NY: You had the opportunity to study with Shri K Pattabhi Jois(Guruji) in Mysore, India over several years. Can you describe what it was like to practice in that environment and within the presence of a true yoga master such as Guruji?
I started practicing with Guruji in 1999, and so I had the good fortune of practicing in the old shala in Laxmipuran where a maximum of 12 students could fit in the room at one time. Sharath assisted him each morning, so there was much more attention given. On my first trip, there were only 30 students at the shala. We also used to have conference, or question and answer period with guruji, every day at 4 pm. Things have changed a bit as the community has grown and now there are hundreds of students at once so they’ve had to move to a much bigger shala. What always surprised me most was guruji’s authenticity and approachability. His primary concern was for the yoga. Despite a pretty large language barrier, he was always able to communicate what techniques and aspects of the system were indispensible, and exactly how we were to conduct ourselves. He kept a very clear and focused classroom. The effects were palpable because when you walked in the yoga room in mysore, you were walking into a meditative sacred space. You could feel the effort, focus, and intention and it just carried you through your practice. Achievements that seemed far off became accessible, doubts and procrastination melted away, and you just became part of the energy that he created.