But I'm writing now because I just read this really honest and funny and heartfelt post on Patrick Nolan's blog about going to Mysore and getting authorized. Patrick relates how when he first started practicing Ashtanga, he asked his teacher, Greg Nardi, what he needed to do in order to teach Ashtanga. In response, Greg explained that:
'in our thing (please forgive the gratuitous mafia movie reference) the only way it could happen is that I would have to schlep over to India not once, but several times at least, my response was understandable-- "Fuck that, I'm going to sign up for the 200 hour teacher training at the 23rd street yoga shala."'
Eventually, Patrick did go to Mysore, and has now completed his third trip there. He writes:
"In addition to my time with Sharath, I have been extensively trained by teachers of international renown. I teach yoga full-time for a living and am solvent in doing so. My asana practice is somewhat strong. I have a grasp of, and a keen interest in, yogic philosophy. But I am still not authorized. Didn't happen this trip. I was pretty fucking bummed when Sharath didn't call me into his office after my last practice this morning. Although this disappointment is something of a taboo, I confess this freely and openly. We're supposed to go to India to learn from Sharath for its own sake, not to be chasing a certificate."
I really like Patrick's brutal and uncompromising honesty concerning his own feelings ("was pretty fucking bummed"...) about not being authorized. I think that talking about authorization in this open and honest way takes a lot of the mystery and emotional charge out of this delicate issue.
Patrick concludes his post by saying:
"One's ability to carry on and convey the message of our lineage should be assessed by Sharath and Sharath alone. To bring back the mafia analogy, chain of command is very important our thing. Sharath seems pretty deeply intuitive to me. I resolve to trust his judgement in these matters, and to keep returning to Mysore, authorization or no."
I like the Mafia analogy. If I may extend the analogy even further, I guess I must be a Mafia foot soldier, since I have yet to go to Mysore :-) Well, hopefully someday in the future, I will go to Mysore, rise up in the ranks of the Mafia. And then maybe (just maybe) one day Sharath might call me into his office and make me an offer I can't refuse...
[Image taken from here]
But wait! I'm not supposed to expect to get that offer. Okay, never mind. Forget I said that. But I hope you get that offer soon, Patrick. Maybe next Mysore trip? :-)