[Image taken from here]
This post is inspired by Grimmly's latest post, "Would I be welcome at your shala?" In his post, Grimmly, in his usual powerful yet subtly subversive style, wonders whether his hybrid Ashtanga-Vinyasa-Krama practice would be acceptable in a traditional mysore room.
I would like to carry this idea of hybridization in a mysore room even further. An article in the August 2011 issue of Yoga Journal reports the latest craze among Anusara yoga practitioners: Hoop-yoga! Yes, doing postures like Natarajasana (pictured above) while balancing a hula hoop on some part of one's body! Gosh, what kinds of things wouldn't Anusara people do? Okay, I must qualify: I really have nothing against Anusara. But this is really a bit... out there to me. What, asana alone isn't challenging enough? Since when has asana become a game of gymnastic one-up-manship (or one-up-womanship, in this case)? I mean, what's next, doing balancing postures while perched on the edge of a tall building?
Okay, I'll stop ranting here. But seriously, I really wonder what kind of a reaction a hoop-yogi or hoop-yogini will get in a mysore room. Picture this: You are on your mat in your shala, doing your practice. Along comes this Yoga-Journal-model-perfect yogini, who unrolls her mat next to you. You are super-absorbed in your practice, and scarcely notice her (you have formidable pratyahara powers). But then, suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you notice that the yogini in question is doing Natarajasana (wow, she's that advanced in her practice, she doesn't even need to do the Suryas...). And you also notice this circular thing spinning around her balancing leg. It's a bird..., it's a plane... no, it's a.... Hula Hoop! How can this be? Despite your formidable pratyahara powers, you just can't stop staring at her in slack-jawed bewilderment. You also start looking around the room to see what your teacher will do in response to this unusual practice (to say the least), but your teacher is nowhere to be found...
The above episode, while seemingly surreal and outlandish, is not inconceivable (hey, I just conceived it!): In fact, it may be coming to your shala very soon! Watch for it.
Now try to imagine the very same scenario, except that it's now unfolding at the KPJAYI in Mysore, under Sharath's watchful eye. Even I cannot imagine what Sharath's reaction would be. Can you?