12 May 2013

Yoga keep it in the family. Parampara?

My daughter has been practising yoga on and off for a number of years. She and my son grew up in a household where yoga is a way of life for me. I have never imposed yoga on my family, but I have to say I love having my daughter in my classes. She has started to have a much deeper understanding of yoga and this understanding is helping her through a very difficult and stressful period of time as she prepares for her degree show at Central Saint Martins in London.

I am currently her only yoga teacher but I am hoping she will be able to practice with my own teachers, Nancy Gilgoff and with Sharath Jois when they are in London over the summer.

I remember discussing with Nancy many years ago how it felt to see her daughter practising with her. She had said she always loved looking through her legs and seeing Vanessa on a mat beside her. Vanessa now assists her quite often when she is teaching around the world.

My daughter and I discuss yoga. All limbs. Not too much because in a way by trying to practice the other aspects of yoga in my own life,  my children have adopted the principles of the yama and niyama without even realising. It is in their bones. I am passing on what was given to me by my own teachers. While I am definitely not claiming to be a guru (see below), the linage from Krishnamachari through to my girl child continues; related to each other or otherwise.




Mysore practise together and then a bit of tuition on jumping forward and back.




The text on Parampara from KPJAYI Mysore

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.
The dharma, or duty, of the student is to practice diligently and to strive to understand the teachings of the guru. The perfection of knowledge – and of yoga — lies beyond simply mastering the practice; knowledge grows from the mutual love and respect between student and teacher, a relationship that can only be cultivated over time. 
The teacher’s dharma is to teach yoga exactly as he learned it from his guru. The teaching should be presented with a good heart, with good purpose and with noble intentions. There should be an absence of harmful motivations. The teacher should not mislead the student in any way or veer from what he has been taught. 
The bonding of teacher and student is a tradition reaching back many thousands of years in India, and is the foundation of a rich, spiritual heritage. The teacher can make his students steady – he can make them firm where they waver. He is like a father or mother who corrects each step in his student’s spiritual practice. 
The yoga tradition exists in many ancient lineages, but today some are trying to create new ones, renouncing or altering their guru’s teachings in favor of new ways. Surrendering to parampara, however, is like entering a river of teachings that has been flowing for thousands of years, a river that age-old masters have followed into an ocean of knowledge. Even so, not all rivers reach the ocean, so one should be mindful that the tradition he or she follows is true and selfless. 
Many attempt to scale the peaks in the Himalayas, but not all succeed. Through courage and surrender, however, one can scale the peaks of knowledge by the grace of the guru, who is the holder of knowledge, and who works tirelessly for his students.

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