Tales from India by Yoga Teacher Alejandra Torres
Posted by Jack Albritton on March 28, 2014
I was pleased to receive an email last week from yoga teacher Alejandra Torres. She is currently spending time in Mysore, India to deepen her yoga practice and has taken the time to share with us a little bit of her experience there. We miss her at the school when she is gone but we know this time is very important to her and makes her the teacher that all of our students love. So with no more introduction here is Alejandra.
So many stories to share, India always has something to teach. In the airports while i am traveling people always ask me, “oh! you are going to India? From Costa Rica? What are you doing?” Its funny to see this reaction and I have to say it is not easy to leave from paradise. So I thought I would share what has brought me back for the last three years.
India has this air of simplicity and humbleness I have not experienced anywhere else I have traveled. I practice ashtanga yoga, which is a system of already set sequences of postures that are characterized by something called vinyasa. Vinyasa means transition from posture to posture with the breath. This is a very traditional system and the only way to become an ashtanga teacher is to come to India for many years and practice with the grandson or the daughter, Saraswathi, of the late Pattabhi Jois. The method is passed down lineage to lineage. Sharath Jois is my teachers name.
I met Sharath for the first time in January 2013 and I came with no expectation. Many people say a lot of things about him or the style but I am the kind of person that has to experience it for myself, no matter what people say. I found this man to be a very sweet man with no pretentions, very humble considering how famous he is. Every Sunday he gives a conference, a space for questions. One Sunday somebody asked him, “What happens with all the people that have no financial opportunity to come and practice in India with you?” And I thought this was a brilliant question since I am not the kind of person that has that facility as much. But his answer was even more brilliant. He said, “If you really want to come to Mysore, India you would stop eating once a day and save that money to come here.” I just loved this answer because if you are strong about something you can achieve your dreams.
In the next days of practice he said to me often that I needed a new yoga mat. He didn’t like my mat. Honestly, I didn’t want to spend my money on that, but he kept insisting. So one day I told him, “Sharath I don’t have the money and I am already here.” He said, “ok, you come!” He took me to this little office and gave me this expensive yoga mat. I was in total shock because I never expected this reaction. Honestly I felt so embarrassed that I couldn’t even look him in the eye for the next couple of days of practice. It sounds like a very small thing and it is, but this simplicity taught me so much. Today if he asked me again to change my mat and I didn’t have the money, I would find a way to get a new one. Nobody has mirror my ego as beautiful as that.
My life has been in a total transformation since my teenage years because of yoga, and for me ashtanga has been the best way to find happiness. I feel so grateful for Sharath that he is passing this knowledge, and also so much respect and honor to be able to practice in his presence. I had to come back for more and every time I come I realize how little that I know.
I really enjoyed this story Alejandra had to share and hope you did too. She will be back teaching at the school in late April and I’m sure she will have more tales to tell then. In the meantime we have a great crew of teachers holding down the fort.