Parampara: A Legacy in Practice

A legacy is a gift left behind for you. It may be a family tradition. Maybe it is a religious or spiritual faith. It could be a past-time of farming and living the seasons. Maybe your father was a cobbler, a fireman, a soldier, and you want to live that tradition. Maybe it is the gift of baking pies or sewing clothes. It can be a skilled craft that can only be learned by doing or by reciting stories to children and relatives.

In Native America, much of our history and tradition is given through oral communication. It is not written down or recorded. There is a real fear today that this will be lost, so many are archiving information so it isn’t lost. Today, with information available at your fingertips at any moment, oral and skilled traditions are going by the wayside. History is not appreciated as much. I’m a history buff. I live in the past a lot. An ecclesiastical scripture says there is nothing new under the sun. We repeat things in history over and over. So there is much to be learned from history. And there is much to be cherished by honoring those whose experiences led to where you are today.

In yoga, we express this as Parampara. It is a lineage of thoughts and practices passed down from generation to generation, or teacher to student. I have embraced the style of Ashtanga yoga and admire what has been passed down regarding the traditions and practices it encompasses. There is much written about it now, but without an oral tradition and manual adjustments, it could have been lost without the passing on of the practice. Much of the origin was found in the Yoga Korunta, an ancient text that was not preserved. Some question its authenticity since there isn’t a written record. Patthabi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, said it did exist and lives on in Ashtangis today. His wife, Amma, continually told her grandson, Sharath, you must go, learn this, and continue the tradition. She knew of the importance of passing it on. Sharath now teaches at the shala in Mysore, India where Ashtanga originated.

Here is what I claim as my yoga Parampara:

Krishnamachurya (father of modern yoga)
→Patthabi Jois (founder of Ashtanga)
→→Tim Miller
→→→Kelsey Bourgeois
→→→→Andy

I hope over time I have influence over others that will continue as a lineage to be passed down to the next generation. Appreciate your past, your teachers, and how they have shaped your life. Don’t forget your past. Learn about it and embrace it.

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