Sunday, October 2, 2011


‎I saw a great quote the other day on Facebook from Sarah Wells, a teacher at the Eugene School of Yoga:
"The yogi should ignore the personality of his/her yoga teacher, thus focusing on the lineage and practice." — Narasimhan
In Mysore, India, Professor M. Narasimhan used to teach the philosophy portion of Dr. Jayashree's Yoga Sutra chant class.

This really echoes Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat, as quoted in The Yoga Body:

The orthodox pandit is not in the least concerned to restore an ancient state of affairs...
If he were to point out the ... differences between the ... text and his own epoch, he would have to reveal his own share of innovation and his individuality...
He prefers to keep this latter hidden...
For him, the important thing is to present the whole of his knowledge — which contains both the ancient heritage and his new vision — as an organized totality.
(Filliozat 1992 : 92, translation by Singleton, The Yoga Body.)
 As Narashimhan observes, if we can side-step or look beyond (look through?) our teacher's personality, we're able to receive the entirety, the totality, the sum of her knowledge — which contains both "ancient heritage" as well as her "new vision."

Often, though, the richest transmission seems to arise from the frisson of realization that there's a seam, a gap, however small, between a teacher's personality and practice and their very own lineage.

If only because then we have to hold onto the seeming paradox ourselves without "solving" it.