Thursday, December 22, 2011

Assisting Sharath

Last week Sharath came up to me as I stood up out of my first backbend and asked if I would like to assist in the shala, and I was surprised enough that I think I pointed to the person next to me.  He looked me in the eye and said it again, and I had a major 'Bambi' moment, looking at him in utter disbelief and blinking a few times before I could respond.  Seeing as how I am not authorized to teach, and that there are many more advanced practictioners, already authorized, and currently practicing here in Mysore, it totally caught me off guard.  Nerves and self doubt were eating away at me all last week, and by the time Monday rolled around, I most certainly had my knickers in a twist about it.  Fate intervened though, as I woke up Monday morning at stupid-o-clock feeling not the least bit 'tip-top' and by the time I made it through standing postures I had to go home ill, spending nearly the whole day sleeping in a little ball of feverish aching misery.  Tuesday things had turned the corner, so I made my way through my practice slowly and gently, and finished with enough time to nervously drink a coconut before heading back in to start my shift.  The first few minutes were mostly just watching, observing Sharath, the other assistants and the students as well, until I mustered up the courage to get into the swing of things and start adjusting.  After a few tentative minutes Sharath pointed me in the direction of an intermediate student waiting for supta vajrasana, and then the ball started rolling.  He gave me a few pointers for a supta kurmasana assist and then pointed me in the direction of some drop backs.  I was told to help a friend of mine, who incidentally is the one responsible for getting me started in ashtanga to begin with, and after assisting him in catching his ankles, Sharath looked over and said "exam passed."  After day one, things have been easier, knowing what I am allowed to do and how Sharath wants it done, but there is still a whole lot of nervousness lurking just below the surface in the moments leading up to the beginning of my shift.  The fear seems to disappear once I get going, but it is replaced by an acute awarness of how much I stand to learn from this month of helping the boss and observing all the different bodies in the room.  It is an incredible feeling, being a part of what happens every morning in the shala, and I am left awed, inspired, and full of gratitude for the opportunity.  What an experience this will be. (More related blog posts sure to come!)   

*Interesting what happens when you spell check after writing about yoga no? 


  1. This is great news! I can relate to the feeling, then again, what an opportunity! I hear is tremendously busy there right now with people starting up to 10 AM?!

  2. The shala is more packed than I have ever seen it with 10AM start times and an absolutely packed room every week at conference... hard to believe that there could possibly be that many people here at once! There seems to be a mass exodus happening right now, but I am sure that there will be a whole new wave of people coming the first week in January.