Interview with Sri Sheshadri and Harish April 02. 2009
Tom:First let me start by asking you both about the name of your new shala Sri Sheshadri: Patanjala Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Shala.
Tom: Who was Patanjali? Sri Sheshadri: Maharshi Patanjali was an incarnation of the Hindu God Lord Vishnu, The Cobra Snake.Maharshi Patanjali is the Father of Yoga and he was also the author of "Patanjala Yoga Sutras"
Tom: And Ashtanga?
Sri Sheshadri: Ashtanga means 8 limbs of Yoga from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.
The eight limbs are stages:
Tom: How do you define Vinyasa? Sri Sheshadri: Vinyasa means moving from stillness to movement and back to stillness. In correct Vinyasa, you combine breath, sight, posture time and bandha locks.
Tom: What is your definition of Yoga? Sri Sheshadri: Yoga means union, or more correctly, the unification of man to God. This is the whole purpose of Yoga. Man combines with God, to become one with God.
Tom: So, the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga sequence that you teach is in the same tradition as Sri Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois, and BNS Iyengar. Sri Sheshadri: Yes, it is all the same system learned by Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois and taught to me (Sri Sheshadri) by BNS Iyengar.
Tom: One of the things that I notice is that you allow students to move on with their practice even if they don't do a posture perfectly. Sri Sheshadri: Yes, because in a group of asanas, 84 lakhs, some postures will be difficult for everyone. But, it is important to try and go one by one with the postures. If a student misses, no problems. They should continue the series.
Tom: A lot has changed for you both since your European tour in January & February 2009. Since then, you have decided to leave the Mysore Mandala. What lead up to that decision to leave there? Sri Sheshadri & Harish: We have been thinking of opening our own shala for a long time now. We decided that this was a good time to break away and was good for both us and the Mandala. We Decided to go our own was to gain more independence and to give students a permanent place to practice. This will be our permanent home now. Harish: Work is going very well and very quickly. We have finished the demolition already. New construction started with placing the support columns for the new practice room and the garden is been readied for the new outdoor cafe. We are very excited with the great progress we have already made and expect it to all be completed quickly.
Tom: Except Sri.BNS Iyengar with whom you learned yoga SriSheshadri: Except Guru Sri,BNS Iyengar I took training from Sri.Sri.Sri Guruji Prakash Yogi (Pathanjali Yogashrama Trust (R) Bangalore).
Tom: Sri Sheshadri, What is your wife's name? Bharathi.
Tom: I know that she plays a very large role in your family life, but how will she be involved in PAVY? Sri Sheshadri: Bharathi has been very involved in the work getting ready for the new shala and has pushed for us to start our own place for a long time now. She has always helped with administration and the organization of the business side of things and has been a huge support to both me and my son in all aspects of getting the new shala open. She will also start with cooking classes for the students.
Tom: Will there be any other teachers at PAVY- Now or in the future? Sri Sheshadri: Other teachers will help with the Teacher Training right away for therapeutic, massage, sutras and philosophy. Yogasanas and Pranayama will be taught by Harish and me. Chanting classes will also be possible.
Tom: I know that the new shala will be in Mysore, but where exactly? Harish: The new address is: #1317, 3rd Cross, Krishna Murthy Puram, Mysore India, 570014. The new shala is very close to the center of Lakshmipuram.
Tom: What other services will you offer for students? Harish: My father gives massage. Also he teaches Pranayama classes, there will be his Teacher Training, Philosophy and later will teach meditation and Kriya. Also, we are trying to get my mom to have classes on the proper yoga diet. She will be helping with the new cafe and making sure that there are raw foods, fruits and vegetables available for students. We will encourage organic food so that students can learn more about how to eat correctly.
Tom: These are beautiful calico cats! Whose are they? Who is the animal lover? Sri Sheshadri: I love pets! The cats came here themselves...they found us. The two that look alike are females. They are sisters. They are the second generation, and the little female is the third generation. The black and white one is the male. He found the girls and stuck around and now we feed him too. They are very happy here and we love them all. Harish: Yes, the mother brought these two sisters here as babies. She brought them into my cupboard and I found them there. We all like to have them around and they have been here since they were babies.
Tom: Sri Sheshadri, How long were you a student of BNS Iyengar's? Sri Sheshadri: I studied with BNS Iyengar for 13 years. I was always in the front row and loved to learn from my Guru.
Tom: From when to when? Sri Sheshadri: From 1985 to 1998. Then I began to compete and started to teach.
Tom: What is your relationship like with him now? Sri Sheshadri:Very good! We have met recently. We have good relations. I respect him and the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga lineage that was passed to me through him. That is the traditional way. From God to teacher. From teacher to students. Good teachers reflect as a mirror - so that the student can see as it is.
Tom: Harish, How long have you been studying yoga? Harish: I have grew up with in a yogic household. Both my Mother and Father have practiced yoga. I remember studying and fooling around with postures from a very young age. When I was 18, I began to ask my father to teach me more seriously. He was my first yoga teacher and is still. From the time I was 21 years, I began to assist my father teaching.
Tom: How did you start assisting your father? Harish: It just happened naturally and slowly at first. My father teaching me gradually and now more and more. I started in 2004 after my studies in an IT program and am following my father's way.
Tom: Harish, you have grown up a lot since the first time I met you - So, when are you getting married? Harish: As soon as i setteled i will think of marriage.
Tom: Will it be a traditional Indian arranged marriage? Harish: Yes.
Tom: What are your hopes and wishes for the future? Sri Sheshadri: As much as possible I would like to dedicate my life to teaching and serving as God allows. Harish: Me too.
Tom:OK - Thanks to both of you for your time. Great success with your new shala! Namaste.
Interview held in the family home near the Bedara Kannappa Temple, Chikka Haradanahally, Mysore, India date: April 02. 2009 Interviewer: Tom Hoppel