‘We knocked on the door’

A confession: We aren’t here for the asana.

Don’t get us wrong, the asana practice here at the Confluence is great. Dena Kingsberg’s Led class this morning was a grand overload of information. Honestly, I never thought I’d encounter someone who seemed to have studied yoga so much that it seeped into their very being — other than Richard Freeman.

My sense, from admittedly a short time in Dena’s presence, is she is another. Her knowledge, both mental and physical, of the practice, of its possibilities and potentials, is staggering. Much as a month with Richard is a magnetic pull, somehow dropping everything and going to Australia is, if this is possible, a greater one.

But, we aren’t here for the asana. Really. We’re here for the discussions, for the moments of interaction among these senior Ashtanga students, for the memories of Guruji, for the insight and inspiration.

The first of these panels was on Guruji’s legacy. There are any number of directions we could go from it. Some, I suspect, we’ll take. Here’s just one:

The opening question was: How’d you meet Guruji? Two of the teachers, Tim Miller and David Swenson, met Guruji here in America. (Both are funny stories.) Eddie Stern, Nancy Gilgoff and Dena all encountered him for the first time in India, in Mysore.

And all three of their stories shared this same line: We knocked on the door.

In one way or another, on one path or another, this trio heard about Pattabhi Jois, got to Mysore or were in Mysore, and learned that he lived next to a police station. They went to his home and knocked on Guruji’s door.

They just knocked on his door.

Guruji answered when Eddie and Dena arrived (separately, I should be clear). Saraswati answered when Nancy, along with David Williams, knocked. Guruji was in the market, and soon returned on his scooter.

“How did you find me?” he asked. (Their answer: Norman Allen.)

Sitting before these teachers, as they answered questions and retold tales, it was hard, is hard, not to try to think of my own answer, as if he is whispering it in my ear, here.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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