least potentially) life-changing is bound to be full of contradictions. Very often, it may not even seem the "right" thing to do, from a purely objective point of view. But we take the plunge anyway, because... well, I don't know, because we are somehow less complete as persons if we don't?

    So again, at the risk of sounding very platitudinous, I think it all comes down to this: Do you, in your heart of hearts, feel a strong pull to Mysore, industrialized or not, Club Mysore or not (what do any of these things matter, anyway? It's your practice, right?)? If the answer is yes, then maybe Kino's words apply to you.

  2. dear Grimmly
    i don't believe the last line you wrote. :)

    why go? for me, it would be a necessary month long tax holiday i need to take; time that I can't spend in either China or the US, so why not India? i would prefer to work with Rolf. yet, the attraction of Mysore would include being able to spend time with in real life with the cybershalamates.


  3. Hardly a major life decision Noble, though Kevin of course quit his job and went for three months, that was quite a plunge. If I go it'll be on a whim. I'm more interested in the idea of Mysore and the import we give it and what and why we place so much between us and our mats. But I'm tempted, possibly even drawn to the place and the opportunity seems to be there so why not. Be nice to practice with some of the people I've got to know through the blog who are from all over the place and only likely to meet up with there but then doesnt that makes it ClubMysore again, a social excursion rather than, I hesitate to say it, a turning inwards which surely is the point but then of course you don't need to be there for that or shouldn't

  4. You seem to be drawing a rather curious dichotomy, Grimmly. You seem to be thinking that the Mysore experience would either be (a)Club Mysore (a.k.a. social excursion) or (b) some kind of spiritual retreat where one turns inwards.

    I'm not convinced that it couldn't be both. Granted, too much of (a) would probably detract from (b), but there probably is a way to strike a balance somewhere, wouldn't you say?

  5. If going to Mysore doesn't change your life, then you're either brain dead or not paying attention. I do not think you would be or could be guilty of either of these. In essence, Nobel is right, it is or will be a life changing event. I promise.

  6. I'm not convinced that it couldn't be both either Noble, especially when you look at those Govinda Kai video's on Youtube or the Guruji movie with Rolf in the corner of the room as intense as can be. But it's good to explore the topic otherwise what's the point of blogging, doesn't everybody ask themselves why they want to go, yoga for me is still a questioning attitude, a state of enquiry, though the answers don't need to be verbal.

  7. I traveled rough for a lot of years Lil, maybe a month just seems a little short for me to think of it as life changing, perhaps if I was able to go for three, but then it's India so your probably right, what does Sharath say about a month there being like six elsewhere.

  8. this text from M.after reading my post on the way home from work.
    ' For goodness sake can u just book a ticket and start saving money darling, U would feel better once it's done.'

    You can tell I think, that she knows me only too well.

    Of course she will kill me for sharing that.

  9. Missed your comment come in Arturo, was writing a reply to Noble.
    Yeah the people comment, not that bad really did you see the arrtical Karen shared on FB today, something about zen and potatoes, meant to read it when I got home, have to wait for tomorrow now.
    Tax break Mysore, that's a result.
    Given how disrupted your practice has been recently going back to Mysore might suit you, reinstall the discipline... Wouldn't do me any harm either. Be a shame if we miss each other but then I might love it and want to go back.

  10. Maybe you just have too much time on your hands.

  11. You know Grimmly, it's funny. I have a somewhat different 'worry' about going there. My fear is I'd be left on my own too much!!! Although I'm very confident and happy with people I know, if I'm dropped into a big group of people that I don't know, I tend to get very shy and withdraw ...

    Now - of course I know that's not the reason to go to Mysore!!! That the reason is to immerse myself more into the practice. But - I've been to (wonderful) workshops in Bali, with probably more daily yoga practice than in Mysore. And that part was wonderful. But I did find it hard getting to know the other people there - and they were mostly all staying in the same place, so we met pretty much every morning at breakfast! I ended up spending most of the non-yoga time on my own - going out to eat by myself etc. And I don't mind a bit of that, but still it would have been great to do things with others too.

    And it seems like that'd be more likely in Mysore than it was in Bali ...

    So - that's the thing that keeps me from booking a ticket!!! (Probably very non-yogic!!!)

  12. It's such a big question, it only needs the one word, right?

    It's one I'm struggling with, a little, too. For the reasons you say and for what you quote Kino saying.

    And you hit the big reason not to for me: The teacher's not the same. I don't feel a burning compulsion to practice with Sharath; I have others I call teacher, others I'm happy to call teacher. (I'm trying to avoid the rabbit hole that is the discussion of lineage...)

    For me, it's more the "calm Club Mysore," if I can call it that. The idea of being around Ashtangis for weeks on end is very appealing; to be immersed in the practice and all that surrounds it is very attracting.

    But, still, Mysore? I continue not to know.

  13. I probably won't go because I can't. I can't even get a solid week off from work. A month or more is unimaginable. And I too am more than challenged, guided and rewarded by other teachers. Maybe all this will change someday, but I can't see that far right now. I dream about weekend workshops. Even a weekend at an ashram with a very special vinyasa teacher and great people, with my husband along, was transforming for me, and it was with my regular teacher. But the situation made it special. Perhaps india will be like that for you--and will give you lots of material to take back and ponder and study and work through at your leisure.

  14. Club Mysore? Interesting blog entry from Spark's Diary (I think it was Jan 3rd) about yogis not being yogis at Mysore. Worth a read before anything is booked. Personally, that environment wouldn't be for me. I think I would prefer to attend a workshop or class by Sharath closer to home.

  15. Another interesting take on this from Karen. blogging from Mysore ten minutes ago.

    T'he deeper I go into this practice, the more personally compelled I am to engage with the roots, religion, the local culture, and folklore; yet I am also keenly aware of the contrivance. I am a white girl from Florida, raised on Cheetos and Gn’R. How can I preserve my authenticity, yet sincerely develop within the adopted culture of Ashtanga Yoga practice? Is it possible to be anything but a tourist here in Mysore now in 2012?'

  16. Hi Susie. I imagine Mysore can be a bit ...cliquey at times but there are a lot of people there now probably hard to avoid getting into ashtanga conversions in gokulum. And of course there's not just the main Shala now, seems there's compulsory chanting and then Sanskrit classes, devotional painting, philosophy classes, lots of small group settings that are bound to be more interactive.

  17. i agree Anon, clearly took much time on my hands, tell M. from me to stop working so late. Either that of course or i prefer to think things through or at least play with them than watch X-factor

  18. Hey Steve.
    i know what you mean, re Sharath and in that context too. How much adjustment are you likely to get from him as opposed to another certified teacher on month long workshop somewhere, Mysore is so busy he's having to have other teachers helping him. Plus some argue that alignment isn't really his thing, was ever Mysore's thing. An ex Iyengar ashtangi might be more appropriate depending on what you feel your needs are.

    But saying that, though Sharath isn't a reason for me personally to go I can't imagine THAT room having the same intensity I imagine it having without him being there. The room and Sharath in it seem inseparable in my mind. But then i don't really know what other shalas are like.

  19. I feel a little guilty that I seem to have the opportunity to go and yet am questioning going, must be irritating to some reading this who have no chance of getting the time off perhaps because of work or kids.

    I know what you mean though, practicing at home I'd probably get a lot from even the occasional visit to a shala and experienced teacher and as you say there are workshops. Before i think about Mysore perhaps i should be making the most of those opportunities. Some excellent teacher in London and many certified teachers come here for workshops.

  20. thanks Anon I saw Spark's post and linked to it in an earlier post here along with a previous one of her's on the joys of going to Mysore.

    We should be questioning this stuff, before we go, while we're there and after we come back, otherwise whats the point. I hesitate to write this, bit of a cliche but where is Mysore really, outside or inside.

  21. Hi Grim, the best way to decide whether you should go or nor not is to flip a coin. And once you flip it you will know in your heart the result you want, regardless of the actual coin-flipping result.

  22. Hi Grimmly, I appreciate the bringing up of the topic and reading what other practitioners think, there is quite a bit here! In my own case I feel a pull towards the intensity and focus of the practice in Mysore, it somewhat re-sets the focus for the rest of the year, it helps me with that. But this may not the case with everyone else... just me.

  23. Hi Grimm,

    I've been to Mysore, as I think I might have mentioned before. It was really interesting - because I studied with Venkatesh, Sheshadri and then finally (and just him, because) you can't go to other teachers when you study at the main shala)with Guruji and Sharath.

    Did the backbending course, meditation, pranyama (a little on kriyas) and the yoga sutras with Venki and his wife Hema and pure ashtanga with the larger than life Sheshadri. Most of my hours were spent in some form of study. Then, in my third month, I went to the main shala.

    what I personally found was that:

    - smaller classes with Venki and Sheshadri
    - Much greater attention and adjustment - they got to know you better
    - The students had a different collective personality - all in all, I'm sorry to say this, but I cannot lie, a much quiter, gentler and far less judgemental group of students.

    When I moved over to Gokulum, I noticed:

    - huge classes
    - no attention at all (kept waiting to be stopped but it never happened)
    - a different type of student - again, sorry, but a lot of competition, a lot of ego, and a lot of people feeling very free indeed to tell you exactly what they thought.

    I've got to tell you, the shala wasn't for me, much to my dismay at saying this. I am sure this is my own failing (and I must examine my conscious) but it scared me a little and the whole Club Mysore thing really does exist. But, you know, as you are, I have spent all my 13 years as a home student and I think we get used to the quiet and introspection that comes with practising alone.

    But saying this, I have an idea....

    There is one teacher out there who creates the most wonderful, happy and positive atmosphere when he teaches (and boy, do you learn a lot) and made me completely rethink going to a teacher and I have a strong feeling, Grimm, that you would very much like him.

    John Scott has just returned from several years in NZ with his wife Lucy and they are now back teaching in Cornwall. Why dont' you think about taking a week off to go and see them - speak to John about Mysore and then take a decision...??

    The Universe will tell you, I am sure, in good time what you need to do.

    with kind regards,

    Do email me if you want more on this - I can email you directly if it helps at all.

  24. Good idea anon but then I'd probably be going best of of twelve.

    Claudia, just noticed this is my 1000th post, fancy that.

    I like your Mysore as hitting the reset button. Funny enough I tend to use Sharath's Primary DVD for a week or that time i spent a month with his led from Encintas.

    I'm sure we all have our own version of the Mysore? inner dialogue at sometime or other, blogger's job (if we have one) is to write it down.

    That said most of the time I've run off and done something, taken a life changing plunge as Noble puts it, I don't know if I've thought it through that much, something about this nags at me, makes me questions the attraction.

  25. Hi Kate, thank you for your comment, must have just came in as I was writing my response to Claudia's.

    At the end of my lunch break so will respond to it later, you raise a lot. Wanted to thank you quickly though for passing on the news about John and Lucy coming back to Cornwall. I remember planning on studying with them way back in the beginning and then finding they'd moved to NZ (I'd bought his book and DVD in that first year) remember being really disappointed. Will certainly look into visiting. thanks again.

  26. Oh to be free of the nagging.

    It is a good question. Why do these intellectually sophisticated, hyper-educated and (importantly) well-meaning middle aged men and women feel the need to keep angling for more and more of these self-concocted rites of passage? It's not like the local community (I don't mean those fucking street orphans) couldn't do with their help politically and business-wise. Is it really garlic residue in the pot or a fear of the grihasta's full estate, dutiful and unremarkable as that seems to be?

    A least with the X Factor one gets to gawk (gratis)at the white-armed Hera of the hip-hop world, rather than brow-furrowing re:the costly indulgence of bathing in the Kinoscopic delusion brought on by playing about with a tinker's truck full of gobbledygooked texts and twisting your aging bandana'd bones around for the delectation of your peers.

  27. I knew afterwards why it has been important for me to go.

    But know, plan 6 weeks minimum.

  28. Indeed Anon, I'm too old for rites of passage.

    Hi Ursula, i've had the feeling that perhaps a month isn't really enough, just start to settle into it and then it's time to leave. Would love to spend three months there, two would be OK think I might be able to wangle five weeks including the travel, that way I'd have a full month, may have to do. I'm sure I'd feel afterwards that it was definitely worth can it not be, it's still India, special room to practice in and the rest of the day free for my other practice.

  29. Grim, love this post and the all the interesting replies. GIves a lot to think about. My own teacher went to Mysore and gave up the shala for practice with Sheshadri, learnt so much more from him. His beef was that he hardly ever practiced, what with Saturdays and moon days..but no one tells you that the shala shuts for every Hindu festival too and my teacher says there were probably not a great way to spend your money.

    I think it just shows though, the importance of finding your OWN GURU. I practice with 3 teachers at the moment. All of them offer different advice..actually, that sounds cold.. different teachings. But I tell you what, my true teaching comes from within. I've learnt more in the past three weeks practicing 6 times a week at 5:30am in my own front room than the past 4 years. I will go to Mysore, but the more I here about it the more it puts me off. A lot of thee posts have put me off.

    I think there's definitely a need for a "Best places in the world to practice" blog, there must be places which have a similar "pull" to them. (Plus I just want to start planning my yoga trip :) and it will be very handy!)

    India is hard work, I don't know whether I'd enjoy it if I got ill again, which, lets face it, is highly likely.

    Very pleased John Scott is back in the UK. Cornwall of all beautiful, I may even start my yoga tour there!!

  30. The Indians have another approach to yoga. It's not that perfect performance of asanas, but something deeper that can be experienced.

    In addition I learned pranayama from an Indian doctor who is practicing yoga for decades. It was awesome.

  31. Hi Micqui. good point , I should check which month has the least moon days, I've rarely taken them but then from what I hear it's so intense in the room that your glad of them and of Saturday.

    And I'm with your with finding your own guru on your own mat. I thought that was supposed to be the aim anyway, if not the point.

    Kind of at a nice place at the moment in that I can pretty much do all the postures I want to (except for ruddy kandasana, it shall be day) and get deep enough into them that I'm not too concerned about learning more or feel the need for a teacher to help me get them. Kind of have the ground work just need to do the practice, though a few iyengar classes might be good for me.

    I'm more interested at the moment in tightening up my Primary and especially my 2nd and getting lost in them for a while as well as exploring my Vinyasa Krama practice, it's integrated aspect.

    To that end I think Mysore might tighten up my Primary more, perhaps better than anywhere else, everyone seems to bring their best game...every morning.

    That said I'm still in awe of John Scott's Primary on his DVD, makes you wonder why you ever thought of primary as a beginners series.

    Cornwall, lets go.

    I like the idea of going for a couple of weeks, tightening up my practice, besides, while I don't tend to talk of lineage there is that British lineage that comes though Derek Ireland and john Scott.

    India can be hard work I guess but staying in Mysore or Gokulum as a base and with that big support network if you want it, is probably one of the most approachable way to 'do' India. You can venture out from your base rather than be constantly on the back foot while traveling around.

    Wonderful teachers out there but don't most of them come to London for workshops? Not the same I guess from actually visiting their shalas (and the local beach), its a nice framework for building a round the world trip.

  32. Good luck with your decision - it will be a tough one. I'm hoping to get a spot on a couple of workshops later this year with Manju Jois and then Kino. Haven't attended a Mysore class with either - any advice out there?

  33. grim, I'm the one who said I would never get time to go. Please don't feel guilty. I didn't mean it that way. I just feel i am reading about an alternate universe. But my world is enriched by Ashtanga every day, and mysore is part of the culture and lineage from which i benefit. I am grateful for that. David Swenson says when people go to mysore they come back and don't know how to live their regular lives. I will have to content myself with integrating yoga into my life with the occasional shorter, less isolated retreat. And I think it's the retreat aspect of mysore --being away from your real world--that must be part of the attraction, along with the time and energy to focus on yoga.

    try john scott. I've had 2 teachers who have studies with him, and they are wonderful teachers.

  34. Silly Grimmly! Still asking the same question.


    But I don't see the logical fallacy. Can you explain what's the fallacy?

    And the why... it's romantic. Remember when you started asking this question, because the romance was getting to you...?

    Susananda and Karen are reviving my romance now. Truly!

  35. I'd like to hear more about Manju's workshops too Anon, there must be some workshop reports on somebodies blog, lots on Kino of course.

    Thanks Anon, not that feeling that guilty : ) just a bit. I think if we've already managed to integrate our yoga into our lives then there's probably one less reason to go except perhaps for the reason OvO raises, the sheer romance of it.

  36. What is the logical fallacy, yo?


  37. (you forgot my parentheses)

  38. Hello OvO, been too long, missed you.
    I listed five possibly fallacious reasons for going, where the premises were questionable when pushed a little. I deleted them because I thought it would make the post even more negative and people would just get defensive. But it's a game we can play at home. Pick three of the 'usual' reasons it's suggested we go to Mysore and then give the premis on which they're based a little push. to see how safe we really find them. But none of them would really have been deciding reasons for me to go or not go so that was another reason to delete them.

    The romance, ahhh, the best reason to go perhaps, the sheer romance of it, I must be getting old, i managed to obscure that one.

    Silly? I don't know, nothing wrong with a questioning of motives and trying to work out why I'm really tempted to go but also why I resist. If it's just because it's there then that's a good enough reason. but if it's for affirmation, just to say I've been, recognition, a desire for orthodoxy or authorisation, or for the social aspect then ... well then its worth questioning them.

    Personally I think I just want to lay my mat down in THAT room and practice ...and because it's India,

    Give my love to Karen and Susan, hope your belly's all remain strong. this trip.

  39. Ooops sorry (OvO)

    Late for practice have a good day everyone

  40. ...but of course we'll always find ways to question a premis so that doesn't actually stand for much, surprised that Noble still has faith in Logic, saw it as a questionable bag of tricks a long time ago. Practice, MUST practice.

  41. Grimmly, noooo, you haven't missed me. I'm the one with a PhD in this shit, remember?

    Those aren't logical fallacies! They're just intellectual conundrums!

    I thought you were going to work your way through Copi and Cohen so that your logical mind would be better able to deconstruct these matters! Come on, Love! If you're going to be analytical, really DO it!

    God knows we need some common sense in this game. Thinks are so batshit crazy here in Mysore, and your blogging is so tittilating, and I finally have a free moment to write... so much so that you make me want to start blogging again.

    Should I pretend to rationalize coming to Mysore?



  42. p.s. Tony, YES. You DO want to lay your mat down in THIS room and practice.

    It is ineffable.

    Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent. (You know who said that.)

  43. 'Ineffable' is good, reason enough to visit anywhere and yes of course, our friend Ludwig. All the best or at least pithy quotes in the Tractatus though the Investigations much more important, the one he wrote after reading Heidegger, yep, he read him too.

  44. And that's why you absolutely belong in Mysore.

  45. ?

    Tony, what are you talking about? I entered this thread to ask what is the logical fallacy involved in Mysore practice, and you gave a whole lot of replying, but no answer to this question.

    It feels like you are using references to dead guys from a long time ago to try to distance yourself from the raw content of the experience of practice and the raw feelings Mysore brings up.

    But there is actually no content to these references.

    There is no fallacy, no logic, no philosophical content at all to this conversation. Rather, it's a matter of your own reactions (emotions and thoughts) about wanting or not wanting to go.

    That's cool. This is a good edge. But it ain't got nothing to do with logic, hundred year old tomes, or intellectual questions. It's samskaras.

  46. Sorry it wasn't the response you were looking for but thanks for stopping by.

  47. OK, Angela, it's morning, now I can be bothered.

    The fallacy I was referring to in the post was of the unsafe premis variety and it was related to the reasons for going to Mysore, the most common reasons given for going, I hint at them in the the following paragraph (perhaps you missed them). As I said in my response to your question, I didn't make them explicit because that would have deflected attention from what I was aiming at in the post, you know how defensive Ashtangi's can be. I also pointed out that they wouldn't have been reasons for why I personally consider going to Mysore another reason for not dwelling on them .

    You forget 'love', my leanings are with the Continental divide Yes there is still one and for good reason) so I tend to be dismissive of the over indulgence in Logic that the old Anglo/American analytic philosophers tend to give it, how curious you link logic and deconstruction in the same sentence, was quite amused by that my old logic professor would have rolled in his sadly, recent grave.

    So this isn't supposed to be a philosophical analysis in the analytic tradition, phil 101, what would be the point of that except to clear out the surface reasons we give for going to Mysore. The continental tradition might be more helpful for the deeper reasons given that it's an existential question ( no not ruddy Sartre), practice as creating a clearing (in late Heidegger speak) though perhaps Merleau-Ponty on the body is relevant too. Another reason for not going philosophical is that it can get obscure, few have read much past the odd undergraduate level keynotes, if that, and again, mostly in the analytic tradition, peoples eyes glaze over. I mention Heidegger a lot though as a name in the hope that some might eventually look at him (and hopefully not just B+T).

    As for raw experience I think I'm quite explicit on that, embarrassingly so for an Englishman, in the 'And a whole world opens up..' paragraph. Which I begrudgingly resisted deleting so as to show that praactice at home can be be such a powerful experience and with enough to be going for it that we really shouldn't need to go anywhere, not a shala, not Mysore. Thus provoking the again the question why go (see the philosophy is subtle, blink and you miss it).

    I still see practice as solitary and have never really understood why Ashtangi's feel the need to practice with anyone else and then justify it, but that's just me, I feel the same about meditation, why go and sit with a group, don't get it.

    And yes I know I still don't answer your question, that's intentional of course as I won't be pushed into answering something that I've already given you good reasons for not answering in that they don't get us anywhere.

    Samskara's really? Jeez.

  48. Haha! Awesome!

    This is delightful and entirely satisfying.


    Re: going philosophical, I agree. Graduate school kicked my ass until I could communicate what I really meant *without* taking it there, without making references, without relying on conceptual worlds outside the experience at hand. If you're trying to get people to read your guru's writing by noting that it's still alive for you, that's actually an interesting (rather than distancing, pretentious) use of referencing. Makes sense to me.

    BTW, I quit my academic job last month. So although you know it was totally not ok to out me in the past, I'm not going to ask you to delete my first name. There is now no para-identity to protect.

  49. I saw that about your name being out there now, somebody mentioned it on your blog in a comment. off to practice.

  50. Why Mysore ...



  51. Great link Doug thanks for that , was this post only last year? feels longer


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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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