As I’ve been slowly reading and enjoying Krishnamacharya over the last few weeks, I’ve been impressed by the dedication and commitment the modern sage required of his yoga students. Most folks who take up yoga today, this yogi included, have no idea what it means to practice under the tutelage of a guru. We just sort of show up when it’s convenient or absolutely necessary.
Krishnamacharya, however, was very selective of those he took on as students. As shown in the following examples related by Krishnamacharya himself, he had a number of methods for measuring the commitment and discipline of those who sought his mentorship.
A man suffering from asthma came to me, along with one of my students. After talking with him and testing him, I found that his diet was unhealthy and his habits erratic. He questioned me, “In how many classes will I be cured?” I was not happy with his attitude. I did not take him as a student. If I had, he would not have practiced. He would have told others that he was a student of Krishnamacharya, and that yoga was not working. Disrepute for me and, more so, a bad name for yoga. Not necessary.
Krishnamacharya knew that those with weak commitment would not practice and would not see the benefits of a yoga practice. He wasn’t looking for money; he was looking for commitment.
Another asthma patient had come to me. He too asked me a question right at the beginning: “What fees do I need to pay?” I replied, “How long have you had this disease?” He replied, “For more than twenty years now.” I said, “Then it will cost you one hundred rupees. Bring one hundred rupees to the next class and we will start the treatment.” [A hundred rupees was a lot of money in those days in India–perhaps like asking for five thousand dollars today.] Surprisingly, the man brought a hundred rupees with him to the next class. From this, I knew that he had sincerely committed to the treatment and would follow what I told him. I told him, “I don’t want a hundred rupees from you. You can take it back. I only wanted to know if you had enough commitment to follow the disciplines and restrictions I am going to suggest to you.”
Just something to think about. Namaste!
Download free PDF article: My Studies with Sri Krishnamacharya by Srivatsa Ramaswami