I just watched this recent video by David Garrigues, in which he talks about the place of pain and injury in Ashtanga yoga. He starts by talking about aligning the shoulder girder properly to prevent shoulder injuries. But he then switches gears and declares that there is a certain karmic component to injury; as he puts it, "you cannot have a long intense relationship with Ashtanga yoga without some kind of injury happening." Injury may arise in the course of your Ashtanga career due to moments of carelessness, genetic weaknesses, or the presence of certain lifestyle factors that impinge upon your practice, or other factors that are simply beyond our control. Whatever the case may be, we should not think that it is "wrong" to be hurt, or that being injured in the course of practice is somehow a yogic sin. David also brings up some funny Guruji stories about injury and pain; I won't go into the details here. I'll leave you to listen to them for yourself in the video.
I just read this very detailed report of Sharath's latest conference (Sunday January 20th). Here's something from the report that really struck a chord with me:
"One student asked Sharath what one is to do if they cannot afford to come study in India, but want to have and maintain a dedicated practice. I loved his answer to this question. We can afford cell phones and nice meals, nice clothes, etc but we cannot afford yoga? He spoke of so many of his students who make tremendous sacrifices to come study with him each year, bringing their children, sacrificing many things to ‘find’ the money to come to India and study with him b/c they want to learn the truth of what is yoga, they want to learn this practice properly under his guidance. If so many of these people can do, everyone can do. So many families coming now brining their children, uprooting their lives to come learn proper practice, to understand this yoga, to show their dedication for this practice, this lineage – if parents can make such tremendous sacrifices and bring their children, it is possible for anyone to do. He chuckled and advised someone to skip one meal per day for some time until they saved enough for the trip."
Hmm... now I can't help but wonder what Sharath would say about not being able to come study in India because of immigration and career issues? I have a few pictures in my head as to what he might say, but I'm not going to put it out here just yet, since I don't know him personally, and it is rude (not to mention fruitless) to guess what people would say to your personal situation when you don't know them personally. But I can't help wondering, nonetheless...