APP Goes To Mysore: Yoga Is Not A Product. It Is An Experiance.

The 411

My Led start time was moved up to 4:30AM which is 4:15AM Shala time. I have to get up at like 3AM.  I have no clue how to feel. I have no clue how my body will feel.  I still have 7:30 AM for Mysore. A 3 hour difference!!! I just got over my jet lag. My poor body might go into shock.


Mysore Musings

Bits of information filtered through my citta.

Yoga is not a product. It is an experience-Sharath Jois

Both in Mysore and Miami, Sharath continually reiterated that yoga is an internal process. If it is not changing us on the inside, it is not Yoga.

I have been practicing Yoga for around 14 years and teaching for about half that time.  When I first started teaching, I wanted to incorporate philosophy. I wanted students to focus on their breath and learn how to make their practice into a moving meditation. The studio I worked at, told me not to focus on these things. I was told that I should focus on asana and that through asana, students would be drawn to learn about the other eight limbs on their own. I believed it. I now know that is not the case.

Yes, asana has the power to effect internal change, however,  it is often not that deep. Without the Yamas and Niyamas, a teacher to hold them accountable, and a clear cut system (lineage/parampara) , people often seem to become nicer versions of what they already are.  If someone is neurotic, they just become a nicer neurotic person.  I am sure you all know assholes that smile and wave when you see them. I am sure you know lovely, kind Yoga teachers who get drunk every night or suffer from depression. I am sure you know sex addicts who will give you the shirt off their back. This happens because the Yoga has not gone deep enough.

As we continue on our Yoga journey, we should be constantly changing on a deep level. Our neurosis pulled out by the roots. If we are applying what we learn to our lives, how could we stay the same? Deep change is alarming. It is frightening not just to us but to the people around us. Our lives, identity and self worth are built on our attachments. As they start to slip away, it feels like we are slipping away. If we teach or practice Yoga as a product, we don’t have to feel this. As teachers or Yoga studio owners, we don’t have to deal with the financial loses that occur when people run away from this feeling of dissolving. Easier to keep Yoga a product so people don’t have to be uncomfortable. So they can leave feeling good. So their neurosis can stay in tact. So they can just be a nicer version of what they already are.

“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It
has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the
crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing
through the facade of pretence. It’s the
complete eradication of everything we
imagined to be true.”


The Yoga is our reaction to the external circumstances. The asanas are diagnostic tools. They tell us when there is something mentally or physically blocked within us. If we take the reactions and try to diagnosis them through our vrittis (the past, our misconceptions, wrong knowledge, delusions) the asana makes us more neurotic. If we use the checks and balances of the Yamas and Niyamas, knowledge from our lineage and teachers we trust, we experience Yoga. We get closer to glimpsing the Self.

Everywhere looking, only God seeing-Pattabhi Jois


Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail [email protected]